We’ve had some belting weather recently and judging by many of the calls I’ve been getting everyone’s been thinking about improving their outside space.
It’s important to remember the more mundane work too and one thing that is much easier to do while the weather is good is checking and fixing (or replacing, if necessary) shed and garage roofs.
The storms of last winter meant that I got lots of calls from people whose shed roof had blown off or the roofing felt had been damaged and the rain was seeping in. That can be disastrous for any expensive tools, furniture or equipment you are storing in there and can damage your shed in the long term.
Even if a winter isn’t too harsh, just general wear and tear can eventually test the strongest of roofs and felts. Best advice is to give everything a good check over at least once a year.
Here are a couple of photos of a garage I recently re-roofed. This is a slightly pitched roof which had been leaking for some time, but luckily the roofing timbers were still in good condition so did not need to be replaced. It was also overgrown with ivy which was adding a considerable weight. I cleared the ivy and used corrugated roofing sheets and it is now a dry space again.
Replacing a shed roof will entail working at height so it’s important to put safety first. Check all equipment like your ladders are up to the job. Also, many roofs will not support the weight of someone working up there so double and triple check before you go up and you may need to prop the roof from inside. If in doubt, do not attempt it.
Asbestos can also be a very unwanted discovery especially if your building is a garage or larger shed and was built some time ago. If the roof is a grey, corrugated material and is NOT stamped with NT, then it is may well be asbestos cement. The good news is that if the asbestos is still in good condition it probably isn’t immediately dangerous – the fibres become a health hazard when they are breathed in, so watch out for any areas that look to be crumbling or flaking and act as soon as you find any.
If you think you do have asbestos in your roof, never use any tools like a saw or wire brushes on it as they could release the fibres. And if an asbestos roof is leaking it is probably at the end of its useful life and should be replaced.
Repairing shed roofs
If the roof is covered with roofing felt, small areas of damage can sometimes be repairable without replacing and re-covering the whole thing. There are a wide variety of products such as this spray from Ronseal which is a spray-on mastik which claims to seal and repair water leaks on a range of roofing materials. This paste from Good Ideas claims to be able to stop leaks just about anywhere, and says on roofs it will bridge tears up to 10mm, although I have never tried it.
Most sheds are roofed using roofing felt and as with most things there are different grades. You generally get what you pay for, for example this roll costs £25.99 for 10m x 1m. However this roll costs £34.99 for 8m x 1m but has a 15-year guarantee and because it has added polyester, claims to be gale and storm resistant. It all depends on the building, its position and the wear and tear you are expecting. A rabbit hutch in a sheltered corner of the garden will obviously take a lot less battering than a large shed on the brow of a hill.
If you do decide to re-roof your shed yourself, once you have removed the old felt, take extra time ensuring the roof is flat and smooth before you put your new felt down. A couple of old sticking out nails or jagged bits of timber could quickly ruin your new felt – and your mood!