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Seasonal Roof Maintenance Tips

Seasonal Roof Maintenance Tips

A house isn’t much good if the roof doesn’t keep out the weather, so it’s vital to make sure your roof remains in good condition throughout the year. Each season has its challenges, but this time of year, with winter coming, is the most crucial. Here are a few thoughts about roofing maintenance.

What Can the Weather Do to Your Roof?

The most obvious weather attacks on your roof are severe storms, like last winter’s Desmond, which can blow tiles or slates off, leaving gaps where the rain can get in. Sometimes, though, even normal rain or hail can pick away at the roofing materials, or result in the growth of damaging moss.

Ice is another risk in the winter. Because water expands when it freezes, any water that seeps into the tiniest of cracks will gradually force the gap wider each time it turns to ice. And the bigger the swing between daytime and night-time temperatures, the more stress your roof will be under.

What Steps Can You Take?

  • Check your roof at least twice a year, and after any extreme weather. Ideally it should be done close up (remembering to take all precautions if you use a ladder) but, if you can get a good view from ground-level, a good pair of binoculars can reveal any damage.
  • Pay attention to both roof tiles and any flashing or mortar for signs of damage, as well as checking your fascias and soffits.
  • If you have moss growing on your roof, it will eventually damage the materials. It needs to be removed before you find yourself needing the roof replaced.
  • Check indoors for any sign of leaks, including damp on the walls or ceiling of the top floor. Also, check with the light off for any holes allowing daylight through.
  • Clear out your guttering regularly. This is especially important at the moment, when it will almost certainly have been clogged up with fallen leaves, but this needs to be done at least two or three times a year.

Professional or DIY

Unless you’re a trained roofer, though, it’s unwise to tackle replacement of tiles or repair of cracks yourself. These are expert jobs, and amateur attempts can do more harm than good.

If you need repairs, or would feel safer putting regular maintenance in the hands of professionals, contact us to discuss your needs.

 

It’s All About Soffits

It’s All About Soffits

It’s All About Soffits — What Are They and What Do They Do?

There are two important requirements for anything on the outside of your house: it has to be strong and secure, and it should look good. Getting your soffits right is essential for both.

What Are Soffits?

In a general sense, the word soffit can refer to the underside of any architectural element, from an arch to a chimney. For most practical purposes, though, it means the board that goes underneath the fascia, completing the building’s roofline or eaves.

The fascia and soffit, though different components, effectively make up a single system, protecting any gaps between the walls and roof and supporting the guttering. The fascia is a vertical board coming down from the roof overhang, while the soffit connects it to the siding and is usually screwed or nailed to the rafters.

Materials for Soffits

Soffits can be made of various substances, including:

  • Timber — Wooden structures usually add to the look of a building’s exterior, but even well-treated timber will eventually start to rot and decay, weakening the roofline both structurally and in weatherproofing.
  • Aluminium — Aluminium is a strong, resilient material that will stand up to both stress and weather. Its main drawback is that, unless you want a modernist look, metal soffits seem out of place on your house.
  • UPVC — UPVC is an extraordinarily flexible material. It has the strength of aluminium, but it can be painted to look like timber, giving your roofline the classiness of wood without the drawbacks.

Ventilation

It’s essential to have adequate ventilation through to the rafters in the eaves. This allows the timber to breathe, reducing the risk of dampness and rot.

Ventilation can be through either the fascia or the soffit. Both have their advocates, but the general consensus tends to prefer using soffits for ventilation. The better quality soffit boards come with the option of ventilation technology built in, to allow air to circulate without exposing the roof space to hostile weather.

Kerb Appeal

Even more than the fascia, soffit boards are very visible elements of your home’s exterior. This means that, while making them strong and secure is the primary consideration, you also want them to look good.

It’s especially important, of course, for your house to have kerb appeal if you’re selling it, but even if you’re planning to live there long term, you want an attractive building. UPVC is the best material for combining strength and looks.

If you think your soffits may not be doing their job, contact us to discuss the possibilities.

 

 

Roof Repair vs Roof Replacement — Which Do I Need?

