We never argue with a lady, and when Martha Stewart says certain home items should be repaired instead of replaced, we listen. Martha recommends repairing lamps, watches, and window screens, among other things. But can you repair roof shingles

How It’s Made

A typical asphalt shingle from Atlas starts its 20-year expected life span in a factory that combines some simple and not-so-simple ingredients:

  • Asphalt (for water resistance)
  • Cellulose or fiberglass fibers (for tear resistance)
  • Crushed limestone (to form the filler with the asphalt)
  • Some proprietary bonding agents and chemicals (to improve performance)
  • Coated ceramic granules in your choice of color
  • Adhesive or sealants (so one shingle sticks firmly to another)

Together, these form a tough, flexible, water-resistant roofing piece. By the nature of the materials and how Atlas combines them, shingles are designed to be installed in warm or hot weather so they can soften slightly. This makes them stick to one another and hold their shape on your Michigan home’s roof. 

Flexibility and adhesion are two features which help make your roof water-resistant through decades of harsh Michigan winters and hot summers. That flexibility is also the reason shingles are seldom repaired but are, instead, replaced.

Side note: Atlas also has higher grade shingles with a 50-year life span, which is what we use. Work with a roofer who uses premium products to get the highest quality roof.


A shingle is not meant to be strong in every direction under every force. Like a tree in a storm, a shingle gives a little, rather than standing firm against pushes and pulls. The natural resiliency of asphalt and its strong fibers help the shingle bounce back … more or less. 

Over time, the natural and added chemicals in the shingle evaporate, leaving it brittle. With time, granules wear off and drop into your home’s gutters. With hot and cold cycles, sealants lose their adhesion. 

Eventually, the shingle cannot bounce back against damage. Something as simple as a hailstone can dent, crack, or split the shingle. 

Shingles break for many reasons, including:

  • Wind uplift
  • Blunt force impact from hail, tree branches, or batted baseballs
  • Poor installation
  • Age
  • People carelessly walking on the roof (ask your teenagers)

A broken shingle has little to no water resistance. It was formed in a factory under ideal conditions, so it cannot be repaired on-site and still have the same water resistance and strength. It must be replaced. 


Martha Stewart is not a roofer. She may recommend repairing a favorite stuffed animal. That is excellent advice, especially if a little one is nearby with tearful eyes and great expectations. 

Your residential roofer is not Martha Stewart. Your roofer will not suggest repairing individual shingles. A good roofer may recommend replacing broken, damaged, aged, or loose shingles. That is the beauty of a shingle roof, though. Each shingle is a unit, so it can be replaced without significantly affecting the shingles around it. 

A high-quality roofer often recommends partial roof replacement if several shingles on a slope are broken or defective. Replacing the entire sloped side ensures maximum water resistance and a much longer life for your whole roof than you might get with just replacing two or three shingles. 

But They Said …

Suppose you solicit three bids from three companies for the roof repair:

  1. A home handyman service
  2. A general contractor
  3. A residential roofer

The home handyman service is not a roofer. The handyman may claim to be able to repair an individual shingle with some roof cement or other goop and a handful of roofing nails. The result will be hideous, may void your roof warranty, and is not likely to restore any water resistance. 

The general contractor is not a roofer. Expect to hear you need an entirely new roof, even if the damaged shingles could be counted on one hand. The general contractor thinks Big Picture, as in, “Let’s milk these rubes for all they’re worth.” 

A local, reputable residential roofer will calmly listen as you recount the handyman’s ideas: roofing nails and sealant slathered over the broken shingles. 

The honest roofer will politely listen as you explain the general contractor’s solution (What was it? Tear down your entire house and let the contractor build you a new one?)

And then, the genuine professional roofer—the only one with extensive experience and expertise in roofing—will recommend one of two real solutions:

  • Partial roof replacement to fix any unseen damage on the same side of the roof as the visibly damaged shingles, or
  • Individual shingle replacement if the damage is minor and does not appear to be spreading

Victors Roofing respectfully serves homeowners throughout the southeast region of Michigan. We provide a full range of roofing services, from shingle repair to full roof replacement. Contact us today to see how we can apply a little TLC to your roof’s shingles and help preserve your home’s value.