Repairing Broken Shingles

Damaged or broken shingles are unsightly on any house. Not only do they look bad, they will eventually cause a leak in your roof. So how can you repair your damaged or torn shingle without replacing the whole roof? I’ll explain how to do that and more in this article, with tips and advice only roofers know.

Begin by taking a shingle sample. Tear off a small piece of the broken shingle to take to a local roofing supply company for a color sample. Most likely, the model of shingle you own does not exist. Colors constantly are discontinued as styles change. A close match is about all you will be able to get. You will have to purchase a whole bundle of shingles but at least you’ll always have more for future repairs!

Once you have the shingles, you will also need a few tools. A hammer and a few roofing nails aren’t all you’ll need. Tar, a spackling knife to spread the tar and lift shingles, a small flat bar and a utility knife with hook blades to cut the shingles are tools that you will need.

First, you need to remove the broken shingle. Gently pry up the broken remains of the shingle with the spackling knife or small flat bar. Be careful not to tear any nearby shingles, otherwise you’ll have to replace them too. Use the flat bar to gently pry up any nails in the shingles above the damaged area. Slide the pry bar between several rows above the damaged shingles and wiggle loose any nails that are holding the damaged shingles. Gently slide loose the damaged shingle and discard.

Once the shingle is removed, now comes the hard part, inserting a new shingle. Use the pry bar to lift any protrusions that may hinder the shingle from sliding under. If you can’t get the shingle all the way up inside, try cutting off an inch strip off the back of the new shingle. Keep cutting off small strips until it fits snug.

Use the pry bar to lift up the new shingle. Scoop a small amount of tar onto the spackling knife and spread it as far as you can underneath the newly placed shingle. Tar the entire underside of the new shingle. Don’t over tar it so that the tar oozes out from the sides. You just need a small, thin layer about 1/8-inch thick.

Lift up the old shingle on top of the new shingle and place a nail in the new shingle to hold it in place. The trick to nailing the nail is to place the flat pry bar on the head of the nail and striking the pry bar until it drives the nail in place. If you still can’t reach the nail, cut a small piece of shingle to place over the nail head. Place another scrap shingle on top of the old shingle and hit it with a hammer. This way the scrap shingles will take the impact from the hammer and nail instead of the old shingle. Continue nailing in this manner until the new shingle is secure.

It’s best to do this on a hot day or in the late afternoon. The sun has time to make the asphalt shingles more pliable and easier to manipulate. Never do this in winter! The colder it gets the more brittle the shingles become and are more likely to be broken.

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