Roof Repair vs Roof Replacement — Which Do I Need?

Roof Repair vs Roof Replacement

Most of us take little notice of the roof above our head — until something goes wrong with it, and it no longer keeps out the rain, wind and cold. Then we realise how crucial it is.

Checking for Faults

If you don’t want to be faced with an emergency, it’s important to check your roof for faults on a regular basis. From the outside, you can get a good view from street level, especially if you use binoculars. In addition, since it’s also important to clean out your guttering on a regular basis, you can make a close-up inspection at the same time.

Indoors, you should regularly check the ceiling of your top floor or attic for water marks. Also, turn the lights off to see if any light is coming through the roof.

These checks will tell you whether you need work done — but should it be repair or replacement?

Signs Repair Is Needed

  • Water damage — If you have water marks on the ceiling immediately below the roof, it may be a sign the roof is letting in the rain.
  • Light coming through the roof — If you can see light coming through, it probably means there are holes in the roof.
  • Loose or broken tiles — These are no longer secure and need to be replaced.
  • Moss growing on tiles — This can force tiles apart, causing water leakage.
  • Missing or falling mortar — Mortar is usually used for bedding junctions on your roof, and crumbling mortar will weaken the roof.
  • Damaged lead work — Missing or damaged lead can allow water through the roof.

When Replacement Is the Answer

  • Multiple tiles broken or missing — This could be symptomatic of a more serious problem, such as rusted nails or broken battens.
  • Sagging ridge — The ridge should be a straight line along the highest point of the roof. If it sags, there may be structural damage, which needs to be addressed straight away, usually by replacement of the roof.
  • Widespread moss — If moss if caught early, the affected area can be repaired, but widespread moss has probably already caused too much damage.
  • Aging roof — No roofing material lasts indefinitely, not even slate. If your tiles are getting towards the end of their life, it may be more cost-effective to replace the roof, rather than face regular repair bills.
  • You’re selling your house — If the roof needs substantial repairs on a house you’re planning to sell, a new roof could substantially increase the property’s value.

If you’re unsure whether your roof needs repair or replacement, contact us, and we’ll be delighted to offer advice.

 

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

The roof is arguably the most important part of your house. It’s not an accident that we talk about “the roof over my head”, rather than referring to the walls or floor. So, when you need to have your roof repaired or replaced, it’s vital to make sure it’s done to the highest standards. And that means choosing the best roofing contractor.

How to Find a Roofing Contractor

Avoid any company that approaches you with a hard sell. Reputable contractors don’t cruise around the area in order to spot roof damage they can offer to repair.

The ideal is to find a company recommended by a friend or relative, but failing that you can make a list of local roofing contractors from online listings. Then is the time to start checking their credentials.

Things to Ask a Roofing Contractor

• Are you a registered and licenced company with a physical location?
• How long have you been in business? A new company may be fine, but a long-established one inspires confidence.
• Are you recommended by trade organisations such as Checkatrade or Trustatrader?
• Can I see a portfolio of your previous work? Unless the company is brand new, any refusal or reluctance is suspicious.
• What kind of materials do you work with? There are many roofing materials, so make sure they have good experience with the one you need.
• What are your normal working hours? You want a company whose practices fit in with your needs.
• Do you give a guarantee? If not, give them a wide berth.

Also, check both testimonials and independent online reviews.

Getting Quotes

It’s best to get three quotes from contractors who’ve inspected the roof. This not only enables you to select the best quote, but also compare the various assessments of what needs to be done. If there’s a big discrepancy, one may either be exaggerating the amount of work, or else be intending to skimp.

Price is obviously going to be an important factor, but the cheapest quote isn’t inevitably the best. Find out exactly what you’re getting for your money, including the estimated time, whether they undertake to leave the site clean and tidy, and the proposed payment method. This should be a secure method — any contractor who works on a cash-only basis should be viewed with suspicion.

And make sure you get the quotes in written form, even if the initial feedback is verbal.

If you’re looking for a quote to have a roof repaired or replaced, feel free to get in touch with Empire.