It’s one of the most important parts of your home, but all too often we forget about our roof covering until things go wrong. A leaking roof is usually the first time we give our roofs any thought. If you put into action a simple maintenance plan you will be able to extend the life of your roof considerably.
Leaking roofs do not normally show themselves instantly. By the time water enters the living space the roofing may have been leaking for a considerable time. This occasionally means expensive structural repairs are needed. Moisture can track down roof rafters and beams for years before the roofing felt fails and lets water into the house. By this time the rafter may have suffered considerable damage and may need replacing. It’s important to catch these faults in the roofing before any serious damage is done.
This can be achieved with a simple roof inspection from the ground. You can do this yourself or get a reputable roofing contractor to check your roof for you. Good roofing companies do not charge for this service. You will find some tips below if you would prefer to inspect your roof yourself.
Roof flashings are a common cause of leaks on all roof types. Flashings cover areas where the roof changes pitch or where there is a hole in the roof covering. Chimneys, vents, skylights, valleys, and dormers will all be covered by roof flashings. Flashings usually deteriorate faster than the surrounding roof covering. They are often in areas of high water volume and need extra maintenance and care. Check that the flashings are in reasonable condition and well secured.
Cracks and holes in roof tiles are obvious problems that should be attended to as soon as possible. Don’t fiddle with bodged repairs. Tiles are cheap and easy to replace. The color of roofing tiles will fade after years of exposure to the sun. For aesthetic reasons, you may wish to have the tiles recoated. Faded tiles are perfectly serviceable as long as they are free from cracks and holes. Roofing mortar should be without fractures and well secured to the ridge tiles. If the roof mortar is cracked it may need to be re-pointed. Pointing small cracks is a lot cheaper than having to completely replace the roof mortar.
Metal roofing should be well secured and free from rust. If your roof is secured with old-style roofing nails it is a good idea to swap them with modern neoprene washer screws. These hold the roof far more securely and have superior waterproofing qualities. Lead-headed nails should be removed immediately. The lead reacts with the metal roofing and causes galvanic corrosion. For the same reason, lead flashings should be replaced. If this is not possible, the life of the roofing can be extended by fitting a barrier between the flashing and the roof. Good quality galvanic paint will help extend the serviceable life of the roof. Inspect your roof for signs of rust and contact the roofing manufacturer for advice on treatment. Having your metal roof painted will certainly prolong the life of the roofing.
Look for cracks and splits in the roofing membrane. If you find small defects a minor roof repair may be possible. If the roof has been leaking for some time, it may be necessary to replace the substructure.
Roof Lichen Or Moss
Roof moss and lichen can damage your roofing. On metal roofs, the Lichen will attach to the paint causing it to flake and crack. The channels of interlocking tiles will block if moss is allowed to grow unchecked. If the surfaces of tiles get covered with Lichen it can result in pitting or cracking.
Further, the roof is never allowed to dry out so will deteriorate faster. Use an effective roof lichen killer to prevent roof moss damage. A good treatment every 3-5 years will keep your roof clear.
The best way to ensure your roof remains undamaged is to keep people off it.
Roofs are not built to be walked on by clumsy untrained feet. Only allow skilled workers to access the roof. Areas that require roof access for painting or window cleaning should be boarded to prevent damage.
A good check of your roof once a year or after heavy storms will ensure you notice defects early. This will enable you to deal with small problems before they escalate into expensive ones.