Sadly things begin to age the moment we have them, and maintenance repairs apply to most of the things that we possess. When a person does work on their house, it can feel like money has gone down the drain. Having said that, the home is most peoples’ greatest asset, and it will last better if it experiences plenty of care!
The house canopy is an easy part of the house to ignore: we can’t see most of it from the ground, so any issues may be invisible to us. Sadly, these problems are like some illnesses – it’s only when there are symptoms that we realize something is wrong. The best method is to keep a regular eye so that issues can be addressed before damage begins to appear. Let’s take a look at some things we can do right now.
Climb on to the Top – Safely!
Anyone unsteady on their feet or afraid of heights should probably stay away from ladders. If you decide to repaint your roof or change some broken tiles, it may be safer to involve a professional. They can provide an inspection to identify issues and to fix such things as flashing and to repair ridge capping. It is encouraging that most professionals agree that it’s cheaper to restore the covering than to pay for a replacement one.
Anyone scanning the top should look out for such things as uneven, spotty surfaces. These may need replacing, unfortunately. Check the chimney: is the flushing tight around it, or has it broken off or peeled away?
Another tricky area may be around skylight windows and vents. If the seals have become rotten, there could be a chance of water getting into the house.
Flat coverings should be treated with suspicion as they have an inbuilt ‘design fault’. The lack of incline means that water simply congregates rather than flows off the top. Pools of water can make the area sag under the weight, and risk leaks getting into the rooms below.
Check for Moss
There’s, fortunately, a difference between black algae spots and moss. The former is not an issue; sadly, moss is. Being a plant, it is good at retaining water, so it needs to be killed off.
Commercial chemical treatments are available for this purpose, but be responsible. Anything containing fatty acids or potassium salts is okay, but zinc sulfate is a toxic chemical that should be avoided.
Clear the Gutters
Check these twice-yearly, in spring and autumn. Are there leaves, sticks, or plants in the gutters? Remove them safely. If the water is unable to drain, it may stay up there and begin to rot the area. Check that the gutters and downflow pipes are strongly fixed in place, too.
If ground-level drains are blocked the water will congregate here as well, and create damp issues in the house.
Look for Loose Tiles or Shingles
If a tile is loose, it could come off in a storm. This can present a safety issue for anyone standing below. If a tile or shingle needs replacing, it will involve some cement work.
Don’t tackle the job unless you know what you are doing. Having said that, don’t leave broken tiles where they are, or rain will be getting through the gaps.
Check Any Nearby Trees
Don’t create a natural entryway to your house for squirrels. They can damage the covering and remove shingles. Cut back any branches that are getting too close. They could endanger health if they break and crash through the top.
We mentioned moss earlier, and the shade provided by trees can provide the perfect environment for this to grow. That’s another reason to act on overhanging branches.
Go into the Attic and Upstairs Rooms
That’s the outside check done; now, look indoors! Once in the attic, look up. There shouldn’t be areas of empty space. If there are, there may be some missing or broken tiles at fault here. Water will get into the attic through the gaps, either directly or when the wind blows from certain directions. If it seeps into the attic it will make the area (and anything stored there) damp. The wooden beams will get wet, and the damage will work its way downwards into the house.
Walk around indoors and check for blistering paint or paper on the ceilings. This could be an indication of a damp being present. Check walls for damp patches or mold. Look for damp areas by the fireplaces too.
As we can see, there’s much that should be checked to stay ahead of house damage. The benefits will be cost savings, and an indoors that is cocooned by a secure external shell.