Looking after your roof
In order to maintain your roof's sealing and insulation performance, it must be maintained every year or every two years depending on where you live, as you would for your car or patio. Patios need cleaning every year to remove the dirt that builds up over the winter. Why should it be any different for a sloping patio (i.e. your roof) which also has the tough task of keeping your house watertight? Since prevention is better than cure, keeping an eye on the less hard-wearing areas of your roof will ensure its longevity.
10 checkpoints for your roof
1. FIXING DEVICES
It's important to pay attention to the fixing of the verge tiles and to ventilation. Roof coverings can move following severe weather or falling branches.
To have a well-maintained roof in good condition, adequate ventilation is essential. Most often provided by ventilation tiles, having a flow of air is essential for a strong long-lasting roof. It also stops moisture from accumulating in the roof space.
4. SEALING OF THE ROOF VALLEYS
Roof valleys sealed with metal valley flashing (curved pieces) between each row of roofing tiles remain watertight even if the point at which the slopes meet is blocked with dead leaves, moss etc. However, the join is sometimes just a narrow zinc gutter. The growth of moss then leads to heavy ingress which can cause serious damage. If thorough cleaning is necessary, the only solution to guarantee complete watertightness is to rework the join of the two roof sections by adding the essential valley flashing.
5. GUTTER CLEANING
Essential to drain rainwater, the gutter also collects moss and dead leaves. Annual maintenance is a must. Rather than dealing with clogging on a regular basis, it's better to reduce waste in the first place by preventing climbing plants from growing onto the roof. After cleaning, inspect the gutter for cracks. A bituminous sealing strip is effective in covering and sealing a cracked area.
6. SEALING OF HIPS
Hips resist ageing quite well. Mortar seals, on the other hand, represent real weak points on a roof. They can split in places, forming passages that are prone to ingress. After removing any moss and lichen, inspect the area for cracks. A slight split can be easily filled with a bead of external masonry filler. But when the mortar comes away, a like-for-like repair is required for the hybrid mortar or lime mortar.
7. ROOF WINDOWS AND SKYLIGHTS
Roof window fixing systems have come a long way. Each type of opening has its own fixing kit. A set of profiles at the top and on the sides, plus a wide apron flashing at the base, generally ensure a perfect seal. But leaves and moss can accumulate there and risk damaging the seal. If the size of the skylight makes it impossible to clean from the inside, working on the roof is the only solution. In this case, a well-secured roof ladder and safety harness are essential.
8. REMOVING MOSS
Moss on the roof covering hinders the flow of rainwater and can result in water ingress between the roofing tiles. If you want to keep remedial work to a minimum, start by scraping off the large pieces. Remove off the moss with a simple hard-bristled brush.
As well as cleaning, the roof should be treated with a moss killer, preferably sprayed on slightly damp roofing tiles on a still autumn day.
The moss killer will dry out the remaining moss which will then come off naturally with the run-off of rainwater. The best time to do this is early autumn.
9. CHIMNEY JOINS
The chimney stack is flashed, but represents a vulnerable area for leaks. If water is coming in, start with a good clean. A faulty join can easily be sealed with a filler. When the join is in a very poor condition, the best option is to repair it from scratch.
10. NESTS AND SWARMS
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