Roofing shingles are meant to hold up to the elements. However, even the best quality shingles can blow off during a storm. Harsh winds can weaken nails allowing shingles to come loose and fly off the roof. Shingles tend to be heavy, so they can cause more damage when they fall onto another structure or into a window. If your roof has missing shingles due to a storm, it is important to know how to repair roof shingles blown off and fix them before the damage gets worse.
DIY: How to Repair Roof Shingles That Have Blown Off
While you can do the repairs yourself to potentially save money, it is important to understand what risks you face.
Causes of Blown-Off Shingles
Roofing shingles may blow off for several reasons. Sometimes shingles will blow off during a storm if they were installed incorrectly. For example, if roofing nails were placed too high up on the shingles instead of across the nailing strip, it may be less secure, or the shingle may pull the nail off during a windstorm. Shingles may also come loose if there is underlying roof damage. If the roof deck is compromised, rotted or warped wood could cause the roofing nails to pop out, allowing the shingles to blow off.
Shingles may also blow off of a new roof during a storm. The cause may not necessarily be poor installation, but rather that the seal strips did not have a chance to set properly. It can take an average of four to six weeks for the seal strips to set, depending on the temperature, quality of shingles, and amount of sun exposure. If there is a major windstorm before this happens, the shingles could come loose and blow off. However, this type of roof repair will generally be covered at no charge by your roofing contractor.
Shingles may also blow off a roof due to old age. The average asphalt roof has an expected life span of between 10 and 15 years. If you do not maintain your roof properly, its life span may be reduced further. Several red flags could indicate that your roof needs to be replaced, such as the presence of curled or cupped shingle edges, cracked shingles, or bald spots where shingle granules are missing. You may also have discolored walls and ceilings indoors from water infiltration, or you may notice signs of unwanted pests in your attic.
The Roof Repair Process
When replacing damaged asphalt roofing shingles, you can replace an entire strip which typically spans 3-feet by 1-foot. You can also cut the shingle into sections and replace just a single tab. If any part of the damaged shingle remains on the roof, insert a putty knife under it to break the seal. A flat bar can then be used to pry up the damaged shingles and remove any remaining nails holding them in place.
If you are removing just one damaged tab, use a utility knife to cut off the damaged tab. Once the damaged piece is removed, slide the new shingle strip or tab into its proper place. You want to secure the new shingle under the shingle that is above it with roofing nails. With the replacement shingle in place, carefully lift the tab and apply a small dab of roofing cement to help seal the shingle to the roof. Be sure to check the condition of your roof in the days following the roof repair job. If any of the shingles start to lift, apply more tar.
Risks of DIY Roof Repair
While do-it-yourself roof repair can be a cost-effective option for the mastered DIYer, it is not safe for the average homeowner. Many risks come with DIY roof repair, starting with improper repairs. Without sufficient roof repair knowledge and experience, you may not install the new shingles properly, which can lead to more problems down the road. When roof shingles are not installed properly, you may find that they lift, leak, or even fall off during the next windstorm. This type of mistake can cost you more money in the long run.
There are also certain safety concerns to be aware of when performing DIY roof repairs. You already know that walking on your roof can be a dangerous endeavor. A roof repair can become even more dangerous if you attempt to perform a repair when it is windy, rainy, or when the roof is slick with wet leaves or debris. Hauling heavy shingles and nails up a ladder can also pose a safety hazard. Other safety concerns come from the use of unfamiliar materials or equipment. In addition, any repairs you make yourself will generally not be covered by a warranty.
When you choose to go the DIY route with your roof repair, you not only risk losing money but also your valuable time and energy. Replacing shingles on your roof is hard work that can take hours or even days, depending on the extent of the damage. As the materials are large, heavy, and difficult to maneuver, replacing roofing shingles can be hard on the body. If you are not careful and use the right lifting techniques, you could find yourself with a strained back or another injury that could leave you in pain as you struggle to recover.
Contact a Roof Repair Contractor
It can be frustrating to find loose shingles thrown about your yard after a storm. However, this is a common problem that has a relatively easy fix. If your roof is in otherwise good condition, just the damaged section itself can be replaced to prevent water from seeping under the adjacent shingles. To avoid the various risks of DIY roof repair, consider leaving this important project in the hands of trusted professionals.
For more information on how to repair roof shingles blown off by a storm or to schedule a roof inspection, contact our professional roof repair and replacement contractors at Beyond Exteriors today.