Stormy Weather: How Does UK Weather Affect Roofs?


How does weather affect my roof?

In the UK, it’s rare we experience severe weather phenomena such as tornados and hurricanes. However, Cornish weather does affect your roof in a variety of different ways. It’s important to keep on top of roof maintenance to reduce the likelihood of needing expensive roof repairs on your Cornwall or Devon property.

Come rain…

Rain is (unfortunately) a common weather in the UK, especially during the winter months. After a few weeks of frequent rainy weather, the constant hammering down of water on your roof might begin to take its toll. Make sure your roof drains properly, with no pools or puddles on level areas. Maintain gutters so they are free of leaves and debris to avoid overflow. Check that your downpipes are centred over drains and that there are no leaks or spills that could cause slick, icy paths as part of your winter roof maintenance.

You can reduce the weight of water collecting on your roof and prevent the build-up of moisture between tiles, which can lead to unsightly mould and moss growth. Reduce water weight by ensuring that your roof has effective drainage. Prevent leaks and moisture penetration from damaged structures by keeping up with roof repairs before the winter season ends. This reduces the likelihood of damp, rot, and mould in attic spaces. Not only may damp and mould be tough to remove, but if they’re in an area of your room that isn’t frequently used or visited (such as an attic), the problem can quickly escalate into an expensive headache before you realise it.

Come shine…

It may not appear that the summer sun is causing significant damage to your roof. However an overnight summer storm that can send a lot of rain and debris crashing down on your roof. This can happen because much of the influence the sun has on your roof does not get addressed until a period of severe weather.

Because many roofs are not sheltered, there is no barrier between your roof and the sun’s unfiltered UV rays. Heat and UV radiation can dry out your roof over time, causing shrinkage. Bleaching and weakening of wood components can also lead to cracks. Tiles that are exposed to daily high summer temperatures for an extended period of time may buckle or break, and the connections between tiles may loosen as a result of shrinking.

If your roof is more than 10 years old or you have a ‘Hot Roof,’ talk to your local roofers about the benefits of a new roof or additional insulation. Increased energy expenses, better insulation against lost heat, and improved airflow ventilation around your roof are all benefits of investing in a roof. New building regulations may also have an effect on the spec of your roof.

The risk of thermal shock on roofs is one of the most serious threats throughout the summer. Thermal shock happens when temperatures rise above normal during the day but drop abruptly after the sun sets. This rapid change in temperature and humidity in the air can cause the materials on your roof (especially metal) to expand and contract. This compromises structural integrity and, in some cases, causes warping.

If your roof is neglected, whether due to a lack of time or you’ve recently bought an older house, moisture may be trapped between tiles or beneath support systems. Mold and moss can develop quickly in the summer, thanks to the increased temperature and water supply, spreading across your roof in a blanket of green, creeping into your attic areas, and down the external walls. Make sure to cure your roof and remove any green growth on a regular basis to avoid the possibility of rapid spread, which would necessitate additional effort or money to eliminate.

Fortunately, a properly maintained roof can withstand several hot summers without too much harm from the weather. This is especially true if your roof is less than 10 years old and you have a well-ventilated attic to assist diffuse some of the sun’s heat.

Grey skies…

Bitter, freezing winds can also cause damage to your property. High winds can loosen, move, and shake your tiles, leading them to lift up and cause a cascade of damage over your rooftop. The easiest way to safeguard your roof against high winds is to inspect it for loose or missing tiles on a regular basis and have them fixed or replaced as needed.

Though we seldom see snow in Devon and Cornwall, people living on Bodmin Moor or Dartmoor may see snow in the winter. Snow is seldom far behind in these exposed places if the weather becomes wetter and the temperatures drop. Snow does not ‘drain’ off a roof as quickly as water does, and the accumulation of snow on unmaintained or aged roofs can be quite heavy. Although many homeowners prefer to let the snow melt naturally, those who want to clean the snow off their roof should do so carefully to avoid further harm. For example, some homeowners believe that ‘knocking down’ snow flurries with a standard show shovel is a viable option. However, this can damage tiles, knocking them loose. Some people also use rock salt or other “melting” treatments, but these might cause damage to your roof’s materials.

Should I weather-proof my own roof?

Remember, when preparing your roof for intense weather patterns and working at height, you must only do so if you have the expert knowledge to do so and know how to utilise the correct safety equipment. Falls from a roof or from a height can be fatal or cause life-changing injuries. With that in mind, it is always safer to call a professional when you don’t feel confident in carrying out checks or performing maintenance yourself. We always recommend that you call qualified roofers before embarking on any roof-adventures!

If you do spot any leaks or cracks, have a look at our article on leaky roof prevention and causes. Do get in contact if you have any queries about how we can help you to maintain your roof!