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Asphalt Shingles

Home Maintenance Tip: Check Your Asphalt Shingles

Posted on September 26, 2014

We use the expression, “Having a roof over our head” to signal the importance of having a place to live. Literally, though, the roof on our house is what keeps weather out and protects the entire house.

Like all building materials, asphalt shingles expand and contract becoming brittle over time. That factor along with hard rains, high winds, ice, snow and hot temperatures cause asphalt shingles to deteriorate. Inspecting your asphalt shingles can help identify potential problems before major damage occurs. You should check your shingles once or twice annually and after major weather events.

While you may be able to see some of your roof from the ground with binoculars, you will need an extension ladder to inspect your shingles. You should observe all caution when using a ladder to inspect your shingles.

  • Be extremely careful if you have overhead electrical lines.
  • Make sure the ladder is on level ground and angle the ladder so that it is at least 1 foot away from the house for every 4 feet in height.
  • Extend the ladder a few feet above the gutter.
  • Use both hands when climbing a ladder.
  • Recruit someone to watch you and hold the bottom of the ladder.

From the exterior, check for the following:

  • Missing or loose shingles.
  • Cracked ,torn, cupped or blistered shingles.
  • Algae growth that is dark green in color.
  • A loss of granules that often collect in the gutters. Granules help to protect shingles against ultraviolet rays.
  • Cracks in patches from past repairs that may only last a few years.
  • Sagging of the roof that may indicate inadequate framing support.

From the attic, look for the following:

  • Active water leaks after a rain storm.
  • Water marks on the underside of the roofing decking.

If you don’t feel comfortable using a ladder, leave the shingle inspection to the professionals. Roofing repairs are not the kind of repairs that typically fall into the do-it-yourself category. If you find problems, call in a professional roofing contractor to advise you.

Don’t wait until water is dripping in your living room. Save yourself from costly repairs by inspecting your asphalt shingles on a regular basis.


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