Have you noticed a leak in your ceiling or dark streaks on your walls? Shingle granules in your gutter? Your roof shingles may have been damaged by high winds, a heavy weight falling on them, sudden temperature changes, old age, or something else.
It’s vital to fix them soon because missing or broken shingles can let water into the house. That water can even start to rot the wood on your roof. It might seem like a chore to replace some shingles today, but replacing the roof under them would be even worse next week.
Do you want to know how to fix roof shingles yourself or hire a professional to handle the job? If you only need to replace a few curled shingles, you could do it. But safety precautions are extremely important. Many home injuries and even deaths are caused by falls from ladders or off the roof. Here are a few steps for fixing shingles on a roof.
Use the Right Tools and Materials to Remove Shingles
If shingles are damaged too badly, you may not be able to fix them. You’ll need to simply remove them. Pick a dry, warm afternoon, which will make shingles more flexible. Avoid the roof when it’s wet or icy. Then, get your:
Roofing nails (4 for each shingle)
Flat pry bar
Look for Curled Shingles
While you’re on the roof, you have a chance to look out for other shingles that may start to leak soon. Especially watch for any shingles that are beginning to curl. For those, you can just carefully lift the tabs and add some adhesive to stick them down again.
This minor touch-up could make your shingles last much longer. It could prevent water from getting under and rotting the wood beneath.
Look for Cracked Shingles
If individual shingles are split or cracked, you may be able to glue them down with shingle adhesive. You’ll need to put plenty of adhesive into the crack itself. Hold the edges of the crack together until it is sealed.
Use your best judgment to decide if a shingle can be repaired and still keep the rain off as well as it should. This will save you time and money, when possible. But if the repair seems ineffective, you should replace the shingle.
Also, if a shingle starts to crumble apart when you work on it, check the other shingles in that area of the roof. They may all be worn out and in need of replacement.
How to Replace Damaged or Lost Shingles
If you want to know how to fix roof shingles, you also need to know how to replace a shingle when necessary. Use these steps:
Lift the Target Shingle: Shingles are held down by adhesive that helps them resist wind. Use your pry bar on the bottom edge of the shingle to break the seal.
Lift Overlapping Shingles: Use your pry bar to also break the seals on any shingles that overlap the top part of your target shingle. Carefully lift them to expose the top nails on your target shingle.
Pull the Nails: Slip the pry bar under the shingle to find each nail and gradually pull up the nail and shingle at the same time. Most shingles are held in place by four nails.
Pull Related Nails: You can’t remove a target shingle until all nails are out of it, and some of those nails go through the shingles in the rows “uphill” of it. Gently pry up those other nails to release your target shingle. Remember where the nails go.
Remove the Damaged Shingle: When all nails are out and sealants broken, take your target shingle out.
Install a New Shingle: Put a replacement shingle of the same size into position. Nail it down. Then, nail the overlapping shingles back down with the nails you removed from them.
Apply Adhesive: Place a few small dots of shingle adhesive on the underside of the new shingle’s tabs. Hold it down to seal it. Repeat for any overlapping shingles that need it.
Put Your New Skills to Use
Does the job seem doable? It is—as long as you’re very careful. If you have any doubts or aren’t sure whether the bulk of your shingles are still good or not, it might be best to contact a professional roofing company. It’ll cost more, but your safety isn’t worth the savings. If you feel confident navigating your roof, however, these steps will help you replace worn-down shingles and get your roof back up to snuff.