10 things you should know before doing a roof restoration

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man on roof terracotta restoration

The roof of your home is probably its most important element. All other components of the home are kept safe and dry subject to the integrity of the roof. When it comes to making an investment in the most important part of your home you want to be confident in making the right decision. It’s worth doing some research on the different types of roofing and roof restoration companies. Some roof restoration companies may offer you different quotes based on different materials and services, so it’s important that you have some confidence and knowledge about exactly what you’re purchasing. After all, a roof restoration can be a significant investment by way of cost but can also give great long term value when done right.

1. What is a roof restoration?

A roof restoration is really quite a loosely used term. When referring to a roof restoration most people are referring to the process of cleaning, repairing, rectifying, repointing and recoating a tile and in some cases metal or Colourbond roof. It’s really the process of taking an aged roof, in need of repair and restoring it to its former glory. Both the aesthetic appearance and the performance of the roof are restored following a roof restoration. In some instances, people may be referring to a roof replacement, a re-roof or a tile conversion when stating roof restoration.

2. Do you need a roof restoration or a roof replacement?

When you know your roof needs work it is well worth getting the advice of an experienced professional. A good roofing company should offer unbiased and free advice about whether a roof restoration, roof replacement or just roof repairs is most appropriate for your home.

Generally, if your tiled or metal roof is approaching the 50 year mark and has never had any maintenance of any kind over its lifetime, it may be better spending money on a roof replacement rather than a roof restoration. The benefits of this type of service are many. The modern roofing iron being Colorbond or Nexteel have far longer lifespans and warranty periods than in the past. The possibility of Insulating the new roofing iron is particularly good with noise reduction and energy usage in the household. Another benefit to the house structure is the massively reduced weight of removing the tiled roof and replacing it with iron. The weight reduction is at a factor of 10 to 1. This means that for every 10 tonne of tiled roof removed there will be 1 tonne of metal roofing to replace it. The weight reduction usually results in no further sagging in the timber structure and may result in less wall cracking in older solid brick homes.

3. What are the benefits of a Roof Restoration?

The benefits of a roof restoration done at the right time are many. The biggest of all is really extending the lifespan of the original roof. With both tiled and metal roofs, if restored at around the 20-year age mark and then every 15 years thereafter the original tile or metal roof can almost last forever. In the case of the tiled roof the tiles may never become porous if a good coating is maintained on the tile and this means the tile will not become brittle and chalky. In the case of the metal roof the only thing that reduces the lifespan of the sheeting is rust. Again, by maintaining a good coating on the roof sheet, the base metal will never be exposed to the elements and therefore potentially last forever.

Of course, other than the performance and longevity increases in the roof the biggest benefit following a roof restoration is the aesthetic improvement in the roof and home. There is almost always an increase in property value and potentially a quicker sale if the property is put on the market. The colour of the roof can also be changed and is not dependent upon the original tile or metal roof colour.

4. Know what type of roof restoration you need

There are many types of roofing materials and products used around the world but In Australia there are really only four roofing types that you are likely to come across. In order of most common these are, Concrete tiled roofs, metal or Colourbond roofs, Terracotta tile roofs and asbestos roofs. Each roof type requires different considerations when it comes to roof restoration or roof replacement.

Concrete Tiled Roof Restoration

concrete tiled roof restoration

Concrete tiled roofs are the most common roof by far and also most suitable for roof restoration. In most cases a concrete tiled roof can be restored to its former glory with great success and offer great value. This type of roof gives the best value and maintains its longevity the most if restored at around 20 years of age. At this point the original tiles have probably not been porous for many years and therefore the integrity of the concrete tiles have been maintained. At this age the finish on the newly coated tile after being restored is often better than the original tile from the factory. If your concrete tiled roof is more like 40 – 50 years of age and has never had a restoration or maintenance during its lifetime it will require a detailed inspection to determine if restoration is the best way forward. It’s quite common for a roof of this age and state to have hundreds of broken tiles due to having been left in a porous state for several decades. If this is the case a professional roofing advisor may recommend a roof replacement or re-roof as a better valued option as opposed to a roof restoration.

