Trees can cause major damage to your home, garden and boundary walls. This is especially true on the Witwatersrand where most areas and soils have some clay content. Without care and control, they may cost you a lot of money and no small amount of effort to fix.
Furthermore, shrubs should not be planted too close to the masonry walls either. The building regulations specify a minimum distance of 1,2 m for normal soils and 1,5 m if you have clayey soil.
Roots can also grow beneath your foundation and lift the house or they can leach water from the ground during dry spells and sink or settle the house unevenly.
They will cause the soil to dry out and, in the case of clay soils, to shrink.
Any subsequent watering or extended rain periods will cause the clay to swell. In this way, trees and large shrubs can cause movement on clay soils resulting in damage to your home and walls.
The amount of movement depends on the percentage of clay content, the depth and extent of the root system and the efficiency of the tree to extract moisture from the soil.
When underground sewer and water pipes develop small leaks, roots will quickly take advantage of those leaks. Before you realise it you have a blocked sewer line and pools of water and sewage in your yard.
What not to plant
All trees should be regarded as a potential source of damage. The following varieties are, however, particularly prone to causing damage:
Maintain your home, especially the roof, on an annual basis. If you don’t do the small repairs they could end up as expensive repairs.
Your roof is the most important component of your home, protecting you, your belongings and the structure of the building. Damage to the roof can occur due to rain, wind and hail. You should regularly check the roof of your home for any leaks. Also inspect the ceiling, walls and the area around your home for any water spots, standing water or mould. Dampness on ceilings or walls can mean that there are leaks that you will have to attend to.
Check the chimney
Loose flashings, damaged masonry and loose bricks will allow rainwater in a house. Be sure to give the area around the chimney an inspection to ensure everything is fine. Refit loose flashing or replaced as necessary. Furthermore, chisel out the damaged mortar joints and rejoint, and also repair loose bricks.
Loose, dislodged or broken roof tiles or ridge caps
If you have the ladder long enough, inspect the roof for loose or crumbling mortar along the ridge cap. At the same time, check for cracked or damaged roof tiles while you’re up there. However, if you do discover problems and can’t deal with it yourself, call in a professional roofing contractor.Continue reading “Winter Home Maintenance”
Any structure requires ongoing roof inspection and roof maintenance to prevent leaks. By identifying minor problems you can save yourself major repair costs in future. You can thereby also extend the lifespan of your roof considerably before needing to replace it.
Types of Roofs
Together with walls and windows, roofs are a primary component which protects the interior of the building.
There are two main types of roof systems: low-slope (flat) and steep-slope roofs.
Most multi-unit residential buildings use low-slope roofing, while townhouse buildings and single detached houses generally use steep-slope roofing.
Both roof types may be used in some buildings.
Low-slope roofs have a waterproof membrane and a series of drains that remove water from the roof surface. As they are low-slope, these roofs must be water-tight to function properly.
The roofing membrane is applied as;
A liquid that cures or dries to form a waterproof surface,
Or fabricated from pre-manufactured sheets, joined together to create a surface, impermeable to water.
These membranes seal all openings and penetrations through the roof to prevent water leaks. With frequent roof inspections and maintenance, the membranes can provide a leak-proof for up to 20 years.
Steep-slope roofs have overlapping roofing materials to create a surface that, together with gravity, sheds water effectively. The roofing materials include:
asphalt or fibreglass shingles,
and asbestos/fibre or metal sheeting.
Why roof maintenance?
Reduce the likelihood of premature leaks and ageing by regularly inspecting your roof, and doing maintenance work where necessary. Sunlight, rain, hail, wind and temperature changes gradually break down the roofing materials. Eventually, the roof will need to be replaced. However, proper maintenance and care will maximize the service life of the roof.
Roofing systems generally have an anticipated “leak-free life”. The roof should not leak over this time span if properly designed, constructed and maintained. After this time the roof system may still continue to provide many years of service. Leaks will, however, occur eventually. These may increase up to a point when the entire roof will need to be replaced.
After a severe windstorm, or extreme weather, inspect your roof for damage.
Proper roof maintenance reduces costly premature damage. Undetected leaks can damage the building’s structure and interior finishes.
Roof inspection, maintenance and repairs
All roofs require regular inspection. Because of safety issues, a professional home inspector or professional roof inspector should be employed for this purpose. A professional inspector has specialist knowledge, uses the proper equipment and meets all safety requirements. You, your body corporate or maintenance manager should coordinate this work.
A possible roof problem can be identified by damage to the ceilings or walls of the home. If you are renting or living in a complex, notify your body corporate or maintenance manager.
The qualified professional inspecting the roof should
be familiar with the roofing system in your building,
be able to identify potential problems, and
know how to take the necessary safety precautions while doing an inspection or maintenance work.
Specific items for roof inspection and maintenance will depend on the type of roof(s) on your building. You will find a checklist of common roof maintenance items at the end of this article.
Inspect twice a year;
in the autumn or spring to address any possible summer or winter damage, and
In the spring or autumn to prepare for the upcoming summer or winter rain.
After any storm, high winds, extreme rain or hail, inspect your roof, including flashings and other accessories. If construction has taken place on the roof, check for leaks.
The roof inspection should include the underside of the roof structure and the outside of the building. These areas may show up potential problems with your roof.
Who does the roof inspection?
Hire an InterNACHI certified home inspector to inspect and review the condition of the roof.
A professional roof contractor should carry out any required roof maintenance. The professional will have the necessary tools and knowledge to repair identified the problems. Skylights and other roof penetrations may require specialized attention. A specialist supplier or manufacturer may need to be employed.
Weathering reduces the expected service life of the roof. Furthermore, it also affects the appearance of the roof. A yellow or brown stain on the ceiling could be an indication that moisture is leaking from the roof.
Roof leaks can result from overflowing gutters or backed-up downpipes. Debris in gutters and downpipes can prevent proper water drainage. Moreover, this may also result in water backing up and overflowing into adjacent building walls and moisture damage to the roof structure.
This makes periodic roof inspections essential!
I will do a RoofInspection and Report which will identify problems with your roof. The report will include the condition of the roofing products, materials and flashings. Furthermore, the report will also include any other roof maintenance issues.