If your home has missing or broken roof shingles, you might think it’s no big deal. Outside of looking bad, what’s the harm, right? Well, there can be a lot that goes wrong when roofing shingles are missing or broken. After all, your roof’s shingles are the main line of defense for your home against the elements. When that main line is compromised, minor intrusions can cause major damage.
In this blog post, we cover what can cause your roof shingles to be compromised, what can happen if left untreated, and what to do to make sure your home stays safe from whatever Mother Nature has to bring.
Conditions that Can Cause Loose, Broken, or Missing Shingles
High/sustained winds – As we have seen in recent years, certain times of the year can bring with it high, sustained winds. Roof shingles are meant to sustain wind, and even some gusting. But when gusts reach high levels, and/or are sustained over a period of time, even the best shingles and installation can be in danger.
Ice damming – During winter months when weather patterns swing from mild to severe, the freezing, melting, and re-freezing can cause ice damming. Ice damming can force ice, then water, to back up under roof shingles. This process loosens and can even break the shingles.
Improper installation – When your roof was installed, hopefully it was installed by a licensed roofing contractor. That is not always the case. Roofs installed by unlicensed, or poorly trained contractors can be subject to a variety of flaws. Improperly installed plywood, underlayment, and shingles can result in shingles that become loose and easily dislodged in wind and rain.
Roof Age – Even the best shingles and the best shingle installation has its limits. Most shingles come with 20-30 year warranties. When that time is up, you will likely see the tell tale signs – missing and broken shingles. If your roof is near or past its warranty, roof replacement is probably in order.
Why Fix Damaged or Missing Shingles
Prevent Damage to Plywood – When roof shingles become compromised, water can seep underneath them. If the barrier between the shingles and the plywood (the underlayment) is also compromised (and it likely is when shingles become loose or broken) water can also seep underneath of it, reaching the plywood. Once water becomes trapped between the plywood and underlayment/shingles, it can quickly begin to rot the plywood. Rotten plywood can lead to leaks and even dangerous mold.
Prevent Leaks – Once water finds its way under your shingles, it will find a path that will eventually lead to leaks. Sometimes a homeowner won’t even be aware that they have shingles that are compromised until a leak occurs. If your home is situated in such a way that you cannot see the roof in its entirety, how would you know? Unfortunately, you’ll know when you see a leak! Leaks that are visible inside a home in ceilings and walls can be costly. If your roof shingles are aging or if you see missing or broken shingles, do not hesitate in fixing the issue.
Aesthetics – If you are like most, you take great pride in home ownership. You work hard to keep your home looking its best. When it comes to curb appeal, your roof is one of the first and most noticeable parts of your home. When roof shingles are broken or missing, it can give the appearance of a home that is unkempt. Fixing your roof will help keep your home looking its best.
Repairs vs. Replacements
Shingle/Roof Age – When deciding whether to repair or replace your roof due to missing or broken shingles, age is likely the first consideration. If your roof is well within the shingle warranty, a repair is probably going to suffice. If your roof is approaching or has exceeded the shingle warranty, your roofing contractor may recommend replacement. Roof replacement may also be recommended if a large portion of your roof has been compromised.
Aesthetics – Even when your roof is within its warranty, there are times when the shingle that was originally used is no longer available. Even if it is available, over time your existing shingles may have faded. In either case, it can be difficult to get a match that will not look ‘patched.’ When that is the case, you might choose a roof replacement over a repair.
Insurance Coverage – In our area, each year we see isolated extreme weather events. In 2018, Mt. Airy, Maryland experienced a small tornado that ripped the roof off of a portion shopping center. The year prior, Ellicott City, Maryland was devastated by severe flooding. When your roof has been damaged by severe weather, your homeowners insurance may cover the damage.
Cost – When the damage to your roof is not covered by insurance, it is up to you to foot the bill. Many roofers offer financing, however not everyone’s situation allows for the expenditure of a new roof, particularly when it is unexpected. If you are in a situation where you cannot afford a new roof, a repair may buy you enough time to save, or at least to find a financing option that works with your budget.
Consulting with a Roofing Contractor
As with any home improvement contractor, it is imperative that you make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Using an unlicensed roofing contractor, or doing a roof repair or replacement yourself does not provide you with a warranty. The lack of a warranty offers you no recourse if your roof becomes compromised. Reputable roofing contractors will offer not only the warranty on the roof shingle, but a limited workmanship warranty as well. When having your roof repair or roof replacement estimated, be sure to ask your contractor about warranties.
In addition to providing warranties, a reputable contractor will not advise roof replacement unless it is necessary. If your roof is well within the shingle warranty, unless there is significant damage, a large portion missing, or leaking, a reputable roofing contractor will likely offer a roof repair vs. a complete roof replacement.
If your home has missing or broken roof shingles, and you would like an assessment, contact us at 1-866-836-ROOF to schedule a no-obligation, free roofing estimate.