For most people, your roof is a set-it-and-forget-it type of system. It's up there, and as long as it serves its main objective of protecting your home from the outside elements, you shouldn't have to spend much time thinking about it.
While most roofs are remarkably durable and should give you a lot of peace of mind in everyday life, there are still several things that you should look for during your yearly visual inspection to indicate that a larger problem is approaching. If you spot any potential issues, such as the ones outlined below, contact a residential roofing company to schedule an appointment to have your roof looked at and possibly repaired.
As you walk around your house, look for any shingles that may have started to deteriorate prematurely, or are missing altogether. A telltale sign of weak shingles are ones that have started to curl or are cracking; discoloration is not nearly as big of an issue as the other two, but should still be noted. If you can get close enough (without actually climbing up on your roof), check for nail pops in slate and metal roofs, since that can also indicate that your roof is starting to pull apart.
The "flashing" refers to the piece of metal that connects your roof to your chimney and forms a protective seal to prevent water or rodents from going down into your home. Inevitably, this flashing will start to pull away from your chimney as the home settles, creating a slight gap that can allow for intrusions into your space. Look closely at this area to see if there is any separation, and contact a company that specializes in residential roofing services to have it fixed immediately.
One sign that should be an indication of a much larger problem is any low areas that seem to have developed in your roof line. If you spot low areas, that means you have a support beam that is starting to fail and will eventually give out completely, causing an impromptu skylight in your home. This will not only allow water, debris, and the local animal life to come in your home, but it can also send your energy bill skyrocketing as the air leaks unimpeded to the outside. This is one issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, so if your local residential roofing company offers emergency services, take them up on it.