There are two main types of roofs – pitched, otherwise known as raised, and flat roofs.
Pitched roofs are generally covered in tiles made of either cement or clay, which have a lifespan of about 50 to 60 years. However, some houses from past times, such as the Victorian era, have roofs that are covered in slate tiles. Slate is expensive, but there are manmade alternatives available that look like slate, but are more reasonable in price.
Flat roofs are commonly used on garages and out buildings and some property extensions. In the past felt has been used to cover flat roofs at residential properties. However, nowadays there are more durable modern flat roofing materials including butyl and Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, usually referred to as EDPM, which is a synthetic rubber.
It is important to inspect roofs regularly and in particular if there has been a spell of stormy, windy weather. Finding a defect in the roof and getting it repaired as soon as possible is much cheaper in the long-run than waiting until there is a leak or tiles that need replacing urgently. If a slipped, loose or cracked roof tile is not repositioned or replaced water can leak into the property and cause substantially more damage leading to an expensive repair bill.
Roof guttering that is either broken, damaged or needs cleaning out can lead to damp problems inside the property. It can be difficult to see if a roof has any problems from ground level. If it is possible to stand well enough back from a property to view the roof, then using a pair of binoculars will help get the closest view. However, sometimes it is only possible to see a roof properly by climbing a ladder to get high enough up to get a good look.
If a householder is not sufficiently confident to scale a ladder to get a proper view of their roof, then it is advisable to call in a professional builder, qualified to industry standards, who will be able to carry out a survey.
Pitched roofs: Slipped, cracked or loose tiles. Mortar missing from along the bottom of the ridge riles or the roof verges. Damp inside a property can be sign of roof damage or that there is a problem with the guttering.
Flat roofs: Indications of a sub-standard flat roof are the roof sagging, water pooling on the surface or wet patches on the ceiling.
Guttering: Water flowing over the sides of guttering can indicate it is blocked with dirt and debris. Damp inside a room besides any guttering can mean repair or replacement of the guttering is needed.