2017

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Preparing Your Roof for Winter

Preparing Your Roof for Winter

 

 

 

 

Because we spend less time outside in the winter, we tend not to pay as much attention to the roof as in summer. But winter is exactly when it’s most important that the roof is doing its job of protecting us to its full capacity.

Here are a few crucial things to look out for…

Check Your Roofline

Your fascias, soffits, bargeboards and the rest aren’t just there to make your roofline look good. They support the tiling, as well as sealing gaps that water could get into and cause damp in the rafters. Rooflines made of uPVC are less likely to have problems than timber ones, but they’re not indestructible.

Before winter really sets in, it’s a good idea to walk around your house, ideally with a good pair of binoculars, and check your roofline visually for any sign of rot or damage

Check Your Roof

If you’re checking your roofline with binoculars, you can also do a circuit at a greater distance and examine the tiles themselves. Alternatively, you could climb up to look, if you have a long ladder and a head for heights — but, to be safe, make sure you do this in good conditions. If you have cracked or missing tiles, or signs of moss or mould growing, your roof may soon start leaking.

Alternatively, you could check from inside. Go into your loft during the day and switch all lighting off. If you see any pinpricks of light coming through, you may have a problem.

Check Your Guttering

Your gutters and downpipes are the elements of your roof most likely to cause problems in winter. They can become clogged up with leaves, dirt, birds’ nests and other debris, and if these aren’t cleared, the rainwater they should be channelling off will pool on the roof and start finding ways through.

Besides clearing out your gutters and downpipes, it’s also vital to check that they aren’t leaking or coming away from the wall. A straightforward visual inspection will normally be enough to make sure they’re properly attached, while the best way to check for leaks (unfortunately) is to go out in heavy rain. If there are any leaks, you’ll be able to see the rainwater coming through.

Visual inspection and clearing the gutters are things you may be able to do yourself. If you’re not confident with heights, though, or if you find anything wrong, then it’s time to call in the professionals. Give us a call if you have any problems with your roof.

Preventative Maintenance For Roofing

Preventative Maintenance For Roofing

Whether you have a domestic or commercial property, it’s essential that your roof remains reliable in keeping out cold, rain and wind. Unfortunately, this is all too often approached reactively — you get problems fixed as emergencies when they occur. It’s not only cheaper and less disruptive to be proactive about your roof, it’s also a good deal less hassle.

 

What Is Preventative Maintenance?

Problems with your roof can hit you suddenly, meaning an expensive emergency call-out to fix a leak or worse, but the signs will have been visible for some time to a professional eye. Regular professional inspections enable your contractor to identify problems long before they become critical and plan maintenance with you.

A visual inspection of your roof by an expert eye will be able to pick out damaged tiles or torn felt, dangerous moss and mould growth, pooling water and damage or blockage in your drainage system. Some jobs, like cleaning out your guttering, can be done at the same time as the inspection, while non-emergency issues can be scheduled for repair.

What Are the Advantages of Preventative Maintenance?

It may seem that paying for regular inspection and maintenance is merely a waste of money. Perhaps finances are tight, and you don’t want the disruption of work being done on your roof when it may not be essential. Isn’t it better to leave maintenance for your roof till it’s really needed?

Not at all. In fact, it’s unlikely there’ll be nothing required since the chances are that your guttering will need to be cleaned out at the very least. In any case, though, there are many advantages for regular preventative maintenance:

  • If faults are spotted early, repairing them is often a minor job, whereas if they’re left till they become serious, you may be looking at major repairs.
  • Because faults will normally be identified before they become urgent, you can plan the repairs ahead. This not only means that you can schedule the work for a time when it will cause minimal disruption, but also that you can budget for it.
  • Careful, planned maintenance will not only make your roof look better in the short term, but also ensure that it lasts for its full natural life before needing to be replaced.
  • Peace of mind — you can forget about your roof, knowing it’s being looked after by professionals.

If you need planned preventative maintenance by professionals for the roof of your building, feel free to contact our local roofers to discuss your needs.

