If you've ever closely examined the asphalt shingles on your roof, you've probably noticed the tiny, hard particles attached to the top surface of each shingle. These fragments, commonly called granules, help to protect the roof and extend the lifespan of the shingles. Because of certain circumstances, these granules can fall off the shingles and compromise the integrity of the roof. Read the information below to learn more about granule loss and how to determine if your roof is at risk.
The Purpose of Granules
During the manufacturing process, large machinery crushes minerals and rocks, such as granite and basalt, into tiny fragments. The next step is mixing these particles with a colored coating. After this mixture dries, a roller machine presses the granules into the asphalt on the surface of the shingles. These granules make the shingles more durable by preventing advanced deterioration of the asphalt. Without them, the constant exposure to the sunlight would quickly cause the shingles to degrade. The granules also add weight to the shingles, which is beneficial during strong winds.
Causes of Granule Loss
Because of the impact of the outside elements, granules will eventually fall off on their own as the roof ages. If a roof isn't near its recommended lifespan, which is approximately 20 years for most asphalt roofs, and there's extensive granule loss, something else caused the problem. Premature granule loss often occurs because of storms that produce damaging hail. Tree branches that extend above the house and touch the roof can rub the granules off the shingles. Loose shingles that scrape against adjacent shingles when the wind blows can cause granule loss. Walking on a roof can also cause granules to come loose and fall off.
Determining Granule Loss
The easiest way to determine granule loss on shingles is to inspect the guttering system on your house. Examine the area underneath the downspouts, and look for granules on the ground. If you see an abundance of tiny, hard particles inside the gutters, this means the granules are falling off the shingles as it rains.While standing on the ground, look up at your roof and examine it for bare sections or discolored areas of shingles, which signifies granule loss.
Knowing the importance of granules on asphalt shingles and the steps for checking your shingles for missing granules can help extend the life of your roof. If you determine that your shingles have excessive granule loss, contact a residential roofing contractor as soon as possible to schedule an inspection.