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Will My Roof Leak With Missing Shingles? Complete Guide

The roof of your home plays a significant role in protecting both the structural elements of your house as well as the people inside. Because the roof plays such a large role, it can be hard to know how to address maintenance issues that arise. One of the most common issues homeowners experience with their roof is missing shingles. 

Will my roof leak with missing shingles? The first thing a homeowner wonders when they notice missing shingles is if their roof will begin to leak. This depends on a few things. If the missing shingle covers a seam between shingles. A missing shingle over a seam will likely begin to leak. If the missing shingle does not cover a seam, leaking is less likely and the repairs are not as time-sensitive.

So, how did the shingles go missing in the first place? Are there steps that a homeowner can take to reduce the risk of lost shingles due to weather elements or other issues? In this article, we will share everything you need to know about maintaining and repairing the roof of your home.

Roofing Repair Tips

Will Missing Shingles Cause My Roof to Leak? 

As mentioned earlier, the impact that a missing shingle has on your roof will greatly depend on its location. The shingles on your roof are installed in a staggered pattern. Because of this, the top shingle covers the seams of the shingles below. This design minimizes leaking.

However, when one or more of the seams on your roof are exposed to the elements, you are likely to experience leaking. This process can happen over time due to normal wear and tear or it can be immediate due to a severe weather element. 

Even if a leaking roof is not an issue, missing shingles can still negatively impact your roof in other ways. As shingles begin to age and fall of your roof, the aesthetic appeal of your home diminishes. This not only decreases the curb appeal of your home but it can also create quite the eyesore. 

If you live in an area with a Homeowner’s Association, missing shingles may cause trouble with the HOA board, requiring you to pay a fine. Although this should not be a huge cause of concern, it is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Size of The Missing Shingle

In some cases, you may find that only a portion of your shingle is missing. Does it make a difference if you are missing the whole shingle or only a corner? Most likely, it will not impact the situation in one way or another. Even with only a portion of the shingle missing, a crucial seam may be exposed leading to interior leaks and damage. 

No matter the size or location of the missing shingles on your roof, it is wise to contact a professional roofing contractor to repair the shingles before they create additional issues.

Is It Important to Repair Missing Shingles?

Perhaps the missing shingles are hard to notice. You may be tempted to put off repairs, believing that missing shingles will not cause extensive damage. This could not be further from the truth. While in some situations a missing shingle will not impact the interior or exterior of your home, more often than not, a missing shingle quickly spirals into something more severe. 

Here are a few of the reasons why it is important to repair missing shingles in a timely manner. 

Missing Shingles Impact Curb Appeal

Especially if the rest of your roof is in pristine condition, a missing shingle can greatly impact the curb appeal of your home. When your roof looks like it is falling apart, the rest of your home will appear to be in a state of disrepair. Not only is this embarrassing but it can also greatly decrease the value of your home.

One Damaged Shingle Can Create Further Roof Damage

You may think that a singular missing shingle will not cause much damage to your roof. While this may be true in some situations, a singular missing shingle can actually create a serious problem.

When one shingle is missing or damaged, water is allowed to permeate the surrounding shingles. They are exposed to more sun and other outdoor elements. This can cause shingles that are surrounding the gap to become loose or damaged themselves. In the end, this will only cost you more money, time, and frustration.

Missing Shingles Can Lead to Interior Damage

While a missing shingle may not appear to impact the interior of your home at first, over time, leaks may begin to form. If left unattended, a leaking roof can cause serious interior damage. When water enters your home, you open yourself up to water damage, mold, mildew, structural damage, and a laundry list of other negative side effects. 

There are just a few of the reasons why it is important to contact a professional roofing company as soon as you notice a missing shingle on your roof. Addressing this issue in a timely manner will save you from unnecessary repairs and frustration.

damaged roof with missing shingles and leaks

Find the Cause of Shingle Damage

In order to properly repair the missing shingles on your roof, it is often necessary to find the initial cause of the damage. Investigating the root of the problem before attempting roofing repairs is the best way to prevent further damage from happening to other areas of your roof.

Rotting Sheathing

Roof sheathing is placed under the shingles of your roof during the installation process. It acts as a protective layer, preventing moisture from entering your home. Unfortunately, sheathing can begin to rot, leading to structural damage, Roof Damage, or water leaks. 

While interior water leaks are the primary sign of rotting sheathing, you may also notice missing shingles or a sagging ceiling throughout certain areas of your home. If you suspect rotting sheathing to be the cause of your missing shingles, it is imperative to contact a roofing professional immediately. This project is far beyond the scope of even the most experienced DIY homeowner.

Incorrect Nailing Patterns at Instillation

Most likely, you purchased your home after it was complete. Because of this, you were not able to supervise the roofers that installed the roof. If your roof was not installed by competent professionals, you may begin to loose shingles due to incorrect roof nailing patterns.

