Old House Roof Shingles: Repair or Replace?

By The Old House Web

In this video Mark Clement, the practical contractor for OldHouseWeb.com, takes a look at the shingles on an old house's roof and shares some insight on how to determine if your roof needs to be replaced, or whether you may get by with a repair.

Repair or Replace Your Old House Shingles?

One of the most common problems Mark finds on old house roofs is a shingle that has come loose due to improper nailing. Many older homes have boards in various widths across the roof trusses rather than the plywood sheathing that's used today, and it's easy for a roofing contractor to miss a board when nailing new shingles. In many cases the shingle works its way loose, but can be easily repaired by:

  • Gently lifting the shingles above the missing shingle
  • Removing nails that prevent the missing shingle from sliding into place
  • Re-nailing the missing shingle and any shingles that had nails removed

As shingles age from rain and sunlight, they eventually begin to decay. If you see shingles on your roof with cracks or missing corners, it can be a pretty good indication that your roof needs to be replaced. You can also find evidence of this condition by walking around your yard after a rain or wind storm. If you find small pieces of your shingles lying about, it's probably time for a new roof.

Shingles on your roof missing entire tabs can also be a sign that a new roof is in order. As shingles get older, decay, and eventually break off, shingle nails can be exposed and these are prime locations for water penetration into your home. Catching a potential roof leak before it happens, or as it's just beginning, can help avoid expensive interior repairs in the future.

Remember that working on a roof can be very dangerous. Always secure your ladder, use proper safety gear, and if you have any concerns about your ability to work on your roof safely, call a roofing contractor.

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