some DIY Tips

A Generic Photo of a man repairing his roof. See PA Feature HOMES Homes Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature HOMES Homes Column.
A Generic Photo of a man repairing his roof. See PA Feature HOMES Homes Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature HOMES Homes Column.

The problem with roofs is that we often forget to maintain them - until, that is, they start to leak and then we’re forced to remember they need care and attention just like everything else in our homes.

Most properties have pitched roofs covered in tiles or slates. Tiles are usually made of cement, with a lifespan of around 40-50 years, or of clay. Slates give a lovely, traditional look and are hard wearing, but they are expensive too. Whatever it’s made of, the roof should be inspected at least twice a year, both from the outside (using binoculars) and from inside the loft. If you can see daylight in the loft, for example, there’s probably something missing on the outside.

Slates or tiles that have broken, slipped out of place, or been blown off are common occurrences. If they’re not replaced, rainwater will get into the loft, firstly causing damage there and then in the rooms below. Water staining in the loft is an early warning sign of a problem with the roof covering, so get it looked at by a reputable roofer as soon as possible.

Flashing, guttering and chimney stacks and pots can also cause leaks and damp. Again, you may be able to spot these problems yourself, but you will need a roofer to put them right, as DIY on a roof isn’t safe. It’s also a good idea to ask a roofer to give your roof a once-over if you don’t know when the roof was last worked on, if you’re not sure what to look out for, or if you can’t see the roof properly from the ground.

Flat roofs also have a bad reputation. They’re prone to leaks because they should have a gradient. The roof covering can also crack and tear.