Going to the beach and playing in the sand is fun, but finding sand stuck in your shoes and hair later on is pretty annoying. The same goes for shingle granules. This sand-like material is fantastic when attached to shingles, but if you notice a lot of them in your gutters or yard, alarm bells should start ringing.
Granule loss on shingles can be a mysterious aspect of roofing, and many homeowners are unclear about what they mean. This ultimate guide will cover:
- The purpose of shingle granules
- What shingle granule loss is
- 5 causes of granule loss
- What to do next
What Do Shingle Granules Do?
Shingle granules have a similar texture and appearance to sand. They are the most outer layer of 3-tab and architectural shingles, but they don’t appear on any other roofing materials.
Asphalt shingles are usually made with an organic or fiberglass mat core that is then coated with layers of asphalt. Then, mineral granules are ingrained into the hot asphalt as the final protective layer.
Granules give shingles their color, and they also offer a level of fire resistance. Ultimately, the main jobs of shingle granules are:
- UV Protection: Harmful UV rays from the sun have the capacity to cause asphalt shingles to deteriorate quickly. Granules help protect the shingles from UV rays.
- Durability: Granules keep the shingles protected from repeated inclement weather and debris over the years.
- Aesthetics: Since you can get granules in numerous color options, they help provide an aesthetic value that boosts curb appeal.
- Ease of Installation: The layer of granules helps prevent asphalt shingles from sticking together, and the outer layer provides a safer walking surface for contractors.
What Is Granule Loss on Shingles?
Unfortunately, roofing shingles aren’t indestructible. You can expect an asphalt shingle roof to last approximately 15-25 years. As your roof experiences wear and tear, inclement weather, or any manufacturing defects, you may notice a sand-like material in your gutters, downspouts, or yard.
And if you peer at your roof, you might see some shingles with bald patches that look darker or misshapen compared to the lighter shingles around them.
This is called shingle granule loss.
Oftentimes, shingle granule loss can be a clear indicator of needing roof repairs or a total replacement. It’s not always super urgent, but if you notice granule loss after a storm, or if they’re paired with an internal roof leak, then you probably have a roof issue on your hands.
5 Causes of Granule Loss
Shingle granule loss is common in small amounts. But if you notice a larger amount of granule loss, it was likely caused by one of these 5 circumstances:
1) Hail Storms
Storm damage is the leading cause of granule loss on shingles— particularly hail storms. Hail storms are backed by sheer force, and the impact can strip granules right off your shingles. Hail can cause distinctive dents and pits on your shingles, and a professional roofer will be able to notice any granule loss caused by hail.
2) Foot Traffic
It’s important for either you or a professional roofer (or both!) to perform regular maintenance and inspections on your roof. However, if someone was walking on your roof to clear debris and clean the gutters, the foot traffic can cause loose granules. Be sure to keep up with your roof maintenance, but minimize walking on your roof if it isn’t necessary.
3) Aging + Wear and Tear
As we mentioned, most asphalt shingle roofs have an average lifespan of 15-25 years. Older roofs are more susceptible to granule loss. After years and years of sun exposure, inclement weather, and debris, it’s no surprise why your shingles would start to wear down.
4) Brand New Roof Replacement
If you just got a brand new roof, it’s understandable why you would be alarmed to see scattered shingle granules. However, this cause of shingle granule loss is usually the only one that doesn’t require immediate action.
The handling, nailing, and foot traffic during a roof installation can cause a few granules to loosen. You can expect to see some granule loss during the first few rainfalls after a new roof replacement. However, as long as this doesn’t continue for an extended period of time, you have nothing to worry about.
5) Fallen Debris
Tree branches, rocks, and other debris that falls on your roof can scrape off the granules. Since you can’t stop the wind that causes the debris to fly around, you can instead make an effort to trim trees and tall shrubs that are in close proximity to your roof to lessen the impact of shingle granule loss.
What to Do Next
If you notice shingle granule loss and you didn’t just have a brand new roof replacement, then your roof could be showing signs of storm damage or aging. Typically, if the granule loss reaches a point where you’re seeing bald patches on your roof, then it’s likely time for a roof replacement.
No matter what level of shingle granule loss you have, it’s a wise idea to contact a trusted local roofing contractor to perform a free inspection. A professional roofer will be able to tell if your granule loss is urgent or not and if they recommend any repairs or a replacement.
It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry. Scheduling a roof inspection will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
Call Scro’s When Dealing With Shingle Granule Loss
At Scro’s Roofing Company, we’ve seen and dealt with every possible roofing issue. We know exactly what to look for in terms of granule loss on shingles and other roof damage. Our friendly team will educate you on what we find after performing a free inspection, then we’ll promptly schedule any necessary repairs or replacements.
Contact us today to schedule your free inspection!