Could We Learn From Sweden’s Roof Maintenance?
At Improve a Roof, we specialise in helping customers ensure that their roofs stay in superb order, able to withstand the worst the British climate has to throw at us.
And, undoubtedly, the British climate places great demands on our roofs – there is wind, rain (often near-constant rain), fairly extreme temperature changes through the seasons and then there is hail, occasional snow, ice and the odd storm or two.
Any roof in Britain has to be well maintained and built to last.
However, we would have to admit that there are countries where the climate is even harsher and so the demands placed on the roof greater still.
We were fascinated to read about some of the approaches taken in Sweden, especially the requirements to clean and maintain roofs during the winter.
In the UK, it is sensible to undergo annual maintenance of your roof to ensure it is in good order.
This is likely to be a relatively small expense that means there won’t be the far greater expense of major roof repairs down the line.
In Sweden, there is a legal requirement to maintain your roof and, specifically, to clear it of snow and ice.
The mandating of roof maintenance will benefit property owners, they will simply budget this expense in as an annual item. No doubt, every property owner has a reliable roofer on speed dial.
The law, though, does not exist solely to stop owners from running up large repair bills when their roofs fail. The law exists to maintain public safety.
In Sweden, property owners are required to clear snow and ice off their property if there is any potential for it to be a risk to the public, clearly this will most commonly affect the roof, on which snow and ice could build upon and then later fall from.
Why Roof Maintenance Matters
Sadly, the consequences of snow and ice fall can be tragic, one instance being a 14-year-old who was killed when he was struck by a large block of ice that fell from a property. The snow and ice could also cause tiles to come loose if badly maintained, and a falling tile from several metres up has the obvious potential to cause serious injury or worse.
There is no realistic prospect that such a law will be implemented in the UK, indeed we have quite different laws with regard to responsibility of safety compared to the US and Europe.
In the UK, the street outside your house is the responsibility of the local authority and so if someone slipped on ice on the pavement outside your house, the council would be potentially responsible, rather than the homeowner. Indeed, if you swept snow from one part of the pavement to another and someone fell you could technically be deemed responsible.
In the US and countries such as Sweden, the pavement outside your property is your responsibility.
While you could argue the rights and wrongs of both approaches, there is perhaps at least one benefit in placing some responsibility on individuals. It ensures maintenance of properties.
We visit many properties and homeowners who ultimately require repairs that would have not been required had they simply scheduled in an annual roof maintenance check. To use the old expression, a stitch in time saves nine.
Roofs are one part of the house that over time are guaranteed to require repair if they are left unchecked. They are exposed to the elements and so eventually the wear and tear will take its toll.
At Improve a Roof, we offer roof coating that will extend the life of your roof and also reduce heating bills, and also an annual wash and refurbish option – this would clean your roof but also address any maintenance issues such as loose or missing tiles, the capping of gutters, re-mortaring of the ridge and many more common issues.
Our testimonials are universally positive, please take the time to read the impartial reviews.
Oh – and if you have time for some reading – you might also enjoy this article on the roof cleaning in Stockholm, It is not a job for those who suffer vertigo. We admire their bravery!