Roof Reports

At a glance...

  • Roofing problems like sagging or roofspread can be linked to the structure. We will advise as it’s important to get the right professional on the job.
  •  Roof coverings checked.
  •  Objective and honest answers – no exaggeration of defects or repairs.
  •  Costings for repairs.
  •  The report format is acceptable to mortgage lenders.
  •  You will have the report back in hand quickly.

There are many factors that can lead to a surveyor or valuer recommending a roof report, but our experience over the years is that they tend to fall into two categories:

  • Problems with the roof covering
  • Problems with the roof structure

As we all know, if there is one area in which the old adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ it is with respect of roofs. Relatively inexpensive repairs can save the considerable expense that follows when water penetrates the building fabric. Keeping roofs watertight is always a priority in property maintenance.

Given that the cause of problems may vary, it’s important that the professional engaged to resolve the problem is the right one. For example, undersized roof members may need a structural engineer or chartered building surveyor to advise on repairs whereas a roofing contractor would be best pricing recovering costs for replacing a tile roof.

The Specialist Xpress team will advise on which specialist would be appropriate

Roof defects cover a vast range, but some of the following represent the most common:

  • Flat roof coverings. Flat roof inevitably hold water longer than pitched roofs and are therefore more prone to leakage. Coverings can be made of asphalt, bitumen roofing felts or a variety of metal roof coverings. Problems with the coverings include degradation of the covering through ‘crazing’ of the surface or cracking through expansion of the material due to inadequate reflective protection. (It is generally thought that the life expectancy of a bitumen felt roof is around 15 years, though in fact, there are many factors that will affect the duration of its performance, not least of which is the quality of construction on site. Abutments of flat roof with other building elements are also areas of weakness, and verges, upstands and detailing around services are critical to the roof’s integrity. Regular checks are essential.
  • Pitched roof – structural support. Historically, roof members are sometimes undersized for the loads they have to carry (weight of the covering and roof members plus the weight of snow loads on top). In some cases, however, the original covering is replaced with a heavier one. A typical example is when original slates are replaced with concrete tile coverings. The additional weight of the tiles needs to be reflected with increased structural support below.
  • Sagging – when ridge lines or the surfaces of the roof slopes deflect, it is a good indication that the supporting purlins and rafters are struggling to cope with the loads imposed on them. Advice is needed to decide a repair scheme. Often this accommodates rather than removing the sag, but reinforcing the roof members to be able to provide the additional support needed.
  • Roof Spread – pitched roofs gain much of their strength by the fact that they are triangles with the roof members of the slope (the rafters) secured at the base by ties (sometimes the ceiling joists). If the ties are broken, then the side members press outwards, causing the roof ridge to drop down and the side walls to push out. Additional restraint is often needed to prevent further spread. This is a more common defect in older properties.
  • Water penetration – slipped or damaged slates or tiles will allow water to gain access particularly if there is no secondary protection by way of an underlay to the roof covering. Tile often suffer from lamination of their surface which reduces their effectiveness to discharge water.
  • Where the roof is penetrated by other structural elements, such as the chimney, it is important that the joint is properly sealed. This is why flashings and soakers need to be in good condition. Deterioration of the lead of which they are often made can lead to problems.
  • Ventilation of roofspaces is essential to avoid condensation problems and must always be provided and maintained. Sometimes our desire to insulate and protect our buildings from heat loss means that we neglect the important need for ventilation which ends up with damp issues internally.
  • Woodworm can reduce the performance of roof members over a course of time – see our technical note re Damp and Timber Reports.
  • Roof timbers can rot if affected by moisture, Timbers , for example, beneath valley gullies are particularly vulnerable. Any staining should be investigated as a matter of priority.
  • Modern trussed rafters have to be cross-braced to prevent a problem called ‘racking’ where the trusses all lean in one direction. The cross bracing prevents them moving in that way
  • Older properties (though not exclusively older properties), may be affected by rodent or insect infestation. We have had experience of a roof inhabited by bats who were a protected species and had to be accommodated!
  • a description of the property
  • its age and construction
  • comment on restrictions to the areas inspected
  • a description of apparent defects
  • recommendation of repairs, if necessary
  • costings for carrying out the repair work
  • details of any warranty that may apply to the work

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