Roof Failures and Winter Storms

In normal circumstances, water ingress is a slow seeping build up of dampness over a long period of time and for that reason often continues, unnoticed, until there is a rot outbreak or structural failure.

High winds and driving rain will release a sudden deluge of wet that is immediately obvious. This has the benefit of alerting the property owner of a problem and speeding the remedial work.

Lead flashings, gutters and valleys are all vulnerable areas.

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The failure of modern lead fixings survey by MAAC Studio conservation architects

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When surveying buildings we find that lead is not installed correctly. It is unable to withstand the changing weather and temperature, resulting in thermal movement, stretching and tearing the lead, leaving holes and spits that allow water into the building fabric.

It is not just poor standards of workmanship, new materials and fittings are employed as shortcuts. They reduce the number of joints that require skill and experience to execute properly, in order to speed up the process and reduce costs. These often fail after a few years, when traditional techniques would last for a hundred years or more.

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Torn lead flashing Survey MAAC Studio architects

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The proper installation of traditional leadwork is a true craft that is sadly underappreciated.

Repairs and maintenance work usually takes place in the fine weather of the spring and summer. The warmth of spring leaves people feeling optimistic as the worst of the winter has passed and the summer lies ahead. This may lull us into a false sense of security and encourage us to accept a lower cost estimate for carrying out the work.

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Lead flat roof failures MAAC Studio conservation architects

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The initial saving of a few hundred pounds will be quickly forgotten when the bill for the remedial work arrives in the depths of winter and the aftermath of a failure.

To avoid disappointment an unpleasant shock;

  • arrange for a regular building survey by a professional with expertise in traditional buildings to identify problems early and
  • arrange proper repairs by a skilled trades people.

This two tips will save you a lot of money in the long run.

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MAAC studio are accredited conservation architects and principal designers working with traditional buildings throughout Scotland. 

If you need independent advice give us a call ?