A home in the DC metro area with a new roof from Shanco.

Homeowners are tasked with checking the exterior and interior of their home to make sure that their roof is performing as it should. One visible way of determining roof health is looking at your gutters. You may ask what your gutters have to do with the health of your shingles? The answer is in the shingle composition and shingle sediment loss.  

What Are Roof Granules? 

You may have noticed fine, sand-like materials or even rock-like sediment in your gutters or downspouts. That is not a result of dirt and debris being kicked up onto your roof. There isn’t gravel in your gutters!  

These pebbles or gravel are from the rough top layer of your shingles. The granules are meant to preserve your roof shingles. Finding granules in your gutters is commonplace unless you find a bunch of granules. 

What are Shingle Granules Made Of?  

The granules that make up the top layer of shingles are comprised of crushed stone and other minerals. These granules can come in virtually any color and shape.  

Composition of Asphalt Shingles Roofs 

Shingles start with a base mat that is coated with many layers of asphalt. The top layer of the roof shingle is coated with pulverized minerals. These minerals become embedded in the surface of the shingle mat. 

The granules protect the mat layers of the shingle from physical wear and tear. The granules also prevent deterioration of the mat from ultraviolet rays.  Additionally, granules do provide a level of fire resistance to your roof.  

The granules also provide a surface that roofers can easily walk on. Imagine trying to walk on a roof without any sort of material to help your grip. A roof without granules would be slick and dangerous.  

Finally, the functionality of granules prevents shingles from sticking together and making a brick of unusable asphalt.  

How Much Granule Loss is Too Much? 

This depends on how new your roof is. Even a new roof may have slight granule loss. Where homeowners need to pay attention is if there is considerable loss in a particular area of the roof.  

Another thing to keep in mind regarding granule loss is extreme weather events. Has there been hail recently that could cause shingle bruising and loss? If you notice 

  • An uptick in granule quantity in your gutters 

  • Bald spots of missing granules on your roof shingles 

  • Severe hail or dropped limbs on your roof 

Excessive loss can be an indicator of a roof replacement or roof repair project. Staying on top of the condition of your roof as it ages can save homeowners in the long run. Take the time to schedule a free roof inspection with Shanco.

A roof with missing shingles granules and curled edges.

A shingled roof with severe granule loss. The edges of the shingles have started to curl, leaving an opportunity for roof leaks to develop.

How Do You Stop Granular Roof Loss? 

Stopping granular loss is easier said than done. Shingles will naturally shed granules over time. However, it is important to reduce the chances for an accident to cause granule loss.  

Shanco recommends keeping branches trimmed back and away from your roof. An extreme weather event could cause a branch to drop and damage your roof to the point of repair or in severe cases, replacement.  Trimming branches back can only help preserve your shingles. 

Additionally, we do not recommend pressure washing your roof. Often, homeowners think that this is a good way to clean off mold, moss, grime, and more. In fact, pressure washing your roof will cause damage, including, but not limited to losing granules.  

Otherwise, enjoy your roof. Conduct regular gutter clean-out and look for significant granule shedding. As your roof ages schedule regular roof inspections with a trusted professional like Shanco.  

How Do You Remove Granules from Your Gutters? 

Shingle granules can easily be removed with a scoop and disposed of in the trash. This process should be part of your bi-yearly gutter clean-out.  

Shanco recommends cleaning in the spring and fall. This ensures that your gutters are free and clear of any debris for the temperatures of summer and winter. Any granules that are left behind should be rinsed away to the downspouts. 

Are You Finding Granules in Your Gutters? Call Shanco for a Free Roof Inspection!  

Shanco serves the Washington D.C. metro area, NOVA, and Richmond. Over the past 20 plus years, we’ve helped countless homeowners with their home improvement projects like roof repairs and replacements. If you are seeing an uptick in granules in your gutters, Shanco is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection.