The roof is one of the most important elements of any home. If the roof is failing it can cause damage to the interior of your home that can end up costing thousands of dollars. Even with regular maintenance there will come a time when the roof must be replaced in order to avoid additional expenses. Knowing when to replace it will prove to be invaluable.

A visual inspection of your roof can provide you with a lot of information. Make sure to pay close attention to the shingles. Depending on the type of shingles that make up your roof you will want to watch out for things like cracks, warping, holes, and other forms of damage.

One small section of your roof that is damaged can likely be repaired. This will help to extend the life of your roof and prevent interior damage to your home. Repairing a small section of your roof rather than replacing the entire thing will also save you a substantial amount of money.

During your visual inspection you will want to examine the areas around your chimney, flashing, or vents. If the seals around these areas are broken they should be repaired. If you don't fix these types of problems they can allow water to seep into the interior of your home.

After any major storm it is a good idea to check on the overall condition of your roof. High winds can cause shingles to rip right off which can leave your house vulnerable to additional damage. Missing shingles should be easy to spot from the ground so a quick scan will help you identify this problem. During a rainstorm it also never hurts to peak into your attic to see if there are any active leaks that need to be repaired.

There are several different types of roofing materials commonly used today. Depending on the type of material used for your roof its lifespan may vary dramatically. A roof with standard asphalt shingles may last only 10 years, but architectural shingles may last up to 50 years. If you're buying a home make sure you know what type of roof it has and how long ago it was installed. This will help you plan for its replacement so you aren't caught off guard with an expensive repair.

Tip: It is not uncommon to find moss and algae growing on your shingles. It may be tempting to power wash your roof in an effort to "clean" off the unwanted growth. You should avoid doing this as it may cause additional damage to the shingles that may force you to replace your roof much sooner than you anticipated.