Check roof area for loose tiles or iron sheets


Check your roof area for loose tiles or iron sheets; replace roofing nails with screws.

The roof of your house cops a daily battering from our harsh Australian elements, weather that's rain, hail, wind, or sunshine. You should regularly check the roof, especially after exposure to cyclonic winds.

During a visual assessment of the destructive impacts following a cyclone, the number of houses and buildings that lost roofs is one of the most telling signs. For old houses, in particular, the roof is the most vulnerable part of the building, because of the strong uplift forces roofs must withstand.

Flat roofs are most susceptible to uplift forces than pitched (sloping) roofs. Older houses don't necessarily have the roof tie downs current standards insist upon, so consider asking a building certifier, structural engineer, or builder to inspect your roof 's tie downs to see if they need upgrading to meet current building standards. The important connections that should be checked include roof sheet-to-batten connections, batten-to-truss or rafter connections, truss or rafter-to-wall connections, and tile connections.

Tiled roofs deteriorate with age; the bedding and pointing (or mortar) usually lasts 10 to 15 years. Concrete tiles require new sealant after about 25 years; otherwise tiles can become porous and deteriorate at a rapid rate.

The best way to examine the roof is by climbing into the roof space. Look through the internal roof space to check for any light filtering through defects, holes and cracks; that's where the rain can enter and damage internal ceilings. The timber frame may show white powder or dark water stains, which can be followed back to cracked tiles.

Extreme weather events, or general movement of soil around the house, can reduce the life expectancy of bedding and mortar. When replacing, repositioning, or mortaring defective tiles, always place the back of the foot on the tile joins.

Metal roofs can rust quickly once their protective coating is scratched. The roof cavity is good place to check for roof gaps during daytime. From this vantage point, pinprick rust holes and other gaps will show up like stars at night.

Corrugated iron roof sheets should be fixed with screws, which will secure the roof better than nails. Metal roofs can lift at the laps (where the metal sheets overlap) and joints so check screws are secure at these points. Also check for metal and lead flashing metal fatigue, rust or general deterioration.

If you choose to check the roof yourself, watch out for unexpected lodgers, such as possums or carpet snakes in your roof cavity. While on the roof, remember to exercise caution around overhead powerlines.

Is your roof pitch poor? Poor roof pitch (slope) is the most common cause of roof drainage problems and ceiling leaks.