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Asphalt shingle roofs are very common in central Pennsylvania. They are the most common type of  roofing material used on slopes roofs in this area. The basic process when evaluating these shingles is determine 1) the approximate age of the roof 2) the condition of the shingles 3) the remaining life based on the condition. These 3 factors are relevant to make a decision as to whether repairs or replacement would be recommended. This determination should be made by a qualified Roofer. Repair of a roof which is in need of replacement is money down the drain. A basic understanding of how asphalt shingles age is needed to make a proper assessment. 

VOCs  in asphalt shingles provide flexibility for the shingles. A strip of tar on the underside of the shingle( known as a seal) seals one shingle to the next. As a shingle ages, the sun bakes the volatile organic compounds out of the shingle causing them to shrink; the seal to dry out, and cracks start to develop on the surface of the shingle. As the shingle ages and dries out, the coverage starts to shrink. The shingles become brittle, clutch and claw. The granular surface of the shingle starts to wear off making the shingle more vulnerable to deterioration from weather and UV rays.  Fasteners become exposed, seals fail, and degranulation progresses. When fasteners become exposed, they rust and water can penetrate through the nail shank opening. The Achilles heel of the asphalt roof installation  is the neoprene roof boot. These often wear out about half way through the life of the shingle. Other common considerations are defective shingles, and improper installation.

One  formula that should be used when calculating repair or replacement decisions is the following: value of remaining roof life < or = cost of repairs , then replace. Here are some pics of some common problems with asphalt shingles:

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Clutching, Clawing


Blow off due to seal failure

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Stack flashing failure

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Exposed fasteners

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