Preparing your roof and gutters for the onset of Winter in SA

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Summer has passed, autumn is in full swing and it wont be too long before winter is upon us.

Winter brings cooler temperatures, more winds and more rain. Ok, so why does this mean we have to look at our building assets and consider roofing and roof plumbing maintenance?

In general the answer lies in the temperature regimes between summer and winter, and the effects this has on the metal roof envelope and associated roof plumbing elements, that are commonly used in Australia. Other roofing materials are affected in different ways, and are not considered here.

During spring and summer, especially here in SA, the roof dries out, and the summer heat causes a number of changes every day because of the massive difference between our daytime and nightime temperatures. We all know those many days and nights when the temperature difference is 15 degrees Celsius, and its still 23 over night. The effects of all this heating up and cooling down are:

  1. All metal roof sheeting, flashings, capping’s and guttering expand to maximums, or near maximums most days. All joins and laps are moving constantly. Silicon is torn open, screw holes are torn larger, and screw seals damaged.
  2. Rivets are expanding and contracting at dissimilar rates, and tend to shear allowing joins and laps to open and expose the sealing silicon.
  3. Screws expand and contract too, and in so doing tend to ‘unscrew’ themselves, which also exposes seals to the sun and they harden and perish.
  4. Silicon that is sealing joints and laps, dries out and hardens, and over-sealing cracks and is no longer effective
  5. Debris in gutters dries like concrete, or turns to dust and blows into downpipes.

The result is that come winter there are now a number of potential concerns on your roof. But none of these things are seen, and none are noticed until the first heavy rain of winter. If the rain is accompanied by a driving wind, the problems are exaggerated.

Furthermore, winter and the constant cooler temperatures, makes everything contract. So any cracks or holes are now well exposed. Silicon and screw seals go hard and are no longer effective, especially having been exposed to the sun and heat too.

For companies and organisations with large building assets, and these potential problems about to be exposed, ‘leaving it till it leaks’ can be an expensive exercise.

One way to address this is to undertake maintenance Now in early autumn, before winter is established, or go a step further and begin a preventative roofing and roof plumbing maintenance program.

Any roofing maintenance and roof plumbing maintenance should begin with a visit by roofing and roof plumbing maintenance professionals to do an appraisal of what is required to address any problems your roof might have. If you already have roofing maintenance people looking at a problem for you, it is a good idea to ask them to go over the roof for you, whilst they are there, and note those roofing and roof plumbing elements that require attention. Even an extra half hour will enable you to gain insight into the condition of your roof that could save you thousands of dollars in lost or damaged stock, building fabric damage, or tenant claims.

Following an appraisal, some roofing maintenance and roof plumbing maintenance companies will provide a report that will enable you to prioritise works for future maintenance attention. This will enable you to address the false economy of ‘leaving it till it leaks’, and you will know what to expect until a particular element is repaired. Having this information allows you to take interim action like moving stock out of the way, or informing tenants what to expect, before the rain event occurs.

You can now plan for the future, knowing what is required to minimise any further damage or claims, from water flooding into your building(s), you are able to budget accurately because you have planned, and you are now safe in the knowledge that your assets are not degrading, that the integrity of the building fabric is maintained, and that your stock, or your tenants are secure.

 

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