Each time your roof survives another winter there is the potential for significant impact on lifespan. If the manufacturer states that a roof will last 30 years, that timeframe is based on a number of factors including maintenance. When homeowners in Victoria do not keep on top of roof checks and repairs, the winter weather will win out in the end.
Your roof is not just a structure, its component parts come together to make up an important system. Typical roofing materials such as tiles and corrugated iron or Colorbond are the first line of defence, followed by downpipes and gutters to drain away rainwater, and finally the structures that hold everything together. The style of roof will dictate design features; however, the general principles of how a roof should protect your home remain largely the same.
If any part of the roofing system is compromised it can result in accelerated wear and tear, which will require major repair work or complete replacement of the roof. Failure of separate roofing elements does not need to happen in any particular order. A good example of where homeowners may be caught off guard is when the roof looks to be in perfectly good shape but leaks are discovered in the roof space. There are a number of reasons that this may happen and very few of them are directly related to the most visible section of the roof.
Regular minor repairs are by far more preferable than major repairs based on the difference in damage alone. You should inspect your roofing system at least every six months for signs of seasonal damage. Metal roofs that have developed signs of rust; distorted, damaged or missing tiles; cracked caulking or flashing; worn vent pipe boots or collars; or vegetation growing in the gutters are all signs that you need to carry out maintenance.
Drainage is one of the most vital elements of a roofing system as defects have the potential to damage not only the roof but other internal and external structures of your home. Check that your gutters are clean and free flowing. Overflowing water puts the very foundations of a property at risk, and may cause flooding around the foundations. Backflow from gutters will permeate under the roofline of the structure, allowing water to destroy your ceilings. Much more debris builds up in drainage systems over autumn and winter, meaning issues can develop within a matter of weeks. And then a heavy winter storm can cause sudden major water ingress and damage to your house.
There is no guarantee that your basic external checks will always flag issues with the roofing system. It is equally important to check for internal signs that roof maintenance is needed. A good place to start is your roof-space, as that is where moisture damage can thrive for years before causing any significant or noticeable damage. Check if any chinks of daylight through the roof covering are visible or if there is any damage or discolouring to framing. Mould and stains are telltale signs that either the roof is damaged and leaking or the space is poorly ventilated. In either case you should consider hiring a professional to assess the structure and carry out any necessary repairs.
If you have a suitable ladder and a hose you can check the flow of water in your gutters and downpipes. Use a low pressure and constant flow from the opposite end of the downpipe, leaving water running long enough to ensure that ground level drains are not blocked. Never lean a ladder against guttering or pipes as you may inadvertently cause the type of damage you are trying to avoid. It is not recommend that you attempt to carry our any checks or repairs unless you know exactly what you are doing. If in doubt, consult with a qualified building inspector from Houspect for all your roof inspection needs so you can bring in a professional builder if needed.