While people usually take good care of their homes, they can often neglect one extremely important area, the roof. This part of the home needs maintenance just as much as the rest, and perhaps sometimes more.
At the beginning of 2020, the UK suffered severe storms which caused damage to a third of property at a cost of £7.7 billion. It isn’t only the UK that is prone to storms, and the damage caused to roofing can be in the millions.
Even if you are fortunate enough to live in an area with relatively mild weather, your roof will still need some maintenance at some point, and if you take care of it, it should last longer and take care of you.
How long does a roof last?
This is a common question for homeowners and the answer differs depending on what type of roof you have. A simple answer to how long will your roof last would be around 15 to 30 years as that is the usual life of asphalt shingles which are the most common type of roofing used.
Other types of roofs last longer but without maintaining them, they will all fail quicker.
How can maintaining these areas help your roof?
Looking after your fascias, soffits, and guttering are important in their own right, but if you hire a professional to check out these areas they may spot other problems that would have been missed.
Storms can cause cracked and lifted shingles. Pests and water can get into any holes and cause damage to your attic. Mold can grow from water damage. A professional roof contractor can check that your flashing is still correctly in place and hasn’t warped or cracked.
What are fascia, soffits, and guttering?
While nearly everyone probably knows what guttering is, fascias and soffits might be more of a mystery to some.
The fascia is the main board that holds the guttering. It is a protective trim that is installed to keep out the elements. It is effectively a separating layer from the weather and your home and they are designed to give an aesthetic finish to the roof.
However, they are not expected to outlast the roof and they can rot. Because they are there to block the weather they are also susceptible to damage from it.
These are the boards you see underneath the fascias. If you stand in your garden and look up to the guttering, you will see the soffits next to them and under the fascia boards.
They help to provide ventilation to your roof which is vital to avoid timber rot and mold. Just like fascias, they can rot and perish. If you have vinyl soffits then they may crack, and wood ones may rot. If you see any of these signs then you need to call someone in.
What happens if you don’t maintain these areas?
If you ignore fascia, soffits, and guttering repairs then you are asking for potentially serious problems. At first, ignoring these may just make your roof look unsightly but over time it will start to cause damage to your home.
Ignoring blocked or leaking gutters means that water will pour down the side of your home making the ground flooded and possibly lead to foundation damage. Gutters that are blocked with leaves and water can cause mold and damage to the fascias, and sagging guttering is a sign that it may be ready to come away from its fixings.
Fascias and soffits can rot, and in the case of soffits, if they are not maintained damage can spread further into the roof that they are protecting.
Can’t you fix these yourself?
Many people clean their gutters or try to, but when it is high up it can be a tricky job and it is easy to cause damage unintentionally. There are many DIY tips for roof repair but the experts will generally tell you that this is one area best left to professionals.
Many DIY enthusiasts have inadvertently caused more damage while on their roofs, or simply missed other problem areas that would have been spotted by a professional roofer.
When searching for a good roofer, check online for reviews and also for accreditation. In the US there is the Better Business Bureau for recommended firms and in the UK they have the National Roofing Contractors Association although recommendations might be just as good.
Keeping your roof healthy means you will be keeping your home healthy too. The roof keeps out the elements, pulls the house together and allows the things you take for granted such as heating and light. If you don’t maintain areas around your roof you might find a far more expensive job will come along after when you need to replace the whole thing.