When it rains it pours

The worst time to find out that your roof has a leak is during the rainy season, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Goslett says that when it comes to roofing, the old saying that prevention is better than cure has never been more appropriate, especially for homeowners that live in areas which experience harsh weather conditions and heavy downpours. He advises homeowners to check their roof for any possible leaks or damage on a regular basis.

“It is good practice to regularly complete maintenance inspections on the roof as well as other places in the home. A property on the market that is in need of attention will generally be sold for a much lower price than one in good repair,” he says, “A leaky roof often causes a lot more damage than what it would cost to have the roof checked and fixed beforehand. Regular roof maintenance and leak prevention can save homeowners thousands and protect their most valuable asset over the long term,” says Goslett.

He says that homeowners can use a few simple tips to check their roofs to ensure that they are watertight:

1. If it’s broke, fix it

Check the roof for obvious openings caused by missing tiles or ones that have shifted out of place. Ensure that all tiles are in good repair and replace the ones that are broken or cracked.

2. Check for damp

Inspect the walls and ceilings inside the house for any water marks, stains or damage. This is generally a good sign that water is getting into the ceiling, however, the source of the may be in a different area of the roof due to the water running from one place to another.

3. Make it rain

If there are no visible broken or cracked tiles, use a garden hose to run water over the roof and see whether water may be leaking through. This will require a helper using a flashlight that can check for leaking water inside the ceiling space and mark the possible faulty areas. The water should reflect any light shone on it and make it easier to spot.

4. Check gutters and downspouts

Ensure that all gutters are in good repair and channelling water in the correct manner. Clear away debris and dead leaves that may have accumulated in the gutters and drainage areas. Any blockages in the gutter system could cause water to back up and overflow into areas where it may cause damage. A faulty gutter could cause as much damage to the inside of the home as a leaky roof if not repaired as quickly as possible.

5. Check joining areas

Look at the edges of the roof and areas where it meets the walls or joins to another feature of the home such as a chimney. Make sure the cement is not cracked and that are joints are not pulling apart.

While these tips can help with the maintenance of the roof, some things should be left to the professionals. Goslett notes that although there may be an initial cost to have a roofing contractor inspect the roof and make sure that it is waterproof, the benefits of this will far outweigh the cons. While simple repairs can be carried out by homeowners, more complex problems should be left for a professional with the necessary expertise. “Regardless whether the homeowner repairs the leak or a contractor is used, it is imperative that the problem is corrected as soon as possible,” Goslett concludes.

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