It's a common misconception that the only way to know if you have a leaky roof is if water begins dripping into your house. Unfortunately, the damage is likely severe if the problem has gotten to this stage. Instead, learn the early signs of a leak so you can get the damage repaired before it becomes a major issue.
Symptom #1: Moss or Algae on the Top Roof Surface
Moss and algae are a sign that too much moisture is staying on the roof. They generally appear on the north or shaded side of the house. Keeping the roof clear of debris can help it dry out quickly. You should also work to keep the moss and algae off the roof. This is because they can trap even more moisture, which weakens the roofing material. Moss can even begin growing underneath a shingle, causing the shingle to lift and allow moisture in. Installing zinc strips along the roof cap kills moss and algae.
Symptom #2: Shifting or Distorted Shingles
Not all damage requires a torn or missing shingle. If your shingles are beginning to curl up or if the look wavy, take this as a sign that there may be a leak. Too much moisture underneath the shingles often leads to shifting or distortion. This could be because of an improperly laid membrane beneath the shingles, or because of damage to the shingles that has allowed moisture into the roof sheathing beneath.
Symptom #3: Dirty Gutters
Asphalt shingles shed some gravel naturally, but if you begin to notice a large amount of gravel your shingles may be giving out. Check in the gutters or beneath the downspout for gravel. If you don't have a gutter system, inspect along the drip line of your roof to see if there is a small mound of shingle gravel building up. As the shingles weaken, they loose their ability to repel moisture and leaks can occur.
Symptom #4: Musty or Soggy Attics
When a leak does occur, it first gets into the attic. You can have an unnoticed leak in your attic for a long time before it begins to drip into your living areas. Take a few minutes to peak inside the attic with a flashlight. If you notice musty odors from mildew or moisture, or see visibly wet or molded insulation or wood, a leak is probably the culprit.
Contact a local roofing contractor to have this or any other suspected early signs of leaks checked out before the problem becomes worse.