Now is the ideal time to give your roof and guttering the once-over, before the bad weather really hits hard. Checks you do now could prevent the costly consequences of neglecting a leaking roof – damp, rot and rain-damaged ceilings and walls, and house contents.
Check it out
If you want to take a look, it’s best not to climb a ladder yourself. Instead, see if you can use a neighbour’s upstairs window as a vantage point. Borrow some binoculars and zoom in on potential trouble spots……
On pitched roofs, look out for split, loose or missing tiles or slates. Remember that even a hairline crack can result in major damp problems later, so you can’t ignore wear and tear. Check also the cement around the ridge tiles and if there are any holes have them re pointed. Firm ridge tiles will protect your roof during high winds.
And don’t forget about your chimney – come the winter they can take quite a hammering from wet and windy weather. Check that the pointing is intact.
By their very nature, flat roofs – not uncommon on extensions – can be particularly vulnerable to heavy rainfall. Make sure waterproof covering isn’t cracked or coming away.
Guttering should be absolutely clear – autumn and winter will fill it with leaves and other muck. Overloaded and overflowing guttering means damp walls. Check the state of gutters and drainpipes – for example, rust holes on metal and problem patches on PVC.
Have a poke around the loft, too, and test timbers for damp. While you’re there, measure your insulation. To be really effective, it should be topped up to 270mm thick for glass wall, 250mm for rock wall or 220mm for cellulose.
Beware the cowboys
Don’t trust the so-called expert who calls to say he was just passing and happened to notice your roof is about to fall in, then offers to fix it ridiculously cheaply ‘for cash’. He’ll be up a ladder for 20 minutes, have a quick fag, and fleece you.
Call the professionals
The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) can help you locate a reliable company and give you free advice. The NFRC recommends you get a minimum of three written quotes before commissioning any work (make sure paperwork from a contractor is headed, with an address and landline number – anything less could indicate a fly-by-night.
Save yourself hassle with Direct Line
If you have a Direct Line Home Insurance or Home Insurance Plus policy, you will benefit from our Home Repair Network service (applies to claims between £1,000 - £10,000). You can use one of our approved repairmen and we’ll pay them directly, saving you the hassle – and the work comes with a guarantee. Call our 24-hour Emergency Helpline on 0345 878 5081.
Click here to get a Home Insurance quote online.
If you already have a Direct Line Home Insurance or Home Insurance Plus policy and would like to make a claim, call our teleclaims team on 0345 246 8412.