FAQ – What is bedding and pointing of ridge capping?

Tiled roofs have ridge capping. These are the upside down Vee shaped elements at the top and sloping side edges of your tiled roof.

The image gallery above shows different stages of work associated with the repair of ridge capping.

….and pictures usually tell a better story than just words, so feel free to browse the gallery above.

Otherwise, (you wont see the gallery if you are using a smart phone or an ipad on this site)  the series of You tube videos below provides a more thorough look at what bedding and pointing is all about:

Firstly, the ridge capping is held down and supported by a “BED” of (sand and cement based) mortar. Unfortunately, the bedding will crack as it naturally shrinks and it does not bind the ridge capping very well. Also, the colour of the bedding does not blend in with the colour of the roof tiles or the ridges. And this is where the pointing comes in…

In the (not too distant) past,  the pointing was just a thin layer of oxide coloured sand/cement. The ‘cement’ pointing was put together relying on the skill of the roofer and the thin layer had a good chance of sticking onto the bedding without cracking.

Then ‘flexible pointing’ was introduced. One of the first in the market was “FLEXIPOINT”.The original flexipoint for pointing tile roofs

With age and movement on the roof, the bedding (and attached pointing) would start to crack – and the ridge capping will then start to dislodge itself and sometimes slide off the roof. This is when the roof has to be “repointed” – to maintain the ridge security. Usually, only the very loose bedding is removed and fresh bedding installed locally to support the ridge capping. Then the rest of the existing (sometimes cracked) bedding is prepared to receive the new pointing.

The video below shows the preparation work required just prior to the repointing process:

Once the old bedding has been prepared, it is repointed with flexible pointing. There are many brands of flexible pointing available nowadays – and we have used many of them. Nowadays, we have gone back to the original “FLEXIPOINT” – it just seems to work a bit better for us…

An old You tube video that I made a few years ago shows how the pointing is applied:

Flexible pointing is leaps and bounds ahead of the oxide cement pointing that exists on all old roofs. It sticks a lot better, has some flexibility against cracking – and is actually designed to be an alternative to mechanical anchoring of ridge capping onto the roof. It is pretty strong stuff that is very difficult to remove.

…But preparation is still the key – since even the stickiest compound will not stick to an un-prepared surface. Then it is in how the pointing is applied. The combination of the two will determine how effective (and the life) of  the repointing job.

 

 

You can also see my blog post on ridge capping repair work and my youtube  video below for a bit more information on ridge capping repair work:

 

Another video on re-pointing below.
Shows what your ridge capping should look like after they have been prepared for re-pointing, then re-pointed with “Flexipoint”:

 

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23 Responses to "FAQ – What is bedding and pointing of ridge capping?"
  1. Is it okay to use flexi point in a 5-10 millimetre gap between slate and a colourbond valley to block a small leak. Will it adhere properly and hold over time? Thanks Paul Jackson

    • Paul,
      Flexipoint will bridge a 10mm gap and if applied correctly, will stick quite well and hold over time.
      However, I I not so sure that it will do much for your leak – if you are just going to fill the gap under the slates to the valley. This is meant to be left open to drain water out.

      Jack

  2. Hi, how long should bedding and pointing last? I had my terricotta tile roof rebedded and pointed in 2009 and it’s cracking on the ridges, particularly in the meter closest to the gutters.

    • Hi Louise,
      Many years ago, when I was starting up in the roofing business, I remember an old roofer telling me that “.. a tile roof needs a repoint every 15 years…”.
      In my experience, this ‘old timer’ is pretty much correct.
      There are certain areas of ridging that suffers more from tile movement (due to un-anchored cut tiles). The bottoms of hips and the top of valleys are two of these areas.
      A good roofer will prepare the bedding a bit better so that the pointing has a better chance of bonding to the edges of the capping and to the tiles. This will lead to a longer lasting pointing job.

      Hope this helps.

      Jack

  3. I’m doing some renovations and need to remove a section of ridge capping to access the structure – it is only about 3 years old and adhered quite well. Are there any tricks to getting the ridge capping off without breaking it?

    • Hi Wayne,

      You can try this:
      Get a chisel. A cold chisel or an old wood chisel.
      Cut into the pointing along the bottom edge of the ridge capping (hammer and chisel trick).
      Also cut into the pointing at the collars.

