How to prevent your roof from leaking

01 August 2023

A roof leak can cause endless headaches for landlords, tenants and building managers alike. Whether you own a commercial building or a residential home, when it comes to roof leaks, prevention is always better than cure. By taking proactive measures and implementing preventive strategies, you can safeguard your roof from leaks and ensure the long-term integrity of your property. 

In this article, we’ll share some of our best tips for preventing roof leaks and maintaining your building. But first, let’s look at the main causes of leaking roofs in New Zealand. 

What are the common causes of roof leaks?

Often remaining hidden until long after the damage is done, roof leaks are a frustrating and costly problem that causes damage to both the interior and exterior of a building. Understanding the root causes of leaks is a crucial step in order to effectively take preventive measures. While each roof is unique, there are a handful of common contributing factors that we see time and time again in our role as roofing contractors.

From natural wear and tear to weather-related damage and installation issues, it doesn’t take much to compromise the integrity of your roof. By understanding these risk factors and taking proactive steps to avoid them, you can significantly reduce the chance of leaks in your building. 

The primary cause of roof leaks in NZ are:

  • Blocked gutters
  • Ageing materials
  • Faulty flashings
  • Cracked roof sheets
  • Inaccurate fixings
  • Pooling water
  • Leaky vents

If you’d like to learn about these issues in more detail, we cover each point thoroughly in Common causes of roof leaks. Now that you’re aware of how roof leaks start, the methods for preventing them are much easier to identify. 

1. Keep gutters clear and functional

We recommend regularly inspecting and cleaning your gutters to prevent blockages caused by debris, leaves, or other foreign materials. Clogged drains can quickly lead to water overflow, which may or may not be in a visible area. The resulting outcome may include multiple leak points, moisture damage and a large expense to rectify the problem. 

Alongside keeping your gutters clear of debris, check for cracks and loose joints in the guttering system. By spotting weaknesses before they deteriorate further, you can avoid water seeping into your premises. 

If you would prefer to avoid the hassle and potential dangers of gutter maintenance, our experienced team at FHS Roofing can help. Our professional roofing maintenance service includes the clearing of gutters to ensure your roof remains in optimal condition.

2. Don’t skimp on roofing materials

The roofing materials used in your structure play an important role in its likelihood to leak. For example, concrete roof tiles and metal roofs are known for their durability and resistance, while synthetic materials are more at risk of degradation. 

When making alterations or repairs, consider the specific needs of your property and consult with a reputable roofing contractor to determine the best materials for the task at hand. 

Based on our experience solving roof leaks, the use of .40mm BMT roofing iron should be avoided in all commercial applications (unless for cladding). Light gauge roofing is very easily damaged and is a common cause of roof leaks. Working with a professional roofing company helps to ensure your roof is repaired using quality materials and techniques.

3. Ensure correct flashing design when installing roof penetrations

Often roof penetrations will need to be fitted retrospectively if a building is re-tenanted, HVAC requirements change or new plant is installed. FHS Roofing recommends requesting your contractors use the dry-pan cover-flashing method wherever possible when waterproofing new roof penetrations. This ensures the minimisation of weak points and no interference with the flow of the water down the pans of the roof sheets.

Flashing joints should also be kept to a minimum, and all joints thoroughly sealed and riveted. We recommend having an experienced roofing contractor install the flashings to ensure the correct methods are used.

4. Regular roof inspections

FHS Roofing provides an inspection/reporting service, and we recommend this is carried out at least every 2-3 years. Regular inspections help ensure any potential weak points can be addressed before they develop into a leak or cause any hidden structural damage or safety hazards. They also help to ensure any material deterioration problems can be addressed proactively, which can significantly delay the need for a roof replacement.

By enabling issues to be addressed in their early stages, regular roof assessments can significantly reduce the long-term cost of maintenance.

FHS Roofing maintenance service

When it comes to ensuring the longevity and reliability of your roof, trust the expertise of FHS Roofing, the leading Christchurch roofers. Our comprehensive maintenance services are designed to keep your roof in optimal condition, preventing leaks and potential water damage. 

Having served the Christchurch community for over 95 years, we have a wealth of experience in the industry. Our skilled roofers have an innate understanding of the challenges posed by New Zealand’s weather conditions. So, whether you own a commercial building or a residential property, our dedicated team is equipped with the knowledge, tools, and techniques to detect and address any potential issues before they escalate into costly leaks. 

From gutter cleaning to identifying signs of wear and damage, our meticulous approach ensures that your roof remains watertight and provides reliable protection for years to come. 

In summary

Preventing roof leaks requires proactive measures and regular maintenance. By taking the necessary steps today, you can prevent roof leaks and enjoy peace of mind tomorrow, confident in the knowledge your property is watertight against the elements.

Don’t wait for a leak to occur – contact FHS Roofing and experience the peace of mind that comes with professional roof maintenance. Our experienced team is committed to helping you maintain a leak-free roof and protect your property for years to come. 

Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive roof inspection.

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