Hiring a roofer or roofing services
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What is a Roofing Contractor?
Roofing Contractors are the professionals to call when you need repairs or evaluation of your roof, chimney stacks or gutters. You might consider doing some roofing work yourself, but it is dangerous work and best left to the pros (see below).
Why is Roofing important?
Keeping your roof and guttering in good condition is very important. It is your property’s main defence against the elements, and a very important part of its overall value. Neglecting your roof will cause damp conditions that will quickly bring about decay and expensive structural damage, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
We usually think of calling a roofing contractor when we notice a leak in the ceiling or some missing tiles, but they can also be hired to provide many other services.
- Slating: Replacing slates is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of roofing. But, slates don’t always need to be replaced. Sometimes they slip because of damage to the nails that hold them to the roof. When this happens, a roofer can easily salvage them. You should consider this alternative in particular if your property is listed and you’d like to keep as much of the original look as possible.
- Tiling: Replacing wooden or clay tiles is specialised work, best left to a professional roofer. Red clay tiles in particular are fragile, and you might end up ruining more tiles than you intended to replace!
- Insulation: One of the most important aspects of your roof is its insulation. Make sure yours is in good condition by having a roofing contractor inspect it regularly, for example, every two years.
- Felting: Modern flat roofs are waterproofed with felts, which are rolls of cellulose fibre material usually backed with bitumen (a tar or asphalt material), or polymer (high performance = higher price). This backing is melted on-site with a flame torch.
- Leadwork: Waterproofing with lead or copper rolls. Not often seen in family homes, more commonly used in large public buildings such as schools and churches.
- Gutters: Although regular gutter maintenance work can be a DIY project, a roofer would have safe ladders and other equipment, and would also point out any need for maintenance or repairs. Use ladders safely: rest the ladder against a solid surface (never against weak structures such as gutters) and always work with someone nearby. For more info on safe ladder use, see this site
- Chimney Stacks: Roofers are qualified to perform removal, repair and restoration of chimney stacks and parapet walls.
- Specialities: Some Roofing Contractors can perform special services such as installing roof gardens or bird guards.
Which is the best roofing material for my needs?
Some materials are quite low-cost but need reinstalling more often, whereas others may be more expensive but will last the life of the property. The best quality slate can last more than 100 years. A man-made material like asphalt felt will usually last only lasts about 20 years, but when worn is easily replaced. Other aspects you might want to consider are the insulating efficiency of the material and its environmental impact. In this latter aspect, wooden tiles are one of the best choices because they are completely biodegradable. Although lifespan is not great – about 15 years – it is a relatively low-cost roofing material, especially if sourced locally.