The roof is the most exposed area of a building and even minor leaks can lead to severe problems if left unattended. It is therefore essential that regular maintenance is carried out to ensure the building remains wind and watertight. It is recommended that repairs and inspections are carried out by a skilled tradesperson.
Replace any missing slates, and repair any damage to lead flashings at junctions and valleys, and where the roof meets any chimneys, dormers or walls.
If roof repair is required, original slates should be carefully salvaged and set aside for later reinstatement. Replacement slates should be introduced to less noticeable areas of the roof, with originals being set aside for use in the more prominent areas. Replacement slates should match the original building material as closely as possible in type, colour, texture, size and thickness. If nails are noticeably corroded, they should be removed and replaced with stainless steel nails.
Only where roofing materials have come to the natural end of their life, or repairs are no longer effective should the full re-slating of a roof be considered. A rough guide would be that where one fifth or more of the slates have to be renewed, re-roofing should be considered.
Chimneys are often overlooked as they are harder to inspect. Plant growth on a chimneystack usually means that mortar joints are failing. Water damage to chimneys can increase the likelihood of deterioration and even collapse. Water will enter an open chimney from above and if only intermittent use the flue will become damp. Putting chimney cowls in place will help reduce chances of water ingress, while allowing the chimney to remain in use.
Capped, permanently closed chimneys and closed up, unvented fireplaces can trap moisture within the structure, inviting instability and damp patches to the interior of a building. Opening closed chimneys, and fitting vented caps will prevent water entering from above, and ventilate the chimney stack. Closed fireplaces should be fitted with vented grilles.