Not all leaky roofs require a new roof and the huge investment that this requires. But you want to make sure that if your roof is leaking you do not ignore it. Sure it only leaks when it rains and maybe then only when it rains really hard but if it is leaking at all you will need to address it as quickly as possible to avoid water damage. Leaks can be deceptive, they are not always where the damage is showing up, sometimes the inside damage can be eight to ten feet away from the outside source of the leak.
Since the source of a leak can be hard to spot you will either have to go up to the source itself and look or have a roofer inspect your roof with trained eyes. Since some roofing materials are very fragile to walk on such as concrete or clay tiles, you may want to have someone experienced doing the checking for you and avoid potentially doing more damage to the roof.
On older roofs the cause can be shingles that have expanded or nails have simply worked themselves out that are giving water an entry point into the roof. Another common area is the valley. The valley is where two roof lines intersect. If the shingles are not cut properly here they will act to draw water in instead of away from the roof. You should also check the flashings. If any of your flashing is covered with tar, caulk or roofing cement you have probably found the source of your leak or at the very least a very poor quality patch job that should be repaired.
You should check all the flashings around plumbing vents, the chimney and the furnace since these are areas that if not properly installed are prior to leakage. Once you find your leak you will definitely need a roofer to do a proper patch job and the first place to start looking is consumer based web sites like Angie's List. These web sites post the reviews of a business by the clients of the business so you are not reading promo advertising that touts a business's horn.
This is the best way to find a reputable professional who has satisfied clients. The reviews are generally easy to read and the reviewers are allowed to give the contractor a grade from A to F. Obviously you want to find the best roofer possible and once you find at least three you can schedule a visit and have them inspect the roof and give you an estimate for repairs.
Your roofing bids should be in writing, even for a small repair job. The written bid is your contract for price so you should not use anyone who will not give it to you in writing. Of course if you hire a contractor off a consumer web site you should not be finding any questionable contractors operating under the table in the first place. The hardest part of your repair job should be finding your leaks, not finding a reputable roofer and if you follow these tips that is exactly how it will work out.