The colder weather will most likely have an effect on your roof, and the cost of repairing damage caused by a leak will almost certainly exceed the cost of fixing the issue before it gets out of hand. These top tips will help you keep your roof in a good condition this winter…
Darren Searles, of JJ Roofing, recommends the following easy steps for landlords, so that you can keep your roof strong and safe as the bad weather arrives:
Check the inside of the property
While it is always important to conduct periodic inspections of your property, you should focus on checking certain issues within the home during the colder months.
Look out for dark or browning spots, or blistering and bubbling paint on ceilings – these are signs of water damage. Also, check for damp spots forming near fireplaces.
If this is all fine, move on to the loft. If possible, conduct these checks on a sunny day; you’ll see sunlight lancing in through any worn or broken shingles. If it’s rained recently, any water damage should be obvious, but you should also inspect for signs of previous leaks or damp.
Move on to the outside
With the interior of the property checked, move on to the outside of the roof. The first and most important thing to consider is your safety – never walk on your roof. If you’re comfortable with heights, view your roof using a ladder, preferably with someone on the ground taking notes. If heights make you uneasy, find a good position to view your roof with a pair of binoculars. If neither of these options work for you, contact a roofing maintenance professional.
It’s important to check for more than missing shingles or tiles – dark patches or lines likely mean damage. Also, look out for curling and cupping, or a large number of chipped and buckled shingles. If your roof is visibly uneven and spotty, it could be a sign that it is getting quite old and might need replacing soon.
After inspecting the shingles or tiles, turn your attention to the building’s chimneys. It’s important to check the flashing and ensure that it isn’t peeled away, dislodged or otherwise damaged. Skylights, vents and any structures that penetrate through the roof should also be checked to make sure that sealant isn’t cracking or peeling away.
Next, focus on moss.
You must know the difference between black algae spots and moss, as black algae doesn’t harm your roof. However, moss is a problem because it holds water. It’s very important that any moss you find is removed. If you manage to catch moss early, you may be able to simply sweep it away. But if moss has established itself for a while, it needs to be killed off. Choose a product that has potassium salts of fatty acids, rather than a solution with a toxic formula that includes zinc sulphate. Only apply the mixture to the area where the moss is growing. Again, if you are not comfortable with this job, hire a professional.
Cleaning your gutters is also an important task, especially around spring and autumn. If debris piles up too high in the gutters, it will prevent water from flowing through to the downspouts. If this happens, water can end up soaking into the roof and rotting parts of it. Clean gutters also prevent damage to the foundation, which can lead to wet basements, staining, erosion and huge bills to fix the damage.
While you are inspecting your roof, it may be a good idea to install a gutter brush. These are designed to easily and efficiently keep debris out of your guttering system. It requires very little maintenance, although it is recommended that you give it a jet wash once a year.
Look at the surrounding area
Finally, look at what’s around your roof – are there any overhanging trees? Branches that lead directly to your roof not only provide easy access for squirrels, but they can also scrape and damage your roof and send shingles flying in strong winds. There’s also the potential for branches to break off in a storm and cause significant damage. In addition, the shade they provide allows moss to grow more efficiently, so keep branches trimmed to around ten-feet away from your roof.
Landlords, remember that your first thoughts should always be about safety. If you don’t have the correct tools, safety equipment and clothing (and some experience), always use a professional to conduct the work and checks for you.
If your property does suffer damage caused by bad weather, remember that the cost of repairing the damage is covered under our award-winning Landlord Insurance.
Find out why we offer the widest cover as standard: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/landlordinsurance