Roof repairs in the inner west of Sydney has its unique set of challenges.
“Where we working today?” my roof repair crew asks.
They all give me “that look…”
That roof repair in the inner west of Sydney that they will be doing today will be an interesting one…
Of all places in Sydney’s inner west, Newtown, St Peters, Balmain and Erskineville must have the worst streets for tradies.
The multitudes of dead ends, one way streets and parking congestion makes getting in to do roof repairs a long drawn out process.
My roofers now know that to get a parking spot, they have a small window between when folks leave for work and when businesses open. Then they need to be continuously wary of the parking inspectors….
Getting in and out is one thing, there are other ‘roofing things’ that we need to take into consideration when roof repairs inner west Sydney are on the day’s agenda…
Getting roofing materials through the streets of the inner west…
Our roofing material suppliers usually deliver roofing materials directly to a job site.
We do not have this luxury in the inner suburbs of Sydney. Not only do big trucks find it difficult to get into the tight streets, there is not enough space to stop and crane off the materials.
There is a ‘double handling’ process where materials are offloaded onto our little utes – which then go in to the job. The utes become the delivery/storage mechanism.
But sometimes, the materials are too long for the racks of our utes….
I remember a roof repair job in Erskineville.
It was a terrace house with a flat metal roof.
The roof was beyond repair and we had to replace it with a colorbond kliplok profile roof. The roof was 10.5 metres long…
We did not want to engineer a join and split the sheets into two short lengths. So, 10.5 metre sheets were ordered.
10.5 metre sheets get delivered on semi trailers.
“There is no way we can get our semi trailer down THAT street!…” mister Lysaght told us. “The closest we can get is 2 blocks away.”
So, what was the solution?
No rear lanes in the inner west of Sydney?
There are rear lanes – but not enough of them. Rear lane access makes life of a roofer a lot easier to get materials onto a roof that they are doing repair work on.
But there are many houses in Redfern, Paddington, Surry Hills. Ultimo, Glebe, Marrickville, St Peters, Annandale, Leichhardt. Balmain etc that only have front access. This means roofing materials for the roof repair job need to go through the house, or up the front roof.
The Balmain area has the steepest house blocks and many streets without rear lane access. It is a fight to get roofing materials from the truck to the job. This is when roof repairs inner west Sydney can turn into a a long day…
An inner west street and a crane?
“No way” says my crane company.
The streets are so narrow.
Roads will need to be blocked off.
Power lines everywhere….
This means that we are back to my roofers physically carrying roofing materials to the job site and passing the materials up onto the roof. And there are some steep roofs in the Inner west!
When my roofers work in the inner west suburbs or Sydney, they need to be ‘zen-like’ and learn the power of “slow and steady”. It may be “back breaking” – but think of the savings of gym membership!
Chimneys and parapets – the bane of inner west Sydney roofs
“I have a damp spot on my wall”
What has a damp spot on a wall got to do with a roof repair?
The inner west of Sydney has all these terrace houses divided by common walls which protrude above the roof line and form parapet walls (and often chimneys).
These are the things that leak. And they become a roof issue.
That is why my roofers fix a lot of roof leaks around parapet walls and chimneys in the inner west. Old lead flashings along the parapets break down over time and soak water into the walls. Cracks on the parapets allow seepage into the walls.
This water seepage gets behind the paint and plaster on the walls. Ugly bubbles then appear and the paint peels.
The Inner west of Sydney is a ‘hotbed’ of renovation work. And chimneys inside the terraces are knocked down and removed to make way for more room.
But the bit above the roofline remains…and if it is not properly capped and sealed…
The challenges of inner west roofs forces innovation
80 % of the roof repairs we do in the inner west are just like the rest of Sydney. Leaking skylights, rusty roofs, flashings and guttering plus a bit of bad workmanship by other roofers….
The other 20% makes us stop and think.
Because the logistics of the congested inner west forces new problems upon us. We need to re-engineer things to make our lives easier and still produce a result that performs well.
… So what happened at the roof sheeting at the Erskineville roof job?
The delivery driver craned off the bundle of roof sheets onto the footpath… two blocks from the job site.
“Sorry guys… this the best I can do”
Two roofers can carry a 10.5m kliplok roof sheet over a short distance. But it takes 3 guys to struggle two street blocks with it.
It must have been a sight!
One roof sheet, 3 guys….weaving between the road and footpath. Then rinse and repeat 7 times.
We were so thankful that it was a narrow roof and only needed 7 sheets.
For a bunch of reasons, we did not do this Erskineville roof replacement job with an engineered lap joint. But we have made our lives a lot easier on many other occasions in Sydney’s inner west with kliplok lap joints like that pictured above.
The lure of the inner west
Once upon a time, gypsies roamed the inner west. With the change in demographics, they now target the defenceless homeowners in the outer west.
If you don’t know what gypsies are, check out my blog article about a gypsy attack on a poor inner west home owner.
With a name “The Roofing Professionals Westside” – you would think that we must operate in the inner west.
And we do.
We like the inner west. And we fix a lot of leaking roofs there.
Because it is quite central to where we live and we like the challenges that the inner city suburbs pulls on us.
Roof repairs in the inner west of Sydney is unlike anything else. That is why we keep coming back when we get asked….