Roof Crocodiling or Alligatoring

WHAT IS ROOF CROCODILING AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR FLAT ROOF?

flat roof crocodiling of waterproofing
Flat roof waterproofing looking like crocodile skin. This is crocodiling!

Waterproofed concrete and composite flat roofs on residential and commercial buildings require more maintenance than sloped roofs. They react differently to sun and moisture than tiled or sheeted roofs and require more frequent maintenance to ensure they function as they should. One common problem with many flat roofs is crocodiling.

What is Crocodiling?

Crocodiling is a crazed cracking pattern in the surface of the waterproofing. It looks like crocodile skin, which is where the name comes from.

Crocodiling is a sign that your waterproofing is ageing. The sun’s UV rays dry out and damage the waterproofed surface, and after five years or more years, the coating may develop small cracks. The older your roof gets before you repair the crocodiling, the more expensive it will get.

Extreme temperature changes, changing from hot sunshine to sudden cloudbursts and rain, and even hot winter days and very cold nighttime temperatures will cause new cracks to appear and will make existing cracks worse. 

Leaves and debris will allow water to pool on the membrane which, together with the elements, will hasten the deterioration of protective coating and waterproofing itself.

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Clean Your Gutters and Roof Now!

Leafs and debris in your gutters

Spring has arrived at last! However, you should have inspected and maintained your gutters and roof by the end of winter. But, if you haven’t, you better do so now! They may be clogged with leaves, debris and dust.

The flow of rainwater may be blocked or restricted in the gutters and the downpipes. They will overflow!

gutters

Your roof’s structure is or will be damaged!

Gather up your ladder, a plastic bag, your hosepipe and get busy. If you don’t, the timbers supporting your gutters may soon look like this!

gutters

If your roof does not have gutters installed, the roof structure probably has damage to the feet of the roof trusses. Check under the eaves of the roof for moisture damage before it’s too late.

roof structure

Consider installing gutters before the roof timbers rot and fail. If they have rotted the repairs will be extensive and expensive!

Check your roof and gutters

Cut back trees and branches that deposit leaves and dead wood on the roof. Remove any debris from your roof. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a good roofing contractor to get the job done. This should be a priority. Debris prevent the free flow of rainwater off the roof! Roof tiling and roof sheeting are not 100% waterproof. These roofs are water-shedding systems rather than waterproofing systems.

Flat roof
Debris and dust on roof sheeting retain moisture which eventually results in the deterioration and corrosion of the roof.

Tiled roofs

Check your tiled roof while you’re up cleaning your gutters! Check for broken or cracked roof tiles, dislodged tiles and cracked mortar on the ridges and hips.

gutters
If the hips and ridges of your tiled roof look like this you need to have your roof inspected and repaired!

Foot traffic easily damages the tiles on your roof. If you walk on your tiled roof you will probably cause some damage. Also, consider the safety aspect! A fall from your roof can result in serious injuries and even death. Roofing specialists should repair any defective or broken tiling

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Roof Inspection

roof inspection

Roof Inspection

roof inspection and roof maintenance
A roof inspection is more important than inspections of your exterior walls, windows and doors because your roof is the main component that protects you against the elements.

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When was the last time you inspected your roof?

Any structure requires ongoing roof inspection and roof maintenance to prevent leaks. By identifying minor problems you can save yourself major repair costs in future. You can thereby also extend the lifespan of your roof considerably before needing to replace it.

Types of Roofs

Together with walls and windows, roofs are a primary component which protects the interior of the building.

There are two main types of roof systems: low-slope (flat) and steep-slope roofs.

Most multi-unit residential buildings use low-slope roofing, while townhouse buildings and single detached houses generally use steep-slope roofing.

Both roof types may be used in some buildings.

Low-slope roofs

Low-slope roofs have a waterproof membrane and a series of drains that remove water from the roof surface. As they are low-slope, these roofs must be water-tight to function properly.

The roofing membrane is  applied as;

  1. A liquid that cures or dries to form a waterproof surface,
  2. Or fabricated from pre-manufactured sheets, joined together to create a surface, impermeable to water.

These membranes seal all openings and penetrations through the roof to prevent water leaks. With frequent roof inspections and maintenance, the membranes can provide a leak-proof for up to 20 years.

