January 2014

Get to know your roof


Except for re-cladding your house, your roof can be the next most expensive item you may need to replace. Is $8000 – $12000 budgeted for repairs or maintenance and will this cost blow out those cash flow neutral properties for the next 5 years.

My first investment property I purchased 12 years ago, I paid for a building inspection (as learnt in a property seminar) while under a conditional contract. The report stated that the roof would need replacing. I negotiated half of this cost off the purchase price and I had my first rental house. 1972 brick with original iron roof. After a full interior renovation and converting the back extension of the house into a flat, funds were tight so the roof would have to wait.

Three years later with the advice of a friend’s roofer son we got on the roof to find out the worst. Solution, 2 days’ work costing $1100, replace all the lead head nails with screws, grind off and treat rust spots on the iron including around the nail holes, then spray 2 coats of paint. Two years ago, I treated the rust and spray painted again, cost $900 (I do own a spray painter).  I think I will get an extra 20 years out of this roof. I have also re-insulated the ceiling to modern standards. This house was quite damp, with mould appearing on bedroom ceilings even though the tenants left windows open. This condensation was caused by moisture getting under lead head nails and inadequate insulation but did not need a new roof.

Last year we purchased our own house and added a 50m2 extension to the back of the building. 1970s brick with the original iron decromastice grit coated tile roof. Now I know my roofs and had been in the ceiling and on the roof during my due diligence period. We built the extension and had to lift some of the original tiles to add the new roof framing. These were in good condition with no rust under the over laps.

The old roof now needed a re-grit and paint to match the new roof on the extension cost $1200 in paint. A roofing company who had re-roofed the neighbours had previously walked off the street and told us that our roof was in a similar condition and would need to be replaced at a cost of $12000.

The moral of the story, roofing companies are very reluctant to repair older roofs because they can’t guarantee their work. Owners will blame them if there is a leak in a year’s time.

e.g Tenancy Tribunal dispute “Edwards and Hardy Hamilton general manager Tony Thorn said they only quoted a reroof because the problem could not be fixed by patching it up. The reason we wouldn’t patch it up is because it would just leak elsewhere and that would come back and bite us,” he said.”

Get to know your own roof and use the advice of someone without a vested interest,

It may save you a fortune.