While shingle manufacturers make recommendations as to the proper nailing locations, not every roofer will pay attention to these markings. Unfortunately, if you notice that a portion of our roof was installed using incorrect nailing patterns, it is likely that the entirety of the roof is impacted. Although this may not call for immediate replacement, it is important to note that you will continue to lose shingles until a new roof is installed by a true professional.

Intense Weather

In Oklahoma, we experience a wide range of intense weather throughout the seasons. Between rain, snowstorms, tornadoes, and hail, the roofs of our houses take quite the beating. Even in regions that do not experience such an intense variety of weather patterns, intense storms and wind can play a large role in roof damage. 

If you first notice a missing shingle or other roofing damage soon after an intense weather event, you can likely assume that the weather caused your roofing damage. 

Expected Wear & Tear

While modern roofing technology has increased the lifespan of most roofs, they do experience normal wear and tear. Most asphalt shingle roofs can be expected to last anywhere between 20 – 30 years. The region in which you live and the roofing materials used for your home will impact the longevity of your roof. 

It could be that your missing shingles are simply a sign of the wear and tear that is to be expected. While replacing your roof is not inexpensive, doing so in a timely manner could minimize the eventual damage that occurs when a roof is left in a state of disrepair.

You can read more about the leading causes of roof damage here.

roof storm damageRepairing a Missing Shingle

So, how should you repair a missing shingle? Is there an easy way to accomplish this or is it wise to contact a professional roofing contractor? 

Move Quickly to Avoid Excess Damage

As mentioned previously, a missing shingle can quickly lead to excess damage across the rest of your roof. When you first notice a missing shingle, it is wise to move quickly. By addressing the repair in a timely manner, you may eliminate the need for expensive roofing repairs or even a full roof replacement. 

Hire a Professional Roofer for All Repairs

While it may seem like a simple task to repair a singular missing shingle, it is always best to hire a professional roofer for your roofing repairs. With so many aspects to roofing including proper placement, nailing locations, sheathing, and other things to consider, working with a professional is the best way to ensure a complete repair.

Additionally, roofing work is not the safest project. Professional roofers are equipped with proper safety devices and training to eliminate potential accidents. If, however, you find the need to get on your roof on your own, here are a few tips for staying safe when working on a roof.

How to Deal With an Emergency Roof Leak

Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to recognize a missing shingle until they have an emergency roof leak. Here are a few tips for dealing with this frustrating and stressful situation.

Immediately Address Interior Leaks

First, address the source of the interior leaks. Depending on the size of the leak, place a bucket, bowl, or another container below the leak to capture the water before it spreads throughout your home. Dry the sitting water off of your floor to minimize potential water damage.

Contact Professional Roofing Contractor

Next, contact a professional roofing contractor. Many roofing companies offer emergency roof tarping that allows you to stop the leak, even in the middle of a storm. This should only be attempted by a professional as mounting your roof during a storm is incredibly dangerous. 

Reach Out to Your Home Insurance Company

Once you have contacted a roofing professional, it is wise to reach out to your home insurance company to inform them of the situation. They may be able to provide you with further tips on how to proceed.

Consider Replacing Your Roof to Avoid Further Leaks

If the leak is of a considerable size, you may want to consider replacing your roof. This is the best way to avoid further leaks or more intense damage in the years to come.

Other Types of Roof Damage

In addition to missing shingles, there are many other types of roof damage that may cause your roof to leak. 

Curled Shingles

Curled shingles may simply seem like an unsightly nuisance from the ground. However, they can actually be a pretty serious form of roof damage. Old age and weather can cause your shingles to warp, leading to shingle loss and damage.

Damage to Flashing or Shingles

Your roof is comprised of many elements besides shingles. The flashing on your roof protects the chimneys, skylights, walls, and other detailed elements of your roof. If the flashing is damaged, water can leak into your home, causing eventual damage.

Peeling Paint Near Roofline

Although it may not seem like it is related to your roof, the paint around your roofline can provide you with insight into the condition of the roof itself. If the paint around your roofline is beginning to peel, you may have a problem with moisture caused by improper ventilation. 

There are many other signs that point to potential roof damage. Educating yourself on these common signs of roof damage is the best way to recognize a problem before it turns into a roofing emergency.

Avoiding Missing Shingles

Roofing TipsDealing with missing shingles can be quite stressful and rather expensive. It is important to practice proper roofing maintenance to minimize the potential of missing shingles. 

Work With a Professional Roofer

When repairing or replacing any portion of your roof, always work with a professional roofer. Although many handymen advertise roofing services, you will be taking a risk by hiring them for your roofing job. A professional roofer has dedicated their career to installing and repairing roofs.

Schedule Routine Roofing Inspections

The best way to avoid missing shingles and other types of roofing damage is to schedule routine roofing inspections. Especially in areas such as Tulsa, Oklahoma, roofs receive excessive wear and tear. A regular roofing inspection will provide you with insight into the overall condition and durability of your roof. 

Thank you for reading Expert Home Report! You can find more roofing tips here.

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for Expert Home Report. I enjoy writing about everything related to home improvement, home tips and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.