Steep-slope roofs

Steep-slope roofs have overlapping roofing materials to create a surface that, together with gravity, sheds water effectively. The roofing materials include:

  1. asphalt or fibreglass shingles,
  2. slate tiles,
  3. concrete tiles,
  4. clay tiles,
  5. metal tiles,
  6. thatch
  7. and asbestos/fibre or metal sheeting.

Why roof maintenance?

Reduce the likelihood of premature leaks and ageing by regularly inspecting your roof, and doing maintenance work where necessary. Sunlight, rain, hail, wind and temperature changes gradually break down the roofing materials. Eventually, the roof will need to be replaced. However, proper maintenance and care will maximize the service life of the roof.

Roofing systems generally have 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 still continue to provide many years of service. Leaks will, however, occur eventually. These may increase up to a point when the entire roof will need to be replaced.

After a severe windstorm, or extreme weather, inspect your roof for damage.

Proper roof maintenance reduces costly premature damage. Undetected leaks can damage the building’s structure and interior finishes.

Roof inspection, maintenance and repairs

All roofs require regular inspection. Because of safety issues, a professional home inspector or professional roof inspector should be employed for this purpose. A professional inspector has specialist knowledge, uses the proper equipment and meets all safety requirements.  You, your body corporate or maintenance manager should coordinate this work.

A possible roof problem can be identified by damage to the ceilings or walls of the home. If you are renting or living in a complex, notify your body corporate or maintenance manager.

The qualified professional inspecting the roof should

  1. be familiar with the roofing system in your building,
  2. be able to identify potential problems, and
  3. know how to take the necessary safety precautions while doing an inspection or maintenance work.

Specific items for roof inspection and maintenance will depend on the type of roof(s) on your building. You will find a checklist of common roof maintenance items at the end of this article.

Roof inspection

Inspect twice a year;

  1. in the autumn or spring to address any possible summer or winter damage, and
  2. In the spring or autumn to prepare for the upcoming summer or winter rain.

After any storm, high winds, extreme rain or hail, inspect your roof, including flashings and other accessories. If construction has taken place on the roof, check for leaks.

The roof inspection should include the underside of the roof structure and the outside of the building. These areas may show up potential problems with your roof.

Who does the roof inspection?

Hire an InterNACHI certified home inspector to inspect and review the condition of the roof.

A professional roof contractor should carry out any required roof maintenance. The professional will have the necessary tools and knowledge to repair identified the problems. Skylights and other roof penetrations may require specialized attention. A specialist supplier or manufacturer may need to be employed.

Weathering reduces the expected service life of the roof. Furthermore, it also affects the appearance of the roof. A yellow or brown stain on the ceiling could be an indication that moisture is leaking from the roof.

Roof leaks can result from overflowing gutters or backed-up downpipes. Debris in gutters and downpipes can prevent proper water drainage. Moreover, this may also result in water backing up and overflowing into adjacent building walls and moisture damage to the roof structure.

This makes periodic roof inspections essential!

roof inspection
roof inspection
A roof inspection of your roof is the most important inspection of your home because the roof protects you against the elements.

I will do a Roof Inspection and Report which will identify problems with your roof. The report will include the condition of the roofing products, materials and flashings.  Furthermore, the report will also include any other roof maintenance issues.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Homeowner » Roof inspector

Inspection Types

home inspections

Home Inspections in Gauteng

building and home inspections
The HOME DETECTIVE offers different types of home inspections to suit every client!

Home Inspections:

Because of my experience and training, I offer SEVEN different types of home inspections or property assessments to suit the needs of home buyers, home sellers, homeowners, business owners, landlords and those of you thinking of building or extending your home.

All my residential and commercial property inspections are in full accordance with InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice for residential and commercial properties, and InterNACHI’s Code of Ethics.

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1)    Comprehensive Home Inspections

This is the most popular home inspection. My Comprehensive Inspection and Report covers every aspect of the property, including all finishes.

There are 6 different types of comprehensive inspection depending on your inspection requirements. This can be inspections for previously owned homes, new homes or existing homes or properties.

a) Home-buyers inspection or buyers inspection

Buying a home is one of the most important and expensive transactions you can make.

A professional home inspection can help you optimise your investment by identifying issues before you finalise the purchase and price of your new home. This inspection will save you money in the long run and prevent the stress associated with such a large investment.

