How to Repair or Replace Blown Off Roof Shingles on a House
Do you remember the story of the Three Little Pigs, where the wolf blew off their homes with all his huffing and puffing?
The third pig learned his lesson from the mistakes of his brothers, and made his own home sturdy enough to withstand the wolf’s powerful breath. This made them all safe from being eaten by the wolf, who eventually gave up and left them alone.
One of the main lessons of this story is to make sure that your home is well-built so that it will keep you safe for a long time, no matter what dangers may lurk outside.
On this page:
- Dangers of a Roof Leak
- Will a Roof Leak if the Shingles are Blown Off?
- Shingles Blew Off the Roof – What Caused It?
- How Long Will a Wood and Asphalt Roof Last?
- How to Repair or Replace Blown off Roof Shingles
- How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Few Shingles on a Roof?
- Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
While you don’t have to deal with wolves attempting to blow off your home, there is still a chance that a part or two of your home can be damaged or even fall off because of a strong burst of wind.
If you’ve ever had missing roof shingles, or have this issue right now, you might wonder what happened. You’re pretty sure those have been nailed or glued on your roof, so it’s impossible for it to become loose. Right?
Would you believe there’s a chance that those shingles have been blown off?
Curious about how you can solve this problem? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
Dangers of a Roof Leak
Missing roof shingles, or even those damaged shingles that annoy you whenever you see them, are more than just eyesores. If they irritate you already, you would surely be even more exasperated when you finally experience one of their known side effects – roof leaks.
Having a roof leak is more than just dealing with those continuous dripping sounds that sometimes wake you up in the middle of the night. Or keeping an eye on the buckets you used to catch the water falling and replacing them with an empty one when full. Or mopping up your floors that got wet every now and then.
Just thinking about all that is enough to make anyone feel tired.
But, this is not something that you need to dwell on. You should know that leaks are also dangerous.
Don’t believe us? Here are some things that might happen if you decide to not deal with them immediately:
Slippery when wet signs were made for a good reason – anyone can get into accidents caused by wet floors.
Being embarrassed when you slip and fall down is the least of your worries. You’re looking at the very real possibility of:
- broken bones
- injuries to your pelvic area and hip
- slipped discs
- neck, spine, and back injuries
- torn ligaments or tendons
- chronic pain
- traumatic brain injury
Scary, isn’t it?
Damage to Your Ceiling or Attic
You can also expect to have all sorts of issues with your ceiling or attic, including your stuff or fixtures there, if you choose to delay resolving the roof leaks. After all, these parts of your home are the first to be affected by it.
Potential issues are mostly cosmetic, but this doesn’t mean you should underestimate them. Having to get them fixed later means shelling out tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars to:
- repaint and fix discolorations,
- get rid of rotting wood and replace them, as well as other ruined parts or structures,
- hire an electrician to make sure your electrical fixtures and wiring haven’t been compromised,
- fix plaster that has bubbled up or replace them entirely, and many more.
And if like any other typical household, you use your attic to store some of your most memorable stuff from years back, roof leaks may also ruin them. There are so many horror stories of people finding out that their family photos and various heirlooms ago got badly damaged by water and can no longer be fixed – you don’t really want to add to that narrative.
No one likes to see mold growing in their homes. Aside from looking horrid and ruining the appearance of your home, it can cause various health issues and aggravate existing ones. It doesn’t matter if the mold is of a purple, red, pink, orange, or even the dreaded black mold– all kinds of mold have the potential to become dangerous if left alone.
If you have leaks not just on the roof but in other places as well, like your ceiling or basement, the risk of a mold infestation is greater. Mold thrives in a moist environment, and any space that has a leak within its confines is a perfect breeding ground for it.
Getting professionals to remove the mold infestation is going to cost a pretty penny.
Crumbling or Collapse of Drywall
Water is the worst enemy of drywall. Being made of a plaster-like material, it will loosen up if it is constantly exposed to water. Because while it can absorb some of it, too much water will cause drywall to swell up and eventually fail.
A drywall ceiling that has been waterlogged for lengthy periods will eventually collapse. And if you use it as a wall, it is at risk of crumbling. Consider yourself lucky if they don’t start a domino effect in your home.
Wood that is exposed to water for prolonged periods will eventually rot. It’s not just your ceiling or attic that has the potential for it – any wooden structure in the direct path of roof leaks can rot.
And if the wood plays a pivotal role in your home, such as for the house framing or beams, rotting can compromise its entire structural integrity. When this happens, it might be dangerous for you to stay there – there will come a time that the rotted wood can no longer provide support that your entire home requires.
Water starting a fire – totally not impossible. You might wonder how that can happen, since we have been taught as kids that water will put off most fires.
