Most homeowners don’t give much thought to their home’s roof—until it starts leaking. But with a little do-it-yourself initiative you can spot possible problems with your roof before they lead to interior water damage. Start by looking at your roof covering. From the safety of the ground, use binoculars to look for missing shingles or tiles or ones that appear curled, broken, or slightly lifted. Then, from a ladder at the roof edge, see if any of the shingles or tiles are loose to a slight pull or if the edges are brittle to the touch. While you’re up there, look at your home’s gutters. Is there a large amount of granular material in the gutter? Some material will always be present from normal shingle wear, but if you just cleaned your gutters last year and find a significant layer of granules in the gutter, your roof may be of the age that it is starting to degrade. Finally, if you have safe attic access, look for tell-tale signs of leaks such as water stains or drip marks on the roof decking. Also, see if you can spot any points of daylight in the dark. This may be a sign of some missing shingles or a rusted-through nail that has left an open spot for water. If your inspection leaves you with cause for concern, talk to a licensed roofing professional.

Federal Alliance for Safe Homes -FLASH, Inc.