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The worst way to find out your roof has a leak is to start seeing the damage: water stains, cracks, even mold. When it comes to roofing, prevention is always better than a cure–so if you have not checked up on your home’s roof in a few years, fall is your opportunity. You will want to get any problems taken care of before its starts to snow. Here are key features to look out for:

  • Damp Inside: Inspect your interior walls for any water marks or stains. This is a strong sign that water is coming in from the ceiling, but it is not a clear marker of where, as water can run from one place to another inside a roof.
  • Joining Areas: Look at all the edges where the roof meets walls or joins another feature, like a chimney. Cracks in the cement holding the joints together is a common cause of roof leakage.
  • Damaged Shingles: Scan for shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering. This indicates the shingles are nearing the end of their usefulness. Replace these shingles before they become damaged enough to let in water.
  • Algae Growth: Take notes of any green you see on the roof or in the gutter, including dark, green-ish stains on the shingles. Particularly common in humid areas, this is a sign of algae or moss growth. Both of these can trap water against the shingles.
  • Look for Shingle Granules: Shingle granules look like large grains of sand. They help weight down the shingles and prevent moisture from getting in between them. If large numbers of them start appearing in your gutter, it is a sign that your shingles need to be replaced.
  • Interior Vents: Make sure all the vents from your bathrooms, kitchen, and dryer completely exit the house. If they open into attic space, their moisture will get trapped underneath the roof.
  • Drains and Gutters: Make sure all your gutters and drainage pipes are securely attached to the house, and that none of them are blocked. Any damage to them increases the likelihood that water will get trapped on or back up onto the roof.

Before you climb up to the roof, make sure to review these important ladder safety tips!

  • Place the ladder on solid, level ground and make sure it does not wobble.
  • Secure the ladder at the top to prevent it from slipping.
  • Extend the ladder at least three feet beyond the gutter, and angle it one foot back from the house for every four feet in eve height.
  • Always use both hands when climbing a ladder.