Repairing Lifting/ Loose Shingles
We often find shingles that are not properly bonded and are easily lifted during our home inspections. In fact it is one of the first things we check when we get on the roof, and continue to spot check as we inspect the roof. While it is a widespread issue, it is an easy fix that most homeowners can easily do themselves.
How to Identify Lifting or Loose Shingles
Shingles are installed in layers, about half of the shingle is left exposed while the next layer covers up the other half. The shingles are bonded using a self-sealing strip which holds the next layer of shingles down. When this self-sealing strip fails the layer above will be loose.
It is important to take into consideration how long the shingles have been installed and what the weather was like during installation before determining the self-seal strip has failed. The self-sealing strip needs heat to properly bond, so if the weather is too cold at the time of installation they will not properly seal until the strip warms up.
Issues With Lifting/ Loose Shingles
If a shingle is not bonded properly it can lift in the wind. This will eventually lead to the shingle cracking or being torn away from the roof. Both of these situations are likely to lead to a leak in the roof and will require the shingle to be replaced. In some of the worse cases a large area of shingles can be ripped off the roof in high to moderate winds. These shingles can sometimes cause damage or even injury as they come off the roof.
How To Repair
The fortunate thing about lifting shingles is the repair is relatively inexpensive and easy, if not tedious, to do. To repair a lifting shingle you have to re-bond the shingle. This requires the installation of a roofing tar, roofing cement, or other selant in the area the self sealing strip was in.
First we need to pick out what type of sealant we should use. We will be looking for a sealant in a caulk tube. You can use sealant that comes in a bucket but we like the versatility, cleanliness, and convenience of a caulking tube. There are four main types of roofing sealant; polyurethane, silicone, rubber, and fibered asphalt. We like to use the elastomeric acrylic sealant for repairing lifting shingles such as this one made by Blackjack.
You will need your sealant on hand, a good caulking gun (I use this one), some rags for cleanup, and a flat bar you are ready to go. As far as a flat bar, I really like this one from Dewalt because of the wide and almost sharp pry end. Start by cutting the tip of the sealant at a 45 degree angle.
First off make sure to only install the sealant per the manufacturer's recommendations. The main factor to consider is the temperature when installing. Shingle by shingle go across the roof gently lifting the leading edge of every shingle with your hand. If the shingle lifts beyond the self-sealing strip it will need to be sealed. Insert the caulk gun and run a 1/8" bead of sealant overtop of the existing self-sealing strip. There are times were the shingle needs to be pried just a little. When the bead is down, gently press on the shingle to seal it and move to the next. Keep going until the entire roof has been sealed.
The process can be tedious. Often, we only repair the parts that are noticeably bad without testing every shingle, however for a complete fix follow the above process. You can also hire a home inspector, like Card Inspection Services, llc to do a scope of your roof looking for any visible issues. The roof is one of the most important systems of your home, protecting it from moisture damage, it is very important to keep it maintained.