4 ways to identify water damage to the roof

Rental Property Maintenance - Here's an overview of how to spot water damage to your rental's roof.



No one likes replacing roofs - if monitored correctly they can last a pretty long time. Most folks will notice a leak in the house or shingles that aren’t flush; obviously both are signs of water damage. When you get to this point, repairs will need to be made and a new roof may be required. But there are some early warning signs that will help you get as much life as possible out of your existing roof:


1. Watermarks on the roof ceiling

Have a look in the attic for any indication that water is breaching the roof shingles. It’s not always easy to find the location of the leak as water can travel down your roof. If this is caught early enough it’s usually repairable - we recommend taking a look at least twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring (to see the before and after of winter). Obviously taking a peek more frequently will only help.


2. Watermarks on walls

These will typically occur on the exterior of the house but can be tricky to spot through the siding. Any warping or "waves" in the siding could indicate water damage coming from the roof. Why do you get watermarks on exterior walls? The roof flashing (galvanized steel that connects your roof to walls for protection) is failing. When the flashing rusts or becomes disconnected from the roof/wall, water can get in there. To the extent that you can check the roof flashing for integrity, this is also a good idea.


3. Shingle granule in the gutters

Shingle granule is the small sand-like material that lays on the exterior of your roof shingles. If you notice lots of granule in the gutters it means your shingles are starting to wear. Some granule in the gutters is totally normal (especially after a new roof has been installed) but significant granule loss results in “bald” shingles which won’t protect as well as in-tact shingles. Water damage can ensue.


4. Cracked shingles

Another subsequent issue with shingles that lose their granule is cracking. This is caused by sun exposure to the unprotected shingle. Shingle cracking is easy to spot. Obviously cracked shingles do not protect your roof and are a common cause of water damage.


In conclusion, the best way to prevent water damage to your roof is to keep eyes on it and tackle issues before they get bad. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, a couple of quick inspections throughout the year can save a lot of headache and money. RentalRiff Property Specialists can spot these early signs and fix the problems before they become huge, expensive projects. Tenants, generally speaking, are not going to be as proactive in looking after your roof. Any questions on roofs or other important property troubleshooting items, please feel free to reach out anytime! RentalRiff Contact Us.