What makes this a very real possibility is the presence of electrical wiring. When broken wiring get into contact with water, which is often the case with roof leaks, it will cause short circuits that can potentially start fires.
And if you don’t have any broken wiring, it doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. If you use copper wiring and it gets into exposed to water for prolonged periods, this will cause the wiring to tarnish and weaken, potentially breaking open. When corroded, the circuit’s resistance increases and more heat is then generated. This heat is what can trigger fires.
If the leak is near an electrical box, it is even more dangerous. If the box comes into contact with water, it can cause a short circuit not only on that particular box but even the main breaker itself. When this happens, only a qualified electrician should fix it, or even touch the box or panel.
Have you ever accidentally been shocked while plugging in an electrical appliance? It’s not a fun experience, isn’t it?
But if you have a leak that affects your electrical connections, especially the electrical breaker box, the possibility of experiencing electrical shocks is high.
It is not the mild, tingling sensation that you may have experienced at some point. You’re facing the possibility of more intense electrical shocks, especially if the wires in contact with water are bare.
It’s not just the electrical wiring or panels that you need to concern yourself with. Any electrical appliance included in the circuit in contact with water may also be affected. This means even just flicking the switch of a ceiling light may already shock you, if its wiring are part of that circuit.
Although not exactly life-threatening, you also need to be aware of the following consequences of roof leaks:
Most homes have insulation present, especially in the attic. You may not know this but leaks will affect its effectivity. This is because leaks can cause insulation to clump up and become saturated.
If this happens, it no longer acts as an insulator. Instead, it works like a conductor – you have to readjust to your HVAC system. This results in…
Higher Household Bills
An inefficient insulation will have you reaching for the remote control to make it colder or hotter inside your home, with the settings higher than usual. As a result, your household consumption increases, requiring you to pay more for your utility bills.
Roof leaks can seriously affect the safety and health of anyone living in that particular home, not to mention cause significant damage that will require professionals to fix. Don’t be surprised to shell out so much money for it.
Will a Roof Leak if the Shingles are Blown Off?
Holes on the roof will definitely result in leaks. But, how about shingles that have gotten loose and fell off?
This is a question that a lot of homeowners ask themselves, especially if there are only one or two missing roof shingles. So, is it something you need to worry about?
The answer to that is YES, especially if the shingles do not overlap.
But, how soon it will start leaking will vary.
Roof shingles are normally installed over roofing felt, and this can provide some temporary protection in case a shingle or two has been blown off. This is not strong enough to withstand water for long periods. Even with roof felting in place, water can also make its way between the felt’s seams, resulting in leaks.
A shingle that fell off can also start a series of chain reactions, starting with the shingles beside its original place. An empty spot makes the surrounding area vulnerable to strong bursts of wind, which may cause other shingles to become loose or get damaged.
And, if you decide to forego the installation of roofing felt, which is something you really don’t want to do, roof leaks will happen sooner than you think.
Shingles Blew Off the Roof – What Caused It?
We have the expectation that roofs, including its parts and accessories, are sturdy and weatherproof. That nothing can easily knock them down.
Imagine the surprise of homeowners who never expected the shingles of their roof to suddenly go missing after a particularly windy day.
Before addressing the problem, you should know why your shingles got blown off in the first play to avoid any possible repeat of this experience.
To start with, shingles are normally attached in one of two ways: either using an adhesive strip or roofing nails. Some even choose to do both.
Adhesive strips are placed on the back side of shingles, particularly at the bottom part. This part is then stacked to the upper part of the shingle below it, resulting in a tight seal for the connected shingles and it makes it harder for water to enter in-between them.
Roofing nails come with heads that are wide and flat and have short bodies with pointed ends. These nails are then hammered to the shingle and roof decking without causing damage to it.
Any of these two methods will secure your shingles. But, why do they still fail to stay put on your roof? Here are the most common reasons:
- Installation is done incorrectly – since they are poorly secured, any strong gust of wind is enough to separate a loose shingle from the roof. Nailing strips are there for a reason and unlicensed installers and DIYers often make the mistake of putting the nails above it, not on it.
This is the same when using shingles that have adhesive strips. Not a lot of homeowners know that it needs ample time to set, normally between a month to six weeks, before it can go head-on with strong winds. But if your shingles get blown-off within this period, you’re in luck because most roofers would reattach them free of charge.
- Your shingles are old – while roofs can last a lifetime when properly maintained, shingles are a different issue. Whether you use asphalt or wooden shingles, they will eventually fail. They become loose as they age, and this may be why yours were blown off.
- There is an issue with your roof itself – if the two reasons above are not the probable cause, it’s likely that there are underlying problems with your roof that you need to address, asap.
