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uPVC Roofline products are low maintenance and look good
Roofline products, or rooftrim products as they are sometimes known, are the materials which fit between the brickwork on your house walls and the tiles or slates on your roof, most of which are made of timber which requires painting every so often.
The major benefits of replacing wooden roofline products for PVCu products are low maintenance, protection of the roof and the aesthetic qualities of new modern roofline products.
What are uPVC Roofline products?
Roofline products include soffits, fascia boards, barge boards, dry verge clips, gutters and down spouts, all of which are fitted around the line of the roof, hence Roofline. These products have two main functions – protecting the eaves and the roof structure of properties and taking away the rainwater which falls onto the roof. Though not strictly a roofline product – external wall cladding is also fitted by most Roofline installation companies. Terms other than roofline are also used for this classification of products, namely Rooftrim or FSG (fascias, soffits and gutters).
Gutters and downspouts on modern properties tend to be plastic or PVC but could equally be extruded aluminium or even cast iron on very old properties. Soffits, fascias, barge boards and cladding however, tend to be painted softwood or very often on older properties – asbestos, which would need specialist removal. Timber roofline products will need painting every few years just as timber windows and doors do, hence modern roofline replacement products tend to be relatively maintenance free PVCu.
uPVC Roofline products are low maintenance
One of the most common reasons homeowners give for replacing timber window and doors in their homes with PVCu products is low maintenance. Not having to paint wooden windows and doors every few years will save hours of work and several hundreds of £’s each time the work is carried out.
Sanding down and painting windows and doors on the ground floor may be laborious enough, but not many homeowners would relish the prospect of painting their soffits, fascias and barge boards from a ladder 20 or 30 feet above the ground. And once you do start, it’s surprising how much exposed timber the average property has around the roof line, especially those with gables which have barge boards running diagonally up to the apex of the roof.
uPVC Roofline products – Dry verges
On a traditional roof construction, roof tiles and slates on gables tend to have cement mortar pointed in between them and the top of the wall – an area referred to as the verge. As mortar is porous it is affected by freeze / thaw cycles which causes it to crack and eventually fall out, requiring it to be pointed again. The mortar can also allow water to penetrate through to timber lathes (to which tiles are fixed) causing them to eventually rot.
A dry verge system is a series of interlocking PVCu covers for the ends of roof tiles and ridge tiles, which, when properly fixed into place will reduce water penetration and the risk of tiles being lifted in strong winds. Dry verge systems also provide the edges of your roof with a much more attractive appearance than cracked mortar joints. Although fitting dry verges can be considered a job in its own right, there is often little point not including it as part of a full roofline refurbishment whilst the access equipment is in position.
Installing uPVC Roofline products – Roof protection
For most householders, fascia boards, soffits, barge boards and rainwater products on their homes go completely unnoticed most of the time. They are however, an essential part of any property and play a vital role in protecting roof rafters and other parts of the roof space. Missing or rotten wooden fascias and soffits can permit water ingress which can damage the structure of your roof eventually. The resulting holes can also provide an entrance for nesting birds, rodents and squirrels, which can result in further damage.
Replacing your old roofline products with new purpose-designed interlocking soffits, fascias, barge boards and rain water systems will not only enhance the appearance of your home but will also protect important parts of your roof from water ingress and pests. New PVCu roofline products are attractive, durable, weather-resistant and almost maintenance free – a major advantage as they are in a difficult to access location.
A typical roofline products installation would comprise the following stages: –
uPVC Roofline products – uPVC Cladding
Timber external wall cladding, protected only by paint, can be very susceptible to damage by the weather over time. Periods of wet weather when the timber has little chance to dry out, followed by warm sunshine baking the surface, will eventually cause the paint to crack and peel. This exposes the bare timber cladding to the elements which will result in rot, fungal damage and decay which could be concealing problem areas of brickwork.
In time the cladding will need to be replaced but replacing it in timber rather than PVCu won’t be much cheaper, and at some time in the future you will probably have to replace it again. The two main types of cladding have either an extruded hollow section or a hard outer surface of PVCu-e on a cellular, or foamed, internal core and are available in ship-lap or open-V style.
PVCu-e: – Unplasticised Expanded Polyvinyl Chloride
Cellular PVC profiles are manufactured by way of a co-extrusion process during which high impact PVCu-e compound is extruded onto the outer surface of a foam PVCu-e cellular core. During the process it is formed to the required shape and surface texture, then cooled and cut to size. It can be manufactured with a flat glossy surface, a textured wood grain effect surface or be finished with a bonded laminate which gives the appearance of timber. PVCu-e is an excellent insulator and is resistant to acids, alkalis and atmospheric pollution.
The tough outer skin of PVCu-e cellular profiles used for external wall cladding provides an excellent all-year-round weathering capability, though some fading may occur over a number of years. This is due to a natural weathering process but any slight colour changes or dulling of the surface should be uniform over the whole of the exposed surface.
Soffit, fascia, barge boards and cladding are readily available in a wide range of colour and texture finishes including brilliant white, cream, black and brown (both with flat or wood grain textured surfaces) and realistic woodgrain effect laminate finishes such as mahogany, oak, rosewood and black ash. In most cases, Roofline installation companies will offer PVCu windows, PVCu doors and PVCu conservatories in matching colour and texture finishes to their fascias, soffits and cladding products.
Gutters and down spouts are readily available in white, brown and black but some manufacturers produce gutters and downspouts to match other woodgrain effect roofline products.
Health & Safety
The installation of roofline products on two and three storey properties inevitably means working at height and an increasing emphasis on the health and safety of installers has resulted in a proliferation of different styles of access equipment. Simply working from ladders is no longer acceptable in many situations and companies which cut their prices to the bone often put their installers at risk by not providing adequate access equipment for them to use. That doesn’t mean that expensive scaffolding needs to be erected as there is a wide range of custom-designed equipment available which can be erected and dismantled relatively quickly.
Easi-Dec™ Access Equipment
One excellent access system for roofline installation is the Easi-Dec™ Roofline Kit. This consists of a number of platforms linked securely with a catwalk to form a continuous fully-guarded platform which can be erected in less than 30 minutes. Telescopic legs allow height adjustment in 30 mm increments and can even cope with sloping ground. A wide range of accessories are available to deal with different situations, including a corner kit enabling the easy construction of box ends, a kit to span wide windows and one to deal with dormers.
Because of the inherent dangers of working on the edge of roofs, a vital part of any roofline survey should be a risk assessment analysis to determine the types of access equipment required and the number of installers needed to carry out the work. It may add slightly to the cost of any roofline installation but it will reduce accidents and provide the homeowner with peace of mind.
New Roofline Products
As to be expected, new variations of roofline products are always being introduced and some roofline installation companies have started to offer retro-style products such as imitation cast iron gutters and down spouts.
Another retro-style product, though not strictly belonging to the roofline product range, is mock Tudor effect boards in black, oak and mahogany effects, to replace existing rotting timber beams. This is not an extruded product as they are generally hand finished and stained to create an authentic reproduction of English oak with a grained texture, knots and other natural imperfections of real wood.