By Dez Duran-Lamanilao
The roof is what makes any structure, whether a residential or commercial one, functioning. Aside from enclosing the whole space, it is every building’s first line of defense against the sun, rain, snow, natural calamities, and even fire. With the recent onslaught of hurricanes in the past weeks, one cannot argue against the value of keeping the roof regularly maintained.
While there will always be costs involved when you decide to schedule a roof maintenance, there are ways to make the most out of your budget without sacrificing the protection you need for your home. Here are some tips that will help reduce the dent in your pocket caused by leaking or damaged roofs:
- Use high-quality roofing materials. Roofs represent around 5 to 8 percent of capital building costs. Remember though, that they cover 100% of your house and thus should never be taken for granted.
There are many types of roofing materials to choose from, depending on what you are willing to invest in, but be sure to choose roofing with the highest fire rating (Class A):
- Asphalt roofing – the most popular type; made of fiberglass and relatively easy to install; can last for 30 years or more but are not recommended for places that are prone to high winds.
- Fake slate roofing – made of various materials such as plastic/polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt; can provide aesthetic value to your home since they look like actual slates, but may be less durable and thus have shorter lifespan.
- Metal roofing – comes in a range of options: steel, copper, aluminum, and alloy strips; also easy to install and are ultra-light but can be noisy during a rainstorm.
- Check for missing or curled shingles and examine flashings, chimneys and roof valleys; look for cracks in vents. Cracks in the walls may also signal cracks in the roofing/flashing. Often these minor issues cause the biggest problems in the end if left unattended.
- Keep gutters and downspouts free from leaves and all kinds of debris.
- Monitor the most common issues resulting from poor workmanship and poor adhesion such as lifting at laps, cracking, and deterioration.
- Watch out for any signs of accumulation in moss. A roof moss can lead to leaks, mold growth and increased collection of debris. Start trimming your trees and getting rid of other organic junk, since they provide the needed nutrients for moss to grow.
- Ensure proper ventilation and insulation especially if your house has an attic; this can help in the prevention of leaks.
- Perform regular maintenance, including insect or pest control. This is one of the most important aspects of taking care of your roof, and in most cases, also one of the most ignored ones. Neglect is most often the culprit for damaged roofs. Roof inspection and maintenance should happen at least two times yearly, preferably after the roofs have passed through the severest levels of stress.
If you have already determined that you need to have your roof professionally maintained or repaired:
- Ensure that only qualified personnel maintain your roof. Professional roofers have the expertise you normally will not find otherwise. They can also give the best advice, having been exposed to varying problems related to roofs.
- Monitor the progress of the repair. Aside from learning the basics of how your roofs are structured and installed, there is an assurance that the work will not be rushed and will be completed according to your expectations.
- Ask what materials they intend to use and if there are other alternatives. Furthermore, ask them to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Careful decision-making is the key to ensuring that the repair does not happen again soon.
- Make sure to request for and witness actual roof testing. This involves checking if there are really no more water leaks and examining the durability of the new materials that have been added to the structure.
- Do not forget to take a set of “before” photos of your roof and update them after every repair or maintenance. Do the same when damages occur. Keep all estimates, invoices and receipts. Doing all this will reduce the hassles normally associated with insurance claims processes.
After the catastrophe caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, this might be the best time to schedule an inspection of your roof to ensure that it has not become vulnerable to both internal and external elements. An ounce of pension is always worth a pound of repair.