The granules on the shingles are the small pebbles of color that are added last. They are pressed into the shingle to give it the right color and texture to look gorgeous on your roof. You might be concerned if you spot some granules in the downspouts or can see that the shingles on the very edge have begun to lose color. You’re right to be concerned. Granule loss may be normal, but it may also be a sign that your roof has a serious problem, or that the manufacturer made a mistake. Here’s what you need to know about granule loss on the edge of your shingles.

When Granule Loss is Normal

When manufacturers make asphalt shingles, the last step is to press granules into the top. They add more than is necessary on purpose. It’s kind of like when you put glitter onto a surface, you just added glue too. You add more than necessary, so you can be sure every spot is covered. It’s normal for some of the glitter to come off when you’re done, just as it’s normal for some of the shingle granules to come off when they are first installed. However, granule loss after the roof has been rained on the first few times is a matter of concern.

Lack of Edge Protection

Are the shingles that have lost granules also curled over a bit? This is common on roofs that don’t have edge protection. While many people, and some inexperienced roofers, think of roofs as just as a layer of shingles, there are actually more components, especially at the edge.

Here, a roof needs a drip edge (which is a metal flashing), fascia, and gutters. Without these three components, water doesn’t end up heading down to the ground safely. Instead, it might drip off the edge of the shingles. This erosion may strip the edges of the shingles of granules.

To fix this issue and prevent further damage to the roof, you’ll need to have the edge shingles replaced, and you’ll need to have the proper edge components installed.

Ice Dams

Shingles may also lose their granules from ice dams. This phenomenon occurs when the snow melts on your roof and then re-freezes on the edge of the roof just before it gets into the gutters. Constant ice dam exposure can wear out the shingles and remove the granules from the affected shingles. In this case, you need to get the shingles replaced and the underlying problem causing the ice dams fixed.

Is Granule Loss a Manufacturer Defect?

Granule loss may be a manufacturer defect. If you suspect your shingles were simply not made correctly, you’ll need a professional roofer to confirm your guess and help you make a claim under your warranty with the manufacturer. Some manufacturers consider this to be a “cosmetic” problem that doesn’t actually affect the performance of the roof. In this case, they will not replace the shingles.

Your roofer is best positioned to tell you if granule loss will bea problem for your roof’s lifespan or performance. They can also help guide you to choose manufacturers who offer warranties that cover this problem.