Will Missing Shingles Cause Roofing Leaks? (Exactly How Many)

Missing shingles can be a big deal for your roof. While it may not seem like it at first, missing shingles can cause some major issues for your home. Being able to identify these problems can help you avoid them in the future.

Missing shingles will eventually cause a leaking roof. Your roof depends on the shingles to keep the wood and materials underneath from being exposed to too much moisture. There are many other problems that missing shingles can cause in addition to leaks. To avoid these, you will need to be sure that you take care of the missing shingles as soon as possible.

This guide will walk you through all of the things you need to know about missing shingles and how they can affect your roof.

3 Main Causes Of Missing Shingles

There are three main causes of missing shingles. These include wind storms, tree damage, and deterioration over time. We will cover these in the sections below.

Wind Storm

Shingles can be lifted up by strong winds and ripped off. If nothing else, they’ll curl and get damaged. After a storm, you need to inspect your roof for any deeper damage caused by wind. If the storm is bad enough, your whole roof could be at risk.

Wind Storm

The edges are most vulnerable to damage during strong winds, but if it’s bad enough, the whole roof could be affected. Unless you do a proactive inspection afterward, you can’t do much about intense winds.

Tree Damage

Overgrown trees and shrubbery can also damage shingles. Branches will grow over your roof if you don’t keep them trimmed. In severe weather, the limbs can even puncture the shingles. During the fall months, your roof gets covered in leaves, which causes your gutters to clog up with water.

Tree Damage

It will eventually seep into the shingles because of the backed-up water. Eventually, this leads to rotting. Luckily, you can easily prevent this. You just need to do landscaping regularly and trim back the trees if they’re low hanging. Keep your gutters clean by getting on a ladder from time to time.

Deterioration Over Time

Have you had your shingles installed for a while? The average asphalt shingle lasts 12-15 years. As soon as the asphalt dries, it cracks, the surface granules fall off, and the shingles curl up. This can lead to your shingles blowing off.

The likelihood that you will spring a leak will depend on where the shingle is missing. We will cover this in the next section.

Common Leak Likelihood Based On Missing Shingle Location

Next, we will go over how likely you are to spring a leak based on where the missing shingle was located. There are some key areas to consider.

Shingles Are Over A Seam

It’s probably a 3-tab asphalt shingle if you have a single shingle missing. Starting at the edge of the roof, contractors install 3-tab shingles side-by-side and then cover up the seams by staggering the top layers over the lower ones.

You might have a sense of where this is going. There’s a good chance you’d get a leak if the shingle sat over one of these seams. 

No matter how tiny the seams are, water will get in. Remember, the first few days after you notice a shingle is missing can be misleading. The reason is, in this situation, a roof won’t leak right away.

Shingles Are Not Over A Seam

You might not have sat your tab on a seam. As long as your roof is pretty well anchored, there won’t be any roof leaks. Nonetheless, don’t sit back and relax. You’ll need to get the lower replaced soon because extended exposure to the elements won’t last long. Roofing shingles with three tabs are coated with asphalt to keep them waterproof.

But the lower portion has more protective granules. If the upper part gets exposed, the shelf life will be shortened. Seams remain covered, but the upper tab of the shingle is soon compromised. If the shingles get wet, the granules will wash away faster and make the roof more brittle. 

Shingles Are In A Valley Of The Roof

There are also valleys on the roof, where two low parts meet. Water and debris can collect when a shingle is lost at a low point, causing a leak. This makes it a critical point to inspect for missing shingles.

Roofing Felt Help Protects The Roof

A layer of roofing felt will be underneath asphalt roofing shingles. As a backup, roofing felt is installed on top of your shingles in case there’s a leak. 

But you also have to know that roofing felt is just what it sounds like: a piece of felt paper. Your home may not be protected for very long by this layer of felt. 