Shingles are supposed to be fastened securely to roof decking, and if the decking has issues like wood rot, deformities, or warping, they can easily loosen up and be blown off at the slightest gust of wind.
No matter how many shingles fell off from your roof, it is always better to err on the side of caution and get a roofer to check things out for you.
When is it Time to Replace Roofing Shingles?
Facing the possibility of roof problems, you might wonder what’s the practical step to take. You’re looking at two options for it – repairs or getting your entire roof replaced.
Doing repairs on your roof and its shingles is obviously the most budget-friendly choice. You can get a roofer to have all loose or damaged shingles removed and replaced with new ones. While it may be possible to reattach shingles that fell off, there’s no guarantee how long they can withstand the elements before they start to fail.
Although replacing a small number is a practical choice, this may not be an aesthetically-pleasing one. Asphalt and wooden shingles will experience weathering, resulting in a lighter color over time.
Newly-installed shingles will stand out because their color is vastly different from the original ones, especially if you’ve had those shingles for years. And if a section of your roof decking also needs to be fixed, choosing to repair only that particular section will be obvious to anyone looking at your roof.
Your roof can look like a quilt that your great-grandmother used to patch up with different fabrics to cover up the holes.
The other option, while costly, won’t have that effect and will also give you a peace of mind. After all, you’re getting an entirely new roof free of any damage.
If the cost concerns you, think of it as an investment for your home, especially if loose or damaged shingles are becoming a normal occurrence to you. In the long run, replacing your roof will be the practical and safer choice compared to having it constantly repaired by a professional roofer.
If your current roof is your first one, you may save a bit of money if the roofer confirms that it is possible to install a new roof over it. Building codes of most states permit up to two layers of roof in any home.
But if you have used up that two-layer roof limit, you’ll have to get a contractor to remove the old layers of roof before they can get the new one installed. This will cost time and money, but the payoff is worth it.
It’s up to you whether to get a roofer to fix your roof or replace it entirely in this scenario. But in most cases, replacing your roof will be the wisest choice. You get piece of mind that your roof won’t fail on you anytime soon.
How Long Will a Wood and Asphalt Roof Last?
If you decide to get a roof with shingles, your next dilemma would be which material to get. Do you go for asphalt or wood shingles?
If you only have a vague idea of these two, you might think that wood shingles are a poor choice. After all, we mentioned that wood can rot when exposed to water. But, did you know that wood shingles can last for decades, even outlasting some types of asphalt shingles?
Wood shingles, known to be difficult to install, are made of natural wood. They can last for as much as 50 years if properly cared for and installed in areas that don’t get extreme weather conditions. On average, you can expect them to survive for around 25 to 30 years.
Depending on the type used, asphalt shingles may or may not last longer than wooden shingles. The composite type, which is the most commonly used asphalt shingle, can last for a minimum of 10 years to 20 on average, with those of the best quality even having a 50-year lifespan.
Another type of asphalt shingle is the architectural shingle. It is virtually the same as the typical asphalt shingle; they only differ due to the fact that architectural shingles have an added layer or tab to it, making it thicker than the composite type. This thickness makes it a bit more durable, resulting in a lifespan of 30 years on average.
Whether you use wooden or asphalt shingles, you can expect them to last decades, especially if you have them regularly maintained.
How to Repair or Replace Blown off Roof Shingles
No matter how durable wooden and asphalt shingles can be, they can still be blown away. Before this happens to you, you should arm yourself with the know-hows of fixing them, even if you get a roofer to do it. That way, you’re prepared the next time it happens. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, though.
And if it has already happened to you, it’s not an excuse for you to skip this part.
If your roofer believes that you don’t have to entirely replace your roof just yet, consider yourself lucky. Repairs won’t cost you that much and the work will be done pretty quickly.
Since this is a tricky task for both the asphalt and wooden shingles, it is best left to the capable hands of professionals. Unless you are willing to risk thousands of dollars, don’t attempt this job on your own – even seasoned DIYers acknowledge that any kind of work on the roof is challenging.
For wooden shingles that have been blown off, here’s how they are replaced:
- The entire roof should ideally be checked out first to see if there are other underlying issues, aside from having shingles that fell off.
- If you have a damaged shingle, it will be removed. But if the shingle has only gotten loose and there seems to be no sign of damage, it will only be nailed back into place. Its nailhead and cracks will be covered by roofing cement to prevent water from entering.
To remove a damaged single, it can be first pulled out. If it doesn’t work, a roofer will use a hammer and chisel to split it apart, making sure to follow the wood grain. A flat bar, shingle ripper, or hacksaw will then be used to remove the nails used to hold them in place. This should be done carefully to avoid damaging the roofing felt or decking underneath.
