Sydney’s variable climate presents unique challenges for your roof. From harsh sun exposure to torrential rains and the occasional hail storm, your roof is constantly under stress. And to add to these challenges, the quality of Sydney roofers is mostly questionable. This Sydney Roof repair guide is the handy tool for a Sydney homeowner to understand the nature of their roof and the nature of the roof repair industry in Sydney. The more that a homeowner knows, the better will be the decisions that will be made for the longevity of their home.
The common causes of roof leaks in Sydney fall into these 3 categories:
Sydney is not in a cyclonic zone, which means that roofs are not built to withstand high winds and heavy rains. So, when Sydney gets the odd super wet and windy event, its roofs may not be strong enough.
Tile ridge capping and even roof tiles routinely lift off Sydney roofs – and even metal roof sheets peel off due to the high winds.
When the volume (intensity) of the accompanying rain is near or over the design target, some types of roofing material will not be able to cope and roof leaks will suddenly appear. Low pitched roofs are particularly susceptible to leaks from super heavy rainfall. Most gutters will overflow when it is overloaded and where there are insufficient overflow provisions, stormwater can enter the house.
Since most property owners have little control over how their roof and gutters have been installed, roof leaks due to a bad storm is hard to prevent. The best that a home owner can do is to ensure that there are no debris on the roof and gutters prior to the storm.
It should not come as a surprise that the older your roof is, there is more chance that some roof elements will be getting old and past its ‘use-by’ date.
The most common age-related problem with metal roofs is RUST. Metal is protected against rust by sacrificial coatings and paint. These coatings eventually wear away and expose the bare base metal to water and oxygen – parents for the birthing of rust.
In the era before roofing silicone, roof, gutter and flashing joints were soldered and rivetted. These eventually wear out due to movement and the overlap of different types of materials. Roofing silicone changed the way roofing joints are put together.
But even the most advanced roofing sealant have a design life (which varies according to exposure to the sun). Over time, these will deteriorate and joints will open up and leak.
Lead was the most common flashing material – until we found out that it can be harmful to our health. Lead suffers when it is exposed to the sun and is in a position of stress. The movements apply a lot of tension and cracks start to form. It may take a few years, but there is no prevention against this, especially under the harsh Australian sun.
The new substitutes for lead like ‘Wakaflex’ has not been put through decades of service yet and is somewhat unproven. But it is the best that we have right now.
The good thing about roof tiles is that they do not rust. Most modern roof tiles exhibit little stress over many decades of service. Their shortcoming is their brittleness. They crack under impact. And if the tile has been phased out over the decades, then it will be difficult to get replacement roof tiles. It is wise to get some spare roof tiles that will fit your roof now (while you can) and store them for future use.
Don’t be fooled by the roof restoration companies that claim that roof tiles get porous and water laden. These are utterly false claims.
Suppliers of roofing materials go to great lengths to design their products to perform under certain service conditions. Otherwise, a ‘product recall’ becomes necessary.
They have no control on how and where their products are being installed. Therefore, the roof installers shoulder the full responsibility for the installation component – and this is where many roof failures are born.
The majority of roofers in Sydney seem to disregard the product manufacturer’s recommendations and naively install roof components to look good or to be ‘cost effective’. Typical principles that roofers disobey are:
A leaking roof is not just an inconvenience that will go away if you don’t think about it when the rain stops (seems like a typical excuse we get when inspecting a long term roof leak). It’s a serious threat that can create situations that will shorten the life of your property or even shorten your life!
A house is built with concrete, timber and steel. Whilst concrete can endure lots of wetting and drying cycles, timber and steel do not do so well. Timber will rot and steel will rust (steel in the internal structure of the house do not get much protection coatings because it is not meant to encounter any water in its lifetime).
The slow leaks that show up as stains are more damaging because these can be left unattended to for long periods because towels and buckets are not needed during storm events. Then these are promptly forgotten about when the rain stops. The structure gets unseen stress over long periods of time and years later, major structural repairs will be required.
It also seems like damp timber is a good breeding ground for white ants…
Not all condensation and mould are caused by leaking roofs. Most are the result of poorly insulated ceilings and lack of roof attic ventilation. These situations cause widespread and thin zones of mould.
When the mould patch turns brown black, it is no longer an insulation problem. There is a persistent roof leak that introduces moisture on a regular basis. The ceilings are now in danger of collapse.
And because mould spores can bring on allergic reactions, residents can suffer harmful health effects.
The large roof leaks are the reason for hefty insurance payouts. Not only will sensitive electronic gadgets short circuit, electrical lights and power can make life dangerous. Wet carpet, collapsed ceilings, damaged furniture and paint damage can be expensive to rectify. Thankfully, if you have home insurance, there is compensation coming.
But (and this is a huge BUT).
Often, your home insurance will not cover the cost of repairing your roof. There is a clause called ‘Lack of roof maintenance’ that insurance companies have been using to limit their storm insurance payouts…
We understand that the roofing skills of a typical homeowner falls on a spectrum. There are measures that can be taken by the average homeowner before professional roofing services are called upon – that can limit the damages that roof leaks can cause.
Do Your Own is for the brave and physical agile property owner. While these qualities can be low bars for entry into the roofing world, there is still one big challenge. And this is the one of guidance.
We have lots of valuable guidance on our website on roof repairs and lots of our clients have seen our roof repair videos. These can be enough to provide confidence to the DIY property owner.
Simple DIY roof work that can be undertaken are:
Most single storey gutters are within easy reach from a short ladder. Gloves, a bucket and a leaf blower are essential tools for cleaning gutters and valleys. If you are not afraid of heights, then you can get on your roof (but keep away from the edge and do it when it is dry) and blow the roof down.