Metal or Colourbond roof restoration

Before After

A roof restoration on a metal or Colourbond roof is a great alternative to reroofing. As long as the original surface has not developed significant rust it can usually be coated and restored to its former appearance. The process is much the same as a tiled roof being high pressure cleaning followed by one coat of primer and 2 coats of colour. The finish however is satin as standard on a metal roof which matches the original finish of the sheet from the factory. Often the original fixings are also replaced with new colour matched fixings with new neoprene seals.

Terracotta tile roof restoration

Terracotta Tile roof restorations require a bit more inspection than their concrete equivalents. The reason being that Terracotta tiles often develop a condition known as fretting. The age at which fretting starts in a Terracotta roof can be varied. Generally, at a point of age somewhere between 40 and 80 years is when the condition starts to become obvious. Fretting is essentially just the process of the tile starting to crumble and slowly turn back into the original Terracotta clay soil from which it was made. For Terracotta roofs without any signs of fretting the usual approach is to pressure clean all the moss and debris off, then to repoint all the capping tiles and replace any cracked tiles. This we regard as a Terracotta roof restoration. For roofs showing signs of fretting the usual recommendation would be to not make any further investment in the original roof and to probably undertake a re-roof or roof replacement conversion to Colourbond.

Asbestos roof restoration

asbestos roof removal

Probably the most expensive of all is the Asbestos roof. Needless to say these types of roofs really cant be restored but are rather replaced with a metal or colourbond roof. The process is a little more involved as a specialist contractor is often required to remove the original asbestos sheeting and then a conventional roofing contractor is required to install the new roof sheeting.

5. What is the roofing restoration process?

Some of people’s popular questions when getting a roof restoration are; How long does a roof restoration take? And can I stay in my home during a roof restoration?

The roof restoration process usually takes around 1 week for an average home. This duration is certainly subject to weather. During the warmer and dryer months a roof restoration can be completed in as little as 3 days, conversely in areas with long wet winters it can be tedious to find several days in a row with no risk of rain to allow the spray painting of the coating.

The homeowners can certainly stay in the home throughout the roof restoration process. Other than some noise coming from the roof area there are few effects on the occupants of the home. The workers only require a source of power and water to undertake their works and won’t require access inside of the house.

6. What is the cost of roof restoration?

Roofs are a bit like people in that there are no two roofs made in the same way. Most people assume that the size of a roof is the biggest influencing factor in cost however this is not always true. When a professional roof restoration company is creating a quote for your roof they will look more closely at things like the pitch of the roof and how many detailed areas like dutch gables or bay window roofs there may be.

In ballpark figures, to have a roof restoration undertaken on a smaller and less detailed roof with a standard pitch of around 22 degrees the approximate cost would probably be between $6000 – $7000 + GST.

For a larger more detailed roof with a steeper pitch the cost would be around $7000 – $9000 + GST

7. Does the roofing company offer any finance options?

A lot of roof restoration companies give their clients the option to finance their roof restoration. When considering this option, It pays to look closely at their offer to make sure it suits you. The roof restoration companies usually provide their finance via a 3rd party company such as Humm or PayRight. The roof restoration company usually has to pay a large premium or fee to the finance company in order to provide the finance to their client. Obviously, the fee is ultimately passed on to the client and therefore it usually comes at a higher overall cost.

It can be a really good idea to check with your bank about refinancing your home loan and using some of the equity within your home to finance the roof restoration. The benefits of obtaining finance in this way are being able to request a “cash’ price from your roof restoration company rather than an inflated “financed” price. Also, in many cases you may find the true interest component of the loan is far less when taken out through a home loan rather than a finance company.

If your home loan refinance plans are more limited or if you only need the finance for a short time because you may be selling the home, it can also be advantageous to take out a personal loan to fund your roof restoration. This type of short-term finance is still far cheaper than higher interest options like a credit card or interest free finance and can be paid back quickly after the potential sale of the property.

