In January 2018, Storm Eleanor battered the UK and Ireland with winds over 100 miles an hour and 42ft-high waves crashing into the coast. The storm caused chaos and calamity across the nation. After marching across the Atlantic Ocean, Storm Eleanor reached the UK on the 2nd and 3rd January and damaged scores of properties.
When these rare hurricane-force winds occur, properties that were already in need of maintenance are often the most damaged. As the first line of defence, the roof will take the lion’s share of the damage. When looking to claim on the insurance for the damage from a storm, assessors will first inspect the roof to see if there were any signs of disrepair before it hit. If the assessor finds that the damage was caused by low levels of maintenance, exacerbated by the storm, then it won’t be covered. Some may even ask to see invoices that prove that regular maintenance has taken place on the roof.
Because none of us ever really know when a calamity like this will strike again, it’s of the utmost importance to keep your roof well maintained to protect yourself, your home and your possessions. Our homes are likely the most expensive investment we will ever make and the roof is our primary defence against the elements, so it’s almost certainly the most important part of the structure.
When your roof is damaged, this can also lead to other issues throughout the home. Here we give you some information on common roofing problems, as well how these issues can affect the rest of your property.
Common Signs of Roofing Damage
Because it’s doubtful that you will be checking the quality of your roof on a regular basis, it’s very easy for issues to go unnoticed until it’s too late. However, it’s imperative to know how healthy your roof is as a damaged roof can have serious implications for your wallet and your health. If you’re thinking of selling your property and you can communicate that the roof will need little to no maintenance for some time, then you may even be able to raise the asking price.
Having a roof in good condition can save you money on your insurance premium, improve the air quality in your home, improve your kerb appeal and save you money in the long run. If you leave problems to fester, then you’ll pay more in the end. But how can you tell that there is damage?
One of the more subtle signs that there may be damage to your roof is the appearance of damp, mould, moss or mildew. Water damage can be mistakenly attributed to other issues. Sometimes the presence of water damage is simply because the house is damp, however, it can also be an early sign of something more worrying.
If you’re finding damp in the upper floors of your property, then this may be the cause of roof damage. Particularly if you’re discovering leaks in your attic, this is a big red flag. However small or seemingly insignificant the damage is, this could mean that water is seeping through your property via a hole or crack in the roof.
If you discover water damage, then it’s a good idea to have a roofing specialist survey your roof. If they find mould or moss on your roof as a result, then this could be the cause of the problem. This damage forces the tiles apart which can then create gaps for water to enter. If there are large areas of roofing affected by the mould, then it could signify that you’re in need of an entirely new roof.
Another sign a surveyor will look out for during an inspection is loose tiles. Loose tiles can indicate a weakened roof which could collapse in on you, or be irrevocably damaged during a storm. Similarly, a sagging ridge line along the roof can also indicate serious structural damage to your property. This is generally caused following extensive exposure to water or unsatisfactory workmanship.
Gutters are another area that the roofing specialist will check during their survey. If they find pieces of shingles in the gutter, then this is another signifier that you will need to repair your roof. This protective layer can deteriorate over time and as a result of extended periods exposed to the weather.
Underlay and mortar are materials used in the construction of the roof that helps to keep water out. Mortar does this at the edges and ‘junctions’ of roofs and underlay does it underneath the tiles. Both are integral to the structure of your roof and property and, when in disrepair, both can lead to significant damage. If a roofing specialist notices falling mortar or worn underlay then they will advise on repairs or replacements to help protect the rest of your home.
How These Issues Can Impair Flooring, Walls and Other Parts of The Home
So, now you know what some of the common signs of roofing damage are, how can these problems affect the other structural elements in your home? The major risk of roofing damage is the presence of moisture in the home, which can throw up some substantial problems elsewhere.
Water damage, if left untreated, can have a devastating impact. Over time, leaks from the roof can begin to ruin the ceilings, walls and, eventually, floors of your home. If a hole or crack in your roof goes unnoticed and untreated for an extended period of time, it can begin to work its way through your home. Eventually, this leak will breach your ceiling and drip into your home which can seriously damage your furniture, possessions, walls and floor. If it gets to this point, you’ll likely need a total replacement, so try and catch the signs of a leak much earlier.
The presence of moisture via a leak is also likely to lead to patches of mould and mildew throughout the home. If you notice any mould, it’s imperative not to ignore it as this can have serious implications for the health of your home and yourself. As well as leading to respiratory problems for you, mould can lead to decay fungi which can damage the structural integrity of your house. Mould by itself does not damage the structure, but it indicates that the environment is right for fungi to thrive which can cause significant damage.
If the tiles on your roof have become damaged over time and are leading to leaks indoors, they are also likely to fall from the roof. This issue has obvious consequences. All it might take is a stroke of bad luck for a tile to fall off the roof and hit either you, a family member or a passer-by and cause serious injury.
As the roof would not have been well maintained in this situation, you may be liable for any injury caused and could be facing a huge court bill. Similarly, if a tile falls from your roof, it could damage other areas of the house like a conservatory roof or patio.
The roof is one of the most important parts of your home. If you notice absolutely any issues with the condition of the roof, it’s important to consult a professional right away. Not doing so could lead to damage throughout the rest of your home.
Cooper & Williams are Roofing Specialists in Shrewsbury
At Cooper & Williams, we’ve been helping homes and businesses with quality roofing services since 1970. With so many years of experience, we can provide you with the peace of mind that your roofing or flooring installation and repair will be performed to an expert standard and will stand the test of time.
If you’re renovating a roof of your own, we can also source and supply roofing products, like roof tiles, to match your property and the other properties in your area. Whatever type of structure you are working on, we have the roofing materials to suit you.