Drenched & Defenseless: The Risk of Missing Shingles on your Roof

Drenched and Defenseless: The Risk of Missing Shingles on Your Roof

Imagine walking around your home after a storm. You quietly pick up branches that have blown off the trees because of heavy winds. Next, you set the lawn furniture upright. Then, you empty the flower pots of the excess water that has filled them and start looking around. You are amazed that you’ve somehow escaped somewhat unscathed with the terrible weather. That’s when you notice that your roof looks different. Several shingles have been torn, and some have even blown off. Your mind immediately goes into overdrive. Do these missing shingles mean that your roof will leak? How much damage has it already caused? What should you do next? 


Regarding roofing damage, many common myths and misunderstandings can leave homeowners confused and uncertain about how to proceed. One of the most persistent myths is that missing shingles automatically indicate a leaky roof. Many factors contribute to roofing damage. Missing shingles may not always be the primary culprit.


To better understand the relationship between missing shingles and roof leaks, it’s important first to know how your roof is constructed. Modern roofing systems are typically made up of several layers. In a typical roofing system, several layers work together to provide protection against the elements and maintain the roof’s integrity. 


Here is an overview of the main layers:

Roof Decking:

The roof decking, also known as roof sheathing, forms the roof’s foundation and is usually made of plywood, OSB, or planks[1]. It provides a solid base on which the rest of the roofing materials can be installed.


The underlayment is a layer of material, typically synthetic or felt, placed on top of the roof decking and beneath the shingles. It serves as an additional barrier against water infiltration. Underlayment also helps protect the underlying structure from moisture damage[2].


Shingles are the most visible layer of a roof and provide the first line of defense against the elements. They come in various materials such as asphalt, wood, metal, or slate. They are installed in overlapping rows to shed water away from the roof.


Flashing is used to seal and protect vulnerable areas of the roof. It protects the roof in areas where water could potentially penetrate, such as around chimneys, vents, and skylights[1]. It is typically made of metal and installed at joints and transitions to prevent water from seeping into the underlying layers[1].

These are the primary layers of a roofing system; however, additional components such as ice and water barriers, ridge vents, and insulation may also be included depending on the specific roof design and climate requirements[2].

So, while shingles serve as the most visible layer of protection against the elements, they are not the only line of defense against leaks and other types of damage.

In fact, missing shingles may not always result in a leaky roof. Depending on the location and severity of the missing shingles, there may be sufficient overlap from other shingles to prevent water from penetrating. The underlayment and waterproof membrane layers can also provide additional protection in the absence of shingles.

Roofing Damage Concerns:

Of course, this does not mean that missing shingles should be ignored or treated lightly. Even if a leaking roof is not an imminent threat, missing shingles can still compromise the overall integrity of your roof and leave it vulnerable to future damage. Over time, exposure to the elements can cause the underlayment and membrane layers to deteriorate, leading to more extensive leaks and water damage down the road.

To prevent these problems from occurring, it’s important to address missing shingles as soon as they are identified. This will involve calling a professional roofing contractor to repair or replace the damaged shingles or make more comprehensive repairs to the underlayment and membrane layers as needed. By taking these steps, homeowners can help protect their roofs from damage and maintain the longevity of their roofing systems.

While missing shingles indicate roofing damage, they do not always suggest leaks or other problems. By understanding the many factors contributing the damage, homeowners can make more informed decisions about addressing the issue of missing shingles and protecting their homes from the damaging effects of water intrusion and other roofing damage.

Who to Call:

If you notice missing shingles or other problems with your roofing system, don’t hesitate to contact Moss Roofing in Indianapolis, IN. We will provide you with a free, no-obligation estimate. We look forward to working with you! 


[1] What Are the Different Roof Layers? (And How They Work) – Roofers Guild

[2] Anatomy of a Roof – Owens Corning Roofing

Share This Article Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Pinterest Icon LinkedIn Icon
Scroll to Top