8. It's important to ask questions during your roofing restoration quotes

When in the market for a roof restoration it pays to ask many questions from the company providing the quote. There are many different companies in the market from small “one man band” type operations through to medium sized privately operated businesses all the way up to large interstate corporations and national franchises. Each offers different value and cost propositions.

9. What to look for when choosing a roofing company

When selecting a roofing company there are a few easy ways to quickly shortlist a few. Most people these days start from an online search for “roof restoration” or “roof painting”. At this point there are many results, almost too many to read. A great way to short list a few from here is to check Google reviews. If they are a great company you should expect to find at least 20 google reviews and they should all be 4 – 5 stars. Obviously the higher the star rating and the higher the number of reviews the more confident you can be. It’s also worth thoroughly reading the reviews and seeing what others had to say about their experience with the company. After reading a few reviews it’s pretty easy to determine the integrity of the company and the duration it has been in business.

Ask to see a portfolio of past jobs. If you see a house similar to your own that the company has previously done, ask them for the address so that you can drive by. This can also be the best way to select the colour of your new roof restoration too.

Find out the history of a Roof restoration business

Is the roof restoration business licensed and registered? In all states of Australia any entity, being an individual, a company or a trading trust that carries out building work to the public must be licenced. Each respective state has its own government department or office that maintains a register of licenced builders. For example, in Queensland this is the QBCC whilst in South Australia this is OCBA. If you find that the business providing you with a quote is not licenced with the appropriate body, then don’t go any further. It’s highly likely that their insurance (should they have any) would be void in the event that something goes wrong and they aren’t licenced.

Warranty periods issued by Roof restoration companies

Expect to find a good strong warranty from a credible roof restoration business. The industry standard these days is at least 10 years. This should be issued to you in writing with all its terms and conditions. It’s especially good if the warranty mentions what will happen in the event of your new roof restoration coating starting to flake or peel during the warranty period. The best operators in the industry have usually partnered up with a top manufacture such as Dulux and are able to issue you both an applicator warranty (from the roof restoration business) and a manufacturer warranty (from ie. Dulux). Some manufacturer warranties have recently been increased to 15 years so these are the ones you want.

10. Solar Panel Considerations

Whether your roof already has solar panels installed or is going to have solar installed in the near future it’s worth thinking about when considering a roof restoration.

If your roof already has solar the roofing restoration company in most cases will recommend leaving the panels on the roof and undertaking the roof restoration around them. This is most common practice on roofs that are not in terrible shape. The panels will be masked up and the roof surface will be cleaned and coated around them. A good applicator is normally able to spread the new coating about 100mm under the outside edge of the solar panels so that no uncoated surface of the roof can ever be seen from ground level.

For roofs in extremely poor condition where there is a risk that there may be broken and porous tiles under the solar panels the roof restoration company may recommend temporarily removing the panels prior to the roof restoration and re-installing when complete. This is a great way of doing things as all parts of the roof are then covered under the warranty and the owner can have peace of mind that no cracked or porous tiles still exist on the roof.

The best-case scenario with solar panels is to undertake the roof restoration just before the installation of the solar panels. This way there are no areas that get excluded from the roof warranty and no cost of temporarily removing the panels. When doing this just ask the roof restoration company to coat up a good 20 spare tiles for you when they are applying the new coating. This way in the event the solar installers should break some tiles during their installation there will be a pile of colour matched spares ready to be swapped in.

A professional roof restoration company will typically arrange for the solar panels to be removed and refitted by a licenced solar electrician on your behalf. This usually costs somewhere between $800 + GST and $1200 + GST.

Conclusion

If you are a homeowner or planning to own a home for any extended period of time, then chances are you will require a roof restoration at some point. It can be a fantastic investment for your home and give great value over the long term. Our advice by way of price and conditions is that if it seems too cheap to be true there is probably a good reason for this. Check the details and warranty conditions. Conversely a good roof restoration should not be the cost of a new car and middle of the pack by way of quoted amount and business size often delivers the best quality and value of all.

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