Shingle Problems


We have found that many homes with newer asphalt composition shingles installed, are experiencing problems in three major areas. . .

  • Premature cracking
  • Blistering
  • Loss of gravel on the appliqué layer

Some of the "problem shingles" I have seen, are (or should be) under some type of a manufacturer's warranty.  Much confusion appears to exist as to what to look for, and what really constitutes a significant defect.  I hope the following information is useful in helping shed light on this issue.


                                                 WHAT  TO  LOOK FOR. . . .


Premature cracking - Look for cracking in your shingles that extends deeper than just "surface cracking". If you notice cracking that extends through the shingle matrix (not just the upper appliqué), then there is the possibility that the waterproof integrity of the shingle has been compromised. While the cracks may not extend fully through the tabs and the roof may not be experiencing any active leakage now, this type of premature cracking can lead to shortened shingle life.

Photo's of Typical Premature Cracking

Photograph of premature 
cracking in shingles.             Photograph of premature 
cracking in shingles.

(Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)


ShinglesCracked.gif (36505 bytes)

Cracks that are restricted to the upper decorative appliqué layer, generally do not pose a serious immediate concern (other than cosmetic), but should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  However, if the cracking extends deeper, into the reinforcement (as per diagram on the left), then the long-term performance of the shingle may be compromised.

bLISTERING - Can take the form of "bubbling" just under the surface of the colored granules. Typical blisters can range from pea-size up to the size of a quarter, or even larger. Some blistering on shingles can be due to things like improper ventilation, etc., but sometimes may be attributed to a manufacturing defect. The problem with blistering on shingles is that when one of them "pops", the granular material that was protecting the underlying asphalt is now gone. It has been shown that UV (ultraviolet radiation), will tend to degrade and accelerate the aging process. Shingles that have open blisters in which the asphalt becomes visible, are at greater risk of premature failure.

Photo's of Typical Blistering

Photograph of blisters
on shingles.             Photograph of blisters
on shingles.

(Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)


ShinglesBlister.gif (41214 bytes)

Even small areas of gravel loss can put your shingles at risk of premature failure due to UV penetration, and subsequent deterioration of the asphalt layer.

"Cracking through the reinforcement, and granule loss that exposes the asphalt layer are serious shingle defects. . . .requires immediate attention." - Certainteed Shingle Corp.

Loss of gravel on the appliqué layer - The decorative appliqué layer is bonded to the reinforcement layer underneath.  The appliqué layer can provide differences in color and height that provide some of the esthetic appeal of many newer shingle styles.  This top layer has been known to wear off prematurely, in some cases, leaving the underlying reinforcement layer visible.  The most likely cause for this is a defect in the manufacturing process, which by the way, can be exacerbated by external impact (hail), abrasion (walking on the shingles), etc.  While this type of problem by itself, doesn't necessarily place the house at risk of leakage, it certainly does present an esthetic concern. The value of your home may be affected, when you go to sell it.


Photo's of Typical Premature Gravel Loss On The Appliqué Layer

ShinglesGravelLoss1.jpg (255705 bytes)

(Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)

Premature cracking, blistering, and premature gravel loss can lead to decreased shingle life expectancy and can present an issue when you are selling your home.  If you notice any of these problems with the shingles on your roof, you should contact your shingle manufacturer, and (or) your shingle installation contractor.



puregold.gif (5235 bytes)


puregoldtext.gif (2587 bytes)


About DSP | The Home Inspection Process | Other Services | Comments From Our Customers

         Resources For Buyers & Sellers | Real Estate Professionals | Contact Us | Home

                             DSP  Structural Consultants, LLC   (c)1998 - 2000