02 Mar 2016
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when renovating is not having a roof checked prior to getting the work started.
If your roof is less than five years old, it should be too early to worry about any roof failures or corrosion, but keep in mind that with every passing year, it is worth keeping an eye out for corroded roof metals (flashings) or separations of the roof layers. And don’t forget to clean out your gutters and downspout pipes annually.
Renovations are expensive, and the rainy season isn’t over yet, so don’t waste hard-earned money and lose any home improvement work to something as avoidable as a leaky roof!
Here are some tips to help you prepare for what meteorologists are calling the largest El Nino in the past 50 years:
Have your roof estimated during the dry season – Don’t wait until your house springs a leak in the middle of a winter storm to have your roof looked at by a professional. Winter is typically the busiest time of year for roofers, so should you experience a leak during this time, there’s a possibility that a contractor may not be available to perform the necessary work for days, weeks, or even months. If you have a flat roof that is older than 10 years, or a pitched roof older than 25, we suggest having it checked now, and every 5 years thereafter. Have your roof looked at immediately if you see any obvious signs of damage or wear (missing tiles/shingles, cracks on surface, visible rust on metal roofing components).
Clear your gutters and downspout pipes – A common source for roof leaks is a clogged gutter or downspout pipe. The function of gutters and downspout pipes is to collect and control the flow of rainwater run-off. When leaves and other debris aren’t regularly removed, they can gather and obstruct the flow of water, causing it to overflow. Should this happen, there is little a roof can do to prevent water from breaching into the building’s interior. Luckily, this is relatively easy to fix and just requires the help of a roofer, plumber, or handyman to clear the obstruction.
Trim overhanging tree branches – A roof damage can occur when wind-driven debris come crashing onto your roof. This can be minimized by having any overhanging tree branches trimmed before they break.
Check your windows – Often, the source of a leak is misidentified as coming from the roof, when it is actually coming from a failed window seal. A window leak coming from an upper level in a home can snake its way through the ceiling of the floor below. Be sure to check the seams of your window and look for signs of corrosion before this happens and contact your window contractor to ensure that your windows continue to be stormproof.
Lastly, have it coated – If you have a flat roof that isn’t exactly new but appears to be in acceptable shape, consider having it coated. A liquid-applied waterproof coating can significantly extend the life and integrity of your roof. A finished, coated roof not only adds additional waterproofing protection, but is also U.V. reflecting, which means a cooler house and lower energy costs in the summertime. Your roof is already coated, keep in mind that it is highly recommended to retouch the coating every three to five years.