Tips for maintenance on different roof types
Roof maintenance on different types of roofs
Here are some questions to consider when thinking about roof maintenance:
- Are there trees surrounding your property?
- Is sap and other debris allowed to fall onto your roof?
- Is there local wildlife nesting in your roof?
- Does your area get a lot of high winds and driving rain?
- Concrete cancer - are my roof tiles affected?
- Using a ladder, check for rust spots. Rust is the corrosion of metal and the failure of an otherwise great material
- Check for perished rubber seals on your screw heads as they will allow water through to your roof space
- Replacing screws is an easy process, however it requires working at heights and is often better left to the professionals
Concrete tile / terracotta tile roofs
Concrete tile and terracotta roofs require maintenance usually every 4-6 years, or depending on where you live and things that surround your house.
White marks running down your roof?
- Don’t panic. The white marks are what is known as efflorescence and occur naturally in most concrete products
- Efflorescence is basically salt deposits that moves through porous concrete or bricks, piggy-backed by water or moisture, also known as capillary action
- This process occurs on all types of concrete and is often unavoidable
- Unless the efflorescence is causing small craters in your roof there is nothing to worry about
- As seasons change so too will the moisture levels in the atmosphere and this process will eventually clear up provided there is enough rain to wash the salts away over time
Installed properly, slate roofs require relatively little maintenance and will last 60 to 125 years or longer depending on the type of slate employed, roof configuration, and the geographical location of the property. Some slates have been known to last over 200 years.
Potential problems & solutions:
- Slates require no real maintenance, unless they are damaged or misplaced on your roof. More often than not your surrounding flashings may require replacement
- Nail fatigue, resulting in slates slipping out of place. They may just need to be refitted to ensure water cannot find its way into your home
- Weather - high winds and falling debris can also damage or break good slates and they may just need to be replaced. For all period properties we can use reclaimed slate to blend seamlessly
- A slate roof will take on the appearance of its surroundings and can often highlight bird droppings and moss or other small vegetation. Simply hose down your roof or call in a professional to clean it for you
The main reason for failure of these traditional roofs is ignorance or lack of maintenance.
The gravel can move or be removed from the tar or tarpaper waterproofing, thus exposing it to weather and sun - whereupon cracking and blistering occurs over time and eventually water gets in.
Things to look out for:
- Be sure to avoid traffic on your ashfelt roof. The less people or things placed there will greatly improve the life of your roof
- Repair kits are readily available at your local hardware shop and don’t always require a professional to install.
- If a leak does occur on a flat roof then damage often goes unnoticed for long periods of time, during which water penetrates and soaks the decking and any insulation and/or structure beneath it. This can lead to expensive damage from the rot which often develops, and if left can weaken the roof structure
- There are also various health risks to people and animals breathing the mould spores - the severity of this health risk remains a debated point.
If you are unsure of the state of your roof or how to take on any of these maintenance tips, be sure to call in a professional (us!) for advice.
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