- If you kept a spare wooden shingle, this can be used to replace the one that fell off your roof. If not, get the most similar-looking one and have your roofer artificially age it. Plenty of roofers know various methods to make new wood look old to match your other shingles.
- Your roofer will now measure the replacement shingle, making sure that there is an allowance of ¼-inch on each side. Wood can expand when wet and this extra space allows it to swell up without damaging the shingles beside it.
- The new shingle will be pushed into place by tapping it with the help of a wood block. Your roofer will stop when there is a roughly ¾ inch difference between its edge and that of the row of wooden shingles.
- Two nails will be inserted by the roofer very close to the edge of the wooden shingle just above the replacement shingle, making sure that the nails are roughly at a 45-degree angle. These nails will be hammered into place until its head is embedded on the new shingle.
- Your roofer will now continue pushing the new shingle using the wooden block to push it back until its bottom edge is of the same level as that of the other shingles in that row. The two nails will slightly move as the shingle is pushed, which will help secure the shingle even more.
Wooden shingles that have been blown off tend to have portions still stuck on its original spot, often at the area where the nails hold the shingle in place. Even if you can use adhesives or wood glue to stick the torn off part, it is recommended that you entirely replace that shingle instead.
When dealing with asphalt shingles, roofers will do the following:
- Check on the condition of the roof to see if other issues are present.
- Damaged shingles, specifically those that only have cracks or tears, can still be repaired. Your roofer will only have to put roofing cement under the crack, apply pressure over that shingle, add another layer of sealant but this time at the top of the shingle, and spread it out using a putty knife.
- Blown off asphalt shingles will have portions still stuck on the roof, which need removal. Your roofer will need to lift up the shingle above the one that fell off in order to remove the leftover portion.
- The sealant strip will be detached first using a pry bar, followed by the nails. Caution is needed when removing the nails using a nail puller, screw driver, or flat pry bar, because not doing it carefully can damage the nearby shingles.
Your roofer will not only remove the nails of the blown off shingle, but also that of the surrounding ones. This allows the replacement shingle to easily slide into position.
- Once free of the adhesive and nails, the leftover shingle will be pulled out.
- Before proceeding, your roofer will check if the roofing felt and decking underneath the shingle that fell off is damaged or not. If so, this must first be addressed by the roofer before installing the new shingle.
- Sliding the new shingle in place may now be done by your roofer, starting with the lowest layer going up.
- The shingle above it should then be carefully lifted up for your roofer to expose the tar line. Your roofer will hammer in 2 to 3 nails on that spot to keep the new shingle in place. Ideally, the old holes will be covered in roofing cement and your roofer will place the nails in new spots.
- The surrounding shingles will then be refastened by replacing the nails that were removed earlier. Each shingle should have around 4 to 6 nails that secure it to the roof.
If you’re concerned about how the new shingle will stand out like an ugly patch on your roof, you can look for shingles that are of a closer color to the weathered ones you have. There is a chance for you to find one because most asphalt shingles nowadays come in different colors.
Working on both asphalt and wooden shingles may seem easy, but it’s actually work that requires precise movement to avoid making the situation worse. This is why it is really not a job that beginners can attempt.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Few Shingles on a Roof?
Replacing just a handful of shingles may seem like a small and easy task to you, but roofers will often still require their usual rates for the task. Depending on your negotiation skills, your roofer may charge per hour or for the entire project.
For hourly rates, expect to be billed for around $45 to $65 per hour on average. Considered a minor repair job, roofers normally charge between $150 to $630 for a shingle replacement project. Note that these rates do not include the cost of materials.
Depending on the type of asphalt shingle, each square foot of material can cost from $0.80 to $1.20. However, most stores only sell it by bundle, with each one setting you back by $15 to $30 on average. Wooden shingles are generally pricier, as each square foot normally has a price tag of $4.50 to $9.00.
Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
One thing you need to know is that not all roofers will accept this type of work, especially if only a few shingles fell off your roof.
Given this scenario, you might wonder where on earth you’re going to find a contractor willing to work on it. Or, you might even decide to just leave it to fate and attempt to do the work yourself.
Hold your horses!
Before resorting to DIY work, you should know that we can help you out with this problem.
What if we tell you that instead of looking around for roofers, we can make roofers contact you and offer their services for this type of job?
All you need to do is fill out our form, and wait. Qualified roofers will get in touch with you with their rates. And because they know that their rivals will also likely contact you, you can expect competitive quotes from them.
Best of all, you can get up to 4 free quotes from contractors by using our service!
If you’re not aware, there are some contractors who will already charge requests for quotes. So, why would you pay for something you can get for free?
And if for some reason, you decide to postpone the work or are not interested in any of the roofers who sent in their quotes, you can say no. There’s no problem with that.
So, go ahead. Fill out that form now and get your blown off roof shingles addressed asap.