Is Your Roof Summer Proof?

By Herman Liebenberg – General Manager Insure City Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd

After a long and very chilly winter, we’re going into what could be a very wet spring and summer. With this in mind, we thought it best to remind our readers about the importance of roof maintenance.

Something we never think of until it’s too late is roof maintenance. Unfortunately, we only realise it when the first rains fall and we discover a leak, missing/cracked tiles or a loose anchor bolt. Winter is the ideal season for roof maintenance as the northern parts of the country mainly experience summer rainfall. This affords us time to do inspections and repairs without being hindered by rain.

One critical thing that is commonly overlooked is dirty gutters. If rainwater is not channeled away from the roof quickly and unobstructed, it collects and causes decay, rot, and rust. Clogged gutters are probably the single most common cause for claims being repudiated due to a lack of maintenance. This does not only affect the gutters but the roof as well. Dammed-up water can cause leaks which could have been prevented.

Additionally, owners also need to attend to loose roof nails / caps, dislodged / broken roof tiles and blocked roof valleys. One precaution is to keep roofs sealed and painted. Roof paint has a lifespan of 10 – 15 years. Since you are doing all the necessary maintenance, why not give it a new lick of paint? Not only is it esthetically pleasing, but it also increases the value of your property.

Also remember to do a visual inspection of the roof trusses. Some leaks go unnoticed because the water leaks onto the trusses, causing them to rot without even a single droplet falling on the ceiling. Rotting trusses can be spotted a mile away – being discoloured and/or covered with mold. Leaving these unattended could lead to serious structural failure and cause a collapse that could have been prevented by a simple annual inspection.

With so many people opting for solar panel installations, the trusses are a very important part of the roof structure that should not be neglected or ignored at any cost. 

In short, make the best use of winter by doing some roof maintenance. Make sure to unclog all gutters, ensuring that there are no obstructions. Seal and paint your roof when necessary, keeping an eye open for loose nails or caps, roof tiles or blocked roof valleys. Also do an inspection of roof trusses to prevent structural damage. This way, rainy weather will no longer be associated with towels and buckets, but with the irresistible flavour of freshly baked pancakes.