This will eliminate leaf blockage roof leaks.
It is also a change to inspect the roof for broken roof tiles, rusty roofs and faulty flashings.
You will know where to get spare tiles for your roof. And also how to change a roof tile (Youtube has many videos on this). If you are caught without a spare roof tile, we have a video on how to effectively repair a broken roof tile.
In most situations, there will be signs of roof leaks that become observable after a rain event. You may even be able to hear dripping sounds. You will not have a roofer in your pocket when this happens – so, you are the only one who is able to observe, take pictures/videos of the situation so that it can be presented to a roof repairer when the opportunity comes around.
This information is very valuable for your roof repairer.
Just like you are better off taking your car to a licenced car mechanic for regular servicing and repair work, it is the same with your roof. A professional roof repairer will take care of your complex roof problems better than you can:
Professional roof repairers call themselves ‘Roof Surgeons’. They detect the likely cause of a roof leak and come up with a procedure to ‘open up the roof’, perform the anticipated operation and have a dig around to see if there are any other potential problems. This last step is what separates the real professional roof repairer from the so called ‘Roof Doctors’ who ply their trade without the necessary hard earned skills.
Whilst Roof Doctors attempt to remove the symptoms with generic handiwork, The highly skilled Roofing Professionals actually do everything to establish a CURE.
It will involve a lot of patience, using checklists and sometimes multiple repeat repair procedures. But a CURE is certain.
Elon Musk lives on “FIRST PRINCIPLES”. And he happens to make things happen.
It is the same with repairing roof leaks. First principle thinking is needed to come up with the correct repair technique. This may mean changing the roofing materials over to more appropriate materials.
It may also mean coming up with creative ways of dealing with difficult roof situations.
We, at the Roofing Professionals Westside, frequently encounter home owners who have tried multiple roof repair companies without a successful roof repair. We are called in because the homeowner has given up on the preceding ‘Roof Doctors’… and when asked about their warranties, the homeowner’s response was that these other roofers were all unable to honour any of their warranties.
The Roofing Professionals Westside seems to be in the minority when it comes to Roof repairers who have firm warranty promises that they always honour.
When you look up reviews on roof repairers, go right past those that allege “quick and successful fix on the first attempt’. You will rarely find a review that “they were undeterred and came back several times until the roof problem was successfully resolved”.
You will need to do a bit of research work to find your ideal roofer who you can ABSOLUTELY TRUST to understand your roof problem and come up with guaranteed solutions:
During the times when demand for roof repairers peak (like hail storms and damaging storms), Sydneysiders will see an influx of ‘out of town’ roofers. Nobody knows Sydney roofs like Sydney roofers. And these transient roofers have skills and techniques that may not work for Sydney.
A Sydney roofer for a Sydney roof problem is the best fit.
And to narrow the field even more, most Sydney roofers do not travel far from their home suburb. Shire roofers fix Shire roofs…
This makes it extremely difficult to find the right roofer that you can trust to have the right expertise and to actually use it..
We cannot help but leave CLUES as we navigate through our work. There are obvious clues (like the overinflated 5 star reviews) and more nuanced clues that are better indicators of the track record of a roofer.
The obvious clues are the easiest to fake (we all know about facebook, instagram etc).
The subtle ones are the meaningful clues that a diligent homeowner has to go after.
Most Sydney roofers will carry a trade licence.
This is NOT proof of adequate training. It is just evidence that the NSW Government has received sufficient proof of a minimum level of competence.
Is there a roofing company out there who is actively involved in training their roofers to the highest standard?
Every roof is different and so are the owners of the properties. Since each situation calls for a different solution, this roof repair guide can only provide generalised advice for homeowners with problematic roofs.
But this guide is sufficient to inform all homeowners of how most roofs in Sydney can benefit from timely repairs when they spring a leak – and even before they start leaking. There is a ton of links on this guide to handy resources that discuss each different class of roof repairs in deeper detail. Just pop back up this guide and find the topic that interests you the most to start your journey to become an educated property owner.
When you are done with this, there are further suggested pathways below that you can take:
We, at The Roofing Professionals Westside here in Sydney, do things our way. We cater for the locals in everything we do.
But we have been around for over two decades and there are a lot of visitors from ‘out of town’. The rest of New South Wales, Australia and globally.
Most ‘First Principle’ operations have relevant applications every where in the world. So our guide can have wide application with its narrow expertise.
All roofs behave in similar fashion. And roofers globally fit in similar moulds. A Good Sydney roofer will be a good roofer anywhere in the world.
Good Roofers exist everywhere, but they form less than 20% of the total pool of available roofers. The trick is in finding them amongst the rest.
Our roof repair guide provides handy tips to give you BETTER ODDS in finding the right roofer for your roofing needs. We do not have specific recommendations to make your search easy. You will have to do this hard work yourself…
Artificial Intelligence and the ‘Large Language Models’ have started their rapid growth into how modern information is gathered and published. This will have upsides and threats. We will be trying to keep pace with this AI advancement and make use of the upside applications.
We have a trained AI bot that should answer any of your roof repair questions without ‘hallucinating’ too much. Obviously, our AI bot will get better with time and we invest in more training and processing speed.
Give our AI Bot a try. Then give us some feedback – so that we can train it better!
If you are not in Sydney and you have a question about your particular roof problem, you can leave a comment below. It will be answered.
Those who are fortunate enough to be in the Sydney metropolitan areas can BOOK a session with us by tapping the button below:
You will be taken to our booking calendar. Once you make a booking, we can stay in touch and communicate properly.