Asphalt Shingle Granules Are The Key To A Healthy Roof: Checking For Problems

Asphalt shingles are durable and long-lasting as long as you take care of them properly. If you've ever seen a shingle up close, you might have noticed the coating of granules each shingle has. What you might not know is that keeping these granules clear and in good condition is crucial to getting the most out of your roof – both in terms of how long your roof lasts and how energy-efficient it is.

Roof Cover

The granules on asphalt shingles have a number of functions, but one important one is to help reflect heat from the sun. Most asphalt shingles are dark, and without added reflectivity, they can heat up very quickly, much like asphalt pavement does. This means that on sunny days your fan or air conditioning has to work extra hard to cool your home and fight that extra heat.

The granules on asphalt shingles usually contain special pigments that reflect infrared light – which we feel as heat – from the sun. However, your shingles can't reflect infrared light properly if they're covered up. Instead, whatever is covering the roof will absorb that heat and transmit it to the roof, and most of the possible roof coverings are also fairly dark and absorbent.

The most common roof cover, and the easiest to deal with, is simply dirt, debris, leaves, or pine needles. These can be forced off the roof with a push broom; if you don't feel comfortable working on a ladder, call a roofer or a roof cleaning company.

The dark green streaks of roof algae are a little more difficult to get rid of. You'll need to spray these areas with water and bleach and then rinse with plain water; if you have plants around the base of your house, cover them with tarps so that the rinsed-off bleach doesn't damage them.

Granule Loss

The loss of the granules on shingles will compromise their reflectivity, and it will also expose the underlayer of asphalt to the elements. This means accelerated aging; exposed shingles will grow more and more brittle over time and eventually cracking or breaking.

Granule loss can be spotted in two ways. First, look for dark spots on your shingles where the underlayer is exposed. Second, keep an eye on your gutters for grit the same color as your roof; when granules are worn away, that's where they'll end up.

Shingles that have lost their granules will need to be replaced in order to protect the lower layers of the roof and your home from water infiltration as well as to extend the life of the roof itself, so if you notice granule loss, don't delay having it repaired. To find out more, speak with a company like Rainy Day Exteriors.