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Will a Roof Leak with One Shingle Missing?

The roof is one of the most integral parts of the home. Without a properly maintained roof,  your home, and its occupants, are at the mercy of external elements. You can’t even call your home a home if it doesn’t give you a roof over your head.

But what if a big storm hits. and suddenly you see that your roof has one shingle missing?

It’s only one shingle. Surely it can’t be that bad, right? And so far you’re not noticing any leaks.

“So far” is the operant phrase there.

You can’t help wondering if one missing shingle will cause you more serious problems down the road. What if another big storm comes?

So, let’s cut right to the chase.

Will a roof leak with one shingle missing? Yes, it might. If it does, you need to have it fixed right away. But even if it doesn’t, you just can’t leave it like that.

Here’s why.

inspection of a roof

A roof is typically composed of 3-tab shingles. Oftentimes when a tab is removed, it’s the one lying directly above a side seam between the lower row of shingles. With the shingle tab removed, the lower shingles are left exposed to the elements.

This is not ideal because when the rain hits, the water may enter the seams. Thankfully, that won’t result in roof leaks immediately thanks to the layer of felt paper right below the shingles.

Roofing felt paper, sometimes called roll roofing, serves as a layer of protection between your roof deck and roof shingles. It protects your home from roof leaks and prolongs your roof’s shelf-life. It doesn’t only protect your home from water, it also repels it.

It’s convenient only up to a point. Roofing felt paper, after all, is not meant to repel water forever. Leave it exposed to external elements long enough and the wind will tear it away or the water will cause it to disintegrate. This is when roof leaks start to happen.

But what happens if the missing shingle wasn’t the one on top of the lower shingle seam? Your roof won’t have any leak at all. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it fixed right away. For one, the exposed area of the lower shingle is vulnerable to external elements.

Once a roof shingle from the top layer is damaged, it won’t take long for the exposed area underneath to get darker in color compared to the shingles surrounding it. That exposed area is the lower asphalt layer, which is vulnerable to the damaging rays of the sun. What was lost—the lighter-colored top layer— is made of mineral granules that were supposed to protect the lower asphalt layer.

If you don’t replace the missing shingles, the lower asphalt layer will eventually receive structural damage, causing your roof to leak.

Damage caused by roof leaks

Roof leaks can cause numerous problems in your home. If left untended for a long time, a roof leak may pose safety and health risks to yourself and your loved ones. If you’re not in a rush to get your leaking roof fixed, reading up on the potential consequences of a leaking roof may just spring you into action.

Roof leaks can damage your home in the following ways:

Attic and Ceiling Damage

Usually, the attic and the ceiling are the first casualties of a leaking roof. You have a good reason to be concerned if the attic is being used as a storage area. Once water invades the attic, it probably won’t take long for dark stains or signs of mold to start appearing on the ceiling. Painted areas will start to darken and fade or the paint strips could form bubbles or pull away.pull up from the walls. It’s not a pretty sight.

Moreover, water may get into the roof vents, causing ventilation problems in your home. Ceiling-mounted fixtures like chandeliers and fans may be affected as well.

Mold and mildew buildup

water coming from ceiling

One major reason why roof leaks require immediate attention is the probability of mold and mildew buildup. There’s always the possibility of mold or mildew growth wherever there’s moisture. A roof leak, however, requires more immediate attention because it creates a more fertile ground for mold to thrive.

Mold decomposes materials such as wood, paper, and can cause health complications to your pets. Exposure to them may cause health issues including asthma, rhinitis, inflammations, nasal congestion, wheezing, sneezing, and more.

If you allow the mold to grow, black mold may start to proliferate. They can spread by releasing spores in the air, feeding on organic matter and clinging to materials such as carpets, curtains, or drywall. Prolonged exposure to black mold can cause serious health issues like internal bleeding, usually in the nasal passages and inside the lungs. Black mold, after all, is a neurotoxin. Getting rid of black mold is difficult, not to mention expensive. As such, proper drying methods need to be carried out as soon as moisture invades your home.

Structural Damage

A leaking roof can also compromise the structure of your home in various ways. First off, overexposure to moisture may damage rafters, house framing, joists, fascia boards, and more. Damage becomes even worse as water starts leaking onto the attic flooring and drips down the frames of the house. If this continues for a long time, the moisture may cause the wood in your home to sag or rot. Walls become warped or bowed, and may even cause your doors and windows to become misaligned. Obviously, the longer you ignore the symptoms of a leaking roof, the worse the structural damage will be. As the structural damage becomes more extensive, the cost of repair naturally goes up.

