The time to inspect your roof is before it leaks, and ahead of storm season.Is your roof ready for a monster storm? Over the past decade, severe weather events have become more common. Hurricane Katrina and super storm Sandy are dramatic examples of this, but they are also outliers, freak weather events that may occur more often, but remain rare. That said, more frequent and more intense storms is likely the new normal, and it's a good idea to make sure your house's roof can withstand the abuse.Evaluate Risk FactorsIn most cases, there are signs of trouble well before your roof starts to fail, including some obvious ones of which you should be mindful. Unless you're a hardcore DIYer, roofing repair and replacement is best left to a professional roofing contractor, but it's good to know when to call for help. If your roof starts leaking, you waited too long.Age: If your roof is coming to the end of its second decade, it's probably also approaching the end of its shelf life. Pushing your luck is tempting, but continuing without a professional inspection is tempting fate.Cracked, broken, discolored, or missing shingles: Inspect your roof from the ground using binoculars. You can also take digital photos from the ground and do the inspecting on your computer if you have a sufficiently hi-res camera. Your shingles should be flat, intact, and your roof should look fairly uniform;that is, not every shingle will look the same, but there shouldn't be any patches that look different from the rest.Lights in the attic: Go up into your attic during the day (the earlier the better if it's warm out;attic temperatures can get as high as 150 degrees in summer), turn out the lights and see if you can see any pinholes of light showing through. If you can, it's time to call a roofing contractor.Pay AttentionEven if your roof has a clean bill of health, you need to remain vigilant, and this means doing a quick check after heavy storms. Hail in particular can cause serious damage, even to a new roof, but you can inspect for damage without looking up. Take a walk through the neighborhood. Are their signs of damage on the ground? Dinged cars or mailboxes, or dents in wooden decks? If not, your roof is probably fine. Following storms with particularly heavy rain or high winds, take a look for cracked, bent, or missing shingles. In a lot of cases, localized damage can be repaired, but ignoring it will leave your roof even more vulnerable to damage in the next storm. You should also check your downspouts. It's normal for small amounts of granules from the shingles to wash down the gutters during heavy rain, but if you start to notice a large increase in granules after storms, it could mean your roof is entering the home stretch. Remember, being proactive is key when it comes to protecting your roof. Timely repairs can add years to the life of your roof, while waiting until your roof starts to fail can cause thousands of dollars in additional damage.Find a Professional Roofing ContractorA professional roofing contractor can make sure that repairs to your roof are performed correctly, and LendingTree Home Pros can help! The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a roofing contractor in your area. All the roofers listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee! Let LendingTree Home Pros help you find a roofing contactor today.