      Once you have done enough cutting along the bottom edge of the capping, you will find that you can get the chisel further into the bedding and the pressure will start lifting the cap off. (a bit of levering helps also).

      Good luck.

      Jack

  4. Hi, I have a couple of capping tiles coming loose from the hips,(the mortar bedding is completely loose and coming away from the tiles) right next to the gutters on a couple of corners of our house. I picked up some Dunlop pointing from Bunnings and I said I needed to re bed the capping also, the lady helping me said I can just use the pointing mix as bedding as well. Would that be ok or would you recommend mixing up some mortar and using that as the bedding? Also, I’ve seen your video where you put drainage holes in the base of the mortar, do you put the drainage holes in the pointing as well and do you put them in the hip capping or just the ridge capping?
    Many thanks,
    Colleen

    • Hi Colleen,

      It depends on how loose the bedding is and also the ‘shape’ of the bedding under the starters (the pointy ridges) and the adjacent capping at the hips.

      If the bedding is quite loose and there is ‘bulky’ bedding (from previous repairs) at the bottom of the hips – then I would recommend removing the old bedding and replacing it with fresh bedding. This will make for a cleaner job and have a much better chance for the pointing to bind the corners together.

      Pointing is very ‘flowing’ and it will ‘slump’ if you try to use it as bedding. It will not ‘stand up’ and support the capping.

      If the bedding is slightly loose (and in good ‘shape’), then you can enlarge the crack between the bedding and capping by chipping the thin wedge away. Then apply the pointing. Enlarging the crack allows for more surface area for the pointing to bind the old bedding and the sides of the capping together.

      Application of pointing to achieve a smooth and clean finish takes years of practice (and even then, some tilers are more skilled than others at pointing).

      So, don’t be too hard on yourself if the end result is not very ‘professional’ looking.

      All the best…

      Jack

  5. Hi Jack,

    In your opinion, is it possible for a roof to require rebed and re-pointing just 3 years after it had been previously repaired and re-pointed? taking into consideration, there has been no trees or other heavy objects/debris nearby to cause damage.
    Thank you

    • Hi Mel,

      When I was starting out, an old roofer told me that a roof should be re-pointed every 15 years.
      Flexible pointing can start peeling off the edge of the ridge capping after a year or so – if it has not been applied correctly.
      The bedding should remain solid – even if the pointing starts to fail.

      In my experience, the old timer is pretty accurate with his 15 years….

      Jack

  6. Hi jack
    It’s only been a few years and we are having to get our roof re-pointed. The roofer quoted and said he would Rebed were needed and re-point. He has only removed some of the pointing and said he doesn’t remove it and redo it if it’s okay. Is this standard practice and will the new re-pointing adhere properly to the old stuff? Just not sure if he is doing a good job or not.. thanks

    • Hi Michelle,
      Generally, a roof can be re-pointed a couple of times before it gets too awkward to point and a fresh start (removal of capping and bedding all the ridge capping on new bedding).

      During re-points, removal of local bedding and pointing (that is very loose) is the usual preparation work before the fresh flexible pointing is applied.

      The main purpose of the pointing is to cover the bedding and to form a ‘bind’ between the capping and the roof tiles. Some local peeling of the new pointing can happen – but it may not necessarily mean that the whole roof needs to be re-pointed again. Unless you have blocked (or absent) weep holes, the peeling does not affect the waterproofing of the roof…

      Hope this helps.

      Jack

  7. Hi Jack
    I just had a couple of roof tiles I need to re-bed. Can I just use the pointing cement to do re-bedding so that I can do all in one hit?
    Many thanks!
    Peter.

    • Hi Peter,

      You will find that the pointing material is not stiff enough to ‘stand up’ and support the ridges. You will need to bed with a sand/cement mix first and then point after the bedding has been smoothed off and is stiff enough….

  8. Hi Jack,
    Is it possible to just replace 2 separate ridge caps rather than removing the whole load and placing it with mortar? I have few caps which care cracked and wondering if I have to redo the whole lot?