Fire and Electrical Hazards

Everybody knows water and electricity don’t go well together. If your roof starts to leak and causes water to come in contact with electrical circuits, there’s always the possibility that it can lead to fire. This becomes even more probable when your electrical circuits are not well-insulated. Water may even penetrate metal junction boxes and come in contact with the electrical wiring inside. Obviously, this poses a serious risk to anyone nearby, and may even lead to death.

Because of the risks involved, it’s recommended that you turn off the electricity and have an electrician examine your electrical circuits as soon as you suspect that water may have invaded the electrical circuits in your home.

Accident Hazards

When water starts to leak from the ceiling, it eventually comes in contact with the floor, increasing the risk of someone slipping and injuring themselves. This is even more worrisome if you have kids in the house. To prevent accidents at home, it’s recommended that you hire a roofing contractor to patch up the damage immediately.

Expensive Electrical Bills

Not many people know this, but a leaking roof can make your energy bills shoot up. Problems usually start when water comes in contact with the insulation in the attic. If this goes on long enough, the insulation starts to deteriorate. This causes your home to lose hot or cold air, requiring your air conditioner or heater to use more power to keep you comfortable.

What Causes Shingles to Go Missing?

Roof shingles are your first line of defense against external elements. Without them, the interior of your home become vulnerable to inclement weather or other external hazards. Even one missing shingle may expose you and your home to risks. Leave it to chance and the issue will worsen over time, causing severe or permanent damage to your property.

Typically, roof shingles are able to withstand strong weather as building codes require them to have a wind rating of 110 – 130 miles an hour. This involves weather in the category 2-3 range, according to the standards set by the National Hurricane Center. As such, only severe storm, tornadoes, or hurricanes may cause roof shingles to blow off.

There are many other reasons why roof shingles go missing. Let’s discuss them one by one.

  • Structural damage. Structural damage is one of the most common reasons why roof shingles blow off or come loose. When water penetrates the roof, the roof deck eventually warps or rots. Next thing you know, nails and adhesives start to come loose. This causes shingles to disengage from the roof deck, increasing the chances of it to blow off due to inclement weather.
  • Simple wear and tear. Roof shingles are at risk for wear and tear after around 20 years of use, maybe longer if they’re made of high-quality materials. One sign that the roof needs to be replaced is if adhesive seals start to lose their grip. When this happens, the shingles are more likely to curl up or lift away due to external causes.
  • Poor installation. Roof shingles are built to last, unless they were installed poorly. Thankfully, bad workmanship can be spotted easily if you know the signs. One telltale sign is when a shingle or two are the wrong color or size. Another is when a shingle is not aligned with surrounding shingles, a sign that a nail was not placed correctly across the nailing strip.

Once you see any of the above signs, it’s recommended that you call a roofing contractor to have the shingle reattached or replaced as soon as possible.

Dealing with water damage if it occurs

One of your roof’s jobs is to keep rain from entering your home. If water starts to penetrate through the roof, then you have a problem. Leave it long enough and it may lead to water damage.

Water damage isn’t to be taken lightly. For one thing, it can lead to mold growth or structural damage or both.

Here are things you can do the moment you see signs of water damage.

  1. Contain the leak. If the roof is leaking, you need to contain the water and prevent it from spreading in your home. First, get a large bucket and put it under the ceiling where the drip is coming from. If the water is spreading inside the attic, find the spot that’s directly vertical to the roof leak, bore a small hole, and then put the bucket right under it. This way, the water directly goes to the bucket instead of creeping along the surface of the attic and then seeping through the ceiling.
  2. Spot the exact source of the leak. If you can get into the attic, do so and find the spot in the roof where the leak is coming from. It’s probably best to put a bucket under the leak point to prevent the water from spreading across the ceiling. Put a tarp or a sheet of Tyvek over the leak to prevent the water from getting inside. You can also patch up the hole with cement or gorilla tape.
  3. Call a roofer. You may have fixed the problem, but it may be temporary. To fix the roof leak for good, it’s best that you call a professional roofer. Second, you need to call a water restoration technician to prevent the moisture from spreading further and to mitigate water damage in your home.

The Importance of Roof Inspections

Not many homeowners pay much attention to the condition of their roof, at least until it starts leaking. By then, the consequences will be too hard to ignore. Depending on the severity of the damage, roof repairs can cost up to $10,000.

To avoid having to pay that hefty amount, you’d do well to call for a roof inspection on a regular basis.

It also pays to do roof inspections in your capacity as a DIYer.

