Tips For Replacing A Damaged Asphalt Shingle

Asphalt shingles can last for up to twenty years. This is a reasonably good lifespan for a roofing material, but individual shingle can become critically damaged well before the entire roof needs replacement. If you don't deal with a roof leak quickly, it can undermine the integrity of the rest of your roof; thus, it is in your best interest to deal with the leak as soon as you discover it. Luckily, you should be able to deal with the repair on your own without enlisting the help of a roofing professional. 

Gather Your Materials

To avoid making multiple trips up and down your ladder, you should try to gather every item you'll need to take with you to the roof. For example, you should place a hammer, roofing nails, a cat's paw, a measuring tape, a razor blade, and roofing cement in a tool belt. You should then place new shingles in one bucket and carry a separate bucket to place damaged shingles in. By placing the full bucket inside the empty bucket, you can carry your buckets and tools up to your roof in one trip. 

The Repair

If you find damaged shingles in your roof, you should not attempt to repair them in any way; instead, you should replace damaged shingles. As long as you only have a few damages shingles, replacing individual shingles is a less expensive option than replacing your entire roof. Follow these steps to make repairs:

1. Gently lift the bottom edge of the shingles from the row above to expose nail heads and then use the cat's paw to remove the nails that hold the bad shingle in place.

2. Place the damaged shingle in your trash bucket.

3. Place a dab of roofing cement on the nail holes from the old shingle. 

4. Cut the new shingle to size (if necessary). Measure the gap between the shingles to either side, and make sure the new shingle is a quarter of an inch shorter than this gap. Cut the shingle from the back so that the protective granules on the front don't interfere with the cut. You may also want to run the razor blade along a straight edge to ensure that you make a straight cut.

5. Slide the new shingle up until its bottom edge is even with other shingles in the same row. Make sure you leave an eighth of an inch gap between the new shingle and the shingles to either side.

6. Gently lift the shingles from the row above and nail the new shingle in place. 

7. Place a dab of roofing cement over the nail heads, which will both create a seal around the nail heads and stick the shingles from the row above down so that the bottom edge does not begin to curl up. 

You don't have to have years of on-the-job training in order to complete the repair described above. However, if you don't feel up to the task, you should visit a website like to make sure that a leaky shingle does not damage your home or undermine the integrity of the surrounding roof.