Good roof maintenance
Whilst roof maintenance does not fall under the remit of Building Control we thought this blog would sit nicely with our previous one on re-roofing work. We hope you find it helpful.
How often do you inspect your roof? Probably not very often. Ideally you should check your roof for damage at least once or twice a year. This is especially important now, given the amount of wind and rain we’ve experienced over the last few months.
If you leave it too late to check, you are in danger of not being able to catch any damage before it is too late or, costly to repair. To carry out many of the checks you won’t need to get up on the roof but a pair of binoculars would be useful and of course be careful if using ladders.
First check your ceilings and loft
Make this your first job as if any problems have already spread to the interior these are the ones that should be tackled straight away. Look out for watermarks, blistering or dark patches on the ceiling which would suggest a leak and if you find mould this could be a sign of lack of ventilation.
Check your loft on a sunny day and you will able to see any sunlight coming through potentially broken or missing roof tiles. Again, look out for damp patches and signs of water damage. Don’t forget to examine any skylights and vents to make sure the sealant around them isn’t cracked or peeling away too.
What to check for outside
With a pair of binoculars you should be able to look for missing, loose or damaged roof tiles or shingles (small pieces of material such as asphalt, wood, metal or tile that are placed along a pitched roof in a consistent and overlapping pattern, to create a uniform roof covering). If you notice any are curling this could be a sign of lack of ventilation. If your roof has shingles make sure the granular coating is also still intact – if you see lots of the granules in the gutter, there could be a problem.
Next check the top of the roof follows a straight line along the ridge. If it is sagging, it could mean your roof needs more stability, such as rafters or struts. It can also be a sign of deep water damage which in the worst-case scenario means replacing your roof.
Another important check is the flashings. If you don’t know what flashings are, they are the metal finishings found around the parts of the roof that aren’t part of the flat surface, such as pipes or chimneys. The flashings are there to ensure that water can’t penetrate through these gaps so it’s essential they are fully intact. Watch out for any cracks or rust and if you notice any, you should get this dealt with immediately. If you aren’t sure how to do this yourself, you can contact a member of the Competent Roofer Scheme.
Lastly, look at your chimney. Are there any cracks in the structure and is the chimney cap secure?
Don’t forget your gutters. They can easily get clogged, especially with leaves and moss. Clogged gutters can stop water from flowing through to the downspout. If this happens, the water will soak into the roof and cause rotting, so we’d recommend cleaning your gutters regularly with a gutter brush.
If you can see moss on your roof, as it traps water it can cause roofing materials to rot. If it’s possible to brush small amounts away do so, but more established patches of moss will need proper treatment with a non-toxic product which contains zinc sulphate. To remove the moss by this method, apply the product, wait for 20 minutes and brush the moss away. Don’t forget to check the small crevices in between the tiles to make sure that there’s no build-up of moss there too, as this can pull the tiles apart.
Hopefully you have found our advice useful and remember the sooner you deal with a problem the better. If you have the correct safety equipment to work on your roof yourself, you can carry out small repairs as local builders merchants will be able to supply materials. However, if you aren’t confident, we suggest making contact with a local member of the Competent Roofer Scheme to discuss the issue with them. Small repairs will not need a building regulations application to be made however if more than 25% of your roof needs to be replaced please read our blog on re-roofing which explains more.