How to Repair Granular Loss on Roof? We'll Tell You.

July 28, 2023

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how to repair granular loss on roof

Oh, granules, where art thou? If you've noticed areas on your roof that are missing those tiny rocks that give shingles their color and protection, don't fret. 

Repairing lost granules is an easy DIY project that will have your roof looking fresh in no time. So, how to repair granular loss on roof? That is the question! There is a protocol to follow that includes identification, purchasing materials, preparing the surface, and applying new granules. 

Without further ado, let's get started! Just grab your walking stick, sun hat, and a big bag of granules, and let's mosey on up to the roof and fix us up some bald spots!

1. Identify Areas of Granular Loss

Is it normal for a roof to lose granules? Yes, actually! But don't worry because the problem can be remedied.

The first step is identifying areas that need attention. Get up on a ladder (be careful not to damage your shingles!) and inspect the surfaces. Granular loss often occurs in sections that get a lot of sunlight or foot traffic.

You may see stripes or patches where the color looks faded. That's where the top layer of granules has worn away, leaving the mat underneath exposed. If left unaddressed, these spots could allow water to penetrate the shingles and cause leaks. We can't let that happen!

2. Purchase Matching Granules

Once you've identified the bare areas, it's time to break out the granules. You can find roofing granule packets at most hardware stores and home centers. Make sure to get the color that matches your existing shingles. If you can't find an exact match, get a slightly darker color - it will blend in better than a lighter shade.

3. Prepare the Surface

Prepare the bald sections by cleaning away any dust or loose granules with a stiff brush. We want the new stuff to adhere properly. Pour the fresh granules into a sprinkling can, cake decorating cone, or other container with a wide mouth and sprinkle them liberally over the denuded areas.

roof repair of large house

4. How to Repair Granular Loss on Roof? Welp, You Gotta Apply the Granules

Once you've prepped the roof's bald sections, it's time to apply the replacement granules. Pour the new granules into a container that allows for easy, controlled sprinkling, such as a flour sifter, spice shaker, or special sprinkling canister. Use a funnel if pouring from the granule bag.

Generously sprinkle the granules over all of the identified problem areas, starting first with the sections showing the worst granular loss. The granules will readily adhere to the tacky asphalt coating exposed underneath the original worn layer. Focus on building up thin spots by applying extra granules to those areas.

The goal is to establish a fresh, consistent granular layer across the whole surface. Apply enough so that the new coating looks uniform but avoid using excessive amounts that could get kicked off and wasted.

5. Embed the Granules

After sprinkling on the replacement granules, they need to be properly embedded into the shingle's asphalt coating to adhere correctly. This mimics the granule compression process used in factory roof shingle manufacturing.

To embed the granules, carefully walk across the entire roof area you covered, placing your rubber-soled shoes onto the new granules with each step. Shift and press down your weight to push the granules into the tacky asphalt beneath. Aim for full shoe sole contact and take slow, measured steps. Target any visibly loose areas with extra compression.

This embedding process may need to be done over two or more passes to get the granules firmly seated. It's an important step, so take your time and check your work, re-compressing any sections that still have loose granules. Once embedded, the granular layer should feel flat and resistant when you brush your hand over it. The goal is to mimic the smooth factory-applied finish for proper adhesion and aesthetics.

6. Check for Even Coverage

After applying the replacement granules to the roof, it's critically important to check that you have achieved even, consistent coverage across all the areas where granular loss occurred. Don't assume the job is complete yet - take time to carefully inspect the roof surface.

Walk slowly over each section that you sprinkled new granules on. Look for thin spots where the asphalt mat is still visible. Also, identify any areas where the granules aren't fully adhered, appearing loose and flaky. Use a gauging tool like a paint stirrer to gently test the application depth in different spots.

Ideally, the new granular layer should be thick enough that the underlying asphalt mat is no longer visible. The coverage should transition smoothly and blend seamlessly with the intact granule areas of the roof. Touch up any spots that still appear thin. Don't leave behind inconsistent patches - maintaining that like-new appearance depends on diligent inspection and making sure the granular coverage is uniform across the entire surface.

how to repair granular loss on roof

7. Make Any Touch Ups

After initially applying the replacement granules, inspect the roof surface closely to see if there are any spots that need a touch-up application. Despite your best efforts, you may find a few areas where the new granules didn't adhere as fully as needed. This is not uncommon.

For any thin or inconsistent sections, do a targeted touch-up application. First, prepare the spot by gently scraping off any loose granules using a putty knife or painter's tool. Apply a thin coat of asphalt cement using a small paintbrush and let it become tacky.

Next, use your sprinkling can to gently apply a fresh layer of granules on just the thin area. Press down with your shoe, or use the brush handle to embed them into the cement. Blend the edges into the surrounding coverage. Doing these touch-ups will ensure a consistent granular layer across the entire roof for proper protection and appearance.

8. Clean Up Granule Mess

After completing the granule application and embedding process, it's important not to leave behind a messy work site on your roof. Any leftover granules need to be thoroughly cleaned up. Having debris strewn across your roof not only looks unprofessional but also poses a safety hazard. Here are some tips for effectively cleaning up after you finish the granular loss repair job:

First, do a visual inspection across the entire roof surface and identify where most of the loose granules have collected. Often, they accumulate in particular areas, like along the bottom edge or in valleys where water runoff occurs. Mark these heavier debris zones, so you know where to focus your cleaning efforts.

Next, starting at the top of the roof, methodically sweep up all the excess granules using a stiff-bristled broom. Apply firm pressure as you work to dislodge particles stuck to the shingles. For stubborn debris, use a flat paint scraper to gently lift it off the surface before sweeping. Work slowly and carefully. Place the accumulated granule piles into a corner of the roof before bagging for disposal.

Once you've swept the entire roof area, do a final overview inspection. Check for any remaining scattered debris in seam areas or hidden corners. For isolated granules, you can use a shop vacuum with a narrow crack attachment to remove them. When done, your roof should be completely free of loose granular material.

Finally, safely bag up the debris piles you've collected and properly dispose of them on the ground. Rake any granules that spilled around the roof perimeter into the beds as well. When you finish, reward yourself with an ice-cold beverage - you've earned it after a job well done!

9. Do Regular Inspections

Maintaining that fresh-from-the-factory look on your roof requires checking for granular loss at least twice a year. Handy homeowners like you now have the know-how to spot bald areas and get them back in tip-top shape. 

What is the primary cause of granule loss? It's usually exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays over time. Years of sun exposure degrades the mineral granules, causing them to wear away and leaving the underlying asphalt exposed.

With a little TLC and a bag of granules, you can keep your roof looking young and stylish for years to come. Those worn spots don't stand a chance against your moxie and DIY spirit!

workers on ladders inspecting roof

Final Thoughts

Repairing granular loss on your roof may seem daunting at first, but as you can see, it's a very manageable process. By following the proper steps for cleaning the surface, applying fresh granules, embedding them correctly, and cleaning up debris, you can breathe new life into worn, weathered roofing. Taking the time to make repairs promptly can extend the life of your roof and prevent costly leaks. With a little patience and the right materials, this is a DIY project any homeowner can tackle. So go forth and restore that like-new roof surface! Your home will thank you for revitalizing its top armor against the elements.

About The Cranston Roofers

With over 20 years of roof repair, you can rest assured The Cranston Roofers have the experience needed to get the job done right. We offer 24/7 emergency roofing services, affordable rates, and we're GAF-certified. Please call (401) 208-2324 to schedule a FREE inspection and quote.

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