When it’s working properly, your roof provides ventilation and protects you and your house from the elements. To determine if your roof is – or soon will be – in need of repair or replacement, look for the following indicators.
Check the wood in your attic for dark or moldy spots, particularly around your chimney and vents. If the dark spots are wet or the wood where they’re found is soft (use a screwdriver to test) you’ve got a problem, likely in the form of an active roof leak or inadequate roof ventilation causing condensation in your attic.
Other telltale signs of a damaged roof, evident from inside, include discolored areas on the walls or ceilings of rooms just below your attic, sagging ceilings, loose wallpaper, drips, peeling paint, and a significant change in your heating or cooling bills.
Moving outside, examine the state of your shingles. Are they curling or blistering, indicative of poor ventilation? Are they buckling or cracked, a condition likely caused by movement of the roof deck? Have shingles lost a significant amount of granules (check your gutters, where the granules will collect)? Are there brown or black streaks on shingles, indicating algae growth? Are shingles missing entirely?
Also look for loose, corroded, or cracked flashing around your vents, chimney, skylights, and eaves. If damaged flashing isn’t repaired immediately, water can seep under your roof’s membrane and end up in your house.
Lastly, do trees come in contact with your roof? If so, their branches could be damaging your roofing material and causing leaks, so trim trees back regularly.
If checking the roof yourself, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions, or better yet, call a professional for a thorough inspection.