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Why Are My Roof Shingles Buckling? (Causes, Solutions, and Prevention)

Posted on July 5, 2024

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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roof shingles buckling

Roof shingles play a crucial role in shielding your home from the elements. However, when they begin to buckle, it signals an underlying issue. Buckling happens when roofing materials lift, warp, or distort, resulting in an uneven roof surface. Beyond impacting your home’s appearance, this issue can escalate to more significant problems if ignored. 

To help you make the best decisions for your roofing needs, this blog post will delve into the reasons behind roof shingle buckling, methods to detect it, effective solutions for repair, and strategies to prevent recurrence.

Why Do Roof Shingles Buckle?

Buckled roof shingles are typically caused by moisture issues such as water damage to the roof deck or insufficient attic ventilation. This moisture can warp and wrinkle the roof underlayment or decking, pushing the shingles upwards. Improper installation practices, like inadequate spacing between roof deck panels, also contribute to shingle buckling. 

This unsightly distortion is more than just an aesthetic issue, it indicates potential problems beneath the surface. Buckled shingles can jeopardize your roof’s ability to protect your home from the elements, resulting in leaks, water damage, and even structural problems if left untreated.

Also Read: 8 Reasons to Choose Impact-Resistant Roof Shingles for Your Home

What Causes Roof Shingles To Buckle?

1. Exposed Roof Deck: 

Removing an old roof exposes the wood deck, which can absorb moisture and shift, causing shingle buckling. This is common in older homes with insufficiently sealed decks.

2. Wet Underlayment: 

Wet underlayment
Wet Underlayment

If the underlayment absorbs moisture during installation, it can wrinkle, leading to shingle buckling. Proper sealing and dry conditions are crucial.

3. Improper Attic Ventilation: 

Improper attic ventilation
Improper Attic Ventilation

Poor attic ventilation leads to heat and condensation buildup, causing uneven expansion and contraction of the roof deck and shingles, resulting in buckling.

4. Inadequate Roof Deck Spacing: 

Roof deck boards spaced less than 1/8 inch apart can force shingles to buckle due to restricted natural wood movement with temperature and humidity changes.

5. Improper Roof Deck Materials: 

Unconditioned roof deck materials for local moisture levels can lead to shingle buckling, especially in areas with high humidity or significant temperature changes.

6. Improper Shingle Installation:

Not following manufacturer guidelines, such as incorrect nailing or inadequate overlap, can cause shingle buckling. 

7. Overlapping Shingle Layers: 

Installing new shingles directly over old shingles (a “roof-over”) commonly causes shingle buckling due to trapped moisture and uneven underlying shingles.

8. Roof Age: 

Older roofs are more prone to moisture-related issues and shingle buckling due to the degradation of roofing materials and components over time.

How To Fix Buckled Roof Shingles

The fix for buckling shingles depends on the severity of the problem and its underlying cause. Below are some possible options:

 For Minor Buckling

1. Re-nailing or Re-adhering Shingles

If buckling affects only a few shingles in a localized area, you can attempt to fix it with simple repairs. Carefully remove the affected shingles, inspect the underlying area for damage, and securely re-nail or re-adhere them to restore their position.

2. Enhancing Ventilation

Improve ventilation by adding vents or upgrading existing systems to prevent moisture buildup, which can cause underlayment wrinkles and shingle buckling.

3. Sealing and Repairing

To prevent further buckling, repairing damaged sections is crucial. Apply roofing cement or sealant to secure raised shingles and block water infiltration.

For Extensive Buckling

1. Fix Wrinkled Underlayment

Address wrinkled underlayment by removing affected shingles, fixing the underlayment, and installing new shingles with professional help to ensure a smooth, lasting roof. This process requires effort but ensures proper shingle placement.

2. Consider A Roof Replacement

If widespread buckling occurs and the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, replacing the entire roof might be the most cost-effective solution. New materials offer improved resilience against weather and fire hazards compared to older roofs.

3. Improve Attic Ventilation

Increase attic ventilation to avoid shingle buckling caused by heat and moisture buildup over time. Install ridge or gable vents to improve air circulation and reduce moisture buildup. Adequate ventilation significantly increases the roof’s longevity.

4. Professional Roof Inspection and Repair

Engage a professional roofer to conduct a thorough inspection to pinpoint the underlying cause of the buckling, whether it’s related to moisture, installation errors, or structural issues. They will propose comprehensive repair strategies to restore the roof’s integrity.

How To Prevent Roof Shingles Buckling

1. Regular Inspections

Schedule bi-annual roof inspections to detect early signs of damage or deterioration, both inside and outside your roof.

2. Ventilation and Insulation

Maintain proper attic ventilation and insulation to balance temperature and humidity levels, preventing moisture buildup that can damage shingles over time.

3. Use Proper Roofing Materials

Choose roofing materials that match local moisture levels and are approved by the manufacturer. Keep materials dry before and after installation. Use a compatible underlayment for a stable base and to prevent moisture-related issues.

4. Follow Installation Procedures

Follow manufacturer guidelines when installing shingles, using spacers between decking boards for expansion and securely fastening them to the framing. Avoid installing new shingles over old ones to prevent potential buckling in the future.

5. Perform Regular Maintenance and Inspections

Schedule yearly inspections with a certified roofer to promptly identify and resolve potential issues. After storms, clean the roof to clear debris and inspect for damage, especially moisture-related issues that can cause buckling if left unchecked.

DIY vs. Professional Repair: What To Consider When Fixing Buckling Roof Shingles

When deciding between DIY and professional repair for buckling roof shingles, consider the damage’s extent, your skills, resources, and potential risks. While DIY can be useful for saving money, addressing underlying issues like poor ventilation or moisture problems often calls for professional help. 

Attempting complicated repairs without proper knowledge can worsen the problem and result in costly mistakes. For best results and safety, communicate with a reputable roofing contractor who can accurately assess the problem, recommend an appropriate solution, and deliver long-lasting repairs backed by warranties.

How Much Can It Cost To Repair Buckled Roof Shingles?

Replacing buckled roof shingles can cost between $150 and $1,000, influenced by various factors:

Minor Repairs

For minor issues involving just a few shingles, expect to pay around $150 to $300. This includes the cost of replacement shingles and labor.

Moderate Damage

Repairing 10-20 square feet of shingles generally costs between $1,000 and $3,000. This covers a larger repair area and potential underlying issues like water damage.

Major Roof Damage

Extensive buckling across a large area can cost $3,000 to $6,000 or more. In such cases, a full roof replacement might be more cost-effective than individual repairs.

Roofing Material Type

The type of roofing material affects costs, with materials like luxury shingles being more expensive per square foot.


To sum up, understanding why roof shingles buckle and taking steps to fix and prevent issues can make your roof last longer and protect your home from water damage. Whether it’s cleaning the roof, ensuring proper ventilation, or doing regular inspections, keeping up with roof maintenance is crucial for a strong roof.
If you are seeing signs of roof shingle issues or have concerns about your roof’s condition, reach out to Clear Cut Xteriors for expert shingle roofing services. With a focus on quality and durability, our experienced team uses the best materials for minor repairs and complete roof replacements. Call us today at (651) 340-3410.

Clear Cut Xteriors
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