Our roofs are the barrier between us and the elements. They get their fair share of brutal treatment from the heavens. Giving your roof a quick health check once in a while might save you a whole lot of heartache in the future. Here are some signs your roof is begging to be looked after.
1. Exposed to Harsh Weather
Australia has some of the most extreme weather on the planet. We get heavy winds, rainstorms, and hot temperatures. It’s a good idea to conduct a roof health check whenever your home has taken a battering. Wind loosens roof tiles and might even send them flying from your home—not only spoiling your roof but potentially hurting any passers-by.
Similarly, heavy rain can crack, break, or loosen roof tiles. Ice and frost, in particular, can cause ice dams that significantly affect the integrity of the roof’s structure. Moreover, when rain gets into the cracks in the mortar and freezes, it furthers the damage.
2. Warm Weather
With regular highs of 40 degrees in parts of the country, Australian roofs have to withstand a lot. Over time, hot temperatures can dry out your roof. It causes shrinking, bleaches wooden roof battens, and weakens the roof. Asphalt roof shingles might crack.
As the temperatures rise during the day, materials expand. When the temperatures rapidly plummet overnight, it causes sudden shrinkage. While dry-fixed roof houses can withstand such changes, you should perform a health check when the weather gets warm.
Plus, it’s a better time of year to get the ladder out and climb up to your roof to check before the winter hits. Try to complete any heavy maintenance work in the summer months.
3. The Roof Is Over Five Years Old
Unfortunately, everything has a shelf life. Roofs included. Age isn’t necessarily a guarantee that there is something wrong. However, the older your roof is—and the longer it has been since your last roof health check—the more likely it needs some tender loving care.
There is no exact expiry date for your roof. Roof tiles fixed with mortar tend to last a few decades. They could last up to fifty years, depending on the tile material. However, mechanically fastened roofs require less maintenance and survive well over half a century. While you should still inspect your dry fixed roof, you can forego such regular health checks.
4. You’ve Noticed Damp
Ah. The dreaded damp. When your roof’s integrity is compromised, penetrating dampness is one of the first signs you’ll notice. Damp and condensation could be a sign of damaged roof flashing or vents.
While a water leak is pretty apparent, damp is less so. You’ll notice discoloured ceilings, a musty smell, peeling wallpaper, or even spots of mould.
If you find you have penetrating dampness on your hand, don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world, but you will need to get it fixed before the problem worsens. Remember, it’s not necessarily a sign that you have a problem with your roof. Damp also occurs with poor ventilation.
To prevent the risk of dampness, passive houses ensure the perfect balance of fresh air is restored to your home as it extracts stale air and moisture.
How to Health-Check Your Roof
Regular roof health checks are sensible, even if you’ve not experienced any of the above criteria. Leaving problems to fester can cause more problems than dealing with the issue straight away. Either hire a professional roofing inspector or follow our steps below to carry out your own roof health check.
1. Carry Out an Inside Inspection
If there are any issues with your roof, your attic will be the first to know. Start at the top of the house and look for:
- Water rings
- Dark patches—could be rot
- Light penetration
If you spot any of the above, it’s a sign of damage. For more minor issues, you may be able to DIY roof repairs. However, it’s a good idea to speak to a local roofing expert to ensure your roof gets the best treatment.
2. Check Your Ventilation
Check your vents. Poorly ventilated houses lead to moisture and condensation. In the attic, this might impair your roof from the inside. Blocked ducts (e.g., might have leaves, moss, or roof insulation inside) prevent the stale, moist air from escaping.
Luckily, clearing out your vents is a quick, easy task. Push the end of an old paintbrush (or something similarly sturdy) through the ducts to dislodge any blockages.
3. Watch Out for Loose or Damaged Roof Tiles
Roof tiles easily break, crack, or loosen—especially when fixed by mortar. The best way to thoroughly inspect your roof tiles is to climb up to your roof. That said, you should only attempt this in dry weather with the property safety equipment. Otherwise, hire a professional to do the job for you.
If you find any damaged roof tiles, ensure you replace them as soon as possible. Carefully remove the surrounding tiles and set them aside. Remove the broken tile—you may need to break it up with a hammer, remove any nails, and scrape away any mortar. Fix the new tile in its place and coat it with a roof sealant.
4. Check the Flashing
Roof flashing is the strip that seals chimneys, skylights, vents, and satellite dishes on your roof. Bad weather might damage it or cause it to slip. Upon your roof inspection, ensure no gaps in the flashing or cracked sealant.
5. Unblock Your Gutters
Gutters fill up with leaves, moss, and other debris from time to time. If the rainwater cannot escape through drains, it might pool beneath the eaves or leak down the home’s external walls. First, check for sagging gutters from the ground. If you spot any signs of debris, get the ladder out and clear it away. While you’re there, make sure your gutters are in good shape.
- Regular health checks are essential to prevent significant damage
- Damp might be a sign of a broken roof or poor ventilation
- Dry-fixed roofs are more resilient to harsh weather than mortar roofs