Leave It To The Professionals for UPVC and Roofing

Leave It To The Professionals for UPVC and Roofing

Your roof needs close attention, from clearing out the guttering to repairing holes and cracks. It may seem rather expensive, and perhaps you’re tempted to do it yourself rather than pay for professionals. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

The answer, unfortunately, is plenty.

Roofing Jobs

The work your roof needs divides into repairing particular faults to maintenance that needs to be kept up on a regular basis. Repairs include replacing or recementing tiles, removal or replacement of lead work, repointing, removal of moss and replacement of fascias and soffits. These are one-offs, but they’re likely to be required on a frequent basis over the lifetime of your roof.

Maintenance jobs, on the other hand, should be undertaken at least a couple of times a year, in addition to the aftermath of any harsh weather, such as a storm. This includes clearing dirt and leaves out of your gutters and downpipes, enabling water to drain off as it needs to, and examining the roof for signs of holes or leaks.

Can I DIY?

There are some advantages to carrying out maintenance yourself — provided you’re equipped for it. The obvious advantage, besides saving money, is that you can react instantly after bad weather or if you suspect a problem, rather than having to make an appointment with a professional.

What you’ll require to clean out your gutters or inspect your roof close up are a good head for heights, a high-quality ladder and a full understanding of how to use it, and a knowledge of how to work at height. Someone inexperienced working on their guttering, for instance, not only puts themselves at risk of falling, but may also injure someone below if they’ve failed to secure their tools properly.

Professional Jobs

While the routine maintenance may be possible for an expert DIYer, many roofing jobs are best left to the professionals. Tiling, pointing, repairing felt roofs and replacing uPVC fascias and soffits aren’t the same as putting up shelves — professionals go through considerable training before they’re qualified to do these jobs. Perhaps you’d manage it adequately, but would you really want to risk a job that may or may not be “adequate”?

In fact, even the routine maintenance might be better left to professionals, who have the experience to spot signs of damage that an amateur could easily miss.

Your roof is your main line of defence against the elements. Get in touch with us to see how we can give it the maintenance it deserves.

How to Figure Out What’s Making Your Roof Leak

How to Figure Out What’s Making Your Roof Leak

Roof leaks can come in many different sizes. If you have a large hole in your roof that lets water pour in, you don’t need much effort to identify it, but most leaks are far less obvious. Nevertheless, it’s important to track them down, since the longer they’re left unrepaired, the more damage they’re doing to your home.

Causes of Roof Leaks

Leaks can be caused storm damage to your roof, but often there isn’t such an obvious cause. Roofing materials don’t last for ever, and they can simply decay. Alternatively, work on your roof such as adding dormers can cause damage if it’s sloppily done, or removing fixtures such as TV aerials can leave small holes.

In general, the most vulnerable areas of your roof are the ridge, valleys, flashing and the tiles themselves. Problems can also be caused by the underlay rotting, if water manages to get underneath the tiles.

Signs of Roof Leaks

There are a number of signs to look out for that your roof may be leaking, though many of them could also have other causes. The main ones are:

  • Spots or marks on your ceiling, especially in the form of concentric rings.
  • Black stains around the chimney, which could indicate mildew or mould.
  • Paint peeling or wood rotting around skylights.
  • Roofing materials fallen into the garden or in the downpipe.
  • Visible damage to roof tiles or flashing.

Finding the Leak

If you suspect you have a leak, you still need to track it down. That’s not always easy, unless the damage to the roof is clearly visible, since the marks on your ceiling won’t necessarily be straight underneath the leak.

The best strategy is to examine your loft area. Stains there are likely to be closer to the leak, but you can find it most easily by looking for holes. To do this, go into the loft during full daylight and switch all lighting off. If you have skylights or dormers, try to cover these. If you can get the loft sufficiently dark, holes will be visible as points of light.

What to Do If You Have a Leak

The worst thing you can do with a roof leak is to ignore it. The roofing materials around the hole will degrade, and meanwhile the damp will be causing serious damage to the timber, the plaster and the whole structure of the building, what could have been a simple patch may turn into major repairs.

If you suspect you have a leak, you’re welcome to get in touch with us for an expert examination.

