Do Your Pre-Winter Roof Inspection Now
Homeowners are advised to check their roofs before the winter begins in earnest so that any problems can be taken care of before they have a negative impact on the inside of the house. A sharp drop in temperature is likely to bring frost which can do all sorts of damage to your roof if it hasn’t been regularly maintained.
Begin by inspecting the roof tiles, slates and shingles to see if any are loose, cracked or misaligned. Any that look as if they are damaged should be replaced as soon as possible and definitely before the advent of the really harsh weather when the damage may have already begun. A damaged roof tile, slate or shingle may let water in which can result in a leak which damages the interior of your home.
Moss and lichens growing on roof tiles can displace them so this will need to be removed. Don’t be tempted to use bleach which can damage the downpipes, use specialist products that are available from your local DIY shop.
Next cut back any trees and shrubs with branches that hang over the roof. A bad storm could cause a branch to snap and fall on the roof, damaging your roof tiles. When most of the local trees have lost their leaves and the branches are bare, it’s time to clean out your gutters. Gutters and downpipes may get clogged with fallen leaves and other debris which can mean a lot of water soaking into the ground around the house. When the cold weather really begins, this standing water will freeze and expand and could damage the foundations of the building.
Make sure gutters are installed at a gradient to allow water to flow away freely to the downpipes. For every eight feet of guttering, there should be a drop of one inch. Test your gutters by pouring water into the highest point to make sure it flows away properly – if you see any water pooling, it may be time to call in the professionals to adjust or replace the gutters.
Check the caulking around the roof membrane to make sure it’s intact. You should also check the flashing, the chimney stack, vents and pipes, skylights and satellite dish (if you have them). These are all weak points that need to be checked for damage at least on an annual basis.
When carrying out all these jobs, safety should always be a vital issue. Don’t just use any old ladder you have hanging around – it may not be the correct ladder for the type of job you’re doing. The safest option would be to hire scaffolding to ensure your safety at all times. Any ladders, scaffolding or other access equipment necessary to carry out a roof inspection will need to be examined for damage to make sure it’s safe to use. Before using the access equipment, make sure you’re familiar with safe use of the equipment so that you eliminate the risks involved with carrying out a detailed roof inspection of this type.