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What Does Granular Loss Mean for Your Roof?

August 16th, 2023 | 4 min. read

What Does Granular Loss Mean for Your Roof?

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Granular loss is a common occurrence that every roof experiences. However, that doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore. 

The problem is you probably don’t even know what it is or what it means for your roof. Don’t worry; most homeowners are in the same boat. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has taken pride in educating homeowners on all things roofing. That’s why I’ll break down what you need to know about granular loss. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • What is granular loss?
  • What does granular loss mean for your roof?
  • How do you identify granular loss without getting on your roof?

What is granular loss?

Granules are little pieces of asphalt embedded in asphalt shingles for fire resistance, color, and UV ray protection. The whole point of granules is to ensure the longevity of an asphalt shingle roof.

asphalt shingle roof with granular loss

Granular loss is simply when your asphalt shingles start to lose their protective granules. Luckily, losing granules is perfectly natural and expected as your roof ages.

However, aging isn’t the only thing that causes asphalt shingles to lose their granules. Below are the other ways a roof experiences granular loss:

  • Hail damage
  • Tree limbs hitting the roof
  • Power washing
  • Improper installation
  • Manufacturer defects

Unfortunately, the above ways lead to granular loss much quicker than standard wear and tear. Which takes us to the next point. 

What does granular loss mean for your roof?

So, obviously, granules are important to your asphalt shingles. But what does granular loss actually mean for your roof?

If your roof has widespread granule loss, it’s a sign that it’s time for a roof replacement. This is especially true on older roofs once they get around the 20-year mark. 

heavy granular loss from hail damage(Heavy granular loss from hail damage)

If your roof suffered granular loss after a hail storm, you may have an insurance claim. If approved, your insurance covers most or the full cost of replacing your roof. 

Remember, your roof loses granules naturally as it ages. So, finding some granules isn’t something to panic over. 

However, significant granule loss at once or overtime simply means you need a new roof. Just know that you probably won’t learn the extent of granular loss until after a roof inspection.

How do you identify granular loss without getting on your roof?

As I just said, you won’t know how bad the granule loss is until after an inspection. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t identify granular loss yourself. 

3tab asphalt shingle roof with severe granular loss(Roof with severe granule loss)

The first thing you should do is just look up at your shingles and look for bald spots. This can be hard with an untrained eye, but you'll definitely notice if it’s widespread enough. 

severe granular loss on 3tab asphalt shingles(Closer view of the home above)

Next, go look at the areas around your downspouts. It may be hard to spot in grassy areas, so look in the splash blocks too. 

loose granules on the ground

If the granule loss is severe enough, you’ll find a pile of granules at the base of downspouts. Lastly, you can check your gutters, but I don’t recommend risking your safety. 

If you decide to take the risk, please make sure your ladder is safe and fully functioning first. Check the ladder rungs for cracks, and only place it on a firm and level surface. 

loose granules in gutters

Like the ground level, you’ll look in the gutters for a pile of loose granules. If severe enough, you’ll find an entire layer covering the bottom. 

What are the other signs that it’s time for a roof replacement?

Now you know what granular loss is, what it means to your roof, and how to identify it. If your roof is losing its granules, it’s probably telling you it’s time for a replacement. 

However, you won’t know how severe or if it’s enough to warrant a new roof until after a roof inspection. But did you know granular loss is just one sign that you need a roof replacement?

If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, not being able to identify the signs leads to roof leaks that cause damage to the interior of your home. 

I don’t want this to happen to you. That’s why I wrote another article to help homeowners identify when their roof is telling them it’s time for a replacement. 

Check out 6 Signs Your Roof Needs to be Replaced to learn how to spot when you need a new roof.

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