Hey Vern! While I was up on a ladder the other day I noticed a lot of build up from my asphalt shingles in my gutters. Enough that I had to wash it out with a hose.

Should I be worried about shingle rocks in my gutters? I assume some might not be a big deal… but the amount has me worried. Just for reference: it was about a ½” of thick, compacted build up. 

Is my roof on the road to leaks? Do I need to call you guys to take a look- or am I being anxious over nothing?


Shelby from Pottsville, PA

Shelby, I’m glad you reached out when you did! I truly appreciate a homeowner that keeps track of their roof health. 

Smart homeowners know that spotting roof damage early can be the difference between replacing a few shingles…and replacing your entire roof. While I’m not out there myself to take a look at what your roof looks like- I can offer you a little insight into what’s happening.

Good news: Granule build-up in gutters is such a common occurrence it even has its own nickname. We call it “fall-off”. 

But how do you gauge when fall off is normal… and when it’s a problem? 

In order to answer that question, let’s first take a look at how asphalt shingles work to protect your home.

Asphalt Shingles: America’s Top Choice Since 1903

Asphalt granules

When Henry Reynolds first cut asphalt rolls to install on roofs, he probably didn’t realize he was reinventing the way we protect our homes. 

Since then, asphalt roofs have become the most popular roofing style in America. Today, 80% of residential builds have asphalt roofs. 

All asphalt shingles are made from a base of either felt or fiberglass with asphalt granules attached to the mats. The granules create a layer of protection and a shield from the weather. 

It may sound funny, but our roofing supplier, GAF takes pride in their asphalt granules specifically- and for good reason. Their asphalt granules utilize a layer lock technology for extra longevity and protection. GAF knows fall-off happens regularly, so they layer granules in such a way to account for it. Even more, their shingles release algae fighting copper as the granules fall-off. It’s the best coverage available to homeowners. 

Losing some of these granules is normal but the age of your roof is the biggest factor in determining if there’s a problem. 

Strange but true: New asphalt shingle roofs see the most fall-off. 

It’s a sign your roof is working correctly! The granules loosen during installation, and rinse off during rain. Shingles- especially good quality shingles- are designed with heavy layers of granules so they don’t get damaged while the roofing crew is laying them.  

An asphalt roof has a lifespan as high as 30 years. If your roof is getting closer to the end of its life expectancy and you’re seeing lots of fall-off? It’s time to consider replacement.

Unfortunately, age may not be the only reason you’re seeing fall-off. 

If your roof’s only middle aged? It’s time to check for water damage. 

Water Damage- Your Roof’s Greatest Threat

Water damaged granules

On average, water damage accounts for 29% of all homeowner insurance claims each year

If you’re lucky, you can catch the damage while it’s still contained to your home’s exterior. If you’ve noticed water in your attic, no need to examine the outside…you know you have a leak!

Shelby, since you noticed this early on, odds are the issue isn’t exponential. This is one of the reasons we urge homeowners to perform regular maintenance checks. Catching water damage early can save you thousands in repairs!

However, I’d recommend examining the top of your roof anyway. Grab a ladder and look for:

  • Stained or discolored shingles 
  • Bald spots from missing granules
  • Cracks and blisters

If you don’t see anything like these issues and your roof is <5 years old, you don’t need to worry. 

But if you have an older roof and see some wear, give us a call. Our team is happy to give you peace of mind by stopping by for a free roof evaluation.  Just give us a call at 570-345-0436 and I’ll get you on my schedule.

I always say, better safe than sorry. 

Until next time,


PS: One suggestion for combatting fall-off? I’d recommend gutter guards. This secret low maintenance installation filters debris (like granules) out of your gutters! Not to mention it cuts back on how often your gutters need to be cleaned.