Understanding Roof Shingle Buckling and Its Causes

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Roof shingles play a crucial role in protecting your home from external elements. However, like any other component of your home, they can experience issues. One such issue is shingle buckling. Buckling is a visible distortion or wave-like appearance on the surface of shingles. It’s essential to understand the causes of this problem to address it effectively and maintain the longevity of your roof.

The Science Behind Buckling

Buckling occurs due to the movement of the wood roofing deck or the wrinkling of the underlayment beneath the shingles. It’s a manifestation of underlying issues that, if not addressed promptly, can escalate to more severe problems, potentially leading to a full roof replacement.

Key Causes of Shingle Buckling

1. Moisture and the Exposed Deck

When an old roof is removed, the wood deck underneath becomes exposed. In conditions with high humidity, this wood can absorb moisture. As the moisture content rises, it can lead to the deck shifting and moving, resulting in buckling.

2. Wet Underlayment

During the installation of a new roof, the underlayment can absorb excessive moisture. This absorption can cause the felt underlayment to wrinkle, leading to visible buckling on the shingles above.

3. Inadequate Ventilation

Proper attic ventilation is crucial for the health of your roof. If your attic lacks sufficient vents, hot air can become trapped. This trapped air can cause the wood to shift or the underlayment to wrinkle, both of which can lead to buckling.

4. Roof Sheathing Issues

The spacing between the boards of your roof deck, also known as roof sheathing, is vital. If these boards are not spaced adequately (at least ⅛” apart), the natural expansion and contraction of the wood can cause shingles to buckle.

5. Use of Improper Materials

Wood decking must be conditioned appropriately to match the moisture equilibrium of the surrounding environment. If this condition isn’t met, the natural expansion or contraction of the wood can lead to buckling.

6. Faulty Installation

It’s crucial to follow the shingle manufacturer’s recommendations during installation. Any deviation can result in improper shingle application, leading to buckling.

Addressing the Issue

If you notice any irregularities in how your shingles lay, it’s essential to act promptly. At The Roofing Center, we have seen and addressed various roofing issues, including shingle buckling. As a leading roofing service in Salt Lake City, we emphasize the importance of regular roof inspections and timely interventions.


Shingle buckling is more than just a cosmetic issue; it’s an indication of underlying problems that need immediate attention. Whether it’s due to moisture, inadequate ventilation, or improper installation, understanding the causes can help homeowners take preventive measures. If you’re looking for a trusted roofer in Salt Lake City, The Roofing Center is here to assist. With our expertise and commitment to quality, we aim to provide the best roofing solutions for our clients.

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