It’s not enough to know what the signs of possible roof damage are. If you’re going to get an accurate idea of what issues, if any, are present in your roof, then it’s important to be able to connect those signs to the actual roof problems that they lead to. As you inspect your roof, see if there are any telltale signs you can connect to these common roof problems.

Fascia damage
The fascia is the horizontal band of material between the edge of the roof and your home’s outer wall, and forms the underside of your roof’s overhang. Typically made from wood or sheet metal, it is where your gutters attach to the roof. While it acts as a barrier against water intrusion, exposure to large amounts of water also means that it’s a prime candidate for water damage, typically due to rot caused by water penetration. Any weakening or damage to the fascia not only serves as an entry point for water intrusion, but can also cause damage to your gutters.

Soffit damage
The area just under the fascia where vents for the attic are typically located is known as the soffit. Cracks in the soffit, as well as the vents themselves, can serve as entry points for water intrusion, resulting in the formation of rot. Insects and small animals can take advantage of such weaknesses in the material to enter or enlarge holes in the material and end up nesting in the weakened structure.

Flashing damage
Flashing is usually made from aluminum or galvanized steel and serves to seal roof edges and areas where the roof covering is interrupted, such as with chimneys and roof vents. Damaged or deteriorating flashing, as well as missing flashing, or flashing that has come loose, provides areas where water can enter.

Gutter damage
The biggest cause of problems with gutters and downspouts is the accumulation of debris; leaves, twigs, and other similar items can clog up gutters and downspouts and cause water to accumulate. The added weight can cause gutters to sag and pull away or even detach from the fascia. Needless to say, such deformations in the gutters will prevent water from properly draining from the roof.

The time to get work done on your roof is now; there’s no time like the present. More on this in Part III.