Importantly, with this purchase, you must remember to insert a home inspection contingency in the Offer To Purchase and negotiate a contingency period with the seller.

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b) New home Inspection or Snag Inspections

Also known as a punch or snag list

Before moving into a newly built home the need for a professional home inspection cannot be more important!

A home inspection (snag list) is performed to validate the finishes and condition of your home’s components. In addition, the snag list can be done prior to you taking occupation or during the 90-day patent defect period after you have taken occupation.

Follow up inspections are also provided if required.

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c) Maintenance Home Inspections

A Home Maintenance Inspection is just like the Comprehensive Home inspection you can have before you buy a home.

I will check out all the main systems of your home—roof, walls, foundation, air-conditioning, electrical, plumbing etc. In addition, I will flag anything that might be starting to malfunction.

I will uncover problems you have not noticed. I will detect the little signs that something is starting to go wrong. This may be small cracks, spots, uneven wear, or fixtures such as a geyser reaching the eventual end of it’s live. Furthermore, I will also make you aware of the regular maintenance you should be doing in your house.

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d) Home Sellers Inspection or Seller’s inspection 

A sellers inspection of your home can help you sell it easier, faster and potentially more profitable. It is also a great marketing tool!

Rather address issues at the front end than waiting until negotiations begin because it can result in lower offers, delayed closing or lower selling price.

Furthermore, a sellers inspection has the added advantage of being your seller’s disclosure!

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e) Rental Home Inspections

Having a Rental Inspection Report as part of a written tenancy agreement is advantageous to both the landlord and tenant.

Rental Housing, Unfair Practices Regulations and Consumer Protection Acts, dictate the practice around home inspections and the refund of the damages deposit.

Both the landlord and the tenant must undertake both ingoing and outgoing inspections as required by The Rental Housing. However, if either party is unable to attend, they may send an assigned representative on their behalf.

Landlords or rental agents who have not conducted a property inspection when the tenant takes occupation will not be able to take any action in the event that the rental unit has been damaged during the course of the rental period.

Generally, a landlord or rental management agent will be able to withhold the rental deposit to mitigate any financial cost of repairing any damage to the rental unit. However, if no property inspection was done beforehand, they will not be within their legal rights to do so and will have to absorb the full cost of the repair. Therefore, it is advisable for landlords to also undertake a midterm inspection approximately halfway through the tenancy agreement in order to monitor the state of the property and intervene early if there is any breach or damage.

If contracted, I provide the initial, midterm and follow-up inspections when tenants are leaving and new tenants are occupying the premises at a very affordable fee structure.

However, I only perform rental inspections in the Pretoria and Centurion area to keep them affordable to landlords.

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f) Commercial Property Inspections

Whether you are considering buying or renting a commercial property it advisable to have a Commercial Property Inspection. As part of your “due diligence”, I can provide you with a detailed evaluation of the condition of the building and its components. Furthermore, I will make recommendations regarding maintenance and improvements.

I offer commercial property inspections of:
  • apartment buildings
  • restaurants
  • office buildings
  • warehouse facilities
  • small manufacturing facilities
  • retail stores
  • shopping centres

My commercial property inspections include a comprehensive evaluation of all major components of the building. For example, this includes the structure, roof, electrical system, interior and exterior elements, heating & cooling systems, plumbing and more.

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2)    Critical home inspections

Critical Home inspections are for both buyers and sellers. The critical inspection costs about ¾ of the price of a comprehensive inspection.

A critical home inspection is for the budget-conscious, homebuyers and sellers who only require that the major components of the home be inspected! Consequently, I only focus on the critical components of a home which are the roof, structure (inside and outside), windows and doors, and electricity and plumbing installations.

A critical inspection includes unsafe, functional or structural issues which, in my opinion, requires prompt remedial attention to preserve the safety, functional or structural integrity of the home or major installation.

Such issues are frequently NOT plainly obvious to any observant layman after carefully viewing the property.

These include structural cracks in walls, ceilings and floors, or damp, roof leaks, illegal or unsafe geysers, windows or door issues and unsafe electrical and gas installations. In addition, I also report surface drainage, vegetation and foliage issues which may affect the structure adversely.

