We rarely think about our roofs until they start leaking, and by then, we’re already in a bad place. The situation becomes direr because many times, you’ll spot a leak when it’s raining. Since our Australian wet season is three months of nearly non-stop drizzles, and since it’s virtually impossible to repair your roof while it’s raining, you’re pretty much stuck.
That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your roof and see if there are any gaps or leaks. It can be hard to spot a hole, especially in a multi-storey home or apartment. But there are other signs that are easier to notice. Here are a few pointers.
Missing roof shingles
Older roofs are made by layering individual shingles. With time, some shingles may get blown off by wind, washed away by heavy rain, or disintegrate and break into bits. They can also curl, crack, warp, or dent. If it’s a single shingle that’s damaged, you can easily replace it, but if there are lots, it may be time to replace the whole roof.
You could choose to use a different material that doesn’t fall apart as easily. Zincalume and Colourbond are good options, because they are more durable and are installed in a way that doesn’t lend itself to dropping or peeling.
When you observe your roof from a distance, you may notice that parts of it seem to be sinking into themselves. These dips or warps suggest a hole or some internal damage. By the time the roof is showing visible dents and valleys, its structure may be significantly compromised. You might also notice the ceiling sagging from the inside, and there may be visible cracks at the seam.
It can be hard to repair a roof with this much sagging. By the time portions of the roof have sunk that deep, there will probably be light sowing through, though you might not see it through the layers of ceiling, so it might help to step into the attic and see how things look in there. That level of damage is best fixed by installing a new roof.
When your roof has brown patches, dark spots, mould, mildew, and algae, it’s a sign that there’s a serious leak. Sometimes, you can actually see water droplets seeping through the ceiling. This could be a sign of internal burst pipes, or it could mean you have a significant hole in the outer portion of your roof.
Stains and growths don’t necessarily need large volumes of water. Early morning condensation can seep through the perforation and do a lot of damage. The droplets end up doing more harm because they are so small that you barely notice them.
And since they don’t make it all the way through the roofing material, they get lodged in the roof’s fibres and cause mould, which eventually rots the roof. As soon as you notice discolouration, call in a roof plumber to explore and diagnose the extent of the problem.
Asbestos poisoning symptoms
A few decades back, almost all roofs were made with asbestos. It was considered the best kind if roofing because it was affordable, versatile, and had good insulation properties. Homes without central heating used it for temperature regulation, and even modern homes had asbestos as a measure to lower their air conditioning bills.
If you’ve lived in your house for a while, you may not know what the construction materials are, but if members of your household start to experience trouble inhaling, shortness of breath, persistent coughs, deformed nails, pain and chest tightness, it may mean the roofing asbestos is disintegrating.
Call a doctor and a plumber
After getting medical treatment, call in a roof plumber or asbestos removal expert to inspect the roof. By the time asbestos is leaching into your living spaces, it’s too late to do any repairs. Plus, repairing asbestos isn’t an option since the toxic substance needs to be removed. Your roof plumber can give you a quote and replacement suggestions.
Asbestos roofing can be swapped with ceramic tiles, galvanised steel, corrugated iron, wood slate, or plastic panelling. This is also a good time to install other cost-saving devices like solar panels for your heating, lighting, and other electrical needs.