Roofer Needed(7 Posts)
Can anyone recommend a good roofer in SE London? We have some roof leaks that are becoming increasingly urgent. There are major damp patches on the ceiling and around one chimney breast. I've already had 4 roofers in to quote and each has given me a different scope of work and a different estimate. I've had some of them tell me a valley lining needs replacing but they haven't even bothered to get up on the ladder to check it out.
What questions should I be asking and what should I look for in a tradesman?
If you have a roof with a valley, then you should expect it to need new boards and lead. They may know that from the age and shape of your roof without needing to look. Especially if it is already leaking and you have not recently had it replaced.
You need to get local recommendations, and deal with a company that has a local land-line telephone number, and a real-life address that you can go and look at. They should have been in business for some years under EXACTLY the same company name, and have a good reputation. Look them up at Companies House.
I will guess that you live in a Victorian terrace. All you neighbours will have (had) equally old roofs and most of them will have used a roofer. See what they say. Buy or borrow a decent pair of bird-watching binoculars, and study your roof, and theirs. Lots of mortar benching or flashband round the edges is a bad sign. Neat leadwork is a good sign. A Victorian roof will probably have been designed to carry slates, not tiles which are heavier. Modern black synthetic slates are quite a good substitute and much cheaper. You will need a permeable membrane (not felt) under the slates. Ask what the nails are made of (they should be copper, bronze or stainless, not galvanised which will rust away), get them specified in the contract, and check some samples while they are working.
Thanks PigletJohn! Very helpful advice indeed. One of the issues we are facing with the leaky roof is that it is not visible from the ground even with binoculars due to the shape of the roof. My house is end of terrace but with concrete tiles instead of slate. The house was done by a developer on the cheap about 20 years ago so we are now looking at quite a few repairs. Based on the workmanship elsewhere, I doubt very much the roof was done to a decent standard. We'd probably replace it in 10-15 years but its not in the budget in the short term unless it becomes a necessity. I've already asked around with the neighbours but many are new - the street has had quite a bit of turnover in the last 2 years - so not many have yet had to do extensive repairs.
climb up into the loft (which may be very cramped) and see if the timbers appear to be bending under the weight of the concrete tiles (this does happen, small slated Victorian roofs were often built with very scanty timbers) and if you can see where it is leaking from. The point of drip may be quite distant from the point of entry. Look especially at the party walls and the valley.
I fear any temporary patching will be a bodge and not last ten minutes.
or do you mean the house is only 20 years old?
If so, it should be felted under the tiles. The purpose of the felt is to lead any leaks down to the gutters without wetting the roof timbers or dripping into the loft.
Felt will degrade if exposed to sunlight, e.g. by a missing tile.
Hi havent used them myself, but know a few people who have used, Chris Ball roofing based in Forest Hill, do know they have been established a long time, hope you get it sorted soon.
My roofers are good. Had them for 2o years. There are in Pevensey East Sussex but may be willing to travel. They are called Southern Builders
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