Stay home and dry and care for roofs

Clay tiles cost more but last longer.
Clay tiles cost more but last longer.

SOUTHSEA GREEN: With Irene Strange

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A watertight roof is vital in the autumn and winter gloom, so get repairs done now while the weather is still (basically) nice.

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. 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.

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.

Surprisingly, most thatched roofs need little maintenance, apart from having the ridge redone, and can last several decades, depending on the material used and the location.

Flat roofs are prone to leaks because they should have a gradient, but the gradient often isn’t steep enough. If the roof is too flat or doesn’t have an adequate structure or materials under the roof covering, it will sag, allowing rainwater to pool and eventually enter the room below. The roof covering can also crack and tear, so it’s something to keep an eye on, especially during bad weather.