Most homes in the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs. Some of the reasons that asphalt shingles are so popular are the wide variety of available colors, different styles, their durability and their affordability These are the major reasons that have made asphalt shingles the first choice for residential roofing in the country, including the Columbia and Lexington areas. But, like all exterior building products, asphalt shingles start to age as soon as they are exposed to the elements. It’s difficult to predict how long your roof’s shingles will last, so it’s important for homeowners to educate themselves to recognize the signs of an aging roof.

What is normal? The aging process for roofing shingles begins as soon as shingles are exposed to nature. The sun can raise rooftop temperatures as high as 50-70 degrees above the air temperature. Ultraviolet radiation, heat, pollution, hail, snow, ice, and falling tree limbs are factors that have proven to accelerate roof aging, With the extreme summer temperatures in the Columbia and Lexington areas, homeowners can expect that the temperatures will have an effect on the condition of their roof.

Here are a few common signs of aging roofing materials: Curling is a common sign of wear and tear in some roofing shingles and is not considered a defect in roofing materials. It is natural for asphalt to age and shrink with time, which can cause a slight curling of the shingle edge. Small, minor cracks may appear on the roof shingles as they age, but experts in the roofing industry say it is a normal weathering characteristic of roofing shingles and is not cause for concern, as long as the cracks do not breach the shingle and the roof is still shedding water effectively. Minor cracks in your roof may not be noticeable from the ground, but can be spotted under close examination. The intense heat from the sun can deplete some of the protective asphalt oils, and that can cause minor cracks. Dark brown or black streaks down the roof are common in particularly moist or humid areas like Columbia and Lexington and are the result of algae growth on the shingles. While not particularly attractive, these stains should not affect the shingles’ ability to shed water. Some granule loss on the shingles is to be expected, especially if a roof has been recently repaired or replaced, since extra granules are a part of the shingle manufacturing process. Loose granules are usually noticed collecting in roof gutters after the shingles are installed. This type of granule shedding is common for new roofing materials and is not a cause for concern.

When should you be concerned? While minor curling, surface cracking, algae stains and some granule loss can all be signs of normal roof aging, some more serious roof wear and aging could be a sign of a potential problem and should be examined and monitored by your local roofer.

These issues may need attention: Blisters, or small circular raised areas, are often the direct result of under-ventilated attics or inappropriate use of cement plastics. If the roof blisters are closed and are not affecting the shingles’ performance, they are not a cause for concern. But if the blisters are open, exposing the asphalt, the roof is vulnerable to water damage and requires immediate attention by a local, licensed roofer. Buckling, a distortion of the shingles, can also be a possible sign of inadequate roof ventilation, issues with the roof deck or other installation errors and may require attention. Deep cracks in your roofing materials that infiltrate the fiberglass roofing mat should also be evaluated by your local roofer, as they may compromise the roof’s ability to shed water and may lead to leaks. Excessive granule loss that exposes the shingles’ asphalt layer is also a reason for concern and requires immediate attention. Educated with this basic information, homeowners should be able to determine when to call their local, licensed roofer for a roof inspection. Sands Roofing and Construction serves the Columbia, Lexington, and surrounding areas. We can answer your roofing questions. 1.803.520.6154