Do New Roof Shingles Settle? (Find Out Now!)

Kellan Jansen
by Kellan Jansen

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home. It prevents leaks, keeps your home insulated, and makes your home’s exterior more appealing. That’s why it’s important to fix your roof whenever you notice it’s not functioning as it should.

However, when you fix your roof, the result may not always be perfect. You might find that some of your new roof shingles aren’t lying flat.

If your new roof shingles aren’t lying flat, there could be several reasons. This includes your roof’s age, the weather conditions, and the overall condition of the roof. Often, new roof shingles do settle on their own. You may just need to wait for warmer weather for it to happen. If warmer weather doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to repair them.

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What is a Roof Shingle?

Shingles are a type of roof covering that features a series of overlapping elements. They can be made from materials like:

  • Wood
  • Slate
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Flagstone
  • Asphalt

Shingles are both nailed to your roof and nailed to each other. This keeps them secure during bouts of wind. Shingles also come with an adhesive layer that attaches them even more securely to your roof.

Ultimately, shingles are designed to be a multi-layer system that protects your home from the elements. With adhesive and multiple points for nailing, shingles are an ultra-secure roofing material that should last for years.

How Long Does it Take for New Roof Shingles to Settle?

The exact length of time can vary based on the weather outside your home. Warm weather causes new roof shingles to settle. If you’re in the middle of the warm season, then you can expect your shingles to settle about a week after installation.

You will have to wait longer than this if the weather outside your home is cold. The settling process can last upwards of several months under these conditions. This is why you may not want to install a new roof in winter.

Regardless, it’s important that you don’t try to fix the problem by adding roofing cement or lifting and hand-sealing the shingles. Doing this could damage your new shingles and cause you other roofing problems.

Roof Shingles Are Not Lying Flat

Most standard asphalt shingles attach to your roof with an adhesive strip. This adhesive softens during warm weather. When the shingles are hit with the sun, they become more flexible and their adhesive strips activate.

This is why new shingles sometimes won’t lie flat immediately after installation. They need time for this process to happen. As it does, the shingles should naturally soften, flatten, and form a permanent seal that solves the problem forever.

You may also find that your north-facing roof slopes are having the most troubles with this issue. That’s because roofs at this angle rarely receive enough heat for the process described above to happen until summer.

If you’re having this issue on a north-facing roof slope, have patience. The problem will resolve itself eventually and your roof won’t be harmed during this process.

New Shingles Not Settling on Multiple Layer Roof

The process described above is usually the reason why new roof shingles haven’t settled yet. However, you could be dealing with a different issue if you’ve installed new shingles over an existing layer.

It’s always better to tear off existing shingles before adding a layer. However, this is a costly process, and one that some homeowners wish to avoid.

Once the new layer of shingles has had time to seal, it should conform to the configuration of the old roof. This isn’t always attractive but your roof will function properly.

If the new layer of shingles never settles, then it’s likely there was an issue with the installation process. The roofer should have swept away all debris and sunk any nails that were sticking out of your existing shingle layer. If he didn’t that might be why your new shingles aren’t sealing properly.

New Shingles Not Settling Because of Faulty Installation

It’s also possible that there was an issue with your installation process. You can identify this by keeping an eye out for voids or gaps beneath the bottom edges of the shingles. If these exist even after the roof has had a chance to seal, then it’s likely that something in the installation process was off.

One of the more common errors is incorrectly nailed shingles. Most new shingles come with a nailing guide that tells the roofer exactly where they need to nail each shingle. When this guide isn’t followed, it can lead to a layer of uneven shingles that appear as though they’re not settling.

Another issue that could have occurred is something called lapping shingles. Shingles need to be butted snugly side-by-side in a horizontal row. When they’re lapped over one another instead, the shingles may not be able to seal.

You can fix these issues by contacting a reputable roofer in your area. If this issue was caused by another professional roofer, then you should be able to either have the repairs done for free or get a refund.

Faulty Shingles Aren’t Settling

Your shingles also won’t settle if they’re faulty. Inexpensive shingles often lack the adhesive needed to seal themselves down properly. The shingles you purchased may also have simply not been built properly by the manufacturer.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from this issue. First, invest in quality shingles from a reputable lumberyard. Doing so makes it much more likely that you’re going to get a product that will not only seal properly but also last for years to come.

Additionally, try to only purchase shingles from the upper layers of the pallet they come on. This may not sound important, but it can actually make a huge difference.

Shingles that lie on the bottom of a pallet can warp to the shape of the wood slats. These warped shingles take longer to seal, are more difficult to install, and are more likely to have gaps that can cause the edge of the shingle to pull away from your roof.

How to Fix Shingles That Never Settle

If you notice that your new shingles aren’t settling, the first thing you should do is give them a few months to fix the problem. As described above, shingles need warm weather to settle and this could take a while if you’ve done the work during the cold season.

If your shingles still haven’t settled after a few months, it’s time to take action. Call the roofer who did the work if you think that the installation process was poor or the shingles themselves were faulty.

You can find warranty information for your shingles on the package they came in or online if you don’t have that anymore. Unfortunately, this warranty is unlikely to cover your problems if the roofer didn’t follow the installation process properly.

In that scenario, you’re going to have to ask the roofing company to either fix the issue themselves or provide you with the monetary value of the work. Be sure to check with your local building authority to see how long roofing contractors in your area need to guarantee their work.

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Related Questions

Why does my new roof look wavy?

If your new roof is looking wavy, then chances are the reason for this is covered above. Wavy roofs may look that way because your shingles haven’t had the chance to seal yet.The problem could also be the result of a faulty installation process or faulty materials. Finally, your roof may also appear wavy if you’ve installed a new layer of shingles on top of an existing one.

Will asphalt shingles seal in cold weather?

No, asphalt shingles typically won’t seal in cold weather. The sealant needs warmer temperatures in order to activate. If the current temperatures are at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then the seal won’t take place until warmer weather is present.

Will shingles reseal?

No, shingles are not designed to be separated from the roof after having already sealed to it. If this happens to your shingles, then you will need to use an alternative method to reseal them. Depending on which type of shingles you have, you may be able to hand reseal them with roof cement.

Kellan Jansen
Kellan Jansen

Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.

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