Many homeowners dread the thought of a leaking roof. It conjures up images of a deluge of water leaking down into the room, with buckets scattered around to catch the drips. Most leaks aren't this obviously severe. In fact, they can leak into your attic for months or even years before you are aware of them. This can lead to even worse damage, since a slow leak can lead to extensive rot or mold issues. The following tips can help you prevent such a leak so you don't have to worry about major hidden damage.

Tip #1: Get on a ladder at least once a year

Spring is a good time for a close inspection, since any winter damages will be apparent. You likely can't see much from the ground, but walking on the roof is also a bad idea since it can lead to damage. Instead, grab a buddy to spot you for safety and climb up on a ladder for a closer look. Check out the flashing around vents, chimneys and skylights first. These metal strips are often the first places to be damaged. Then, look for obvious problems, like missing shingles or roof punctures. If you see a problem, get a roofer in for a quick fix before it becomes too severe.

Tip #2: Don't overlook your eaves

The eaves are another place where leaks commonly occur. You may not think this is a big deal, since the eaves overhang the house. The problem is a leak in the eaves can still make its way into the insulation inside your attic, or lead to rotting boards along the internal structure of your roof. The key to healthy eaves is clean gutters and a good water seal. Clean the gutters in the spring and fall so water flows off the roof and away from the leaves. If you have wooden eaves, make sure the paint is in good condition and repaint at the first signs of peeling.

Tip #3: Take a trip upstairs

Whether your attic is a full room or simply a crawlspace accessible via a small ceiling hatch, taking the time to check out the inside once a year can help you catch problems. Visit the attic during the daytime, preferably after a rain storm. You are looking for wet or moldy insulation, mold or water stains on the interior roof sheathing, or soft or rotten boards. Also, take a minute to look around with the lights off. If you see sunlight coming in anywhere on the roof, you have a puncture or other type of damage that needs to be repaired by a roofer.

Contact a roofing contractor in your area, such as Dean Roofing Company, for more help in diagnosing and repairing roof leaks.