by Tim Smith
With so many jobs around the house on your to-do list throughout the year, checking the roof can often be placed on the back burner.
But if you want your home to withstand all the elements a hurricane might throw at it, regular roof maintenance is one of the most important chores of the season.
At least 500 roofs were damaged when Hurricane Humberto battered Bermuda in 2019, and a slate shortage meant many went weeks without repair.
The best way to avoid such frustration, according to Karolina De Costa at Rowe Spurling Paint Company, is to stay on top of the job.
“Protecting your roof is all about regular maintenance,” Ms De Costa said.
“A roof should be inspected twice a year, especially before and after any severe storms.
“It is always a good idea to check the condition of the roof in the spring after the winter storms and before hurricane season, and in the fall after hurricane season and in preparation for winter storms.”
When inspecting your roof, you should look for visible cracks of any size, as well as any peeling paint or loose slate.
Mould, mildew and bacterial growth are further signs that all is not well.
Ms De Costa said: “The most common damage are roof cracks which develop over time due to age and exposure to the elements such as wind or heavy rain, debris such as falling branches, and even vibrations from heavy road traffic.”
She added that cracks in the roof and walls can also emerge in houses which have settled over time.
The fix will depend on the nature of the damage. If you’re lucky, you may just need to buy patching products to repair minor cracks. If it is more serious, you may need to replace portions of the affected roof areas.
Good maintenance will increase your chance of being lucky.
Ms De Costa said: “Frequent inspections, especially after storms, will identify any small issues and prevent them from turning into larger problems.
“Even a small crack can introduce water into your home, which can cause additional issues.”
Hurricanes, of course, are notoriously unpredictable and, even if you prepare properly, your roof can still get hit by flying objects during a storm.
If your roof does become harmed in a hurricane, you and your family should remain in the most structurally strong part of the house and wait until the storm has passed before going outside to assess the damage.
Contact your insurance company to let them know about the damage. You can then make temporary fixes to minimise damage to the property and, if necessary, contact a reliable contractor to carry out more serious repairs.
You can improve your chances by trimming overhanging branches to reduce damage in high winds, and keeping drains clear from debris to avoid water backing up.
Removing dead branches from all trees and securing all garden furniture will ensure fewer items are likely to be flying about your property causing destruction.
Karolina De Costa’s top tip: “When repairing, cleaning, or painting your roof, always check the weather forecast. All products will require a significant period of clear weather to properly dry and cure.”