The maintenance of any house should include regular home inspections of the roof and gutter system, and though this may seem obvious to many of us, it is surprising how many people forget these vital parts of the house. If your roof is badly maintained it will eventually leak and cause havoc, or maybe even need replacing. Your gutter system, though not as expensive to replace, can also cause damage to the structure of your property if not well maintained. Therefore, here are some tips on keeping your roof and gutters in good working order.
Whether your roof is covered in tile, slate, rubber compound, or thatch, you will need to make sure that nothing is broken, and that the cover is complete. If you can see any cracked tiles or slates, or gaps in any surface, you need to act quickly or you could soon have water cascading into your home. A roof repair would usually be the job of a roofing specialist, but if you catch these things early enough, you may be able to do the repair yourself.
The side edges of many roofs are finished with mortar, and this can crack over time. You will need to inspect this and have it repaired, as it will eventually break and fall off. This is a simple job, and a quick bit of re-pointing will normally be all that is needed. If your roof has a lot of valleys, then there could also be damaged mortar here, so make sure these are checked too.
Flashing is the thin pieces of metal installed to prevent water from getting through seams or joints. Depending how many things vent through your roof and whether you have a chimney, you could have a lot of flashing that could be damaged. Again, this could lead to major leaks, so you need to give these the same attention as your roof shingles. This may need a specialist, but most roofers are capable of this job.
It is vital that you keep your roof clear of debris, and a good place to start is with moss. Moss grows on most roofs, and once started will spread all over the roof. Removing the moss can be a time consuming and often perilous task, and it is wise to hire a company that will steam clean your roof. These firms will not only remove the moss and other debris for you, they also will give your roof the once over and let you know if there is any damage to the roof itself; this is a great way to have your roof inspected free of charge.
The first thing to look for in a drainage inspection is broken or cracked piping, but water escaping from a crack is not the only way your property could be damaged; so make sure your gutter never overflows. Like your roof you need the gutter cleaned to make sure it can do its job (using a hose is a great idea), and a clean roof will help ensure a clean gutter. This is a far easier job than the roof, and one that should be done much more frequently.
When you are cleaning your gutter, or having it cleaned for you, make sure there is an inspection of the gutter brackets. If a bracket breaks it will cause a sag in the gutter length, which will lead to overflow. This is also a good time to ensure your gutter is sloping away to the downpipe, otherwise you will always have a full gutter.
Downpipes are easily blocked by all types of things, and the first thing you should do is fit a guard of some type to the top of the pipe. This will stop future blockages, and help your gutter to cope with downpours. If your pipe is blocked, squirting a high-pressure hose up it often solves the problem, but you may need to use a length of pipe or a plumber's snake tool if the blockage is persistent.
Your roof and gutters are meant to keep the elements out of your property, and if you complete these maintenance tips you will be helping them do their job.
By: Neil Purnell