 

 

 

Slate, Tiles or Felt — What’s Best for my Roof?

Slate, Tiles or Felt — What’s Best for my Roof?

If you’re completely replacing your or undertaking a new build or extension, it’s important to decide what kind of roof you want. There’s a wide choice of roofing materials, but for most people the decision comes down to slate, tiles or felt. The decision’s going to be partly based on which you think looks best, but there are definite pros and cons to each.

Slate Roofing

Slate is the strongest of the common roofing materials, and a properly constructed slate roof will last far longer than any other type. It can also give your roof a touch of class.

The downside is that slate is the most expensive roofing material, as well as the most time consuming to fit, since each slate has to be individually nailed or clipped. A slate roof needs a pitch of 30 degrees, and the slates should be fitted to battens over an underlay.

If you’re willing to accept the cost and extra time, a slate roof is an excellent choice. At the same time, there are options for reducing the expense, though at some cost of quality, by using imported slate by aggregate imitation slate.

 

Tiled Roofing

A tiled roof is standard throughout most of the UK. There have traditionally been regional variations in colour and design, but today most varieties of tile are available anywhere.

Tiles are a good deal cheaper than slate and, though not quite as long lasting, can be very durable. A tiled roof is also easier to repair than a slate one, with individual tiles relatively simple to take out and replace.

There are various types of tile available, including clay and concrete, and the choice of which kind to use will depend partly on the pitch and strength of the roof.

 

Felt Roofing

Although it can be used on pitched roofs, felt is the best material for flat roofs. A flat roof can be used for a main structure, extension or out-building, and enables the roof to be put to practical use, such as garden or terrace. On the downside, it’s more vulnerable to pooling water, and extra provision has to be made for drainage.

Felt doesn’t last as long as slate or tiles. On the other hand, it’s considerably cheaper, and if it’s well laid, with three layers, it can be more durable than most people assume.

Help with Roofing

Whichever you go for, it’s as well to get professional advice before making a final decision. You’re very welcome to get in touch with us for a chat about your roof.

 

What Makes a Good Flat Roof?

What Makes a Good Flat Roof?

Flat roofs aren’t just for your garage. Although most of us automatically think of a pitched roof for our home, a good-quality flat roof can work excellently. There’s a wide range of materials available, and flat roofs offer many opportunities.

 

Flat Roof vs Pitched Roof

 

Flat roofs have tended to be seen as second best, partly because in the past they’ve tended not to last as long as pitched roofs of slate or tile, as well as presenting problems in allowing rainwater to run off. The run-off issue can be addressed if you choose a good contractor, though, while the materials have improved to the extent that flat roofs can last almost as long as pitched ones, while still being considerably cheaper.

 

If you’re leaving your roof purely as a covering, you might be better going for a pitched one. However, a flat roof can be used as an extra space, especially if you have a small garden, ranging from a terrace for sitting out on fine days to a roof garden. Or you could make it into a bird sanctuary that the neighbourhood cats can’t easily get at.

 

The Choice of Materials

 

Flat roofs can be made of many different materials. Each one has its pros and cons, and each is likely to be the best choice in particular cases.

 

  • Asphalt is a tough, durable material that will last a long time and is great if you want a usable surface. However, it’s relatively expensive and heavier than most alternatives, so you’ll need a strong roof structure.
  • EPDM Rubber is easy to install and both strong and lightweight. It doesn’t look very attractive, though, so is probably best kept for roofs that won’t be seen much. It also tends to shrink over time.
  • GRP Fibreglass is attractive, lightweight and strong, and suitable to walk on, though it can be a bit slippery. However, it’s best used only for roofs with small areas.
  • Felt has traditionally had a poor reputation because of inferior older systems, but modern felt roofing is flexible and durable. It looks attractive and is the cheapest material available. It should ideally have three layers, for ventilation, waterproofing and a top surface, to make it fully effective.

 

 

Installing Your Flat Roof

 

Roofing is generally best left to professionals. Although flat roofs are a little simpler to install than pitched ones, anything much more than a small shed roof is best not tackled even by an expert DIYer. Get in touch with us to ask about your options for a flat roof.