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Maintenance focus: The roof

Posted 12/12/2019 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords
Two semi detached houses

Most pitched roofs are tiled, with natural slate being the most durable, lasting around 100 years. Man-made slate, clay or concrete tiles should still last 50 to 60 years, but the lifespan – as with everything – depends on how well you look.

We recommend checking the roof from the outside at least twice a year and always after any severe storms. If you notice any cracked or missing tiles, have the roof attended to by a professional as soon as possible so that the property is not vulnerable to water. If we fully manage your property, this is the type of thing we will check when we make our periodic visits on your behalf.

In terms of cleaning, the best solution for getting rid of mould and moss, etc. is gently scrubbing with a mild detergent and then using a pressure washer. Make sure you clear out the gutters first and aim the water from a distance of several feet so you don’t crack the tiles. Given that you will need a ladder and possibly other safety equipment – and you obviously want to avoid causing any damage - this is a job best carried out by an experienced and insured contractor. To keep your roof in the best possible shape, budget for this to be done every 5 years.

What can cause roof tiles to deteriorate more quickly?

  • Sunlight – so if a roof is facing directly south, it may age faster
  • The angle of the roof - with higher-pitched roofs tending to last longer, as there is not so much stress on the tiles
  • A lack of loft ventilation – if you have little or no ventilation in the loft, your tiles will suffer
  • Harsh weather conditions – needless to say, extreme cold or heat, or a lot of wind and rain will take its toll on roof tiles
  • Human damage! Seek advice before walking on a roof, as it is very easy to crack tiles

Flat roofs

If part of your property has a flat roof, it will probably be felt, fibreglass or rubber, all of which should last 20 to 30 years. In terms of general maintenance, check the general condition and guttering twice a year, as you do the pitched roof, but it can usually be more easily cleared with a sweeping brush. Then also look out for:

  • Standing water, indicating that the roof might be sagging
  • Cracks and blistering, which tend to occur when water has become trapped underneath and expands
  • Shrinkage at the edges of the membrane coating

In all cases, have a contractor repair the roof as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss any of the above or just have a general lettings question. Why not book a lettings review at one of our branches?

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