Answers to 10 of Your Most Common Roofing Questions

Roofs are the top portion of a house that protect the structure from the weather and insulate it. In order to ensure that your roofing offers good weatherproofing it should be properly installed and maintained. Incorrect installation and lack of maintenance can cause water to seep through and lead structural damage to the entire house. As a DIY roofer, it is important that you examine your roof regularly and quickly repair any damage caused to your roof.

Q&A

1) How do I examine a tiled roof as part of regular maintenance?

There are three different ways to examine a tiled roof:

a) Check the roof space from inside.
Observe for cracks drawing in daylight if the roof insides are unlined. Run a torch over the timbers to look for water staining and trace the source if stains exist.

b) Outside, from the ground level
Observe the entire roof from the ground level; use binoculars for a closer inspection. Look for disjointed or slipped tiles against the regular lines of tiles.

c) From the roof level
Use a ladder to examine the surface of the roof. Examine the ridge on the skyline, check for gaps in the mortar joints, flashings around chimney stacks, and for fallen pieces of mortar.

2) I noticed cracks in the lead flashing beneath my roof windows. Can I do a DIY repair?

Yes, you can easily repair the lead flashing. Purchase a flashing band on a roll to cover the cracked portions. The flashing band has bitumen on the back which you should gently heat with a blow torch and melt to forms a bond over the lead flashing.

3) What are the advantages of UPVC guttering?

UPVC gutters are lightweight, easy to install and quite cost-effective compared to metal gutters. More importantly, they are water-resistant and will not rust like metal gutters. You do not need to paint UPVC gutters which are available in colors that can be customized to blend in with your gutters.

4) I am planning to replace my existing roofing. Are there any energy-efficient roofing materials that I can use?

You have numerous options for installing energy-efficient roofing, including green roofs, slate and clay roofs. Green roofs are naturally cooling and are composed of grass and plants that grow over the main roof which is protected by a membrane that enables irrigation. Slate and clay tiles are natural occurring biodegradable roofing solutions that perform effortlessly in all weather conditions. However, clay tiles are best suited for warmer climes as heavy hailstones can damage them.

5) Should I install a drip edge flashing on my roof?

Yes, drip edge flashing is essential in preventing water from seeping into your roofs. It also serves to ventilate your home, and prevent damp conditions that can pose a health hazard. Fit the flashing on vents, edges, peaks or skylights of your roof.

6) How do I replace worn out slate tiles?

Lift up the slate tiles in the row above the highest ones that need replacement. Prop the tiles with wooden wedges and lift two tiles together, removing the top section of tiles, working down to the course below towards the roof line, if required. Replace with new slates, starting with the lower course. Hook each tile over the batten by its nib. Ensure that each tile is correctly lined up and centered directly between the two tiles below it. Nail the tops of the slates to the battens with galvanized or aluminum alloy nails.

7) How do I clean my guttering?

Use a ladder to climb up to your guttering and clean out dirt and decomposed leaves with a soft broom. Ensure that you clean the downspout properly, as leaves and debris clogging it, will prevent rainwater from draining correctly, which will cause your gutters to sag over a period of time.

8) What are the least expensive roofing materials that I can install?

Asphalt shingles, followed by metal, wooden and clay shingles are some of the least expensive roofing materials available.

9) I need to carry out maintenance work around my tile roof. Can I stand on it?

Standing or walking on tile roofs can damage them if you do not distribute your weight correctly. Avoid placing your entire weight solely on one foot, instead of stand on separate tiles and bend forward to evenly distribute your weight. Bear in mind that the tile roofing is stronger where the tiles overlap– so place your feet where the bottom of one tile overlaps with the top of the tile below it.

10) What type of roofing systems are low-maintenance?

There are several roof types that you can consider as low-maintenance including the green roofing membrane, metal roofs, clay and slate roofs. While green roofs require some effort to nurture and tend, they easily last for well over 20 years with a minimal maintenance irrigation system. Metal roofing can last for over 100 years and only needs an application of a coat of weatherproof paint every 10 years. The same is the case will long-lasting clay and slate roofs, which also last for 100 years and require occasional cleaning of debris and snow.

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