Your roof is one of the most important parts of your house, and it deserves just as much attention as the kitchen or master bath. Like any other feature in the home, this area needs maintenance and attention. Inspect the roof each fall and spring, and remedy any issues immediately.

Mind the Age — A composition shingle roof, which most American homes have, should generally last 20 years. If your roof is near or past that age, perform regular inspections as part of your home maintenance routine.

Examine the Shingles — Roofs show their age in their shingles. It may not be the most critical sign of wear, but if shingles are missing, bowed or curled, or if there are missing granules, it’s a good time to take a closer look and make repairs.

Look for Granules — That gritty, sand-like coating on shingles adds a layer of protection, but it doesn’t last forever. Look in the gutters. Are they holding granules? Shingles will lose more granules toward the end of their life span, so consider this a sign that the shingles may need replacing.

Pay Attention to a Sagging Roof Deck — If the roof itself seems to sag, it could be a sign the roof deck is bowing. Older roofs, which tend to droop as houses settle, are not always cause for concern.

Look for Damaged FlashingWorn or damaged flashing is another sign of an aging roof. Flashing is the barrier between shingles and other home elements like chimneys, skylights and eaves. Poor flashing is easily replaced, but it can also be a symptom of a larger problem.

Check Indoors — Venture into the attic and check for water stains. Even the best roofs can let in a bit of water during severe weather, but persistent water staining is a problem. Small stains shouldn’t be a concern, but large patches around spots of sunlight likely mean a hole in the roof. In addition to checking your roof, there are other good reasons to take a look in the attic.

Take a Cue From the Neighbors — Are the homes around you getting new roofs? If houses in your neighborhood were all built at the same time, their roof problems are likely your roof problems.