When And Why You Should Worry About Lost Asphalt Shingle Granules

An asphalt shingle roof has several layers, with the shingles sitting on top. And, just like your roof, your shingles also contain several layers. The top layer of your shingles consists of a loose arrangement of granules bonded with the asphalt material. Because no manufacturing process is perfect, not all granules will have the same degree of attachment to the surface.

Granule loss is a certainty as your roof ages. Physical damage, thermal contraction and expansion, and normal wear and tear will all contribute to this process. Higher-quality shingles may retain their granules for longer, but all shingles will shed them over their lifespan. Understanding when you should worry about granule loss can help give you some clues about the overall state of your roof.

When Do Asphalt Shingles Start Losing Granules?

It's not an answer most homeowners want to hear, but asphalt shingles will start losing granules almost immediately. If you've recently replaced your roof, you may notice a shockingly large number of granules flowing down your gutters over the first year or two. Does this loss mean that you've installed poor-quality shingles? Not at all.

Packaging, shipping, and installation will loosen the weakest granules on your roof but leave the strongest behind. As a result, you may see an initially large number of granules shedding from your roof, eventually slowing to a more steady rate. This slow loss of granules will cause your roof's appearance to fade or become blotchy over time, but it's a normal part of the aging process. Consistent (or uniform) granule loss doesn't typically indicate a problem with your roof other than age.

How Do You Know When Granule Loss Is a Problem?

Granules protect the core of your roofing shingles and give your roof its color and overall appearance. Long-term granule loss will accelerate problems with your roof, such as curling or breaking. A roof that has lost most granules will also look washed out, faded, or spotty. If you've lost enough granules to impact your roof's appearance drastically, your roof is probably old enough to require replacement.

On the other hand, severe granule loss on newer roofing can be a sign of trouble. Small spots of missing granules spread randomly around your roof may be due to blistering (due to poor attic ventilation) or hail damage. Poor roof maintenance is another source of excessive shingle loss since roof valleys can sometimes accumulate dirt, debris, and other damaging materials.

You shouldn't panic if you see a few granules appearing in your gutters or flowing through your downspouts. On the other hand, you may want to consult with a professional roofer if you notice scattered granule damage inconsistent with the overall condition of your roof. 

For more info about roofing services, contact a local company.