Spotting roof damage early can save you from expensive repairs later. This is because a leaking roof isn't always immediately apparent. Leaks can go unnoticed for some time, which can lead to ruined insulation, rotted studs or ceiling joists, or mold growth within the home. In severe cases, the water can even get into electrical features, causing them to short out or to form a fire hazard. The following are some symptoms to keep an eye out for so you can catch a leak early.

Symptom #1: External damage

There are several subtle signs of an impending leak, which include the following:

  • Curling shingles, which can affect both asphalt and wood shakes.

  • Loss of the granulation on asphalt shingles, which is most obvious by checking for gravel buildup in the gutters or on the ground beneath the eaves of the roof.

  • Mold or heavy moss buildup on shake or asphalt shingles.

  • Missing or broken shingles.

  • Missing or damaged flashing around valleys or rooftop installations, like chimneys.

It's best to inspect the roof from the safety of the ground or from atop a ladder as opposed to walking on it. Walking on the roof can cause more damage.

Symptom #2: Attic Issues

Many people don't look inside their attics often, especially in homes where the attic is little more than a crawlspace. Make a habit of peeking in once or twice a year for signs of a roof leak. Bring a flashlight with you and look for the following signs of a leak:

  • Damp or water stained insulation or ceiling boards.

  • Soft or rotten wood joists.

  • Mildew or mold growing on insulation or wood surfaces.

  • A musty or mildew-like smell.

  • Visible light shining through chinks in the ceiling.

These are all signs of an active leak, and you will need to bring in a roofing contractor immediately to fix the issue.

Symptom #3: Interior damage

A leak that has been present for some time or that springs during a heavy rain storm will begin to show definite signs inside your home. These can include the following:

  • Water stains on the ceiling.

  • Peeling or bubbling ceiling paint.

  • Peeling or bubbling paint on the walls where leaking water has drained from the ceiling into the interior walls.

  • Flickering lights or a sizzling sound when a ceiling fixture is turned on, which can be caused by moisture in the fixture causing the electricity to arc.

If you suspect any of these problems, you need to contact a roofer, like those at Specialty Commercial Contractors LLC, before you end up with major damage to your home.