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Everyone hopes their roof will last forever, but as with all things, roof shingles will age. Something to remember, however, is the fact that not all shingles will age at the same pace. Different shingles have different life spans, and the best way to assess how long your shingles will last is to check the manufacturer’s warranty. For example, if your warranty lasts for 15 years, you may want to start checking for signs of wear and tear around that time. However, to truly keep your roof in prime condition, you should have your roof inspected by a reliable Minnesota roofing contractor twice a year.

How Do I know If It Is Time To Replace My Roof?

Research indicates that the aging process for a roof begins soon after the shingles are installed and progresses rapidly during the initial curing phase of its life cycle. During this stage, granule loss may occur, small blisters may develop, or the shingles may curl slightly at their edges. You may even notice that this curling is more pronounced during cold weather and the shingles may lie flat as temperatures rise. The good news, however, is that after this curing stage the shingles enter a long period of slow aging, which lasts for the major portion of the shingle’s natural life.

What Will My Shingles Look Like as They Age?

Asphalt is one of the primary ingredients in roofing shingles. Its purpose is to provide the waterproofing integrity for the roof. Secondarily, the asphalt holds the colored granules in place and contributes to the overall strength of the shingle. Asphalt, which is derived from petroleum, contains the oils that provide ductility and pliability to the shingles. During the lifetime of the shingles, these oils begin to rise to the surface, where they are washed away by rainwater. In an attempt to restore equilibrium, new oils surface and the washing process continues. Also, the intense heat of the roof oxidizes or hardens the asphalt over time.

You may be asking yourself, “What can I expect my roof to look like as this aging process takes place?” One or more of the following conditions may occur over time:

Signs Of Aging Shingles

Curling: As the asphalt hardens over time, the granules that were once securely embedded begin to break away. Occasionally you may have seen the colored granules in your gutters. Also, as this hardening advances, the asphalt layers begin to shrink. Of course, all of this is occurring at a microscopic level and is not something which will be noticeable on a daily basis. As the asphalt layer shrinks, it is being countered by the shingle reinforcement, which resists shrinking. We now have a situation in which the top and bottom coatings are shrinking and the reinforcement is remaining stable. As a result, the edges of the shingle may begin to curl over time. In addition, organic shingles may exhibit signs of curling which might be considered excessive; however, this is not a manufacturing defect and would be considered part of the normal weathering process of organic shingles.

Surface Cracking: Another manifestation of the normal aging process may be the development of surface cracks. For example, as the flexibilizing oils of the asphalt are depleted due to heat, the shingle becomes more brittle, to the point where surface cracking may appear. The stresses created by thermal shock and the movement of the roof deck also increase the likelihood of surface cracking.

Blisters: During the course of natural weathering, small bubble-like raised areas known as blisters may appear on the surface of the shingles. The blisters may be small and pea-sized or as large as a quarter. The blisters may be open, exposing the asphalt, or closed. Blisters frequently result when minimum ventilation requirements are not met.

Staining: Finally, over a period of time, shingles may develop dark brown or black streaks that are sometimes mistaken for soot, dirt, moss or tree droppings. In actuality, this discoloration may be caused by algae growth. Although most roofing systems are susceptible to algae discoloration, it is most readily visible on white or light-colored shingles.

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Get Help From A Minnesota Residential Roofing Contractor To Repair or Replace Your Roof

If you notice any of the problems laid out here, a professional who knows how to install and repair roofing can conduct a full inspection. It will cost to be sure but if you can discover and repair the roof damage before it becomes too serious, you can get away with a simple repair job rather than having to replace your entire roof.

Hopefully, this can help you identify normal aging characteristics of asphalt roofing shingles and become a more informed homeowner. Take the time to determine if the conditions you have observed are serious enough to require immediate action. Should such problems occur, please contact a Minnesota residential roofing contractor for a review of your situation and possible courses of action.