10 ways to avoid costly roof repairs
The days are still sweltering, but notice the increasing frequency of the thunderstorms. That means rainy days are looming. It also means that homeowners need to check if their houses, especially the roofs, are ready for the downpour.
Of all the parts of a house, the roof is the most vulnerable to the wet season. Yet, the roof is also the “spine,” or the backbone of the house, protecting everything underneath it. The roof should be the first part of the house to be checked for rain-readiness.
Here are 10 ways to avoid costly repairs to the roof:
1. Act before the rains. If you think it’s difficult to check for roof leaks or damages before the rains, architect Edilberto J. Morcilla advises homeowners to check for water marks left behind by previous rainy seasons. Pour water on the roof and gutters to pinpoint the exact source of leaks.
Neglecting to repair these leaks will cause bigger problems in the long run. “But do the repairs early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the heat of the sun is more bearable,” Morcilla told Inquirer Property.
2. Patch up holes when they’re still small. Alvin Uy of CW Home Depot shared with Inquirer Property that it costs less in repair materials if the hole or damage to be patched is smaller. Make sure the damaged areas and holes are free of debris, leaves and twigs before patching up.
3. Use roof cement or sealant that is quick-drying. Morcilla said that pieces of cloth can be put on top of the sticky sealants so that these could be pressed onto the holes or cracks without sticking to one’s hands. The cloth is then left on the sealant to reinforce the patch.
4. Should there be a need to employ a contractor to do trickier jobs (such as spotting and repairing leaks on concrete and tiled roof decks), make sure to find a waterproofing contractor with a good track record, and that includes the contractor offering a 5-year warranty. Ask around the neighborhood for possible referrals, especially from homeowners with older houses.
5. Don’t let leaves accumulate on your gutters. As harmless as they seem, when they accumulate leaves can punch holes in your budget. “When leaves land on your gutters, the only direction they will go is on top of your strainers, causing the constricted flow of water to your downspouts, which in turn will cause the water to overflow into your eaves ceiling.”
Morcilla offered a solution: “Install an aluminum, stainless or nylon screen on the whole length of your gutter to keep leaves out. Another cheap solution is to replace your flat strainer with a dome-type strainer.”
6. Be particularly mindful of GI roofs. Galvanized iron (GI) sheets are prone to rust and mechanical wear and tear caused by weather. Falling fruits and tree branches can easily dent and warp GI sheets. Roofs made of GI sheets must be inspected frequently.
Forensic architect Froilan L. Hong, author of the book “Architects’ Guide to Climate Design: A Method for Checking Design in Relation to Climate,” advised that GI flashings on vertical surfaces like parapets and firewalls must be properly installed to minimize the sources of leaks.
7. Choose concrete gutters. Gutters abutting firewalls should be made of concrete and should be 18 inches wide to make sure they can accommodate large volumes of rainwater.
8. Avoid asphalt shingles. This was Hong’s advice to homeowners. Asphalt shingles capture heat and conduct the heat into the house.
9. Use metal sheaths for tiles. Hong explained roof tiles would require metal sheathing underneath to prevent rainwater from seeping into and penetrating the overlap of the tiles.
10. Maintain an ideal roof slope. A 15- to 30-degree slope of the roof would be proper for a tropical climate, Hong revealed. Morcilla said, however, that a steeper slope could still be acceptable. The steeper the slope, he said, the better it can withstand strong winds. “If the slope is less than 15 degrees, the roof becomes vulnerable to the suction effect of strong winds during typhoons, thus we see some roofs being pulled off by winds during typhoons,” Morcilla added.
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