Roof Repair For the Novice
When are roof repairs necessary?
Roof repairs are vital for a healthy house. Keeping your roof in a good state will reap dividends - you save money on heating or air-conditioning, your attic becomes less damp and your house looks more attractive from the outside.
Proper roof repairs are also essential if you want to sell your property, as they tick two important boxes for your potential buyers; kerb appeal and peace of mind. A roof with cracked slates or tiles gives the whole house an air of disrepair, and a "drive-by" buyer may not even get as far as ringing your doorbell.
It's also a great positive selling point to be able to say "This roof was completely replaced just last year." It sends out a signal to buyers that you've been taking care of the important stuff as well as the cosmetic appearance of your house.
When do you know that roof repairs are necessary?
There are many signs that your roof needs repairing. Some of these signs are obvious. For example, it doesn't take a genius to work out that water leaks in the attic are a sign that things are wrong. So check for leaks, cracked tiles and dislodges slates regularly. However, some of the signs are more subtle. For example, high heating bills could be a sign that your roof needs repair. If you're paying over the odds for fuel, it's probably a sign that there's a problem with your attic ventilation, as a badly ventilated attic may contain moisture that drips on the insulation and reduces its effectiveness. However, it may also be a sign that roof tiles are cracked or missing, letting the cold air in. Mold on the walls is also a possible sign that your roof needs repairs, because it could mean that your roof is letting in water.
Of course, you'll also need to look at the outside of the roof for signs that repairs are needed. Are there any missing tiles or shingles? Is there mold or algae on the roof? Some forms of plant or fungal growth can push their way between tiles and cause damage to your roof. However, some are completely harmless apart from spoiling the look of your roof.
Can you do your own roof repairs?
Roof repairs can be dangerous unless you know what you're doing and know exactly how your roof is constructed. Even if you're experienced in roof repairs, it's still possible to fall foul of surprises such as slippery mold on slates or tiles. If you're at all unsure of how to go about your roof repairs safely, call in a professional.
Sometimes you can do some important "roof" repairs without even leaving the house. Many people assume that they have a problem with their roof, when the real problem is with the attic. For example, asphalt shingles can overheat if your attic doesn't have soffit ventilation. This overheating causes premature ageing of your asphalt, as it loses the oils that keep it flexible. Cracks appear, and repairs become necessary. It's possible to do these repairs without replacing the shingles, but it's better to sort out the problem with your attic ventilation rather than repairing the roof over and over. See our page on attic remodeling for more information about ventilation and insulation.
Repairs for different kinds of roof
There are many different kinds of roofing material, and they all have different needs. For example, newer cedar roofs are at risk of rotting, because many of them contain sap wood shingles interlaced with felt (which increases the drying time of the roof). Asphalt shingles aren't at risk of rotting, but they are at risk of overheating and cracking. It's not always the case that the older materials are more reliable; often newer materials necessitate fewer repairs. If you really want the traditional look of a wooden roof, consider look-alike options such as imitation wood.