You’d be surprised to know that the first step in doing roof inspections takes place inside your home, particularly the attic and the ceiling.

Here are the warning signs you need to look out for inside the home:

  • Signs of moisture
  • Sunlight penetrating the roof deck.
  • Signs of mold or mildew growth at the underside of the roof deck.

If you have easy access to the rooftop, go there and check for the following warning signs:

  • Abundance of granules or pieces of shingle in the gutters.
  • Missing shingles
  • Discolorations on the roof
  • Loose materials
  • Damaged or missing flashing

Bear in mind, however, that there are signs that would be more apparent to a professional contractor. They have the materials, training, and knowledge required to conduct a more intensive inspection of your roof.

There are four facets to roof inspections, namely structure, materials, interiors, and workmanship.

A professional roofer is likely to check the angle of the roof, checking for signs of standing water. They’ll be checking every inch of your rooftop as well, looking for any signs of rots, leaks, wear and tear, and organic growth. They should have the equipment necessary to get easy access to hard-to-reach areas.

They’ll be looking for the following during the entire inspection:

  • Roofing material that’s out of place.
  • Shingle granules in gutters.
  • Rusty materials
  • Ventilation issues
  • Clogged drains
  • Depressions near the vents
  • Missing or loose shingles
  • Etc.

Ideally, roof inspections are made every 3 years, maybe even less if your home’s location is prone to inclement weather. Roof inspections are even more important as winter approaches. After all, winter is the time when you want to make sure that your roof is protecting you from external elements. Moreover, it’s difficult, not to mention dangerous, to do repairs when everything is covered in snow.

How a contractor will repair roof shingles that were blown off

The decision on whether to replace roof shingles or repair them depends on many factors. If the entire roof is relatively new, then it might be more cost-effective to just patch up damaged or missing roof shingles. But it might be best to just replace everything if the roof is over 10 years old. After all, you don’t want to patch up a small section of your roof only to do it again in another section in just a few years

If repairing roof shingles is your preferred solution, it’s always best to leave the task to a professional, especially when the top of the roof is difficult to access. That said, it pays to know at least how a contractor will go about the job. It’s your roof, after all, and knowing the real deal will give you at least some idea on the costs and other factors you have to prepare for.

So, let’s get to it. Here are the steps your roofing contractor may take while repairing roof shingles that got blown off.

In case the roof shingle that came loose is still intact, it’s all a matter of putting it back in its proper place with adhesives. A contractor is expected to apply and spread asphalt roofing cement under the shingle before reattaching it to the exposed area.

If part of the shingle has curled up, a contractor can hammer a nail through it to keep it flat across the surface. If there’s a tear, it’s a matter of nailing down each side to prevent leaks from getting into the seams. A contractor can also apply roofing cement over any cracks to prevent potential leaks. Applying a minimal amount of cement should be enough to make them less visible.

If the roof shingle has been damaged, the best option is to replace it with a new one. Make sure that the colors and texture of the replacement shingle match those of the original. If you still haven’t found an acceptable replacement, you can patch it up with a 12-by-12-inch piece of galvanized sheet metal roof repair flashing.

This is just a temporary fix, however, and you eventually need to replace the old shingle with a brand new one to ensure that your home is protected from external elements.

Checking for damaged and loose shingles

After a storm, a homeowner is often left to wonder if their roof has suffered any damages or if any shingles were blown off or came loose. Of course, there are two ways to find out: hire a contractor to do inspections or do it yourself.

Here are the signs you need to look for if you want to do the inspection yourself.

If you’re using asphalt shingles, you must check for any discolorations on the roof. Asphalt is granular, and they tend to become more brittle with too much exposure to the sun. If no discolorations are apparent, check the gutters and the downspouts for signs of granule deposits.

Next, you’d want to check every inch of the roof for signs of anything out of place. Are there missing shingles? Are they warped, curled up, torn? If you’ve just had severe weather, you might want to check for cracks or punctures as well.

Other things you need to keep an eye on:

  • Crumbling roofing cement
  • Signs of mold or mildew growth (if using wood shingles)
  • Stains and signs of decay on soffits and fascia
  • Are the vents clogged or damaged?
  • Clogged or damaged gutters/downspout

Factors influencing cost of roof repair

The cost of roof repairs can be difficult to pin down due to the number of variables involved, including the price of materials, labor costs, maintenance costs, and many others. But before you commit to a budget, you have to know what you’re getting yourself into. After all, it’s your roof and money we’re talking about here. Being informed is half the battle.

So without further ado, here are the essential factors that may affect the costs of roof repair.

