The Sunday Times yesterday published an article on Ways to give your home an autumn MOT, including how to check your home is as energy efficient as possible and not affected by damage. NFRC contributed to part of this article, which points to contractors listed by NFRC, but this was a broad feature that couldn’t give all the information needed about checking your roof.
NFRC’s Head of Technical and Training, Bob Richardson, has the following tips for homeowners.
‘It’s coming that time of year when homeowners should consider checking their roofs for any noticeable damage or missing slates and tiles before winter arrives. Undertaking proactive maintenance of your roof should help to mitigate the risk of expensive reactive maintenance and any unforeseen expenditure due to water damage that may occur, especially in light of the economic climate and rising costs.
‘This check should be visual and undertaken from ground level, as NFRC would not endorse any work at height being undertaken by individuals without the correct skills, knowledge and experience and using the correct access equipment.
‘When visually inspecting a roof the obvious signs to look out for are:
- Missing slates or tiles
- Damaged slates or tiles
- Slates or tiles that are out of line and not facing in the same direction as the others
- Mortar missing from any ridge, verge or abutment
- Loose or defective flashings around any penetrations through the roof like a chimney stack, or in a valley
- Overflowing gutters or vegetation that can be seen growing out of the gutters.
‘The signs of moss or lichen visible on a roof is not uncommon and under normal circumstances a small amount of moss or lichen growth will not be harmful to the roof covering. Only in extreme cases, it may affect the flow of water off the roof and thus increasing the risk of leaks or damage.
‘NFRC would never recommend the use of pressure washers to clean moss, lichen or algae off a roof as the high pressures can damage the tiles or reduce their overall service life. The preferred method would be the use of a system from ground floor to eliminate any working at height or alternatively it could be scraped away or brushed off using hand tools.
‘The roof could also be viewed, if it is safe to do so, from underneath within the loft space, as the presence of daylight through the roof coverings or dampness in the loft could be signs that maintenance of the roof is required. Whilst within the loft it would also be prudent to check the insulation, predominately this will be above the ceiling level and would be a fibre roll insulation installed between the joists tightly fitted without any gaps. As hot air rises 25 per cent of your home’s heat can be lost from a poorly insulated loft, so if additional insulation can be fitted this could help further reduce heat loss through the roof ensuring that the house stays warmer longer. The UK government recommends a minimum insulation thickness of 270 mm.
‘Installing more insulation will keep your house warmer but will also make the roof space above the insulation colder and as such care should be taken to ensure any water tanks or pipework above the level of the insulation are also adequately insulated to prevent them freezing.’
For further information, homeowners can request their FREE copy of the NFRC’s Homeowner’s Guide to Roof Work.