April’s showers are behind us, and May’s flowers have begun to bloom. The birds are chirping and bees are buzzing. As you sip a cold one on the patio, with burgers on the grill, you may believe Mother Nature’s finished messing with your roof until the fall. The warm May sun feels wonderful on the skin, but it can also bring considerable stress to your homes’ primary protection from the elements.
Check attic ventilation
Quality brand name shingles should have no problems in protecting your home under normal B.C. conditions. But if vents have become blocked, or fans no longer work, heat can build up quickly below the shingles, turning your attic into a hot box. If the temperatures exceed manufacturers’ expectations, shingle performance could suffer. Should you have any concerns about your roof’s ventilation system, be sure to contact a professional.
There are two primary reasons for asphalt shingles to blister. The first is moisture that could have been trapped within the shingles themselves. As the roof heats under the sweltering summer sun, trapped moisture can expand, causing blisters to rise. The second is poor ventilation. As already covered, inadequate ventilation in the attic can allow the roof to become too hot for the shingles.
If you encounter blisters on your shingles you’ll want to keep an eye on them. As long as the blisters on the shingles retain their granules, the condition may not impact the longevity of the roof. The size of the blisters will often go down as the roof cools.
If the blisters pop, granules can become dislodged, resulting in asphalt areas that are unprotected from the harsh UV rays of the sun.
Is there a way to prevent blistered shingles from popping? If you see blistered shingles, it’s best to avoid walking on them. Falling debris can also bring harm to blistered shingles. Check the surrounding trees. Cutting back some of the limbs could prevent branches, pine cones and acorns from falling on the shingles.
Hail can also pop blistered shingles, but there’s little you can do to prevent it.
Hail damage can often look just like blister damage. If blisters have popped due to human weight, they will generally be limited to areas of foot traffic. Hail damage, on the other hand, will be far more uniform. If granules have been lost due to hail strikes, the roof’s defense against against the sun and weather could have been compromised. Should your roof endure a hail storm this summer, it’s a good idea to have it professionally inspected.
Mineral granule loss from asphalt shingles can seriously impact both the performance and lifespan of the roof. Mineral granules are adhered to the surface during the manufacturing process and protect the asphalt shingle from the damaging effects of UV light, and local weather conditions. These granules also reflect light, keeping your home cooler during the summer months.
You will want to check the roof surface and gutters periodically. All going well, you’ll find even granule distribution and uniform colour across the surface. You should be able to notice thin areas on your shingles from a ladder — or even from the ground — places where sufficient granule loss may have occurred that there’s some show-through of the base material. If there’s an accumulation of “sand” in the gutters following heavy rainfall, it could be evidence of granule loss.
We’ve already discussed several of the causes of shingle granule loss: blisters that have popped, mechanical damage from foot traffic and hail. If you’ve had work done on the chimney, or the gutters cleaned, it’s a good idea to check for signs of wear. Another form of mechanical damage can result from tree branches too close to the roof’s surface. Curled shingles can flap about in a storm. Even if they don’t break in the wind, sometimes they will shed many of their granules.
Note: A brand new shingle roof will shed loose granules for a while, so finding granules in the gutters may not be cause for alarm. Roofs will also lose granules due to normal aging. Weather, dramatic temperature changes and sun exposure cause the shingles to lose their flexibility over time, resulting in a breakdown of the adhesive properties keeping granules in place.
Don’t assume that your attic ventilation is working properly, just because the vents and fans did the job last summer. Keep an eye on the roof during the summer. If you see signs of blistering or granule loss, a professional inspection may be one of the best investments you ever make.