When you think about what kinds of mess and things may end up on a roof, most people will not realise what these can be.
Maybe a few broken tiles or mortar down in the gutter, or if a low-level roof, then perhaps a football that kids have thrown up there.
However, with years of experience with all kinds of commercial and domestic roof areas, you’ll be surprised by what else you may find there. Both on the actual roof and in any hidden areas like valleys, under parapet walls, and in particular, drain pipes meant to take water away, not get bunged up with rubbish.
Anyway, here are three examples of what you might find hidden on a roof – and which become progressively stranger:
1. Leaves and Twigs
This is understandable the more you think about it, mainly when trees are near the roof.
You're in trouble if they’re touching right up to the roof fascia or even above. As soon as leaves start to fall in the autumn and the wind blows, they tend to fall onto the roof itself.
Over time with rain, they will then move down the roof and settle in areas like gutters and downpipes. Left unresolved, they can soon block up and lead to water pouring out in places where it shouldn’t.
The answer is simple - trim the trees back, or at least have an annual clearance of these from the roof.
2. Bags and Rubbish
Plastic bags and other rubbish are a classic in more urban areas.
Of course, they’re meant to be placed in rubbish bins, but if you have a strong wind blowing them or people throwing them out of higher-level windows, they can soon start to clutter a roof up.
In addition to looking awful, they can soon start blocking the natural flow of water and development issues like leaks and mould growth.
In particular, things like plastic bags can be the worst; because they will travel quite far and high with the wind, be easily shaped into something like a downpipe, and not deteriorate over time.
The answer to this one is to monitor rubbish roundabouts and have a thorough check when you carry out a routine inspection
3. Food (and Chicken Bones)
This does surprise people a lot - the remains of food on a roof cause issues.
This can be from people throwing out onto, say, flat roof areas, although, often, it’s from birds picking up food locally and taking it to a local roof to perch and have a bite to eat.
Chicken pieces are a classic example that can cause a real headache. They’re taken from takeaway meals, and once any meat has been eaten or deteriorated, you’re left with a bone carcass that can easily get blown into areas and pipes that cause a blockage later on.
The answer - like with rubbish, make sure there is little opportunity for this to happen in the first place, but when it does, then make sure you double-check all areas and have the right gloves and safety procedures to remove these.
Prevention is Better than Cure
In addition to trying to stop the items from first getting on a roof, another way to look at good prevention of problems is to have a form of guard or shield over prone areas.
So, maybe a metal mesh over pipes and even gutters to stop things blowing on or in there. Or even spikes to prevent birds from even trying to perch there in the first place.
Whatever you decide, call in an excellent local roofer to give you some tips, sometimes without even needing to get on the roof, but using years of experience and some good old common sense.