The perils of roof restoration in Sydney

A roof restoration can open up a can of worms for any home owner in Sydney

Read this first if you are thinking of a roof restoration.

Most of my clients find me because they are looking for their roofs to be repaired (I am a roof repair specialist). People looking for roof restoration services in Sydney generally end up with roof restoration companies.

Roof restoration for me means one thing: cleaning and painting a roof.

I do not clean roofs and I do not paint them. So, perhaps I am biased in my opinions below. Please take with ‘a grain of salt’.

 

Seen these roof restoration signs ion Sydney?
Seen these roof restoration signs ion Sydney?

My roof leaks a little – so a roof restoration should fix it.

People will get better results when they get more specific about what they want. If your roof leaks, you should get it repaired – NOT restored. A good roof repairer should be able to get the leaks fixed and provide a guarantee.

A roof restorer will try to convince you that you need your roof cleaned and painted – and in the process, your leak(s) will go away…

It is like giving your old car a paint re-spray and hoping that the oil leak will go away once the car looks shining.

“My roof was perfectly fine – until I had it painted…”

I hear this quite often when I go about my business of tracking down roof leaks and fixing them. Roof restorations can cause problems. A fresh coat of paint can actually compromise the drainage paths on a roof and cause leaks – instead of fixing them.

So, if you have a leaking roof – get a good roof repairer – not a  roof restoration company.

 

My roof tiles are decades old and they are getting heavier and more porous.

Major roof tile supplier in Sydney
Major roof tile supplier in Sydney

“Concrete roof tiles like all concrete products become stronger and less porous over time, provided they were manufactured to the appropriate Australian Standard.”http://www.monier.com.au/FAQs/

Do not believe (nor should you trust) anyone who tells you that concrete roof tiles get more fragile and porous as they age. Any decent concrete scientist will confirm what Monier says above about concrete roof tiles. They get stronger over time.

Terracotta roof tiles can deteriorate over time. But they do not get heavier or more porous. 60 year old terracotta roof tiles will tend to be brittle and they will not support heavy foot traffic (this tendency may be due more to the old manufacturing techniques). Younger terracotta roof tiles can suffer from ‘fretting’ – a process where the roof tiles just disintegrate and turn to dust.

If both major Sydney roof tile suppliers (Monier and Boral) offer a 50 year warranty on their roof tiles, they must know something. And this something is that the performance of their roof tiles do not deteriorate much over time.

Most tile roofs do not need restoration.

 

I have this stuff growing on my roof tiles and it may be causing some damage…

“In some climates, moss and lichen can grow on your tiles. They will not affect your tiles in any way, and can add character to your roof.  http://www.monier.com.au/FAQs/

Most tile roofs in Sydney attract a ‘patina’ growth after a few years. The smart thing to do is ‘just nothing’.

 

Roof restoration (cleaning and painting the roof) is part of routine house maintenance.

“The painting of terracotta tiles is not recommended; however, unglazed terracotta tiles can be painted but once painted will require ongoing recoating.”

“…The number one maintenance issue is cleaning the gutters, downpipes and valleys of your roof…”

http://www.monier.com.au/FAQs/

I have a web page dedicated to what happens to terracotta and concrete tiled roofs when they get painted. There is a video there titled “Roof restorations in Sydney gone bad – failure on terracotta roof” . It is quite relevant for this topic.

Blockage of the drainage paths is a major reason for roof leaks. Fading paint and normal lichen growth has never been the cause of roof leaks.

It is very important that you spend your hard earned money on the correct type of maintenance. Roof restoration is not roof maintenance.

 

My metal roof is starting to rust and maybe I should get it restored.

When a metal roof starts to rust, no amount of painting will be able to stop the rust from propagating.

At the end of its life, the protective coating on a metal roof sheet has sacrificed itself totally (usually on both sides) and the bare metal is at the mercy of the elements. Slapping a coat of paint on a rusty roof only hides the problem of the rust. Not forgetting that the underside is also rusting and no roof restorer will be able to paint the underside…

A rusting metal roof means that it is time to start saving money for a new replacement colorbond roof. Painting is false economy.

 

I want to paint my roof to get it looking new again.

I used to say that “the only time that I would consider painting my roof is just before I sell it…”

These days, I would be more inclined to say that I would never get my roof painted.

A house is just like a car… what is under the bonnet and the firm foundation of good wheels is a lot more important than the paintwork (which suffers the odd scratch throughout its life). Restoring a car always opens up a can of worms.

The same can be said of roof restoration.

3 Responses to "The perils of roof restoration in Sydney"
  1. Wish I’d seen this two months ago. I’ve just had my roof ‘restored’ – cleaned, painted etc. The paint is bubbling – have you ever come across that before? I haven’t paid for the job yet so I’m confident the firm will fix the situation but I’m curious.

    • Hi Laura,

      I have come across a fair amount of badly painted roofs. The paint usually ‘bubbles’ as you have described…. and eventually will peel off the roof tiles.
      I hope that you have been able to get the paintwork resolved by the ‘firm’.

      Jack

  2. Take note that there are a lot of options that you can look if your roof is made of concrete or terracotta roof tiles. It either needs to be cleaned, repaired, restored or a complete roof replacement. But generally, if you can walk on the roof tiles and its not breaking every time you take a step you probably only need a roof restoration.

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