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9 Signs of Roof Damage That You Shouldn’t Ignore

A well maintained roof can easily last for decades, stalwartly keeping your house dry under the worst of conditions. However, in order to provide this protection, homeowners need to look out for some common signs of damage.

If left unchecked a small leak can quickly develop into a serious problem. The good news is most of these warning signs, if caught early, can be fixed without too much fuss. Keep reading to learn the 9 signs of roof damage that you shouldn’t ignore.

Shingle Damage

Asphalt shingles are your house’s first line of defense against rainwater intrusion, keeping the elements outside where they belong. However, shingles don’t last forever and there will come a time when they need replacing. Sometimes the problem will develop slowly, while other times it will be caused by storm damage.

One warning sign to look out for is a sudden accumulation of shingle granules (the black sand-like material shingles are topped with) in your gutter runoff. These granules play an important role in shingle durability, and their loss can indicate your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan.

Severe weather poses a risk to shingles – particularly if they were already older. High winds can cause tree branches to fall on your roof, or can even cause wind damage directly by pulling shingles from the roof. Hail damage can take the form of cracked or pitted shingles. These impact pits will cause the shingle to be more prone to failure.

Sign of roof damage you shouldn't ignore

Regardless of the cause, you’ll want to get damaged or missing shingles fixed before leaks lead to further damage. Remember that if your roof was damaged in a storm you may be able to file an insurance claim. Take lots of pictures, save your receipts, and contact your insurance ASAP to get the process started.

Water Stains

If you notice discoloration to one part of your roof after rain storms then your roof may be letting you know that repairs are going to be needed soon. Roofs should shed water like a duck’s back, and staining lets you know that moisture is getting trapped between the shingle and the roof sheathing.

Even if you aren’t experiencing any leaks inside, it is important to get this looked at quickly before mold sets in and begins to cause structural damage.

Attic Leaks

Leaks in your attic are a clear sign that your roof is not functioning as it should. All leaks are serious problems that have to be remedied quickly before mold and mildew develop. If you leave these problems too long you may need a new roof and an expensive mold remediation service.

Ceiling Stains

At risk of sounding repetitive – any signs of a leak is an indication that something is wrong with your roofing system. If you see stains, discoloration, or your ceiling paint blisters, these are all signs of water ingress. The roof leak itself may be very minor – but the resulting water damage can be very costly. You’ll want to contact your roofing contractor and have them look for and remedy the source of the problem.

Mold growth where roof and exterior wall meet

A general rule that homeowners should learn early is that mold is always an unwelcome house guest and often indicates a problem in development. Mold growth where your roof and exterior wall meet often means that there is a problem with your gutters. It could be as simple as a clogged downspout is causing the gutter to back up, or a section of flashing may have come loose.

Contact a roofing company and have them fix the cause of the mold – resist the temptation to simply spot clean the mold and call it good. There may be water leaking inside of your walls causing serious structural damage that you won’t be able to see until it’s too late.

Watch out for damage or loose step flashing

Damaged Gutters

Your gutters are an important part of your house’s weatherproofing, safely channeling water away from your house. Yet despite their importance they are exposed to a wide variety of risks like fallen branches or being overloaded by ice dams. If you notice your gutters have begun to sag, pull away from the roof, or overflow during rainstorms then you should have a roofer come out and determine the root of the problem.

Loose Step Flashing

Step flashing provides a waterproof barrier between your shingles and vertical surfaces like chimneys, skylights, or siding sticking out of your roof. If this flashing loosens, a channel is created which allows water to flow directly alongside your siding. This can cause your siding to fail, mold to grow, or leaks to develop.

This type of problem is more difficult to see from the ground, so you’re only likely to notice this while doing gutter cleaning or if your house has windows which look out onto your roof. Difficult to detect problems such as these are a big reason why it is important to have your roof inspected regularly.

Damaged Venting

You may be surprised to learn that your roof has a few different types of venting. In addition to outlets for bathroom fans, your roof may include an attic vent or a ridge vent. These vents allow hot air to escape from your attic and prevent moisture buildup.

If these vents are plastic then they will inevitably crack, allowing water to enter your attic. Even metal vents and ridge vents are not immune to failure, occasionally succumbing to wind damage. Like step flashing, this type of problem is not easily identified from the ground. Having your roof inspected is the only sure way to stay ahead of this problem.

Sagging

Sagging is a serious problem that often points to water damage. If left unchecked, water damage can weaken the structure of your roof, allowing the weight of the shingles to bend the underlying supports. You will need to contact a roofer and see what remediation is possible. You may only need to reinforce some undersized rafters, or the problem could be more serious and you may be looking at a complete roof replacement.

Keeping a Roof Over Your Head

Roofs are exceptionally durable, and when well maintained are one of the longest lasting components of your house. However, sometimes mother nature or father time conspire against roofs, resulting in damage that will need to be addressed.

Most of the common problems your roof will encounter can be easily repaired – although in extreme cases storm damage, old age, or neglected maintenance can mean that your roof will need replacement.

If you are able to repair your current roof you will almost always save money over a roof replacement. Schedule a free roof inspection today to ensure that your roof is in top condition.