If you're a busy homeowner or business owner, your roof is probably not the first thing you think about every day, but that doesn't mean you can just ignore it for years at a time and expect it to be okay. In fact, if you don't take some time to monitor your roof's condition every once in a while and occasionally have it professionally inspected, its vulnerability may increase drastically, and then you could find yourself with expensive roof repairs. That's the last thing your home repair (or business) budget needs, so check out these three types of vulnerabilities, and try to make sure you reduce the likelihood of your roof succumbing to damage.

1. Leaks

Roofs that are especially vulnerable to leaks include flat roofs and roofing systems with multiple peaks and one or more valleys (the water tends to collect in the valley and drain less slowly). This is because the slower the water drains away, the more likely it is to find its way through the roof. Roof systems are supposed to work with gravity to keep water draining away from your house, so when gravity is less in your favor and more working against drainage, you're more likely to have leakage problems.

2. Thermal shock

Thermal shock is mainly something that happens to black or very dark roofs that also are made of a material that holds heat well, such as the perennially popular asphalt roofing shingles. It occurs when the cool night temperatures and the hot daytime temperatures (exaggerated by the roof's ability to hold heat) create an effect similar to the freeze-thaw cycle, making the roofing material contract and expand very rapidly each day, which means that the material may not be able to keep up with the changes in size (especially once it has a few years under its belt and becomes a little less elastic). This can cause the material to buckle and even crack. You can make your roof less vulnerable by making sure it's made of a less heat-absorbent, lighter-colored material or by cooling the roof in other ways, such as with shade and attic ventilation.

3. Wind damage

Although some situations, such as a house built near a cliff or near the ocean, can cause your house to be more vulnerable to wind damage no matter how the roof is constructed, there are also certain roof characteristics (like gables or excessive overhanging features) that can make your roof more likely to be ripped off, bent up, or turned inside out by a strong wind. If you live in a wind-prone or hurricane-prone area, it's best to design a roof with minimal overhang, and if you expect the building to have to survive a hurricane, you can take additional steps such as using hurricane clips to fasten the roof deck to the house. These and other retroactively added fasteners can help your roof stand up to wind better.

These three types of damage are more likely to occur if you're not keeping your roof well-maintained, but that doesn't mean they can't happen to well-cared-for roofs as well. No matter how much attention you've given your roof in the past, call a roofing contractor as soon as you notice that your roof's condition is deteriorating. The sooner you get repairs done, the less they're likely to cost you.