Asphalt shingles are far from being impermeable to the elements. While your shingles should have no problem holding out rainwater and snowmelt, they can be damaged by the sun, by ice dams, and by hail. In order to get the most life from your roof, you need to do your part to maintain your roof. What types of repairs your roof needs will depend on the type of damage done. In many cases, you can make repairs on your own as long as you know what to look for.
When subjected to the constant barrage of UV rays from the sun, shingles can curl up. If shingles do not lie flat against the roof, they can allow water to leak behind them. Curled shingles do not necessarily need to be replaced, but you need to take caution when making repairs.
If the temperature outside is warm enough, you can straighten your shingles by hand. The shingles might want to re-curl, so you should use roofing cement to hold shingles in place. If the temperature outside is cold, you should use a blowtorch to warm up the shingles before you try to manipulate them; otherwise, the shingles could crack. You need to be careful when using the blowtorch, so you don't heat the shingles up too much because there is a fire hazard. Use gloves when using the blowtorch and check the shingle for pliability every couple of seconds so that you can get the shingle flexible without overheating.
Replacing a Damaged Shingle
If hail has punched a hole in your shingles, then you need to replace them before the hole grows into a leak. When you remove a damaged shingle, you need to carefully follow these steps:
- Gently pry up the edges of the shingles overlapping shingles from the row above the damaged shingle and remove the nails that hold the shingle in place.
- Slide out the damaged shingle and fill in the nail holes with roofing cement.
- Cut off the top corners of the new shingle. This will make it easier to slide the shingle into place.
- Nail the new shingle down and cover the nail heads with roofing cement.
- With roofing cement, adhere the bottom edge of the new shingle to help prevent curling.
If left in place, damaged shingles can allow leaks to compromise the integrity of the other shingles that make up your roof. Rather than allow a few isolated leaks to damage your whole roof, you should inspect your roof regularly and make repairs whenever you find the need for them. Proper roof maintenance is a critical part of helping your roof to last for its expected lifetime.