Roofs and Structural Problems
We can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, home buyers reports or any other property matters . We can carry out specific defect reports relating to roof problems and advise on practical solutions.
We use lots of sketches and photos in our building surveys
As you can see from our articles on surveying we use lots of sketches and photos which we also use in our survey reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports better and ultimately solve the problems and carry out the appropriate negotiations. We, of course, like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about the reports. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.
A good building surveyor likes going in a roof
What does a surveyor see in a roof?
The inspection of the inside of the loft not only allows the surveyor to look for structural problems in the roof such as wet rot, dry rot and woodworm and general rain and dampness getting in as well as condensation but also the roof is a good indicator of the quality of the building as a whole.
A problem with the roof can often indicate problems with the whole building
In our experience of carrying out structural surveys if there are problems with the roof in the form of movement or letting dampness in then there tends to be problems with the whole building as the roof affects the rest of the building.
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Roofs under pressure
Although it is not obvious to the untrained eye, roofs come under pressures from many different places; they have the more obvious pressures of their own weight, this would typically be in a house with a timber frame roof truss but there have been eras when we have used steel trusses and even metal trusses within the roof (please see photos below). In fact it could be argued that post war we built as many houses with steel trusses than we did with timber. Equally a modern house with a timber engineered roof uses minimal timber to save money so if things go wrong they go very wrong.
Can you see the problems with this roof?
Some roofs are altered and amended over the years. Traditional alterations tend to consist of timber within houses although more and more we are coming across metal alterations post war. Pre war years it was common to use tie bars and more commonly now we are coming across I beams or steel joists being used within roofs.
Have a look at the roof covering. Is it the original roof covering or has it been replaced and if so, is that roof covering heavier or different to the original roof covering?
We have discussed how the roof holds its own self weight, the main one of these is the roof covering, be it tile, slate or thatch. All of these types of roofs then have batons that hold the tile, slate or thatch in place.
Have you considered the difference in the thickness between a slate of a few millimetres and a concrete tile of 20-30mm thick. There is also a considerable weight difference and there is also a difference in how these materials react when rain falls. Does the slate for example shed the rainwater and does the concrete tile absorb water?
Sarking felt or Underfelt or Protective underlayer changes the dynamics of a roof
There are also various environmental weather pressures on a roof; the most obvious of these is attack from the prevailing wind and rain into the facing roof pitch. As mentioned above, you need to consider the roof almost like a sail as it catches the wind. You can imagine the problems which can be associated with this if thought isn't given to the design, indeed the wind can lift tiles particularly to the perimeter of roofs, and we are finding this fairly common on modern roofs with manmade slate coverings.
Alterations to roofs can cause a lot of problems
DIY supports added
What does a roof look like?
We are just going to look at two types of roofs, a gable roof and a hipped roof as this article focuses on pitched roofs.
However we have also looked at flat roofs in other articles
A few roofing terms which may help you when dealing with roofers
DefinitionsWe use definitions within our building surveys, here are some examples of definitions that we may use in relation to roofs which you will notice are in a different font to the normal text which is how they are presented in our surveys:
These are the ones that form the pitch of the roof.
These are horizontal timbers that give support to the pitch of the roof.
Struts or props
These are diagonal timbers going from the purlins to a point where there is a support from a structural wall beneath. We often come across problems where a structural wall beneath has been removed.
These are the joists at the base of the roof and tie the base of the roof together as well as giving something to fix the ceiling to.
Tie or cross brace
This is a horizontal timber that ties the common rafters together and is typically either at the midpoint of the pitch of the roof or in the top third of the pitch of the roof.
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a building surveyor, we are happy to do valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, home buyers reports or any other property matters. Please call us today on 0 800 298 5424 to have a free of charge friendly chat with one of our surveyors.
We would be glad to email you several examples of our tailor made reports such as Structural Surveys and Property Reports. We also find that Specific Defect Reports can be used where there is one problem or issue that needs resolving between the landlord and tenant.
W e feel our surveys are quite unique, as they are written to your level of knowledge. As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports. The survey will also include an action required section and an estimate of costs in the executive summary. We are more than happy to meet you at the property whilst carrying out the survey to discuss any specific issues you may have or have a general chat about what we have found at the end of the survey.
We trust you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you believe should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not pause to contact us (we are only human).
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