Avoid leaky roofs: 6 step roof checklist

Avoid leaky roofs: 6 step roof checklist



Don’t let a leaky roof turn your renovation dream into a nightmare. This 6 step roof checklist from the experts at Archicentre should keep you in the clear.


According to Archicentre, research from its pre-purchase home inspection program has shown 42 per cent of all homes inspected have some form of roof problem. Despite the roof being the vital part of the home, it often escapes the scrutiny of the home buyer as it is out of sight and out of mind and requires a professional assessment.

David Hallett, General Manager of Archicentre, says it is a false economy for renovators to commence expensive renovations without ensuring the roof is watertight. Leaky roofs can result in lasting damage, which can devalue the renovation and at the same time be expensive to fix.

As often is the case when homes are sold, a fresh coat of paint may cover long-term tell-tale water stains on the interior ceiling and walls or, in the case of metal roofs, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior could suggest a quick artificial makeover of a rusty roof. If you are renovating to sell, be aware that the market is far more attuned to looking for and recognising these issues.

Failing to check your roof thoroughly could see water pouring down the walls or a section of ceiling plaster collapsing, which is often the first indication that there is a problem with the roof.

If you are renovating, the cost of water damage by leaking roofs on plaster, especially lath and plaster in older homes, can run into thousands of dollars and is usually discovered after people move into their new home and experience the first heavy downpour.

This damage can be caused by a simple lack of maintenance — clearing out guttering or downpipes — causing the water to back up and enter the home. Apart from the appearance of the roof, it’s also vital that inside the roof cavity is inspected for structural soundness.

Hallett says that following major storms and heavy rain, leaky roof problems can lead to dangerous situations where water can penetrate walls, roof linings and insulation, leading to the growth of mould and deterioration of the home.

People who put off having leaks fixed before renovation could be putting themselves and their families at risk, especially if the water is likely to enter the electrical system or appliances.



STEP 1. Check guttering and downpipes are clear of fallen leaves, sticks and other debris.

STEP 2. If there have been storms or high winds, look for broken or cracked roof tiles, loose ridge and valley tiles that allow birds and possums entry, as well as water leaks.

STEP 3. Check that corrugated-iron sheets are in good condition and well attached.

STEP 4. Ensure valley and eaves guttering are free from holes and rust. Even small holes can create large leaks, often making extensive replacement necessary.

STEP 5. Make sure flues and chimneys are structurally safe and the flashings around them are secure against water penetration.

STEP 6. Check inside the roof space for water stains or pinholes of light, which indicate holes in the roof or flashings. 


For more information, visit www.archicentre.com.au

By Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects. 
From Renovate magazine Vol. 8 No. 2