Now that the dark nights and damp weather are here and the excitement for Christmas has begun, the last thing you need is something going wrong with your roof. In an ideal world, you would inspect your roof and gutters for any leaks and missing or cracked tiles before Winter fully sets in, seeking professional roof maintenance advice for extra peace of mind.
Winter isn’t the ideal season for installing a new roof, with materials hardening and becoming brittle due to low temperatures, increasing the likelihood that they will crack during installation, wintry conditions making it unsafe and difficult for contractors to work, sealants being more of a challenge to apply and tools harder to use. However, certain checks and roof maintenance are still important at this time of the year.
Haven’t checked your roof yet? We recommend seeing if you notice any dark or brown spots or the blistering of paint on ceilings in rooms inside your home or in the loft. These signs of damage could mean there is a leak in your roof. If you assess your loft on a sunny day and see sunlight seeping through the ceiling, this is an indicator of broken shingles (roof tiles).
If you feel you can safely check your roof’s exterior using a ladder with someone at the bottom watching you for safety, check to see if your roof is missing any tiles or if any tiles are cracked. Also, double check for any dark patches or uneven areas on your roof – both of which could be indicative of damage and be signs that your roof is getting old. Never walk on your roof.
Heights may make you uncomfortable. If this is the case, you could either use binoculars and view your roof from across the street or seek the services of a reliable professional roofing maintenance specialist. Ensure that the flashing of your chimney (the type of edging around it often made of lead that helps keep the roof watertight) hasn’t become damaged or dislodged and that the sealant on any vents or skylights in your roof isn’t peeling away as this could lead to insulation issues.
If you notice any of these issues we would encourage dealing with them as soon as possible to reduce further damage to your roof and prevent the expense of fixing the problem from rising.
1) Clear your Gutters – Water cannot be carried away from your roof if gutters are clogged with fallen leaves and debris resulting in rainwater soaking into the roof and causing parts of the roof to rot, leading to expensive staining and erosion. Clear the debris and leaves away whilst ensuring that your gutters are secure and remembering to remove leaves from the bottom of the drainpipe as well as the top end. A longer-term solution is to install a gutter brush, which prevents leaves building up in your gutters whilst allowing water to flow through and away from your roof.
If you’re unsure, arrange for a professional roofing contractor like Ploughcroft to clear your gutters.
2) Remove moss – Black algae and moss can look alike. While both unpleasant looking, moss is the only substance that actually harms your roof as it holds water which can cause rot and damage if left unchecked. Moss that is caught early can be swept away but older more established moss will need to be killed using a product containing potassium salts of fatty acids. Only apply the product to the area of moss growth. We’d advice seeking roof maintenance specialists, like Ploughcroft if you don’t feel confident removing the moss yourself.
3) Cut Down Any Overhanging Branches – Branches that lead directly to a roof have the potential to cause great damage, including sending tiles flying in harsh winds, breaking off and cracking roof tiles in a storm and facilitating moss growth via the shade they provide. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep surrounding branches trimmed roughly about 10feet away from your roof.
Fortunately, you don’t need to keep removing snow from your roof during the winter as modern roofs use shingles to help remove and melt any snow that comes into contact with it. If you follow the roof maintenance tips above, contacting a professional roofing contractor like Ploughcroft if you’re ever unsure, you and your roof should be on course for a smooth and safe Winter!