Other external elements such as boundary and yard walls, the site, swimming pools driveways, walkways, carports, garden sheds etc. do not form part of the critical inspection. Furthermore, the internal wall, floor and ceiling finishes are only inspected for signs of damp or staining from moisture intrusion or for structural issues. Furthermore, cupboards and counters are only inspected for moisture intrusion.

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3) Walk Through Inspections

A walkthrough is not a formal home inspection.  It is an informal inspection. As a result, I perform a visual walkthrough inspection of the home and provide you with comments summarizing my observations. Furthermore, my comments will be nothing more than a subjective summary of my initial observations during the walk-through.

What is involved in a walkthrough inspection?

A walkthrough requires, on average, about the same time as a comprehensive inspection (1½ to 3 hours depending on house size). Moreover, you can ask questions and take notes while I explain the defects.

Because a walkthrough is less formal, I do not adhere to the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. If you are present at the walkthrough I do not generate a written report of any kind.  I simply communicate my observations orally to you. You make your own notes during the inspection. In this way, you save time and money because there is no written report at the end of the inspection.

Furthermore, because it is an informal inspection, an inspection of this type is also very affordable.

However, you will need to sign an InterNACHI Walk-Though Inspection Agreement before the walkthrough. This is to protect me against liability as a result of deviating from the requirements of the InterNACHI Standards of Practice for Home Inspections.

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4) Itemised Limited Home Inspections (Single Component Inspections)

I often receive calls from clients who are looking for a home inspection for a single component in the home. For instance, this can be roof leaks, bulging ceilings, or damp problems and so on.

A single component inspection is also the cheapest inspection, starting from R1500.00 depending on where you are in my inspection area. Moreover, if you want more components inspected at the same time, this will only cost an additional R750.00 per component

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5) Building progress inspections

If you are building your own home or alterations and extensions are being constructed this is the inspection for you.

Building progress inspection can be performed on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly basis or at the start and finish of specific construction activities such as brickwork, roof erection, plastering etc.

Furthermore, pricing is negotiable depending on the number of inspections you require.

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6) Muti unit inspections

A multi-unit inspection is normally for more than 4 units and is regarded as a commercial property inspection.

For this type of inspection the following options are available:

a) Critical area inspection

  • Plumbing for leaks, drainage and hot water.
  • A representative number of windows and doors
  • Structure (exterior and interior) including roof from the ground and at least one point at the eaves on a ladder (where applicable and practical).
  • Stove and other fixtures (air conditions etc.) not forming part of an Electrical CoC.
  • Presence damp and mould in ceilings and walls.
  • Safety hazards.

The units’ common areas are not inspected unless it is specifically requested!

b) Sampling comprehensive inspections

A sampling formula of comprehensive inspections of a random number of units between 20% and 50% of the units you wish to invest in, where it is not feasible to inspect every unit. This will include an equal balance of older and newer units, and different floors if the blocks are multi-storied ( equal number of ground top, and intermediate floors).

A comprehensive report on the units will be provided for every unit inspected. The units’ common areas are inspected.

c) Sampling critical area inspections

A sampling formula of the type of inspection detailed in the critical area inspection option with a random number of units between 20% and 50% of the units you wish to invest in where it is not feasible to inspect every unit. In addition, this will include an equal balance of older and newer units, and different floors if the blocks are multi-storied ( equal number of ground top, and intermediate floors).

I will not inspect common areas in this case!

d) Your choice of specific items and number of units

Your choice of specific items and/or the number of units you wish to have inspected.

NOTE: I do not recommend options b, d or c as unsafe, damaged or problem units can slip through the net that may be expensive to bring to standard.

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7)   Damp and Mould Home Inspections

It is advisable to carry out mould inspection when you suspect you might have a mould problem in your property. Moreover, I strongly recommended that you have your property professionally inspected when you experience sleep loss, breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or respiratory irritation). Also, you may also experience neurological difficulties (headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea).

If your house is already suffering from obvious mould contamination such as parts of the wall or ceiling, an inspection is essential. My mould inspection will identify and confirm the true extent of the problem and provide a recommendation on how to rectify it.

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8)    Termite Inspection

If there are signs of termites in your garden or you are in a known termite problem area you should regularly have your home inspected for a termite infestation.

They might be in your built-in cupboards, the floor skirtings or in your roof. Therefore, my termite inspection will identify and confirm the extent of the problem and damage. I will provide recommendations on how to rectify it.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Homeowner » Roof inspector