The roof over your head is literally what protects you from the elements. Up there at the top of the building, it is also the most exposed part of any building. Battered by wind and rain, and occasionally burdened with snow, its job is critical. So ensuring it is up to the job is important. Roofs get a lot of wear and tear, especially with the last couple of severe winters Ireland has had. It is vital to organise periodic roof inspections. The time to do that is before more severe weather strikes, not after the damage has been done.
Autumn is a good time for roof inspections in Ireland. We’ve had one serious wind do real damage already, so this is the time to assess roof conditions and do any necessary works.
We will see more stormy conditions, and any roofs left with undetected vulnerabilities could see serious damage if not repaired before the next high winds.
What Happens During a Roof Inspection?
First, a roof inspector should be qualified and insured. They should inspect the exterior of the roof as well as the flashing, fascia, gutters and the attic. The inspector is looking for loose, broken or cracked slates or tiles, algae, rot, loose or damaged flashing, fascia and gutters. Inside, they should check for signs of water or light egressing. (Insulation might make this difficult.) Roof inspectors should also examine how the roofing materials, whether it is slate or tile or a flat roof covering, are affixed to the building. Ask your inspector if they can check the chimney too. When the roof inspection is complete, they should provide a written report detailing their findings and recommendations.
To truly prepare for winter, it helps to look beyond the roof itself. Check area near the building for vulnerable trees or utility poles close enough to damage the building if they fell during a storm. Downspouts should also be checked to ensure they are securely affixed to the building.
It’s also important to check your roof’s warranty. Is it still valid? Does that affect your building insurance?
Preparing the Roof for Winter
First, any damage must be repaired as soon as possible. Loose or broken slates can come off, posing a risk to anyone near the building as well as allowing rain to leak into the structure. Resitrix membranes are an effective solution for leaks. Its single layer application offers decades of protection with no shrinkage. Even a small leak can cause big problems inside. It can damage the building and the contents, including electrical wiring and appliances. Fixing a leak as soon as it is discovered is much cheaper than repairing the damage the leak can cause in even a couple of weeks.
Loose or damaged gutters and downspouts should be repaired or replaced. Heavy rains or high winds can mean you have major damage to repair instead of a small problem. A single coat of Liquasil applied to the length of a gutter will not only seal all joints, but will also fill small holes and cracks. It’s resistant to moss and lichen growth, and is only available through approved installers.
Have any trees near the building pruned regularly to prevent storm damage. Fallen branches can be dangerous for people and cause extensive damage to buildings and cars.
This is also an ideal time to prepare, review and update your emergency plan to deal with severe weather.