2016

Home / News / Archive by category "2016"
10 Cool Ideas to Make Use of Your Roof

10 Cool Ideas to Make Use of Your Roof

Most of us don’t really use our roofs. We value their protection, of course, even if we don’t always remember it till something goes wrong, but we tend just to waste that expanse on top of the house. Here are a few ways you might make use of it.

 

1. Roof Terrace

If you have a flat roof (or extremely good balance) you can do a number of things with it. One is to make a terrace to use as an elevated patio, where you can sit out, entertain or even have meals on fine days.

 

2. Roof Garden

Whether you have plants in pots and urns, or even unroll some turf, you can turn your roof into a haven of colours and fragrance. And the great thing is the slugs and snails can’t reach it.

 

3. Bird Oasis

If you set up bird feeders, tables and baths, the birds will flock to your roof. The best thing is they’ll be safe from neighbourhood cats — though perhaps not from your own.

 

4. Pergola

Perhaps one of the more outlandish ideas, but you could build a pergola on a flat roof, though it’s important to make sure the roof will take the weight.

 

5. Swimming Pool

Perhaps even more extravagant than a pergola, given the British climate, but a rooftop swimming pool could be great for fine summer days. Just make sure your roof isn’t overlooked.

 

6. Solar Panels

Fitting solar panels to your roof will mean you’re not taking as much electricity from the national grid. This has the dual benefits of saving money and reducing your carbon footprint.

 

7. Loft Insulation

And, speaking of reducing your energy consumption, effective loft insulation makes a huge difference. It isn’t expensive to install, and you can make the cost back within two years.

 

8. Loft Conversion

While we’re on the subject of lofts, that space under your roof is valuable too. If you need an extra bedroom, playroom or even a space for your model railway, a loft conversion is a cost-effective alternative to moving.

 

9. Skylights

If you do decide to use your loft for more than storing things you’ll never need, installing skylights in the roof can make it a far more pleasant place to spend time.

 

10. Dormer Windows

For a rather more traditional way of bringing light into an attic or converted loft, a dormer window or two will give your home an elegant feel. They also have the advantage that you can look out of them.

10 Signs It’s Time for a Gutter Replacement

10 Signs It’s Time for a Gutter Replacement

If the roof is your home’s main protector against the weather, the guttering is a crucial part of that defence, ensuring that all water is safely conveyed away. Any damage to the gutters or downpipes needs to be repaired at once, but eventually repair won’t be enough and the guttering will have to be replaced.

 

Signs to Look For

In most of the following cases, isolated damage can be repaired, but if the problem recurs frequently, it’s probably time to look at gutter replacement.

  1. Cracks in the guttering — If cracks are appearing in your gutters and pipes as fast as you can repair them, it’s a sign they’re past their use-by date. Rust spots can be an early sign on metal pipes, though this isn’t an issue if you’ve used UPVC.
  2. Gutters pulling away from the roof — If this is happening on a regular basis, the fascias may be rotting. This could mean you need both guttering and fascias
  3. Breaks in the seams — Gutters are made in segments that fit together, but if the seams are constantly pulling apart it’s time for a replacement.
  4. Sagging gutters — You can see from the ground if your gutters aren’t level, and this could result in the water not running off. It could also suggest that the gutter wasn’t designed for the amount of water it’s dealing with.
  5. Nails or screws on the ground — If you keep finding nails or screws that seem to have come from the guttering, this means it isn’t securely fixed.
  6. Water marks on the wall — Marks on the walls caused by water running down them suggests the water isn’t being routed down the pipes. This is easiest to make out in dry weather.
  7. Peeling paint — External paint will eventually peel with age, but if it’s happening extensively it could also be a sign of water leaking from the gutters.
  8. Rotting woodwork — Woodwork such as the surrounds for doors and windows will rot if it’s wet too much of the time. This again may well be caused by leaking guttering.
  9. Water pooling on the ground — Rain falls evenly, but if you get pools straight below the walls, it could be caused by faulty gutters.
  10. Damp or mildew in the foundations or basement — Again, this may be caused by leaking guttering, and can have serious implication for the building’s integrity.

Take Action

Any damage to your gutters or downpipes needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Contact us to discuss your needs.

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.