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Common Problems with Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material. They are preferred over other material because they are economical, easy to install and conform to the traditional look of many neighborhoods.

However, there are some issues with this type of roofing that you should be aware of.

Common Problems encountered are:

  • Short Lifespan

  • Blistering

  • Granule Loss

  • Curling, Cracking

  • Mold, Mildew & Algae

  • Missing, Torn or Damaged Shingles

  • Frequent Repairs

Short Lifespan

An asphalt shingle roof lasts for a considerably shorter time period than almost any other type of roofing. Generally, asphalt roofs will last you an average of 10-20 years before needing to be replaced.

By comparison, here are the lifespans of other roofing types:

Metal: 40-60 years

Slate or Clay: 50-100 years

Cedar shake: 30-40 years


Blistering takes place when the moisture trapped within the shingles expand and pops/breaks through the surface and creates an exposed spot. Blistering usually occurs during the high-temperature summer months.

Blistering occurs when moisture makes its way into the shingle during the manufacturing process. For a little bit of background, shingles typically consist of three main layers: A fiberglass backing, a coating of asphalt, and then the granules on the top. If moisture somehow makes its way between any of these layers, the potential for blistering is higher.

Another reason for blistering is Poor Attic/Roof Ventilation. This causes the roof to overheat which in turn leads to trapped moisture inside the shingle to expand and form blisters.

Shingles with excessive blistering should be replaced as they can ultimately decrease the lifespan of your roof.

Granule Loss

The next problem you might notice on your shingle roof is granule loss, which is where the top layer detaches from the shingle and falls off.

For a little bit of background, the granules added to the top layer of a shingle are finely crushed stones or ceramic that have pigment (organic and in-organic types) applied to them. In addition to the color that granules provide, it also creates a protective barrier to prolong the life of the shingle roof.

All shingle roofs will experience some level of granule loss over time due to weathering and exposure.

Several causes for granule loss includes:

· The roof is not ventilated properly, causing the roof to overheat and melt the asphalt and in turn causing the granules to wear off.

· Defective shingles – Granules or asphalt not being applied evenly or properly.

While some granule loss is normal overtime, excessive granule loss leaves your roof less weatherproof.

Curling & Cracking of Shingles

If you’re looking up at a shingle roof and see the edges of the shingle lifting off the roof’s surface or the corners turning upward, you’re seeing curling.

Several reasons include:

· Shingles are old and nearing the end of useful lifecycle.

· Improper installation.

· Existing ventilation issues where the trapped moisture to can cause the shingles to curl.

· Thermal shock refers to when the high temperature of the roof suddenly cools rapidly. This thermal shock can affect your shingle roof and start to create a curling effect as it happens over and over.

Cracking is a natural part of the aging process for shingles. Over time, wind, roof stresses, thermal movement, and deck movement aid in a shingle cracking.

What you want to look out for is any premature cracking on a newer shingle roof. This could indicate that something happened during the installation, that there is a manufacturer defect or that there isn’t adequate ventilation of the roof system.

Mold, Mildew & Algae

You will see these issues in high-humidity areas and northern-facing roofs that are heavily shaded or rarely get sun. An unappealing black streak going down your asphalt shingle roof is visible.

Bacteria causing these issues tends to thrive in hot and humid climates and unfortunately, preventing damage from it is hard to avoid. The bacteria originate in rivers and ponds and can be transported onto the roof by either birds or the wind.

Asphalt shingles contain limestone that the bacteria will eat away at that makes the shingles weaker overtime. Having weak shingles increases the chances of your roof needing repairs from shingles either breaking or blowing away.

Missing, Torn or Damaged Shingles

Shingles are installed piece by piece, it’s possible for shingles to detach or come off the roof. When you have a huge tree near the house or branches extending above the roof, it’s very common to have torn or damaged shingles.

This can happen for many reasons:

· Heavy wind can lift the edge of shingle and detach it.

· Tree branches or debris flying in the sky can torn or damage the shingles.

· Faulty adhesive strip behind the shingles can lead to missing shingles.

· If the shingles are installed at low temperature, adhesive strip behind the shingle may not engage/work properly.

It is advisable to repair the roof as soon as you encounter a missing, torn or damaged shingles.

Frequent repairs

Asphalt shingle roof are subjected to frequent repairs/maintenance issues. They are not the most durable roofing material. Due to Severe weather and General wear & tear, asphalt shingles require regular repairs/maintenance.

Following issues require attention:

· Exposed fasteners.

· Deteriorated sealant.

· Lifted, damaged, rusted, unpainted metal flashings.

It is always recommended to have the roof checked on a regular basis in order to catch these issue at early stage and get them rectified

These types of deficiencies would all be listed inside your home inspection report. Each Residential Home Inspection includes a full evaluation of the roof as well a full structural and mechanical evaluation of your home such as the Foundation, Water Heater, Plumbing Fixtures, Electric Panel and more. On top of residential inspections for existing and newly constructed homes, we also specialize in commercial building inspections, mold inspections, termite inspections, stucco services, and more in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Pearland, Friendswood, The Woodlands, Katy, Sugar Land, Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas. We offer a variety of affordable package options to choose from to fit your specific budget and inspection needs. Contact us at (866) 484-8318, get a quote, or schedule now on our website. We look forward to serving you!


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