Jan 242013
 
Typical roof problems in Spain

ROOF REPAIRS IN SPAIN – DEFECTIVE EAVES CANTILEVER RESULTS IN FAILURE

Finding out what problem you have with your roof in Spain – and why it has occurred – is almost impossible for the average property owner.  This is equally true of knowing whether the remedial work suggested by your builder in Spain is really correct and reasonably priced.

Just as frustrating is the difficulty in establishing whether any roof defect that you have is the fault of someone else (your builder or architect, for example).  This can be vital, as you may well be able to claim for any roof repairs in Spain or damage caused.

The trouble with roofs, of course, is their inaccessibility.  Furthermore, few people, even when they have safe access to their roof, know enough to be able to fault find effectively.  So, you tend to be very vulnerable to poor work and, on occasions, outrageous prices.

Certainly, roof defects in Spain are not uncommon and many of the problems are due to poor or inadequate work from unskilled roofers or developers, who have ‘cut corners’ to save money.  This can certainly be true of new properties.

 TYPICAL PITCHED ROOF PROBLEMS IN SPAIN

1.  Incorrect roof pitch

Recently, I have come across several new properties where there have been significant problems with damp ingress during bad weather.  This was due to the incorrect pitch of the roofs concerned and the wrong tile overlap – all of which were in contravention of the material manufacturer’s requirements.  As you can imagine, this type of problem is very expensive to resolve.

2.  Tile overlap

Incorrect tile overlap is a relatively common roofing problem in Spain and can lead to either water ingress or the blowing off of the tiles concerned, during windy weather.  There is a correct overlap for all tiles (which varies depending on location, as does pitch) and unless this is maintained consistently on a roof then, inevitably, there will be problems – possibly resulting in the necessity to relay the entire roof.  This is an issue that I have commonly found with newly constructed properties!

Roofing defects in Spain

FALLING DEBRIS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS!

3.  Cantilevering of tiles

Equally, a common problem is the incorrect cantilevering of tiles over the eaves.  This can result in tiles cracking, as they are placed under too much pressure from the rest of the roof.  The danger of this happening is as obvious, as it is serious – with the falling tiles a real danger to people (especially children!) passing underneath.

4.  Chimney detailing

In Spain, little use is made of lead flashing.  This is used extensively in the UK where different roof surfaces are joined, an example being where a roof meets a chimney.  In Spain, zinc or more commonly mortar joints are used with tiles indented into the render.  This system is not the best way of waterproofing different surfaces where they join together and can degrade rapidly under the extreme climatic conditions inherent in Spain.  Indeed, the very high temperatures during the summer and the occasional very cold temperatures of winter can play havoc with any roof joints and can result in movement and the cracking of materials used.  So, ensuring that a chimney saddle, for example, is correctly formed is essential, if water ingress is to be prevented.

5.  Inadequate roof eaves overhang

Time and again I come across properties that have an inadequate roof overhang.  This means that when it rains the rain pours down the walls of a property, rather than being thrown away from the walls and the base of the house concerned.  Obviously, during periods of sustained rain some properties have walls that become soaked thus producing damp and internal damage.

6.  Poor roof void ventilation

Ventilation for roof voids is important, if a house is not to suffer overheating and the cracking of ceiling beam lines.  Frequently, ventilation is ignored or forgotten and this should be remedied.

7.  Wind damage

Occasionally wind damage can affect even a relatively well constructed roof, but where exposed, it is best to repair the roof using certain materials and methods that will reduce the risk of future damage. Simply making good ‘as is’ will inevitably result in repeated future damage.

REMEDIAL WORKS TO ROOFS IN SPAIN

As always with building work in Spain you must make sure that any problem that you have is correctly diagnosed and that the appropriate remedial work is then undertaken.

Whilst there are some excellent roofers around in Spain, it is also true to say that there are many builders who tackle an array of jobs – without really knowing what they are doing or having the skills to correct problems.

So, the answer, if you have roof problems in Spain, is to have a survey and analysis of the problem undertaken by an independent professional – who can assess the work, the overall likely cost and provide a specification for any remedial works.

Equally, a professional building surveyor may well find that the original work was defective and be able to help you to make a claim against the builder or architect concerned.  This is something that I have done many times, particularly with regard to newly built properties – thus saving clients an enormous amount of time and money…

If you want to know more about roof repairs in Spain or general building defects common to Spain then do contact me.

Mark Paddon

Sep 252012
 
Leaking flat roofs in Spain

FLAT ROOF PROBLEMS IN SPAIN – THERMAL MOVEMENT CAN AGGRAVATE A ROOF MEMBRANE AND TILES

As anyone who has lived in Northern Europe knows, flat roofs can be an enduring problem.  All too often they are the cause of leaks and few flat roofs retain their integrity beyond around 15-20 years – before requiring extensive repair work.

In Spain the situation is much the same with the more extreme climate often stressing flat roofs in Spain to their very limit.  Very high summer day time temperatures and cold nights can damage membranes, crack grout on tiles and distort any flashing.  Any of these problems can lead to leaks, which can cause significant damage to a property.

Unfortunately, a frequent problem encountered with flat roofs in Spain relates to the inadequacy of any membrane between the roof sub-surface (usually concrete over a concrete block infill) and the final surface (most commonly tiles).  Sadly, on the flat roofs of some properties no membrane at all is used and sometimes the flashing between the parapet walls of a flat roof can be poorly executed – either of which can result in leaks.  Surprisingly, a lack of proper membrane on the flat roofs of newly built properties is not unusual – so do not fall into the trap of thinking that just because your Spanish house is new that the flat roof has been correctly constructed…

Flat roof repairs in Spain

TYPICAL WATER INGRESS FROM FAILING FLAT ROOF

Of course, any membrane (normally waterproof asphalt) deteriorates with time, in any event, and therefore needs replacing.  Indeed, generally speaking, if a flat roof in Spain is older than 20 years then you might need to renew it.

Typical signs of flat roof problems in Spain include the obvious tracking of water from the roof area down into the living area of a property.  This may become apparent, initially, in staining and then be followed by major water ingress.

Repair of flat roof problems in Spain can take a number of forms including the application of water proof roof paint, which is often pink or red in colour.  This can suffice in the short term but is rarely long lasting and always a sign that a significant problem exists – that will have to be dealt with properly at some stage.

There are a number of different ways of remedying flat roof problems in Spain but it is important to find the optimum, long term solution.  Sometimes this can be cheap and easy, so do not always anticipate or pay for solutions that are unnecessary or unjustified!

Roofing specialists in Spain

LONG TERM WATER INGRESS CAN CAUSE SERIOUS DECAY OF STRUCTURALLY IMPORTANT REINFORCEMENT STEELS

Equally, identifying the reason for damp ingress in a property is not always as straightforward as it seems.  Sometimes, the actual roof of a property may be fine but an area of parapet flashing is defective.  However, on occasions the ingress of damp or water may indicate a more serious problem related to subsidence or heave.

If you have flat roof problems in Spain then do feel free to contact us.  We will be able to save you money and ensure that your roof is dealt with correctly and that your problems will be resolved!

Mark Paddon