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A single asphalt shingle being installed

When push comes to shove, most homeowners in the U.S. opt for an asphalt shingle roof. Shingles not only enhance the aesthetics of your property but also serve as the first line of defense against rain, snow, and wind. However, when even a single shingle goes missing, it can raise concerns about potential roof leaks.

Today, we’ll explore:

  • The causes of missing shingles
  • The dangers they pose
  • Whether they always result in roof leaks
  • The cost of replacing them
a strip of asphalt shingles that are falling off of the roof

Common Reasons for Missing Shingles

Missing shingles might be easy to spot, but identifying what caused them to disappear? That can be tricky. Here are some of the common causes of missing shingles.

  • Age and Wear: Over time, shingles can deteriorate due to exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures, and harsh weather conditions. As shingles age, they become brittle, making them more susceptible to damage from wind, hail, and debris. Eventually, they may loosen or crack, leading to missing shingles.
  • Severe Weather Events: Storms, hurricanes, and high winds can wreak havoc on your roof. Strong gusts of wind can lift shingles, break them, or even tear them off completely. Heavy rainfall accompanying these weather events can exacerbate the problem by saturating the underlying roofing materials and weakening the shingles’ adhesive.
  • Poor Installation: Incorrect shingle installation is a common cause of missing shingles. If the shingles were not properly fastened or aligned during installation, they are more likely to come loose over time. This is why it’s crucial to hire a reputable roofing contractor who adheres to industry standards.
  • Tree Damage: Overhanging tree branches can scrape against the roof’s surface, dislodging shingles. Falling branches during storms can also cause significant damage, leading to missing shingles.
  • Animal Activity: Squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife may attempt to dig or claw their way through your roof. Their persistent efforts can damage shingles, potentially causing them to go missing.

The Dangers of Missing Shingles

A loose shingle or two may not look like a huge concern, but even one can major damage for your home. Here are some of the risks of not promptly replacing your shingles.

  • Roof Leaks: The most immediate concern when shingles go missing is the increased risk of roof leaks. Shingles serve as a protective barrier, preventing water from infiltrating your home. When shingles are absent, rainwater can seep into the underlying roofing materials and eventually make its way into your living space. This can lead to water damage, mold growth, and structural issues.
  • Reduced Energy Efficiency: Missing shingles can compromise your home’s insulation and energy efficiency. Gaps in the roof can allow conditioned air to escape and outdoor air to enter, causing your HVAC system to work harder and increasing energy bills.
  • Structural Damage: If left unaddressed, water penetration can damage the roof’s underlying structure, including the decking and support beams. This structural damage can be costly to repair and compromise the overall integrity of your home.
  • Mold and Mildew: Moisture infiltration resulting from missing shingles can create an ideal environment for mold and mildew growth. Mold can be harmful to your health and require extensive remediation efforts.

Do Missing Shingles Always Result in Roof Leaks?

One shingle that is missing from an asphalt shingle roof

While missing shingles certainly increase the risk of roof leaks, they do not guarantee that a leak will occur. Several factors come into play:

Roof Pitch:

The slope of your roof can affect whether missing shingles lead to leaks. Steeper roofs tend to shed water more quickly, reducing the chances of infiltration compared to flatter roofs.


Roofing underlayment, a secondary waterproofing layer beneath the shingles, provides an additional barrier against water intrusion. If your underlayment is in good condition and the missing shingles are isolated, it may prevent leaks in the short term.

Weather Conditions:

The frequency and severity of rain and wind in your area can impact the likelihood of a roof leak from missing shingles. In regions with heavy rainfall or high winds, the risk is greater.

Timely Repairs:

The sooner you address missing shingles, the lower the risk of leaks. Prompt repairs can prevent further damage and mitigate potential water infiltration.

Cost to Replace Missing Shingles

The cost of replacing missing shingles can vary based on several factors, including the extent of the damage, the type of shingles used, and labor costs in your area. Here’s a rough estimate to give you an idea:

  • Material Costs: The price of shingles can vary widely, depending on the material. Asphalt shingles are among the most affordable options, while wood, metal, and slate shingles tend to be more expensive. For a small repair job involving a few missing shingles, you might spend around $50 to $100 for materials.
  • Labor Costs: Labor costs depend on the complexity of the repair and the rates charged by local roofing contractors. On average, labor costs for a shingle replacement project can range from $100 to $300 or more.
  • Additional Costs: If there is underlying damage to the roof deck or if multiple shingles need replacement, the cost can increase significantly. Additionally, consider the cost of any necessary permits, disposal fees for old shingles, and potential upgrades or improvements.

It’s important to note that neglecting missing shingles can lead to more extensive and costly repairs in the long run. Addressing the issue promptly can help you avoid further damage to your roof and home.

Just Missing One Shingle? We Can Help

Missing shingles can pose a threat to the integrity of your roof and your home’s overall well-being. While they don’t always guarantee roof leaks, the risks are substantial. Understanding the common causes of missing shingles, the dangers they present, and the potential costs involved in replacement can help you make informed decisions about maintaining and protecting your roof.And whether you need a single shingle replaced or a full roof replacement, Best Exteriors can help! Contact us today to set up your free consultation!

Drew Paetow

We’ll have you love your home project so much that people will drive by and comment on how good it looks. That is our promise to you.

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