Common Roof Problems and Repairs

Common Roof Problems and Repairs

No matter how well built, over time roof problems will inevitably occur. A roof might become damaged due to the age of the material used or from wear and tear caused by the elements, even bad workmanship…

Understanding common roof problems is essential for the home owner. Just because you may not be able to see your roof completely it should not be negleted . By knowing what to look out for, roofing issues can be resolved before they become a bigger problem. You can often fix minor issues yourself, but for larger repairs a professional can get the job done safely and correctly.

 

A Leaking Roof :

One of the most common roof problems is missing or broken tiles and slates that cover your roof.

Once the inside of the roof is exposed to the rain and wind you can expect problems with leaking. Any damaged tiles or slates will need to be replaced quickly before the internal structure of the roof is also compromised. The smallest of gaps or holes in the roof covering can lead to huge amounts of water pouring in especially where rain gathers such as valley areas.

Replacing missing or broken slates or tiles is an easy repair that can be done fairly cheaply depending on the location of the missing slates on your roof.

 

Roof Flashing Problems :

The flashing’s are the materials used to weatherproof the roof. typically made from lead they are found at the junction between the top of the roof and a wall or around chimneys as well  as any pipes or vents passing through the roof, they all need to be fully sealed to prevent problems. If the flashing’s become damaged or split then a leak is likely to occur.

Replacing the flashing’s around chimneys is a very common job, If done correctly and with the correct materials they should remain trouble free for a long time. Likewise they are a very common area of the roof to be ‘bodged’ by inexperienced people or those trying to pass cheap work off to you the householder as a quality job. Many homeowners would not have the desire to be climbing around the roof inspecting work and the areas around the flashing’s cannot usually be seen easily from the ground.

 

The Chimney Issue :

Chimneys are another weak point of a roof. An old chimney should be inspected regularly as they are exposed to the worst waether conditions. crumbling bricks or mortar joints should be replaced or renewed at the earliest opportunity. Many old chimneys lose all the strength in the mortar turning it virtually back into sand, the brickwork can become very unstable and possible collapse. Likewise chimney pots can become lose over time when the flaunching that holds the pot in place deteriorates. Often it is only the weight of the bricks and pot holding the stack in place!!

If you can visually see gaps, flaking bricks or anything else missing from your chimney whilst you are on the ground you should call a professional as soon as possible.

 

A Leaky Gutter :

Your gutters are there to direct the flow of water from your roof away from the walls of your house. As debris gathers in the gutter it can slow and eventually stop the flow of water off our roof. Without clearing all the obstructions this can lead to problems with your roof. Leaking joints or poorly aligned guttering can also lead to damp problems.

 

The Roof Valleys :

The junction between two sloping roof surfaces will form a valley. A badly constructed or repaired valley can cause serious problems because of the large quantity of water that can gather in it. The valley is a common area for roof leaks. Depending on the style of the roof lead is normally used but also fiberglass or concrete tiles may be used.

A leaking valley should be repaired or renewed straight away. It is possible to repair them but if the lead is very old it is wise just to strip it all out and replace with new. It is not always a straight forward job to do as the lead needs to go under both sides of the roof covering which have to be removed and re-fixed after the new valley is in place. Because of the work involved a scaffold is usually needed and adds to the cost of the repair making it one of the more expensive roofing jobs to do.

 

Hip and Ridge Tiles :

Almost every house has hip and ridge tiles and they form a covering at the top point of your roof or down the sides. Normally they are bedded on with mortar and over time can become loose. Because they cover the joins in the roof special care should be taken to ensure the pointing is sound. When they do come loose they can cause a lot of damage to the surrounding area. If the pointing is particularly bad it may become necessary to remove them completely and re-bed them with new mortar.

 

Moisture and Damp :

The timber construction of the roof should be protected from moisture at all costs.  Short term exposure is not such a huge issue but long term dampness will lead to wet or dry rot.  This can cause the roof to sag and damage the rafters or beams. Repairing this type of damage should be done by an expert as the structural strength of the roof depends on these components. As long as you keep up with your roof maintenance you can minimize the risks of such major issues.

 

The next time your roof is suffering from leaks, make sure to quickly identify the source of the problem. But if you don’t have the means or knowledge, get help from a professional roof repair service and have an expert conduct an inspection.

Remember to get a reputable roofer to do the work cheaply repaired roofs will only lead to more problems and extra cost to you the homeowner putting it right.

 

This article was written by: Lee Jones

I have been professional Builder & Roofer for 20 years and have been running my company for last 8 years. I also teach kickboxing for the PKA Professional Kickboxing Association