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Roof Inspection Pretoria, Gauteng

 
Many people don’t think about their roof until a leak appears. However, like other parts of your home or building, the roof requires ongoing maintenance to prevent leaks, to identify minor problems before they become major costly problems and to maximize the amount of time before you need to replace your roof.
 
Types of Roofs
 
Together with walls and windows, roofs are a primary component of a building that keeps out the rain and protects the inside of the building and contents. There are two main types of roof systems: low-slope (flat) and steep-slope roofs.
Most multi-unit residential buildings use some form of low-slope roofing, while townhouse buildings and single detached houses generally use steep-slope roofing. Both roof types are used in some buildings.

Low-slope roofs have a waterproof membrane and a series of drains throughout the roof area to remove water from the roof surface. Since they are low-slope, these roofs must be water-tight in order to function properly. The roofing membrane is either applied as a liquid that cures or dries to form a waterproof surface, or fabricated from pre-manufactured sheets joined together to create a surface impermeable to water. These membranes all work the same way in that they seal all openings and penetrations through the roof to prevent water leaks from occurring.

Steep-slope roofs have overlapping roofing materials to create a surface that, together with gravity, sheds water effectively into a drainage system such as gutters. Steep-slope roofing materials include asphalt or fiberglass shingles, slate tiles, concrete tiles, clay tiles, metal tiles, thatch, asbestos/fibre or metal sheeting.
 
Why Must the Roof be Maintained?
 
Regular inspection and maintenance of your roof is needed to reduce the likelihood of premature leaks and aging. Roofs are exposed to sunlight, rain, snow, hail, wind and temperature changes that gradually break down the roofing materials. Eventually, the replacement of the roof will be necessary. However, with proper maintenance and care, the service life of the roof can be maximized.
 
Given proper maintenance, roofing systems generally have what is referred to as an anticipated “leak-free life”. The roof should not leak over this time span, if properly designed, constructed and maintained. After this time the roof system may continue to provide many years of service, but leaks should be expected, increasing in frequency and severity, until such time as the roof requires replacement.
 
Unscheduled maintenance and repairs may be needed to fix damage to a roof that may have occurred during a severe windstorm or other extreme weather event.
 
Carrying out proper maintenance and identifying potential problems prior to experiencing an actual roof failure will reduce the likelihood of costly premature damage from occurring. If a leak occurs through your roof and goes undetected for a period of time, you may experience damage to the building structure and interior finishes.
 
What Maintenance Must be Performed?
 
All roofs require regular inspection and maintenance. This should be done by a  professional home inspector, professional roofing inspector or contractor as it involves specialized knowledge, equipment, training and safety requirements. This work would typically be coordinated by  yourself or if you are resident in a section title scheme or multi-unit residential building, by your body corporate or maintenance manager.
 
Home owners or residents may visually identify some maintenance concerns such as a possible roof problems causing damage to the ceilings or walls inside the home. Notify your body corporate or maintenance manager if you believe there is a problem with the roof. However, all inspections and maintenance should be performed by a qualified professional who:
Specific items for inspection and maintenance will depend on the type of roof(s) on your building. Ensure that any maintenance guides for your building and information provided by the roofing product manufacturer are referenced and closely followed. A checklist of common roof maintenance items is shown at the end of this article.
 
How Often do Roofs Need to be Inspected and Maintained?
 
Roofs should be inspected twice a year:
Your roof should also be inspected, including flashings and other accessories, after any storm with high winds (checking for loose, broken or missing roof tiles, for example), extreme rain or hail, or if construction has taken place on the roof area. The inspection should also include the underside of roof structure or decks, and the outside of the building as these areas may indicate potential problems with your roof.
 
Who Should be Called for Inspection?
 
An InterNACHI  certified home inspector or roofing consultant should be hired to review the condition of the roof and perform the inspection.
 
A professional roof contractor should be contracted to carry out any required maintenance. A qualified professional will be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to identify the composition of specific roof types and will be capable of identifying potential locations where leakage may occur in the future. Skylights and other roof penetrations may require specialized attention and specific knowledge of how these fixtures interact with the roof assembly.
 
Adapted from a maintenance bulletin by the Home Owner Protection Office (Canada)
Checklist of Common Roof Inspection and Maintenance Items
 
Inspection/Maintenance Items                                              Description                                                  
Splitting, ridging or blistering of the roof
membrane on low-slope roof (flat roof)
Typically caused by stress, which can occur throughout the roof area. May be an indication of aging. Certain types of problems may be more evident in either cold weather or hot weather.
Missing gravel (ballast) on low-slope roofs
Ballast protects the membrane from damage caused by ultraviolet light and the weather. The lack of ballast reduces the expected service life of the roof.
Missing granules on asphalt shingles, roll roofing and concrete tiles
Some causes are excessive foot traffic, wind scouring or scouring caused by tree branches located too close to the roof. Lack of granular cover reduces the expected service life of the roof, as well as affecting its appearance.
Curled, broken, cracked or missing shingles or roof tiles
Repair the damaged areas immediately. Curling may indicate that the shingles
have reached the end of their life expectancy, requiring replacement.
Excessive moss or algae growth
Excessive moss growth can lead to premature failure of concrete tiles, asbestos/fibre sheeting and shingles on steep-slope roofs, and of certain types of membranes on low-slope roofs. 
Foreign objects on the roof
Should be removed as they could cause a puncture in the roofing material membrane.They can cause rotting of the thatch in the case of a thatch roof or premature rusting of metal roof sheeting.
Standing water (ponding) on the roof
Typically the result of blocked or poorly located drains. This water will accelerate the degradation of roofing membranes if allowed to remain in place.
Missing or damaged flashings, gutters, downpipes, downpipe hoppers and 
caulking/sealants
These items should be repaired or replaced immediately to avoid larger problems from occurring such as damage to other building components including walls. 
Overflowing gutters or backed-up downspouts
Debris in gutters and downspouts can prevent proper water drainage and may result in water backing up and overflowing against adjacent building walls.  
Overflowing scuppers or overflow pipe (intentionally located higher on the roof parapet than the roof drains)
An indication that the main roof drains are blocked. When this happens, water reaches the level of the overflow and begins to spill onto the ground below, typically located adjacent to entrances or other areas where it is difficult to ignore.
Staining or damage on the ceiling or walls inside the home
Act immediately upon evidence of staining on an interior drywall ceiling. This typically appears as a yellow or brown stain and could be an indication that moisture is leaking from the roof above. Caution should be exercised as the ceiling may be retaining a reservoir of water.
Black staining on wood within the roof space and the mortar joints.
This possibly an indication of obstructed roof space ventilation or moist air leaking from interior space into the roof space. This requires detailed investigation because significant damage can occur to the roof structure over time.
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