Predictable, or completely unexpected, roof issues always represent a significant problem for homeowners. Not only can they lead to significant expense, but they can damage your comfort, and even lead to issues within other parts of your home if they aren't quickly dealt with by a professional roofer. Sometimes, being able to pinpoint the sources of a common roof issue can give you an insight into the measures that need to be taken to fix it.
Below, you'll find a quick list of some of the most common roof problems that homeowners face, how you can identify them for yourself, and what they mean for the well being of your home (and potentially your wallet).
A word of warning however - Fixing your roof means you need to know what you are doing and be confortable working at heights. It's not for most people. Unless you have the experience and nerve, consider getting a quote from one of our qualified roofers nationwide.
Here are the main roof problems we see in Ireland:
Defective Pointing in Hip Tiles, Ridge Tiles and Verges
Defective pointing in your roof can typically be identified by:
- The presence of loose mortar and gaps in the joints between ridge tiles (the tiles that run along the top of the roof), hip tiles (which cap the corners of certain roofs), or verges of lean-to slopes.
- Missing irons used to secure the tile at the bottom of the hip
- Slipped tiles
- Damp and leak within the loft, or upper roof timbers
If you have defective pointing, you're probably looking at a relatively minor roof problem. However, as common and simple as these issues may be - when left unchecked, an ingress of damp can quickly lead to decay in timbers, and storms might even dislodge loose tiles - leading to risk of injury. For this type of roof repair we recommend hiring a qualified roofer.
Missing or Slipped Tiles or Slates
It's not uncommon to see a few small gaps where tiles or slates have come loose and slipped away from their standard position on your roof. In most cases, damp and problems within the loft may only be an issue when several adjoining slates or tiles are missing. On top of that, most roofs built after 1950 will have an additional layer of underlay that provides extra defence. Of course, older roofs can lead to further problems quite quickly, so it's important to seek help when you can.
Missing or dislodged tiles are most frequently caused by storm damage, or people walking across the roof when installing dishes and TV ariels. Missing tiles aren't a critical defect, but they shouldn't be left unattended for too long.
Old Tiles or Slates in Need of Replacement
If more than ten tiles or slates per slope are missing or damaged, then the chances are that your roof needs replacing. In other words, you'll need to get a professional roofer out to completely strip and recover the entire roof before further damage takes place. You can get a free quote from our roofers here.
As high-quality as your roof may have been at one point, it's important to remember that all roofs will experience some damage and fail over time. The lifespan of any roof will depend on the age and quality of the material, as well as the kind of weather it's frequently exposed to. For instance, slates and old tile can quickly absorb water which freezes and expands, leading to crumbling and flaking.
The urgency of replacing your roof tiles will depend on the extent to which the covering has deteriorated. However, it's important to remember that in all cases, a largely damaged roof should be addressed as quickly as possible, before further damage to the structure of the home is allowed to take place.
Cracking can begin to develop where roof slopes around parapet walls, dormers, and subsidiary roofs lie, as well as around certain objects like chimney stacks - which project through the roof. The result can be leaks and damp patches that seem to penetrate throughout the entire home. This is often a sign that there's some problem with the lead flashing around the roof (the parts which keep your roof properly insulated). As durable as these systems are, they can sometimes come loose - particularly in older buildings.
These sorts of defects are frequently a cause of leaks in older properties, and can also be an issue in extensions that have been constructed somewhat poorly. Over time, ingress of damp caused by defective flashing might cause adjoining timbers to rot - meaning that urgent repair is required.
Be Careful - falling from a roof hurts!
In most of the situations outlined above, you are likely to find that the job is far too complex to take on alone, which means that you should seek out a quote from a professional roofer. No-one can afford to have a damaged or defective roof threatening the comfort or safety of their family, so try to avoid leaving the problem to worsen for too long before you seek help.