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How To Replace Blown-Off Shingles (Step-by-Step)

Roofs, because of their exposure to the outdoors, often experience damaged shingles. When your roof shingles are damaged or blown off, getting them fixed promptly is critical.

If you are going the DIY roof repair route, here is how to replace blown-off shingles.

How Shingles Get Blown Off Roofs

Weather conditions cause most blown-off roof shingles. Strong winds can rip them off, or debris can fall or be blown onto the roof and knock them off. 

Ice or snow can accumulate on the roof and loosen shingles enough for them to separate from their position on the roof. When shingles are loose, even a slight wind can cause them to move.

Other causes of shingles getting blown off a roof include:

  • Improper installation (faulty installation can include using the wrong roofing material or installing the wrong type of shingle on your roof)
  • Normal wear and tear on old shingles or broken roofing nails
  • Damage caused by unwanted pests
  • Moisture that rots the underlayment and loosens nails because of poor installation

Why You Must Repair Roof Shingles Immediately

A single roof shingle that has damage can cause catastrophic leaking and damage existing shingles, underlayment, and roof decking. 

While that one missing roof shingle can do a lot of damage, several missing shingles can result in the need for a full roof replacement, not to mention a single leak can cause immense water damage inside a home.

If your home needs roof repair, replacing damaged shingles, whether you are DIY’ing or using the services of a professional roofer, should be a priority.

If you go the DIY route, here is a step-by-step guide on how to replace blown-off shingles quickly and effectively.

Step One: Inspect the Damaged Shingles

how to replace blown off shingles inspecting damage

You must carefully access the area that has the damage and determine five things:

  • The roof shingles are damaged enough to warrant roof repairs, and the damage is a DIY roof repair you can do versus hiring a roofing contractor to complete the work.
  • There is no damage to the underlayment underneath the damaged roof shingles.
  • How many missing shingles blew off your roof, and if you need to replace shingles adjacent to the damage.
  • Examine the shingles and determine if you can save any existing ones that are still affixed to your roof or whether you need new roofing shingles for those as well.
  • Estimate how many shingles you will need to repair the roof damage, including overlap and overage, and multiply that number by four to get your roofing nails total.

Once you have determined you can do the roof repair yourself, you need to find matching shingles (asphalt shingles, for instance, come in multiple colors) and then begin prepping your site for your new shingle installation.

Step Two: Site Preparation

First and foremost, you must control the damage caused by damaged or blown-off shingles.

If the damage is just a few shingles, you can immediately begin repair work without worrying about securing your work site beyond basic safety precautions.

If, however, you have to leave the site to get materials, tools, or equipment, or if the damage extends to surrounding shingles, you will need to protect the work area with a tarp. Not doing so risks a roof leak and further damage to your roof deck.

Assemble Tools, Materials, and Safety Equipment

Your tools, materials, and safety equipment to repair roof shingles break down into three categories: Site Preparation, work to repair roof shingles blown off or damaged, and safety precautions.

For site preparation, you will need the following:

  • Flat bar (also called a pry bar)
  • Hammer
  • Roof shovel
  • Nail puller (or utility knife)
  • Putty knife (to help remove nails)
  • Climbing ladders

For the work, you will need the following:

  • All of the above
  • Roofing nails
  • New roofing materials
  • Nailing strips or adhesive strips (if applicable)
  • Magnetic broom
  • Bags or dumpster for debris

Step Three: Damaged Shingle Removal

how to replace blown off shingles removing shingle

A missing shingle can let go cleanly, but often they chip or tear first. Additionally, a missing shingle ripped off by the wind will damage the surrounding roofing. All shingles overlap around the space the damage will need replacing.

Use a flat pry bar to get under torn or cracked shingles and other roofing materials, such as underlayment, and all the old nails (or adhesive strips, nail strip, roofing cement, tar, etc.) that are still in place. Carefully pry the broken shingle and debris stuck to the roof. Remember that you will probably have to replace more than one shingle.

Step Four: Inspect Decking Roof Damage

Ensure your roof deck is not damaged by the same thing that blew your shingles off. Damaged decking can lead to a new shingle getting damaged, underlayment cracking, and even mold growth. If the decking has damage, you will need to repair or replace it.

Step Five: Install the New Shingle

Carefully slide the replacement shingle into its old place and secure the new shingles with four nails. Put two nails on each side. For installation of more than one shingle, start your installation at the bottom of the damage overlapping the shingle below and to the side by one inch. Then, install the second shingle overlapping the first.

Use four nails for each shingle in the same way as you secured the first shingle. Remember to not over-strike your nails, as that can damage the shingle. Continue until your damaged section is covered.

Step Six: Cleanup

Clean up any remaining nails, debris, or shingle parts on your roof. Use the magnetic broom on the roof and around your home on the ground. Sweep several feet around your home, as it is amazing how far roofing nails will bounce. Finally, remove your tarp.

If you want to ensure your fix is up to spec, arrange for a roof inspection by a roofing professional.

Final Thoughts

Most homeowners will ask how to replace blown-off shingles at some point. Roofers will typically tell you to hire a professional for all but the easiest repair job. If you tackle a full roof repair or shingle replacement, remember to put safety first and follow these steps. If you do, your repair will be a success!

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