A couple of months in dry conditions might be enough for an exposed felt paper. It’ll be gone in a couple of days if it rains. This is why just because there isn’t a leak a few days after a shingle tab blew off doesn’t mean one isn’t coming.

Determining When The Shingle Came Off The Roof

Determining how alarmed you should be by a missing shingle will depend on how long ago you think it went missing. We will cover this in the next sections below.

Shingles Came Off Today

If you notice a shingle missing that you believe came off within the last few days, you shouldn’t worry too much. It will take some time for any significant water damage or leakage to occur. That being said, you should still get to it and start dealing with the problem as soon as possible.

Shingles Came Off Over A Month Ago

If you have been missing a shingle for over a month, then you are way more likely to experience significant issues and leakage. You should take care of the missing shingle as soon as possible if it has been missing for over a month.

Next, I’ll get into what problems a missing shingle can cause in addition to water leaks. Go over these so you can see what you are risking if you don’t take care of them.

What Problems Can A Missing Shingle Cause Besides Water Leaks?

Listed below are several different other issues commonly caused by a missing shingle. You should carefully study these if you are thinking about letting a missing shingle go for a while.

Mold And Mildew Under Shingle

Mold and mildew can start to grow under the area where the shingle is missing. Since the shingle won’t be there to protect the rest of them, water can leak under the surrounding shingles and cause an accumulation of both mold and mildew.

Mold In The Attic

If a shingle is missing or damaged, moisture will penetrate your upper floors or attic. Mold and mildew begin to grow everywhere when moisture sits there for too long.

You will likely have to replace everything covered in mold if you allow the moisture to accumulate for too long. Keeping your home mold-free is important.

This is due to the fact that mold can cause a number of health risks and breathing problems. Mold can be removed from walls and furniture by an experienced professional.

You will, however, need to replace all your attic and upper floor insulation, which will cost you quite a bit.

Maintaining your roof shingles in top condition is always worth it because moisture damage is costly. You should replace it immediately after you notice it’s missing before the next rain.

Holes In Roof Can Worsen

Missing shingles don’t just cause leaking roofs and mold in attics. Water may cause significant structural damage to your home if it seeps into your roof and walls.

A situation like this can lead to a lot of damage throughout the entire property. Compared to replacing a few missing shingles from the roof, getting repairs done in every room will cost more than replacing a few shingles. The effects of future bad weather will continue to exacerbate existing holes.

Sheathing Rots

As a result of exposed sheathing, the sheathing can become rotten, which in turn can spread mold and mildew underneath other shingles.

Dry Rot

It is possible for dry rot to spread on parts of your roof that are not protected from moisture, and this can result in cracks in your roof, resulting in further risk of leaks on hot, dry days.

Value Of Home Drops

In addition to demonstrating low home value, missing shingles can also lead to a lower overall appeal of the home.

Older Roofs Are Most Susceptible To Damage

Older roofs are much more susceptible to damage from wind or rain. If you have an older roof, you should decide in advance how you will handle missing shingles. Whether you choose a full roof replacement or simply have a single group of shingles repaired, owners of an older roof will need to start thinking about this stuff. We will cover the costs and methods for fixing shingles next.

Options To Fix Missing Shingles And Costs

There are three main options that you will have if you have missing shingles on your roof. DIY, professional repair, or a whole new roof installation. We will cover these options next so you can decide which one is best for you.

DIY Options

While there are DIY options to consider for replacing missing shingles, you probably shouldn’t do it yourself. Not only is it difficult, but it can be dangerous up on the roof for those without the proper tools or experience.

Professional Repair

A professional repair is often the best thing to do to fix missing shingles. A professional can take care of the issue with relative ease. You can expect to pay around $125 – $500, depending on how many shingles you need to have replaced.

New Roof Installation

Finally, one option to consider is a full roof replacement. Obviously, this is not ideal, but if your roof is missing many shingles, or your roof is old, to begin with, this may be the best option. You will need to consult a contractor to get a quote on a full roof replacement.

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