Looking at our roofs is not always something that we are very good at doing and to be fair if they are not leaking we assume they are doing their job.

However once issues do start to occur we certainly do notice them. Also when it comes to selling your home a roof in good condition is always a big plus.

It is a good idea to take a quick look at your roof (from both inside and out) at least once a year.

From inside, pop up the manhole and take a look. You should look for any places of sag, any water damage or leaking and check that no light is shining though. If the sun can get through so can the rain!

From outside, look for any cracked, missing or loose materials and note any wear or any bald spots.

So you’ve got some issues…

Little problems can be fixed but you need to be careful that the little problem isn’t a result of a larger problem.

Be aware, that once you roof starts needing repairs, it could be a sign that the whole roof is aged and requiring attention.

Don’t underestimate ‘little’ problems, they can often be a result of a much larger problem e.g. a couple of shingle tiles are starting to lift, realistically when a couple start, others will follow.

It is a good sign that the whole roof is getting past its best before date.

It is indeed possible to simply replace a few tiles but you need to think about the money you will spend regularly replacing a few tiles at a time. You also end up with a patchwork roof, with not all parts being the same age and sometimes not the same colour as the older parts have faded making the newer parts stand out.

You need to weigh up do you continually spend money maintaining an old roof and let’s face it, roofs like anything only have a certain lifespan, or do you bite the bullet and spend the money investing in a new roof. Obviously the front up cost is going to be greater than doing a repair but regular repairs over a long time also add up.

How long should my roof last?

In New Zealand all roofs by law have to have a 15 year durability.

  • Asphalt single roof – 20 – 30 years (often a cheaper option but has a shorter lifespan)
  • Concrete tile – 50 + years (requires additional roof framing, due to their weight)
  • Metal roof – 50 + years (much lighter material and stands up to bad weather pretty well)

If you are noticing neighbours, whose home was built around the same time as yours, getting a new roof, it is probably a good sign that your roof is also nearing its end.
Realistically if your roof is over 20 years and needing repairs, I would seriously consider re-roofing.

Getting a new roof

If you do decide to replace the roof consider materials carefully, think about lifespan, weight and also the aesthetics you would like.

As mentioned above, concrete tiles are heavy with the weight of a concrete tile roof for an average house being up to 10 tonne. Compared to a metal roof weighing in about 1 tonne.

A metal roof has a long lifespan, is resistant to fire, mildew and rot. It also handles all weather pretty well and the installation time is much quicker than that of a tile roof. They are light weight, modern and comes in a huge variety of colours.

Regardless of the product you choose to go with, look at warranties. Go with a product that provides you with a good length warranty and find out exactly what that warranty entails. You are investing in your home, it is worth taking the time and spending the money to get a result that you are happy with.

Replacing a roof is a big and dangerous job and does require professionals, not even a good kiwi DIY attitude will suffice so leave it to the professionals.