Rooftop or Forest Floor

Have you ever lived in a house where you had to have at least 25 buckets on hand so that when it rained, you could quickly rush around and make sure each of the roof leaks had a bucket under them? That sucks doesn’t it. Then there’ll be one or two in a corner somewhere that you’ll forget about and they’ll start overflowing all over the place. Nightmare! Maybe that’s not so common these days I don’t know.

I do remember being taught that “bucket trick” in my childhood and growing up thinking that there must be a better way of dealing with it. I mean, placing a bucket under a leak with a smug grin, reassuring the children around you that everything’s gonna be ok is an immediate solution, but when that happens repeatedly – more like every time it rains – even the dimmest of children begin to worry.

You can’t prevent your roof from ever springing a leak, but you can do a few things to make it last for as long as possible. Roofing material is made from some of the most durable materials around, but there are several factors that can limit what can or will be used on most commercial or residential housing. These are namely aesthetics, cost, and ease of installation. Architects and home owners take these into careful consideration when deciding what to use for their roof.

There are also many reasons why a leak will form besides the often-assumed wear and tear on your roof. For example, heavy winds or storms can dislodge tiles, objects can fall onto and break roofing materials, or poor installation to begin with. You can also inadvertently disrupt the placement or alignment of roofing shingles by tampering with or renovating the attic area immediately beneath your roof. One must be exceptionally careful when doing work in this area.

But besides these external or more “direct” attacks on your roofing, leakage caused by wear and tear can be a fairly realistic occurrence, especially if your home is on the older side. Depending on the roofing material used, the signs of wear are different. The coefficient of thermal expansion also varies with material, with the lower ones being less likely to crack or split with severe temperature changes.

But the one constant that all materials have in common is that they need to be able to “breathe” in order to last. Imagine an old log sitting in your yard exposed to the elements. We probably all can guess that if you were to kick it over, the bottom half would look more like a compost than a log. Along the same lines, if you have dead leaves, branches, garbage, and other debris decomposing on your roofing and preventing it from breathing, that’s a sure way to accelerate roof wear.

Heavy shade overhanging your rooftop is not good either as it will prevent the sun from drying your roofing out during or after damp or rainy weather. Overhanging trees also contribute dead branches as well as leaves to your rooftop. You can counter this by faithfully pruning and clipping the guilty parties – or even removing them altogether. This will also aid in keeping heavier branches from damaging roofing tiles during stormy weather.

Keeping your roof as well as rain gutters clean and clear of debris is extremely important. Electric or gasoline blowers are convenient for this job as they simply “blow” everything right off your roof. Just be careful when doing your thing on the roof – you don’t want to have any accidents! Wear shoes with good traction, and comfortable good-fitting clothes that enable you to assume awkward positions.

Having a safety rope around your waist might be a good idea as well. Many steep roofs have snow stops toward the bottom, but it can be awfully scary when you’re sliding down on the seat of your pants from 6 or so meters up until you get there. Ceramic tiles can be extremely slippery when moist or wet, so be advised. And be particularly mindful of accidentally dislodging a tile or 2 when monkeying around up there. Walk gently! No romping around like you own the place – even though you do :).


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