A blown-off or damaged shingle might not seem like a big deal right away, but if you don’t put repairing it at the top of your task list, you risk damage to the rest of your roof and even the inside of your home.
While we always recommend using a qualified roofing contractor, identifying and replacing damaged or missing shingles is fairly DIY-friendly. In addition to learning how to replace blown off shingles, let’s take a look at:
- How to notice a missing shingle
- The tools you need to fix it
- Factors that can cause shingles to blow off
How to Spot a Missing Shingle
This is the simple part: head out to your lawn and get a good view of your roof. Missing or damaged roof shingles are easy to spot and usually stick out like a sore thumb. If the roof shingle is missing completely, you’ll notice a much darker spot on your roof where the shingle used to be.
Damaged roof shingles will usually be:
- Curled, or
- Hanging on by a corner
A healthy roof will look like a nice even pattern, so really, you’re just looking for anything that’s out of place. Make sure to do a walk around your house so you can get a full view of your roof from different angles. You may even notice missing shingles scattered in your yard.
In some cases, you may notice a leak or draft on the inside of your house due to a missing roof shingle. If this happens, you should call a roofing professional right away to prevent any further damage to your roof. Hopefully, the damage to your roof is as simple as a missing shingle with no leaks, in which case you might be able to fix it on your own with the tools below.
The Tools You Need
In order to replace one or more roof shingles, you’ll need to head over to a local hardware store and pick up matching shingles so that your roof looks as good as new when you’re done. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a match, but you can also order some online if you’re having difficulty. Once you’ve got matching roof shingles, you’ll want to make sure you have these tools:
- Ladder – size dependent on the height of your roof
- Pry bar
- Roofing Hammer (a regular hammer will also work if you already have one)
- Galvanized roofing nails
- Matching shingles
- Toolbelt (this isn’t essential, but it’s nice to have so that you can safely climb your ladder with your hands-free.)
- Safety harness
If you don’t want to invest in purchasing all these materials, you can usually rent most larger pieces of equipment from hardware stores. And if you’re having trouble justifying the price for doing the work yourself, call a trusted local contractor to get the job done in a snap.
How To Replace Shingles That Have Blown Off: 3 Steps
If you’re a fairly handy homeowner, you can probably replace blown-off roofing shingles yourself, as long as the damage isn’t too extreme. Leave large areas of damage to the pros, but if you’re only looking at one or two missing shingles, then you might be able to handle it on your own.
Replacing a missing shingle involves three main steps:
- Setting up your ladder
- Removing the nails and any debris
- Sliding the new shingle into place and nailing it down
Step 1: Safely Set Up Your Ladder
This is an important step to ensure your roof is the only thing that’s damaged! Slips and falls happen all the time, so if you’re uncomfortable with heights or are inexperienced in climbing ladders, don’t risk it. Call the pros at WISA to help you out.
Assuming you’re confident with a ladder, position the feet of the ladder on even ground and make sure the top of the ladder goes higher than the edge of the roof. Once the ladder is securely in place, you can make your way up to the roof with your tools!
Other roofing safety tips you should follow include:
- Using a harness
- Setting up a ladder that extends 3 feet above the edge of your roof (but never stepping on the part that extends above)
- Wearing thick-soled rubber shoes
- Always working with a buddy
- Never work in the rain or extreme temperatures
Step 2: Remove Nails and Debris
Now that you’re on your roof, you can go to the area where your damaged or missing shingle is. You’ll begin by lifting the row of shingles above the missing shingle to reveal any nails keeping the old roof shingle in place. Using your pry bar, carefully pry the old roofing nails out. If you leave them in they will tear a hole in your new roof shingles.
Set the old shingles and nails off to the side and out of your working area.
Step 3: Slide the New Shingle in Place
Once all the damaged shingles and roofing nails are disposed of, you can slide your new strip of roof shingles underneath the existing shingles.
The last step is to use your galvanized roofing nails and hammer to nail the shingle down along the nail strip. For standard three-tab shingles, you should use four roofing nails along the nail strip to secure it to your roof.
And that’s it! But wait, what caused your shingle to blow off in the first place?
Why Roof Shingles Blow Off
Missing shingles can be caused by common factors like:
- Improper installation
The obvious reason would be severe wind or weather conditions ripping your shingle right off your roof, but it’s not always that simple. If your roof shingles weren’t properly installed initially, they are more susceptible to being blown away or simply falling off. The age of your roof is another factor. Over the course of 10-15 years, your roof will begin to decay along with the adhesive strips on the back of your shingles.
If you have multiple shingles that are decaying, being blown off, lifting, or curling, that’s a good sign that your roof has reached its lifespan. Improper installation, poor adhesion, or age paired with even a mild storm is a perfect recipe for blown-off shingles!
If you notice missing shingles after a storm rolls through, be sure to call a roofing contractor for a free storm damage roof inspection, and reference your insurance policy. If wind or hail was to blame, your homeowner’s insurance may cover your roof damage. You can file an insurance claim and potentially get coverage for roof repairs so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Don’t Wait, Call the Pros
There’s no shame in calling a professional when your roof is in trouble. The worst thing you can do is try to wait it out or attempt repairs when you aren’t confident in your work. Faulty DIY repairs could result in a voided warranty, making it impossible for future repairs to be covered unless you get a brand new roof with a new warranty.
Nobody can control the weather, but you CAN control how well your roof will stand up to the weather by hiring the professionals at WISA. We get the job done right the first time, so you don’t have to climb up a ladder and fix things yourself in the future.
If you aren’t comfortable with replacing blown off shingles on your own, or you have other roofing needs, schedule a free consultation with us! We’ll get there fast and give you an honest estimate based on the severity of the damage.