Better roofing for the rainy days
A couple of nights ago it rained so hard in Metro Manila that just a few minutes afterward there were already reports of flooded streets and snarled traffic. While the sudden downpour brought some respite to us sweltering under intense heat, it should also serve as a warning for us to start inspecting our roof as wet months are just a few weeks away.
Indeed, one of the most significant things that get missed in a home inspection is a roof leak. Since rain is not yet frequent, these last few days of May should be a perfect opportunity to check the attic should there be fresh water stains appearing on the ceilings and walls.
You know the roof is bad when there are water stains on the ceiling or walls. But unless parts of the roof are badly rusted, finding the leak may be difficult because water can enter the roof in one place and run down to another before it starts soaking in.
Examining the roof from ground level with binoculars may not be enough. Here are some of the signs you should watch out for when doing a close inspection:
• Loose nails and washers that hold the corrugated roofs;
• Cracked or missing caulks;
• Severely rusted areas on the roof;
• Damaged flashing;
• Missing or damaged shingles; and
• Broken or cracked roof tiles.
Check from the inside
However, if you can’t get up close and personal with your roof using a ladder, there are other ways to check (besides, the less you walk around up there, the better for your roofing—and the safer for you).
Here’s some of the things you should watch out for:
• The most obvious would be if outside light is already showing through the roof.
• Water stains, black marks or molds appear on ceilings and walls. Make sure to inspect any areas—for water damage or mold—where the wall or ceiling may be hidden, such as behind furniture and appliances and inside closets and storage rooms.
• Peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs.
• If you have a roof with wooden support beams, you should also watch out for damage from termites as well as other wood-boring pests.
If you find these worrisome signs, especially if the roof is already old, start looking for professionals—a credible roofing expert is necessary if you want to deal with the issue seriously. “These professionals may be able to recommend the best materials for the repair or even recommend the best long-term solution for your roofing problem,” advises architect Topy Vasquez of United Architects of the Philippines.
Vasquez said elaborate roof designs, which are are very popular these days, should be checked more often since the valleys, ridges and other roof design complications these roofs employ are spots where problems could develop. Leaves and other debris could get lodged and in the process trap water and moisture that could hasten the formation of rust.
When building a house especially in this country, simple roofs are an instinctive choice. Traditional Philippine houses had “dos aguas” (two-sided A-frame design) or “quatro aguas” (four-sided design) roofs.
According to Vasquez, several architects who went to Leyte after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” noted that houses with roof sloped higher—between 50 and 60 degrees as well as those with “quatro aguas” survived better than those with sloped lower and employed “dos aguas.”
“In a country where buildings are buffeted by typhoons every year, the “quatro aguas” is more streamlined and sealed against buffeting winds. Of course, those with concrete decks for roofs survived the most,” Vasquez said.
He said that in building resilient houses, another point to consider should be site selection. “Identify where the prevailing wind is as this is important in designing or repairing the roof (in laying roofing sheets side laps should face away from the prevailing wind direction wherever possible, thus minimizing the chance of wind driving water under the laps). This is why it is imperative to go to an architect as he/she is the best person to consult with,’’ Vasquez reminded the public.
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