Type of Roof

The type of roof you’re using has a significant impact on overall costs.  Do you have a flat roof, or rather a sloped one? Is it high pitched or low pitched? The shape and design of your roof may pose challenges in terms of labor and the required materials to carry out the repairs. A roofing contractor may have a difficult time getting access to the affected areas if the roof is too steep. If a portion of your roof needs to be replaced, you need to choose roofing shingles that are similar to the ones surrounding it. The least expensive roofing material is asphalt shingles with metal shingles being the most expensive.

Size of the roof

You can buy roof shingles only by square. This means you have to buy that much even if only a small portion of the roof has been damaged. A square is equivalent to 100 square feet of roof surface. Bigger roofs, however, may require more costs in terms of labor and materials.

Permits

Depending on the rules of your municipality, you may be required to obtain a permit from the city hall or on a state level before a contractor can start working on your property. This is even more the case if the damage is extensive. Obtaining a permit ensures that the process of fixing your roof is compliant to the building code.

Chimneys, Attics, Ventilation, and Other Structures

A roofing repair project can get complicated if the roofing contractor has to mind other structures that may get in the way of the job. In fact, these structures may pose challenges to the contractor that they are required to be temporarily removed to push through with the repair project.

Cost of Shingle Replacement

Most homeowners use shingles as the material for their roofing needs. No surprise there. After all, shingles are known for their durability, low cost, easy installation, and availability.

But make no mistake, having your roof shingles replaced can be costly, especially if they are made of expensive material.

Here are the factors involved in the cost of replacing roof shingles.

Disposal costs

Once your roof has been replaced, your old roof shingles have to go somewhere. However, getting rid of them comes with a fee. For one thing, a dumpster rental will be required to put away the old shingles for good. Depending on the size of the dumpster, the dumpster rental fee can cost between $200 and $700.

You may also want to consider recycling your old shingles. Most roofing contractors already offer that option so all you have to do is ask. Recycling old shingles not only helps you save on costs, but it also reduces the pollution caused by waste.

Cost of Shingles or Tiles

The cost of the material used for building your roof shingles or tiles has a big bearing on the overall costs of the repair.

To get a good idea on how much you need to spend to replace your old shingles and tiles, here’s a list of different materials and their appropriate costs.

Asphalt $100 – $150

Cedar/Wood $470

Metal $500 – $1,800

Natural Slate $800 – $1,600

Solar $2,200

3D $470

Why You Should Hire a Roofing Contractor

In an age where anyone with an internet connection can do a Google search or watch instructional videos on YouTube,  it can be tempting for any homeowner to go the DIY route when their roof needs fixing. Many go through with it thinking it helps them save up on costs.

But in reality, doing it yourself is more trouble than it’s worth. Here are the reasons why.

Safety Issues

Roofing jobs are dangerous for one obvious reason: there’s always the risk of falling, which can lead to serious injury or even death. Trying to be careful helps, but when you’re too focused on doing something right, it’s easy to forget about your surroundings.

Considering the fact that even a little slip could prove fatal, you’re much better off hiring a professional.

For one thing, roofing contractors use safety tools and equipment to ensure that the risk of accidents is minimal. They are also less likely to get into accidents by simple virtue of their experience.

You get quality service

Roofing is a complicated process that requires years of standardized training to get right. By hiring licensed contractors, you get the peace of mind knowing that you’re getting quality service.

Licensed contractors also have partnerships with roofing manufacturers, so you can rest assured that your roof is installed using only high-quality materials. They’re also less likely to cut corners because their license gives them the obligation to follow proper procedures. This provides you with the assurance that the finished job is structurally sound and has no weak links.

Insurance coverage

Last but not least, hiring a certified roofing contractor gives you insurance coverage, which means you’re protected from any financial liabilities should property damages or accidents happen during the course of the roofing project.

Before you decide to do the job yourself, at least take the time to weigh all the pros and cons. In the final analysis, hiring the services of a professional roofing contractor will save you time, money, and most importantly, your sanity.

Get Free Quotes from Competing Contractors

Now that you’ve reached the end of this comprehensive guide, it’s time for you to spring into action and get your roof fixed or replaced as soon as possible. After all, your roof shingles aren’t going to fix themselves and you can’t allow water damage to further compromise the structural integrity of your home.

At this point, you want to hire a competent roofing contractor with reasonable rates but don’t know where to start. You’re also probably wondering if you have the budget needed to cover all the costs involved.

Well, allow us to fix that for you. Just fill out the form below and you can get free quotes from competing contractors right here on our site! No obligations, no strings attached!

roof being repaired