If you haven’t inspected your roof in a while, you might have some underlying roof damage left to be discovered. And that just means more extensive (and expensive) repairs in your future.
As a homeowner, it’s your job to maintain and keep a close eye on your home— watching for leaks, higher-than-usual energy bills, or other small issues that can turn into significant repairs. So knowing the signs of roof damage is a great skill to have in your back pocket— trust us.
We’ve put together this guide on the most common signs of roof damage and how you can fix it or take the proper steps to remedy the situation. Check back anytime you think you might have signs of roof damage, and you’ll be doing yourself and your home a favor by catching it early.
The First Signs of Roof Damage and What to Look For
Your roof is constantly bombarded by wind, rain, snow, and hail. So it’s no surprise that your roof will start to show wear and tear. Even the best, newest roofs can sustain roof damage from severe storms— leaving you to pick up the pieces, literally.
Here are some common signs of roof damage to watch out for:
1) Missing or Damaged Shingles
The most common sign of roof damage is missing or damaged shingles. Shingles can come loose for various reasons— from severe weather to old age and everything in between. But if you spot any missing or damaged shingles, it’s important to take action right away.
If not fixed, missing shingles can lead to extensive water leaks, mold growth, or even more severe damage to your roof decking or home’s structure.
2) Shingle Granules In Your Gutters
Asphalt shingles have a protective layer of rock-like granules that are your shingles’ first line of defense against hail, debris, rain, and UV rays. If you notice granules in your gutters or at the end of your downspouts, they were knocked off— likely during a strong storm. The second you lose those granules, your shingles are exposed to the elements and at risk of leaks. So fixing those ASAP is vital to protecting your home.
3) Curled or Loose Shingles
If you notice your shingles are no longer laying flat or they’re beginning to curl up at the edges, that’s a sign they’re nearing the end of their lifespan. It can also be caused by strong winds lifting them up and loosening their roofing nails.
Shingles are designed to lay flat and protect your home from water damage. But over time, they can become dry and brittle— causing them to curl and lose their shape. If not fixed, curled shingles will no longer lay flat and can lead to gaps in your roof that allow water to seep through and cause severe damage.
4) Damaged or Cracked Flashing
Flashing is a critical part of your home’s roofing system— as it serves as the layer designed to protect against water, snow, ice, and other weather-related damage.
But if you notice flashing around your chimney or at any of your roof joints has become loose or damaged, there’s likely some unseen water damage to your roof decking. And if not fixed, that water can slowly seep through your ceilings and rot the wood— creating headaches for you (and costing lots of money) in the long run.
5) Dark Spots on Your Shingles
If you see any dark spots on your shingles, it can mean a few things:
- Hail damage
- Mold growth
- Algae growth
- Excess moisture
While it’s not the worst thing that could happen to your roof, dried algae can be hard to remove and can block more sun from reaching your shingles— lowering their ability to protect against the elements. Discoloration can also be some temporary moisture from a recent rainstorm, but you should get it inspected by a professional to know for sure.
6) Recurrent Ice Dams
Ice dams are chunks of ice along the edge of your roof that, if left untreated, can cause severe water damage to your home. To avoid this problem, you must check your gutters, roof insulation, and attic insulation. These can all be culprits of dreaded ice dams.
7) Higher-Than-Usual Energy Bills
If your roof has leaks, it can quickly raise your energy bills as your hot or cool air escapes from the peak of your home. It could also be a sign that your attic or roof needs to be re-insulated for one reason or another. So check there first.
8) Mold or Mildew in the Attic
Mold growth in your attic can be caused by a roof leak that’s been there for a while. Living in a home with mold or mildew can be very hazardous, especially for people with respiratory issues like asthma. It’s vital you get both your roof and the attic wood or insulation replaced as soon as possible to clear the air and avoid further damage.
9) Clogged Gutters
If you notice your gutters are clogged, it could mean tree debris, leaves, dirt, or other foliage are getting in the way of proper drainage. And when your gutters are clogged, that means the water, snow, or melting ice has nowhere to go but to back up into your roof’s edge. Regularly cleaning out your gutters is vital to roof health, and protecting your home’s siding and foundation.
10) Water Stains on the Ceiling
Water stains on your ceiling are the last thing you want to see, as it’s a sure sign you have a roof leak. And while it may not seem like a big deal at first, if left untreated, even the smallest of leaks can cause major damage to your home— costing you thousands in repairs.
11) Poorly Ventilated Attic
If you have a poorly-ventilated attic, it can be another primary culprit in roof damage. The heat from your home’s warm air can irritate and dry out the wood under your roofing shingles— which puts them at high risk of cracking or curling.
To prevent this problem, make sure to use insulation properly and keep the vents in your attic clear of any debris.
12) Large Debris on Your Roof
If you see large debris like branches, sticks, or other items that got blown around during a storm, it could mean your shingles suffered in the process. While most shingles are relatively strong and durable, larger debris can scratch, dent, or even crack your shingles if the impact is significant enough. Safely clean off the debris and inspect your shingles for damage.
Tips for Fixing Minor Roof Damage
Now that you know a handful of roof damage signs, ok, a large handful, you should also know how to make a few minor repairs. The faster you act on roof damage repairs, the more money you’ll save and the more damage you’ll prevent from spreading. Here are a few essential tips to remedy minor roof damage:
- Get a professional roof inspection. This is the most important thing you can do to fix roof damage.
- Get the proper tools to quickly replace damaged shingles. You’ll need a roofing nailer, roofing nails, a pry bar or roof rake, an extension ladder, a safety harness, and replacement roof decking (potentially).
- Regularly check your attic, gutters, and insulation. These can be the first place you notice a sign of a roof leak, and as a homeowner, keeping up with regular maintenance can save you a ton of pain and strife.
- Fill small holes or cracks with a roof patch or caulk. This is relatively easy and can quickly remedy a small hole in your roof or attic ceiling. Simply utilize a roof patch, roof tar, or caulk to seal the spot and then re-shingle it from the outside if necessary.
- Replace damaged or missing shingles. This is a little more difficult as you’ll need to carefully remove the old shingle without damaging the ones around it, but with practice, it’s not too tricky. You can also hire a professional if this seems like too much work for you.
- Add additional insulation to your attic. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, it’s vital you have enough insulation to protect your home against the elements.
- Replace any damaged or rotted wood on or around your roof. This is a more extensive repair that may require professional help, but it can cause severe damage to your home if left untreated.
- Hire a professional roofer. We love and appreciate a homeowner who wants to DIY all their roof repairs, but some tasks are better left to the pros. Roofing repairs done wrong can void warranties and make issues worse. So when in doubt, call a professional like Impact Roofing.
Hire Impact Roofing for Your Critical Roofing Repairs
At Impact Roofing, we understand the importance of a sturdy, reliable roof over your head and offer top-of-the-line roofing repairs. We’re available for emergency repairs and will work quickly and efficiently to get your roof back in tip-top shape. Contact us today to get a FREE estimate!