Roof Safety – 12 Points you Should Consider as a Homeowner

Safety has many aspects in connection with a roof – and all of them are important for homeowners. This is especially true for owners of one- and two-family homes, who, after all, usually manage their homes with all the trimmings themselves. Here are a few examples:

  • How do you winterize a roof?
  • Which areas on the roof can be susceptible to moisture penetration?
  • How do I secure a roof against storms and what do I do after a storm?

The safety of a roof plays a major role not only for the property itself. It also helps prevent damage for which homeowners can be held liable under unfavorable circumstances – just think of loose tiles that come loose in a storm and sail onto the street. We’ve grouped the most common questions about roof safety into topics and answered them compactly:

1. Can I carry out repairs on the roof myself?

Better not. The roof is a high-risk area for non-professionals and is by no means a DIY zone. Working on the roof is extremely dangerous without the right safety equipment – slipping once is already too much. In-depth knowledge of roof construction, decking techniques and waterproofing is also essential, as mistakes in workmanship can be costly.

2. How to detect damage to insulation?

The easiest time to recognize insulation problems is during the white season: in winter, a uniform snow cover on the roof is an indicator of functioning insulation. Single dark spots next to white areas, on the other hand, indicate defective insulation. Heat escapes from these spots and causes the snow to melt. In summer, damp spots or puddles inside the attic after a downpour are serious alarm signs of an insulation leak.

3. What are the consequences of damaged insulation?

If the insulation is defective, energy costs increase: In winter, heating costs increase due to escaping heat. In summer, on the other hand, cooling does not function properly. In addition, moisture can penetrate through insulation leaks, lead to mold growth and cause massive damage to the masonry. Defects in the roof insulation can occur, for example, if moisture penetrates through a leaky covering.

4. Is insulation worth it?

The investment in a solid insulation pays off with certainty. Especially with the roof – here up to 40% of the heating energy is lost. Insulation also has a positive effect on the living climate. In summer it keeps out the heat, in winter the cold. The cost of new insulation is much easier for homeowners to bear thanks to government subsidies. And – a renovated and well-insulated roof naturally increases the value of the house, as it is up to date as a property in terms of energy.

5. Do you have to check the roof after a storm?

If you want to be on the safe side, you should have the roof inspected after severe storms for loose tiles or tiles that may have been broken by “pigeon egg hail”. Puddles in the attic and discoloration on the wall definitely indicate roof leaks.

6. What roofing materials are the most storm resistant?

Slate is extremely strong, and each panel is attached to the roof individually. Therefore, this material is considered very resistant to storms. However, metal roofing with titanium zinc is also mechanically fastened and thus can withstand severe storms. Roof tiles can be retrofitted with storm clips so that they stay in place even in high winds.

7. What exactly are storm clips?

Storm clips are metal clips made of stainless material that are used to fix flashing elements. They prevent tiles and roofing stones from lifting off due to wind suction and also effectively prevent slipping. Depending on the wind zone – Germany is divided into four of them – and location, the roofer uses a fixed number of these additional protections. Installation is simple, usually the storm clips are hung in a side seam and driven into the battens.

8. Does the roof pitch play a role in storm safety?

In general, flat roofs are more vulnerable to severe storms than roofs with a high pitch. On a flat roof, the negative pressure created on the roof is not broken to the same extent as on a pitched roof, so a stronger suction effect is formed. In the case of a flat roof, therefore, special attention should be paid to a roof covering that is secured against storms.

9. Do I have to replace the tiles if there is moss?

Green or brownish coating on the roof is harmless as such and not an indication that rotting of the deck material is imminent in the foreseeable future. It can withstand far more than a few soft mosses. The “greening” of German roofs has increased as a result of improved environmental protection: The acid rain that used to fall regularly ensured that the growth of algae and moss was limited, the more noticeable today is precisely the natural growth. Whoever is bothered by the bio-infestation – every roofer knows how to get it off the roof quickly.

10. How to winterize the roof?

A thorough inspection of the entire roof, including insulation and trusses, is important. In addition to loose elements, risk areas for incoming moisture such as connections and terminations of ventilation, windows and chimneys must be carefully inspected. One should also install snow protection such as snow guards for shingle roof or snow guards for standing seam and clean out the gutters.

11. Where are the risk areas for moisture entering the roof?

Connections and terminations of windows, vents and chimneys are particularly at risk from entering moisture. Therefore, when installing insulation, special care must be taken to ensure proper workmanship at these points. In addition, the connections should be regularly checked for tightness.

12. How much maintenance does my roof need?

As with all other components of the property, it pays to maintain the roof in good condition. However, roofs are extremely grateful building elements and do not require much maintenance. However, a good appearance and reliable tightness are important to many homeowners. Keep your roof clean with a cordless pressure washer and follow the safety rules. Therefore: Have the roofing contractor check the roofing and insulation from time to time, keep the skylights in good condition (which you can usually do yourself) and ensure unobstructed drainage – and the roof will last for many decades without any problems.


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