The importance of looking after your roof
If you are selling a home – or thinking of selling a home at some point in the future – you will need your home to be in tip-top shape. What’s more, homes that are in excellent condition will be far more appealing to would-be buyers than ones with a load of structural defects or possible long-term maintenance issues.
The humble roof is one part of your house that can be especially vulnerable, especially when the colder months hit and more inclement weather arrives. It could be wind, ice, snow, gales, heavy rain or storms – whatever the weather, a leaky roof is not a situation you want on your hands. Even more so the case if you’re in the process of selling your home and are trying to make sure your property comes across as attractive as possible.
The cost of the damage caused by a leak – and the repair work needed to fix it – will nearly always be more than the cost of ongoing maintenance and preventing the problem from occurring in the first place.
Luckily, there are a number of things that can be done – fairly easy, simple, DIY steps – that can help to keep the roof of your home in good condition. Darren Searles from JJ Roofing Supplies has come up with the following advice...
It’s a good idea to carry out regular inspections of your roof. When surveying the inside of your home, you should be on the lookout for dark or browning spots and blistering and bubbling paint on walls and ceilings – according to Searles, these are major warning signs of water damage. If your home has a fireplace, check for damp spots forming near or around this.
If everything is OK here – and there are no indicators of water damage – it’s time to move up to the loft. “If possible, do this on a sunny day; you’ll see sunlight lancing in through worn or broken shingles,” Searles advises. “If it’s rained recently, any water damage should be obvious, but also inspect for signs of previous leaks or damp.”
Once the interior of your property has been thoroughly checked, it’s time to take a look at the outside of your roof. Safety is the most important thing here. “Do not walk on your roof,” Searles says. “If you’re comfortable with heights, view your roof using a ladder, preferably with someone on the ground taking notes for you. If heights make you uneasy, find a good position to view your roof with a pair of binoculars.”
If neither of the above options is possible, it’s time to call in a roofing maintenance specialist to take a closer look.
When it comes to the outside of your roof, you’re checking for more than just missing shingles or tiles – if you see dark patches or lines, that probably means damage. Also, Searles adds, you should keep an eye out for curling and cupping or a large number of chipped and buckled shingles. “If your roof is visibly uneven and spotty it could be an indication that your roof is getting quite old and might need replacing,” the roofing expert warns.
Chimneys might not be as important or valuable as they once were, but it’s still important to inspect them too. Searles says you should check the flashing, ensuring that it isn’t peeled away, dislodged or damaged in some way. What’s more, skylights, vents and any structures that penetrate through the roof should be checked to make sure the sealant isn’t cracking or peeling away.
Again, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, it would be advisable to call in an experienced roofing professional. In situations involving the outside of the roof, this is a sensible measure to consider.
It’s important to know the difference between black algae spots and moss when it comes to your roof. While black algae is unpleasant to look at, it won’t actually cause any harm to your roofing.
Moss, on the other hand, is a problem because it holds water. As Searles explains: “It’s very important that it’s removed. If you catch moss early, you may be able to just sweep it away, but if moss has established itself for a while it needs to be killed off. You should opt for a product that has potassium salts of fatty acids rather than a product with a toxic formula that includes zinc sulphate.”
He adds: “Only apply the mixture where the moss is growing. Again, if this isn’t a job you’re comfortable with, contact a roofing maintenance professional.”
Cleaning gutters regularly is an excellent form of preventative maintenance. It’s especially important during the spring and autumn months, when the chances of debris making its way into your gutters is higher. Debris piling up too high stops water from flowing through to the downspouts, which can in turn end up soaking into the roof and start to rot parts of it.
Gutters performing properly can also prevent damage to the foundation which can lead to wet basements, staining and erosion – all of which can be very costly to fix. A Gutter Brush is one way of keeping your guttering system free from debris. They are cheap, effective and easy to install.
The final word on this goes to Darren Searles. “Your first thoughts should always be about safety, and if you don’t have the proper tools and safety equipment and clothing (and some experience of the work involved) please contact a professional for help.”