After months of cold, harsh winds, your vulnerable roof has undoubtedly suffered the consequences. Winter is known for wreaking havoc on asphalt shingles, so why not take advantage of the mild spring weather and inspect your roof for loose and damaged shingles (a common post-winter issue)?
How to Inspect Your Roof
To climb onto your roof safely, prop a ladder against the roof and stabilize it by either tying it to the gutters with rope or a bungee cord. If you're not capable of climbing to high spaces or are afraid of heights, call a roofing contractor to do the inspection for you. Taking the time to do a thorough inspection on a bi-yearly basis will save you a lot of money in the long run -- especially if you can identify specific areas of your roof in need of repair.
How to Identify a Shingle in Need of Repair
Because asphalt roofing materials
have a granular surface, much like fine gravel, they become brittle over time, often falling out of the shingle itself. If you find a lot of these granules in gutters, chances are the roof is aging and in need of repair. Look for bare spots in asphalt shingles and inspect closely for signs of tearing or warping. If you notice shingles curling up, it is time for replacement.
How to Replace an Asphalt Shingle
After taking one of the damaged shingles to a lumberyard or home improvement center
to match color and style, return home to complete the following steps:
1. Loosen the first row of good shingles above the damaged one,
using a prybar or putty knife to gently pry away the adjacent shingles so that the decent shingles are separated from the damaged one.
2. Once the surrounding shingles are completely separated,
gently rock the damaged shingle back and forth to remove it. Continue this process until all the damaged shingles have been removed.
3. The next step is to remove the existing nails.
Lift the uppermost good shingle, and pry the nails
out, being extremely careful not to damage surrounding shingles (a small block of wood under the pry bar will help you achieve this). Try to remove as many nails as possible. If there are nails that cannot be removed, drive them flush to the roof with a hammer, making sure to never leave any nails raised above the sheathing.
3. Prep the area for the replacement shingle by patching any holes or tears in the felt underlay.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to apply roofing cement
using a caulk gun. Squeeze out some cement and spread it thinly and evenly over the damaged area using a putty knife. Be sure to have some rags or paper towels available, as the cement can be very messy to work with.
4. If you are installing several new shingles, always start at the lowest shingle removed and work your way up.
Align the first shingle with the existing shingles and attach it with four galvanized roofing nails (or with the number of nails the manufacturer recommends). Nails should be driven in 3/4 inch above the shingle tabs. Continue applying shingles upwards, making certain that the new shingles line up properly with the existing ones.
5. Next, gently pry up the upper most existing shingle, being careful not to crack it.
Carefully slide the replacement shingles into place and nail them accordingly. Place a small dab of roofing cement on the last shingle where the top good shingle will come into contact with the replacement shingle. Do not be concerned if your new shingles do not stick to each other. The shingles are manufactured with a roofing cement strip, which becomes extremely tacky with a few warm, sunny days and will ensure a tight seal against the elements.