    • Hi Nagzy,
      If you can carefully remove the cracked ridge capping and replace them with EXACTLY the same sized (same brand and manufacture period) ridge, then you can usually get away from a full re-bed. You will still need to point the replaced ridges with flexible pointing – and also ensure that there are clear weep holes (if the ridge capping is on a horizontal ridge line).
      Otherwise, it is best to remove the bedding locally and re-bed locally.

      Hope this helps.

      Jack

  9. Hi
    I have a single level 4 bedroom house with Terracotta tiles. It is 24 years old. Never been rebedded or repointed. No leaks but I have just noticed that the mortar pointing on a verge over the part of the house which goes over the patio entrance at the front of the house has broken away from a board under the tiles leaving a gap. I have also noticed some of the ridge caps have small holes here and there where mortar has come away from the edge of the ridge cap.
    Looking at getting quotes to inspect the whole roof and repair where necessary.
    Can the repointing just be done where the mortar is either weak or come away or is it necessary to completely rebid and repoint?
    Thanks

    • Hi Steve,
      My take on re-bedding and re-pointing is this:
      – The sole purpose of the bedding (sand/cement mix) is to hold the ridge capping in position and to provide a surface for the application of the pointing.
      – The sole purpose of the pointing is to bind the edge of the ridge capping to the surface of the roof tile (and also to provide a cosmetic coloured finish on the edge of the ridges.
      – There are some roofers who advocate that a ridge capping repair should be a full re-bed (remove all the ridge capping and the old bedding and starting again) followed by a re-point. I disagree. There is no technical need for it. If the old bedding is holding the ridge cap in position and it has sufficient surface area to allow for the application of the flexible pointing ….. then it is doing its job.
      – The bottoms of the hips usually suffer from a lot of movement and cracking of the bedding. In this instance, I support the full re-bedding of the bottom ridge caps on a hip to enable a better bind of the pointing to prevent future slippage.
      – elsewhere along the hips, there will be local gaps if the old bedding has dislodged. Pointing will not fill large gaps. Therefore local insertion of bedding mortar is needed to fill in the gaps prior to the pointing process.
      – On the horizontal ridges, we have to be mindful of the need for weep holes. For most concrete roof tiles and terracotta roof tiles that have a cut course under the capping, weep holes are necessary. Any re-pointing will need to involve re-establishment of existing weep holes. Or, if no weep holes are present, then the horizontal ridges have to be fully re-bedded with weep holes before pointing.

      Hope this makes things a bit easier to understand…

      Jack

  10. Thanks Jack
    I have been told that I will need the roof pressured cleaned with a rotary brush cleaner before repointing is done. The tiles are 24 year old unglazed terracotta Monier. They are quite dirty and have lichen in lots of areas. I have some concerns about pressure cleaning as there is no sarking under the tiles. I am not concerned about the appearance only the practicality of ensuring my roof does not leak. Is it reasonable to only get the ridge caps cleaned? I will also need repointing on verges.
    Also should the roofer remove all the old mortar pointing before repointing with flexipoint?
    Thanks

    • Hi Steve,
      I have not seen anyone just pressure clean the ridge caps. It would have the same possibility of leakage during cleaning as a roof clean (but to a lesser amount obviously).
      We normally steel brush the lichen off before pointing…. concentrating on the edge of the ridge and the top of the tile.
      Remember that the main purpose of the pointing is to hold the ridge to the tile roof by binding the edge of the cap to the top of the tile. So, the two most important areas to clean off is just the thin edge of the side of the capping and the small area on top of the tile along the edge of the bedding.
      The cleanliness of the bulk of the bedding is not that important. It could be full of Lichen and the pointing can go over it (in theory)…

      It is the same with old bedding/pointing. If any old mortar gets in the way of the two critical areas, they should be removed. Otherwise, it is not that important.

      Hope this helps.
      Jack

  11. Many thanks Jack
    I totally agree with your recommendation. It makes no sense to pressure clean if you haven’t first repointed. Otherwise you are increasing the likelihood of water getting into the roof cavity. Obviously you would need to wait some time after repointing before you could pressure clean.
    I think it is great that you are sharing your knowledge.

    • Hi Chris,
      Sorry, I don’t mix with a lot of roofers and I do not have anyone I know in Melbourne.
      There must be some good ones there. It just takes a bit of hunting down.

      All the best.

      Jack

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