Afraid of heights? Don’t own a ladder? Maybe you’re a Realtor or buyer, or even just a homeowner, and you need to know quick and easy ways to spot roof damaged or at least one needing attention.
First, let me preface this by saying you absolutely cannot spot all damage from the ground. It’s actually amazing how bad a roof can be and not be obvious from the ground. Hail damage (one of the most prevalent forms of damage in North Texas) is one of the sneaky kinds of damage that needs to be checked out from the roof (how big are the hits, how many are there per square? how many faces are affected?). But there are some things you can see from the ground that are tell tale signs that you should have a roofer check out the house.
If you find excessive granules in the gutters, coming out of the downspouts, or washing out of french drains it could be a sign of shingles breaking down. Initially, damage from storms or hail can cause the granule loss to start, from there UV rays now reach the shingle mat and start to break it down more rapidly than they should. Note: finding granules in your gutters after a new roof install is normal as the installation process naturally knocks off loose granules left over from manufacturing.
Gutter or Mailbox Dents
If you see hail dents in soft metals around the house like the gutters (note: hail dents in gutters actually point outwards from the hail hitting in the inside and forcing it out), downspouts, or mailbox there’s a good chance the roof is damaged. Keep in mine metal will show *even less* damage than a shingle, and once a shingle is damage it starts failing quickly. Look at the roof vents too, if they are the flatter styles sometimes you can even spot the dents in them from the ground! This could be because they weren’t replaced after the last storm even if the roof was…. or it could mean nothing has been replaced since a big hailstorm.
Shiny Edges or White Showing
If the shingles look shiny (usually you see this along the edges) or even worse you spot white edges, you are seeing the internal layers of the shingles (the fiberglass mat) that aren’t not meant to be exposed. The sun’s UV rays break down shingle function rapidly at this point because the shingle has lost its protective and water shedding granule layer.
Excessive fading, patchy coloring, and black “path marks” are all signs of breakdown. If you see evidence of patches (like brighter or different colored areas) you’ll definitely want this roof to be checked out. Patches could mean the whole roof is failing and they are “babying it” to get a little more life from it.
Rippling and Curling
If the shingles are curling they’ve definitely surpassed their lifespan. Shingles are supposed to seal down and lay flat to protect the house, if not it shows their sealant has failed and they are no longer performing as they should. Rippling needs to be checked out, excessive bowing in larger patterns or sections can even show the deck has shifted or is rotting. It could even indicate there is a foundation issue in extreme cases: Structured Foundation Repair mentions that here.
Loose or Missing Shingles
Most often we see this on 3 tab roofs because they aren’t rated for higher wind speeds, and Texas gets plenty of that. Sometimes it’s an isolated issue that can be a quick repair, sometimes its a sign there’s more to come. This could be because of improper installation, failing shingles, or it could be high wind damage.
Water Stains Inside House or Attic (or suspiciously fresh paint/drywall patches)
Leaks are a red flag! Occasionally houses have tricky spots that take a little experimenting to address those issues. But most of the time it’s because either an area of the roof needs maintenance. Sometimes the shingles are fine but vents and pipes need to be resealed (a regular maintenance issue), sometimes flashing needs adjusted, etc., those are easy fixes. It could be slightly more complex but fixable issue if water is coming from a decorative attic window or chimney. But it can also mean the shingles are failing and a new roof is in order.
Trees and Leaves
Trees and leaves are another cause of isolated roof leaks on a roof that is otherwise within its lifespan. If trees are touching your roof, or you hear scraping sounds during storms, you’ll want to get your trees trimmed up away from the roof because they can damage the shingles they touch significantly. Leaves piled up in valleys, around chimneys, and in gutters can divert water in unintended ways and cause leaks. Keeping your roof clean is important! We can help with that too.
Bottom Line: You Need a Qualified Roofer
None of these tips are mean to replace an inspection from a qualified roofer, which we offer for free. But now you know if you see these things to be sure to make time to address your roof! Roof issues caught early cause much less damage. Give us a call, we’re happy to come out and do a free inspection and give you our honest opinion. We aren’t afraid to tell you if there’s no problem or it’s an easy fix. But if it’s not, we’ll let you know you’re options and make sure you’re taken care of.