Your roof is an extraordinarily important part of your home or business: When you stand in front of your living room, or conference room, hands on your hips, marveling at the torrential rain that is falling to the earth, your roof is protecting your building. Just as it should be.

Or is it?

Some of us monitor the health of our roofs regularly, making sure that all is well above our heads, and some of us, well, we just ignore our roofs, assuming that everything is going alright.

Your roof may be suffering as you live your days oblivious to its condition. And should your roof ever become so unhealthy as to allow water to flow through it, causing your ceilings to crumble here and there, your friendly neighbor insurance company may not cover the costs of repairing the damage.

As a homeowner or business owner, it is your responsibility to maintain your roof, including checking it for water damage.

Here are 5 signs that your roof may not be feeling very well:

ONE
Do you know where your shingles are?

If a shingle, and a few of its friends, have flown away with a great gust of wind, you should have them replaced as soon as you possibly can. Without a shingle, a small part of your roof is exposed to the elements, which could lead to water damage of the exposed structural wood decking. Look up – if you are missing any shingles, have the area checked for water damage and get the shingles replaced.

If you notice that your asphalt shingles are curling up at the edges, perhaps considering flight, you should have them checked for potential water damage as they may need to be replaced.

Also, shingles can crack – however, sometimes you can have cracks repaired with roofing sealant before water damage sets in. That being said, cracked, curling and missing shingles are all signs that your shingle roof is ready to be replaced.


TWO
Do you know what is in your gutters?

We all expect to find leaves in our gutters, but did you know that you should look for roofing granules there? It is normal for a healthy roof to lose some granules, but not for it to continually lose lots of them: You can learn about normal granule loss versus problematic granule loss here.


THREE
Where did you put your flashlight?

Yes, it is time to go up into your attic. What should you look for? Sunlight: if rays of sweet sunshine are making their way through your roof beams, water is as well. You should also have a look at your insulation – if it is at all moldy or showing signs of moisture, you have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Contacting a roofing specialist to come out to assess the extent of the damage is your first step.

Here is a photo of insulation that has been exposed to moisture.

FOUR
Is the flashing around your chimney, vent pipe or rooftop unit doing its job?

Chimney flashings are a common cause of roof leaks: The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual chimney inspections, mainly because of safety concerns: include the flashing in this inspection. Water that seeps through flashing can cause serious, and costly, damage.

On flat roof systems, flashing details around vent pipes, rooftop units, scupper boxes and so on are the most common sources of roof leaks. Making sure these areas were properly installed in the first place, and are properly maintained throughout the roofs life will help reduce your biggest source of leaks and water damage.

FIVE
Is your roof showing its age?

If your roof is getting up there in years, it should probably be replaced. Roofs have a shelf life, just like the bananas sitting in a bowl on your kitchen or breakroom counter. To make sure your building stays safe, be mindful of everything that it has been through.

The winter weather can often create a more secretive roof damage problem, as most leaks do not show face until the weather begins to warm. Be sure to stay aware of your roof’s condition as snow accumulates and subsequently melts. Commercial roofing companies offer maintenance and repair services to ensure that your roof is in healthy condition.