Roof Damage? Here are the Top Signs Your Roof Needs Work

Think you might have roof damage? In this guide, we explore the most common signs and what to look for.
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Reviewed by JC Sanjuan — General and roofing contractor with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial construction. He specializes in project management, quality workmanship, client satisfaction, and solving roofing challenges.

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Roof damage can be a stressful and costly issue for homeowners. Whether it’s caused by sudden storms, gradual wear and tear, or even internal factors, understanding the different types of damage and how to address them is important.

In this section, we will explore:

  • The primary sources of roof damage
  • How to spot signs of damage both inside your home and externally
  • Steps to take upon discovering damage

7 Types of Roof Damage

Roof damage can originate from a variety of sources, including environmental factors and external forces. Here are the seven most common types you might encounter:

Damage from Wind

badly damaged roof with missing shingles in need of repair
Credit Istockphoto

Wind can remove shingles or cause them to lift and flap. This type of damage is often observed at the roof’s seams and edges, where it might also lead to compromised flashing. Before undertaking repairs, consult with your insurance to understand coverage.

Hail Impact

roof shingles with large hailstones after hail storm
Roof shingles with large hailstones after hail storm

Hail damage may not be evident from the ground. Signs include dimples on metal surfaces or downspouts, and on shingles, look for dark spots where granules have been knocked off. On metal roofs, dents may be visible, and cedar shakes might show splintering.

Tree Damage

The impact from falling branches can strip granules from shingles or tear them. After such incidents, a professional inspection is advisable.

Moss Growth

Green Moss And Algae On Slate Roof Tiles
Green Moss And Algae On Slate Roof Tiles

Moss can embed itself into shingles, compromising their integrity. Affected shingles often require replacement.

Animal-Related Damage

Though less frequent, animals like squirrels or raccoons can create holes in shingles to access the attic. This damage is sometimes visible from the ground.

Ice-Related Damage

Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at the roof’s edge, potentially causing leaks by pushing water under shingles.

Accidental Damage

Activities such as gutter cleaning or walking on the roof can inadvertently damage shingles and flashing.

Signs of Roof Damage from Within Your Home

Even before external signs manifest, certain indicators within your home can signal roof damage:

Water leaks

roof leaks homeowner holding a small bowl to catch water dripping from ceiling
Credit Istock

The most telling sign, leaks can damage your home’s interior long before they become visible.

Ceiling stains

ceiling water damage stain from flat roof leak

Look for brown rings or patterns that indicate moisture damage.

Peeling Wallpaper or Bubbling Paint

Moisture can undermine the adhesion of wallpaper and paint, causing them to peel or bubble.

Sagging Ceiling

how to find a roof leak | step by step guide

Accumulated water in the attic can cause the ceiling to sag, posing a risk of collapse.

Compromised Attic Insulation

no or poor insulation in attic
no or poor insulation in attic

Wet insulation loses its effectiveness and can harbor mold.

Musty Smells

roof condensation shown in attic

A damp odor in your home could indicate hidden mold from moisture accumulation.

Increased Energy Bills

Damaged insulation may lead to higher heating or cooling costs.

External Signs of Roof Damage

Observing your roof from a safe distance can reveal damage:

Damaged Shingles

close up on damaged asphalt shingles
Photo Marc Dufresne | Istockphotos

Look for curling, cracking, or missing shingles.

Compromised Flashing

wall flashing issues in roofs
wall flashing issues in roofs

Check for bending or cracks in the flashing.

Granule Loss

full rain gutter on roof
Full rain gutter on roof

Excessive granules in gutters or around your home indicate shingle damage.

Action Steps for Roof Damage

Upon discovering damage:

  1. Document the damage thoroughly for insurance purposes.
  2. Engage a professional roofer for an assessment.
  3. Inform your insurance company, especially if the damage is significant.

Wrapping Up

Understanding how to spot and address roof damage is key to maintaining your home’s protection and longevity. Early detection and intervention can prevent minor issues from escalating, ensuring your roof continues to safeguard your home effectively.

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