18 February 2019

Is your roof ready for extreme weather?

The climate emergency is changing weather patterns around the world, making extreme events more frequent and more intense. Regular maintenance is important to ensure your roof will provide proper protection.
Clay roof on St Francis

Taking precautions

Regular check-ups provide the best protection

Roofs face a diverse variety of challenges, from intense summer heat waves to driving rain and hail. For peace of mind, it is a good idea to give your roof a check-up every six months. In this article, we provide some tips to ensure your roof is properly equipped to handle more demanding conditions.

Sun and Heat

Cool Roofs and Solar Technologies

The use of fans and air conditioning during the summer months can significantly increase household energy bills. To reduce reliance on these technologies, whilst maintaining comfortable indoor conditions, a growing number of homes now feature cool roof constructions. These come in all shapes and sizes, from paint coatings and durable membranes for flat roofs to concrete tile options for pitched roofs. The reflective surface of these roofs helps to deflect up to 80% of the sun’s rays, keeping your home cooler.

At the same time, many homeowners are also looking to take advantage of the sun, transforming its rays into ‘free’ energy or heat with solar thermal or PV panels.

Whether your home features one or both of these technologies, a regular clean is vital. Over time a film of dirt will inevitably form over any roof surface and this can significantly reduce the effectiveness of both cool roofs and solar technologies.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to keep the surface clean. You can use a broom or long handle brush to clear away loose debris from the roof surface then use a pressure washer on a low setting (max 100 bar) to remove tougher stains. Solar technologies can usually be cleaned with soapy water and a non-abrasive sponge.
Hand full of hail

Withstanding wind and hail

The combination of gusting winds and driving hail present a major test for any roof. Larger hailstones can shatter tiles or tear through roof membranes whilst high winds are easily capable of ripping away coverings. This risks both your home’s structure and the safety of people walking by.

For these reasons, it is crucial to pay close attention to any signs of damage to your roof when you inspect it. Loose or broken tiles should either be refitted by a professional or removed and replaced. Likewise, small holes in flat roof membranes should be carefully patched, while major tears may require a new membrane to be fitted.

If you find that tiles are regularly coming loose, then it may be worth considering having your tiles refitted with storm clips. These metal clips fix directly from the tile to the battens, providing dependable resistance against stronger winds.

Bear in mind that many older tiles are not tested to withstand more significant forces. For this reason, if you need to replace broken or lost tiles, it is worth considering modern alternatives. In many cases these can be colour matched to your existing roof tiles.

Channelling rain

Handling water is perhaps the most fundamental task for any roof. In addition to the actions already discussed, another way to lower the risk of moisture getting into your home is by ensuring gutters, down pipes and all other drainage channels are free from potential blockages.

This is particularly important on flat roofs because if water does not drain, it will begin to pool on the roof surface. Over time, this can cause the roof surface to bow, worsening the ponding and potentially putting the entire roof structure at risk.

In most cases, leaves, dirt and other debris can be simply removed by hand, allowing water to flow freely. If you find there is still an issue with ponding when the drains are clear, then it may be that the fall (gentle slope) of the roof is insufficient. In these cases, you will need to call a specialist roofer and have a new surface installed to the correct angle.

Need help?

If you discover any serious issues, then it is best to get professional support.

Pitched roof image
Which roof design is right for your home?

Your roof defines the overall look of your home. This useful guide highlights some of the most common roof shapes used across the world

Green roof and London skyline
What are the benefits of a green roof?

Suitable for all kinds of climates, green roofs are a sustainable roofing solution that is growing in popularity. But why invest in one for your home?