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When your home weathers weeks of rainstorms, you hope your roof stands up to the challenge. You want your home’s interior-not to mention the people and belongings inside-to stay dry. However, a leak could spring in an old or damaged roof and lead to flooding or mold.

Many leaks start small, which means you have the chance to catch them before they cause too much damage in your home. Use the list of signs below to spot a leak early on.

1. Water Spots on the Ceiling and Walls

Water spots have a darker border with faded color in the middle. They can appear yellow, brown, or gray, and they may look more like a chemical stain than a water spot. In fact, they’ll look almost like a puddle of color in your walls or ceiling.

Water spots form when water leaks through your building’s materials and then dries when it reaches the wallpaper or paint. The discoloration occurs because of the debris from the roof or the building materials around the spot.

2. Mold on the Ceiling and Walls

By the time mold grows, your leak has advanced beyond the water spot stage. Mold only grows when spores experience prolonged exposure to moisture. This microscopic fungus comes in many colors and textures, but when it stems from a roof leak, it often appears black or blackish green with a fuzzy or slimy texture. You’ll need to treat both the spores and the leak to resolve this problem for good.

3. Gutters Filled With Shingle or Tile Debris

If you notice debris from your roof in the gutters or downspouts, then your shingles or tiles have started to break down. As they lose bits of themselves, they no longer form a waterproof barrier over your roof, so leaks can occur. Check your gutters and your shingles regularly to ensure your roof has adequate protection against rainstorms.

4. Damaged Flashing

Flashing covers joints in the roof where shingles or tiles don’t quite fit. This material creates a watertight seal that safeguards your home against leaks. However, if the flashing becomes damaged or pulls away from your roof, it can’t do its job anymore. You’ll need professional repairs to fix the problem.

5. Missing, Cracked, or Peeling Shingles

Again, shingles can only protect your roof while they’re whole. If they break off, crack, or peel, then water could seep into the gaps left behind and leak into your home. Inspect your roof both before and after each storm to make sure each shingle or tile is intact.

6. Algae, Rot, or Mold Growing on the Roof

As mentioned above, mold only grows in places where it receives water regularly. A similar rule applies to algae or rot. If you have any of these organisms growing on your shingles, then you could have standing water on your roof, and standing water could lead to a serious leak.

7. Pools of Water in the Attic

Water will pool in your attic before it seeps into the main part of your home. If you want to avoid spotted paint or indoor mold, visit your attic after each storm to check for water. If you see pools of water, you definitely have a leak, and you’ll have to plug the hole and repair the water damage as well.

8. Damp Patches on Ceiling and Walls

When a leak becomes serious enough, it won’t stay behind walls or paint. It will leave damp patches all over your home’s interior. If you find standing water or wet walls and ceilings after a rainstorm, call your roofer immediately so you can find the leak and begin the drying and repair process.


Don’t wait if you notice any of the above signs in your home. The sooner you spot a leak, the less damage it will do, and the less you’ll have to pay for repairs. See our other blog posts for more tips on caring for your roof.