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What Causes Granule Loss on Roofing Shingles?

Shingle Roofs: Still the Most Popular Roofing Material in the U.S.

If you’re wondering, “What causes granule loss on roofing shingles?” Let HUDCO Roofing & Exteriors help you out. Are you looking into getting shingles, interested in learning more about shingles, or considering replacing your current shingle roof? If so, you’re in pretty good company. Almost a century after their introduction to America, asphalt shingles remain the most common roofing material.


There are still a lot of homeowners who don’t fully understand how shingles work or what they are made of. Throughout this article, we will examine shingles in general and shingle granules specifically. What is those sand-like particles, and how do they affect your roof when they wash away?

The Anatomy of a Shingle and Why Granules Matter

Asphalt shingles are composed of three imperative layers: a base material, an asphalt layer, and a mixture of mineral granules. Support is provided by the backing base, which goes over the roof underlayment and provides a mounting surface. Asphalt gives the shingle depth and weight and provides natural water resistance. So, what’s the purpose of that sand-like stuff?

It is important to note that shingles granules provide several important features and benefits, particularly from an aesthetic point of view. But granules also provide more than just aesthetics:

  1. Direct water flow

By directing the flow of water, granules assist shingles in shedding water. This keeps water from collecting on the roof and flowing down the shingles. If granules are lost in significant amounts, water flow is reduced, and moisture is more likely to penetrate the roof structure.

  1. Sunscreen

These granules consist of minerals and ceramics that are UV-resistant. Imagine the granules as sunscreen applied to your roof. This built-in U.V. protection improves your shingles’ performance and helps extend their service life.

  1.  Heat reduction

Lastly, the granules are coated with reflective coatings, which block infrared radiation and bright sunlight. In warm climates like those found in the Southeast, this heat protection is especially beneficial. The cooler temperature on a hot, sunny day is made possible by the reflective granules on your roof.

  1. Better fire protection

It is true that granules cannot prevent fires from starting inside your home, but they can provide additional fire protection from external threats, such as windblown sparks and burning debris. You can’t have a completely fireproof roof, but you can make it more resistant to fire by adding fire-retardant materials.

  1. Inhibit algae growth.

Roofs in humid climates are prone to blue-green algae growth, but some types of asphalt shingles incorporate copper into the granules to resist this development. It is natural for algae to retain moisture, and this moisture can eventually damage shingles and roofs. Additionally, excessive granule loss increases the likelihood of algae growing on your shingle roof.

  1. Easier shingle installation & improved foot traction

As shingles are packed, transported, and installed, they are protected by granules to prevent them from sticking together. Roofing professionals will also have better foot traction when installing or servicing your roof because of the granules.

So, is Granule Shedding a Bad Thing?

No, you should expect some granule shedding with any asphalt shingle. The purpose of manufacturing these shingles with more granules than they initially require is to allow some granules to be lost during installation. With shingle roofing, you can also expect minimal granule shedding to occur over the life of the roof; that’s just a typical consequence of having a roof that sheds granules. A roof that has shed too many granules can develop problems once it reaches a certain point.

After heavy rain, you shouldn’t be surprised to find granules around your downspouts. U.V. and wind exposure, among other weathering factors, will also lead to granule build-up over time. Nevertheless, if your gutters or downspouts are starting to accumulate significant amounts of shed granules, your shingle roof may be nearing the end of its useful life. A professional roofing contractor like HUDCO Roofing and Exteriors might be able to provide some recommendations regarding roofing repair or replacement after performing a shingle inspection.

What are some common causes – and preventions – for shingle granule loss?

As we mentioned, granule loss is a consequence of regular wear and tear on shingle roofs. If the shingles are maintained under normal conditions, the granules will remain on them. It’s important to note, however, that there are certain factors that can accelerate granule loss, some of which can be prevented as well as manmade. We’ll look at some of the most common causes of premature granule loss, as well as some measures you can take to mitigate it.

Fallen debris.

Grass granules can be scraped off your roof by debris that falls on it. The likelihood that tree limbs will land on your roof can be minimized by taking steps that can help reduce the likelihood of windstorms and other weather events breaking off tree limbs. Trim back any overhanging trees or tall shrubs close to your house on an annual basis. A smaller number of limbs overhead means fewer granules will be shed by debris.

Clogged gutters

A clogged gutter can cause your shingles to shed even more granules. During a storm, debris collected in your gutter can be blown or washed up onto your roof, and this debris can knock even more granules off.

Foot traffic

If you need to go onto your roof for whatever reason, make sure you wear shoes with soft rubber soles. This will help protect your roof from unnecessary wear and tear. Also, make sure you hire a professional roofer to inspect, clean and repair your roof when needed.

Pressure washing

 The combination of high pressure and excessive force can strip away protective sealants and cause damage to the underlying roofing material. It can also tear off the granules that protect the underlying roofing material from the elements, resulting in premature wear and tear.

Storm damage

You’ll probably not be surprised to learn that roof damage is most common due to storms. Wind, hail, and heavy precipitation can do a number on your roof, including taking off excessive shingle granules. The longer you wait to inspect and repair any damage, the more likely it is that debris, debris build-up, and water seepage will cause additional damage. This can lead to expensive repairs or even roof replacement down the line, so it’s best to take care of any issues as soon as possible.

When is it time to consider a roof replacement?

Even if your roof is covered with the best quality architectural shingles or other asphalt shingle products, no shingle roof will last forever. Here are a few signs that it’s time to make plans for your roof replacement:

  • Bald shingles – Without the granules, the shingles are more likely to be damaged by U.V. rays, wind, and hail. In addition, the granules help the shingles to better reflect heat from the sun, providing additional insulation and temperature regulation.
  • Curling, peeling, buckling, or sagging shingles – As curling or peeling shingles age, they become less effective at repelling water from the roof. This can lead to water seeping under the shingles and into the roof’s infrastructure. This can cause mold growth as the water gets trapped and can’t evaporate. Warped or buckled shingles are a sign that the water has already started to damage the roof’s infrastructure.
  • Damaged flashing – It is imperative to inspect the metal flashing regularly and replace any corroded or damaged pieces. This will help to ensure a secure seal and prevent water entry. Additionally, regular roof maintenance can help detect issues before they become serious.
  • Interior leaks – In most cases, the source of the leak is a broken shingle or a hole in the roof. It’s important to address the issue as soon as possible, as the longer the leak is left alone, the more damage it can cause to the interior of your home, such as mold and mildew growth.

Need to Replace Your Shingle Roof? Partner with the Pros – Choose HUDCO!

The friendly pros at HUDCO Roofing & Exteriors can help you choose the right shingle roof replacement for your home, including quality shingles from Owens Corning. When it comes to local roofing companies in Louisiana, HUDCO Roofing & Exteriors is the most trusted and highest-rated! Our happy customers can tell you why you can trust us to take care of your roofing the right way, too.

HUDCO Roofing & Exteriors can provide you with the help you need. Getting in touch with us can be done by calling us at 225-414-6153. We service areas in Bossier City, Shreveport, and Baton Rouge, LA.

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