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What Shingle Granule Loss Means for Your Roof

Posted March 28, 2022 by Jerry Becker
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Unless you’re a home DIY enthusiast or someone who works in the roofing industry, you’ve likely not given your shingles much thought. For many, asphalt shingles are a way to add color and texture to make roofs more aesthetic. 

This is understandable because how many times a year do you actually need to get on your roof for a repair? 

However, it’s essential to understand the type of shingle roof you have and the signs that signal potential deterioration. Although there is a wide variety of roofing materials available, you likely have a roof that uses asphalt shingles

If you take a close look at a single shingle, they don’t look like much and certainly don’t look like they can offer your roof some of the best protection available. However, they’re composed of several layers to give your roof the protection it deserves:

  • Flexible fiberglass mat
  • Hot asphalt
  • Granules
  • Sealants
  • Release film

Out of all the components, granules are the most important. These bits of crushed stone and minerals help prevent sun damage and are fire-resistant. It could be said that preventing granule loss is essential to saving money, saving time and keeping your roof intact over the years. 

Causes of Granule Loss

It’s normal for any type of roofing material to experience wear-and-tear over time—especially since it’s the one part of your home that’s constantly exposed to weather conditions. However, several contributing factors can lead to premature granule loss with asphalt shingles. 

Each shingle consists of several layers that give it its protective power. The base layer consists of a flexible fiberglass mat, which is then sprayed with hot asphalt to make it water-resistant. 

Then the fiberglass mat is folded like an accordion to ensure that the asphalt coats both sides as it cools. The final layers are the most important. It’s the granules that provide the first line of defense along with any sealants and release film. 

New Roofing

Whether you’re replacing a few shingles or your entire roof, you may find a noticeable amount of loose granules in your gutter system. This is entirely normal. 

Oftentimes, the loose granules on new shingles are due to the handling and cutting that comes with installation. You can rest assured that any loose granules should wash away after a few soft rain showers. 

However, any bald spots or significant areas of granule loss signal a much larger problem. It could be that the shingles were incorrectly installed or that they were simply defective. 

In that case, you should contact your roofing company as soon as possible to get replacement shingles before there’s additional damage to your roof. 

Hail and Severe Storms

Two of the most common reasons for roof damage and granule loss is due to hail and severe storms. While most homes are built to last, even heavy winds and a minute amount of hail can damage the granule coating on asphalt shingles. 

If you happen to live in an area prone to storms like Portland, it’s often beneficial to have your roof inspected after each severe storm. It’s better to discover and repair minor damages before they can grow into large cracks that lead to potential leaks later on. 

Inspections after a storm are especially crucial if you have a new roof. This is again due to new roofs having loose granules and that you want to ensure there aren’t any bald spots or areas with large amounts of granule loss. 

Other signs of shingle damage from hail or storms include random damage with no apparent pattern, areas that are soft to touch and asphalt with a shiny appearance. 

Foot Traffic

Excess foot traffic also contributes to premature granule loss. While walking on your roof may be unavoidable at times, like when you need to clean your gutters or repair your chimney, you must minimize foot traffic as much as possible.

After every inspection or anytime you or a contractor walks on your roof, you must take great care and watch for signs of granule loss. It’s better to discover a small problem early on than deal with extensive repairs or even leaks down the road. 

Defective Materials

Most asphalt shingles are up to standard and built to last. However, there will be a shipment of defective materials on rare occasions. It’s important to discover defective materials early on by watching for the following:

  • Bald spots
  • Exposed substrate
  • Areas with significant granule loss

Any defective material is easily spotted early on as long as you keep an eye on them after any new roof repair or replacements. In most cases, roofing companies will use asphalt shingles that come with a manufacturer warranty in the event you end up with defective asphalt shingles. 

Old Age

Asphalt roof repair or replacement can become quite an investment depending on the project. That’s why it’s important to ensure you use suitable material and a reputable roofing company to have a roof that lasts between fifteen to thirty years. 

Other factors that affect the lifespan of an asphalt roof include:

  • Adequate attic ventilation
  • Local weather conditions
  • Roof direction
  • Consistent annual maintenance
  • Asphalt shingle type

However, even with all the boxes ticked, it’s recommended that you consider replacement around 80 percent of the roof’s life expectancy. For example, a standard three-tab asphalt shingle is expected to have lifetime use of twenty-five years. That means it’s beneficial to consider roof replacement at the twenty-year mark. 

Like finding minor damage from storms and loose granules early on, it’s best to avoid any potential problems that come with old age with an earlier roof replacement.  

Find an Experienced Roofer in Portland

There are many reasons for loose granules, but it’s essential to understand the difference between average amounts and loose granules that signal premature deterioration. 

Asphalt shingles or any other roofing material should live to a manufacturer’s specifications. However, incorrect installations and inadequate observation can create headache-inducing frustrations later on. 

Get in contact today with our reputable specialists if you suspect your asphalt shingle roof requires repair or replacement!

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