Tips to recognize and help prevent common cosmetic and functional failures of your asphalt shingle roof.

Homeowners today tend to favor asphalt shingles, and there is little wonder why. Asphalt shingles have a lot to offer, both practically and aesthetically. Nonetheless, there are some asphalt shingle failure types that homeowners should be aware of prior to selecting asphalt roofing shingles. No type of shingle, whether it is laminated architectural shingles, fiberglass shingles or some other type, is cosmetic damage to asphalt shingle roof infallible. Failures can be cosmetic, functional or both.


The shingle product itself can be defective, which is why warranties on shingles necessary. Shingles can show defects in manufacture or in material when they split, crack, blister, stain, curl or cup. All of these defects can make the roof unsightly and can lead to failure in the integrity of the roof.

Functional defects can be a source of frustration because they can ultimately lead to even bigger issues, like active leaks. Functional failures can also reduce the expected life of the shingles, leaving a consumer that was expecting the shingles to last for thirty years wondering if they will even make it ten. It is sometimes poor materials and factory flaws that result in functional failures, all of which are likely covered under your warranty. Cheaper-made 3-tab shingles are more prone to manufacturer defects than other types.

Oftentimes, damage to asphalt roofing shingles will occur due to weather. Storm damage is common with these shingles. These roof failures are caused by hail, wind and other elements and should be distinguished from roofer installation errors and defects in the product. Curling and cupping can sometimes be due to age and are different from the buckling and curled corners that can be caused by improper ventilation and moisture build-up.


Typically, consumers complain of cosmetic failures in an asphalt roof that produce superficial blistering. This is sometimes just an issue seen with wear and tear over the ordinary life of the roof. Improper randomizing of shingle bundles can also lead to visible color patches on the roof.

Uneven surfaces are sometimes observed post-installation, which does not sit well with homeowners who have spent thousands for the perfect roof. Organic shingles and fiberglass shingles receive roughly the same rate of failure complaints.

Much of the damage that can lead to asphalt shingle roof failure has to do with the contractor that installed the roof in the first place, which is a good reason to get a guarantee on the work done on your roof. For example, improper handling of asphalt shingles prior to installation can cause failure down the road. Improper nailing techniques can cause splitting and cracking of your shingles, and laminated architectural shingles are harder to install and more subject to installer-inflicted damage.

With so many asphalt shingle failure types caused by contractor error, it pays to get more than one roofing estimate and to discuss roofing cost considerations with a professional roofer. QualitySmith can help you locate professional roofers in your area to install roofing for you.