If you have asphalt shingles on your home, you may be wondering about the available sealant coatings that roof services can apply to your shingles. These products are advertised as a means of extending the life of your installation and reducing your need for roof repair over its lifetime. Yet before you hire a roof company to put one of these sealants on, take a few minutes to learn about them so you can decide whether sealants are a worthwhile investment.
What Are Shingle Sealants?
Asphalt shingle sealants are acrylic coatings that, when correctly applied to shingles by experienced roof services, may increase the lifespan of your shingles. They can either be sprayed or rolled on; reportedly they reduce typical weather-related damage that asphalt shingles face over the years.
Sealants look white when first applied but dry clear so there is no evidence of a coating and the actual shingle can be seen. The manufacturers of these products claim they will protect shingles so you are less likely to need roof repair. They may even improve wind resistance by sealing shingle edges, preventing wind from blowing underneath.
Do Shingle Sealants Actually Work?
According to current manufacturers of the various asphalt shingle sealants available, these products are reported to extend the life of your shingles by as long as ten years when applied as required by a professional roof company. Most roof services find that a sealant can help you get two or three more years out of your installation, but not much more.
In addition, sealants can sometimes cause reduced permeability problems with shingles. Reduced permeability can cause condensation under the shingles, which can lead to damage to the decking and trusses over time and ongoing destruction of the shingles if they are unable to dry out. Due to these significant concerns and the limited benefit typically gained, many roof repair contractors are reluctant to use sealants.
Known Issues with Asphalt Shingle Sealants
In additional to the possibility of destroying the natural permeability of your shingles, one of the biggest concerns with the use of an asphalt sealant is that it be correctly applied by a skilled roof company that is familiar with these coatings. Unless they are applied to clean, dry shingles, sealants may not adhere well and could peel off. Poorly adhered sealants may also cause shingles to curl upward, increasing the possibility of leaks rather than decreasing the chance.
To promote adherence, manufacturers recommend applying sealants to asphalt roofs that have been thoroughly cleaned with a pressure washer. Unfortunately, pressure washing is damaging to asphalt shingles and can remove the granule coating, reducing shingle reflectiveness and weather resistance. Therefore, to avoid these and other problems, the best time to apply any kind of coating is when the shingles are first installed.
Should you consider having roof services apply an asphalt shingle sealant to your roof? When attempting to decide whether a sealant is a good idea, keep in mind that they often provide limited protection and come with a potential for other problems. In addition, sealants will not prevent damage that requires roof repair if not applied to clean, dry shingles and are best used on brand new installations. Consult with your roof company, assess the condition of your shingles, and decide accordingly!