Should I fix the roof on my renovation?
I was told once by my mentor Ray Smith of Dynamic Roofing that every house in the world needs a roof – it’s a non-negotiable option. He followed the statement with, “yet 90 per cent of people spend the least amount possible to protect the what’s underneath it.”
There’s no denying it. Ray was right.
Invest in roof repairs: a cautionary tale
I turned up to this fantastically re-designed establishment that looked the absolute ducks nuts. But, because the roof was leaking and the owner was at the end of their tether with the builders, the tenants had stopped paying rent and were exercising their legal rights. I got up onto the roof and nearly had a heart attack. The roof was the polar opposite of what the facade from the ground had made me believe.
The builders had left the roof in a state of shambles, and, it was quite frankly dangerous. The loose items on the roof left the owner of the building liable for potential damage to neighbouring properties, the train lines across the road, and even the general public. There’s not much that could be worse than a sheet of roofing iron being thrown through the air and colliding with a person!
Anyway, I am getting off track.
Ray always said that the first place you want to spend money is on the roof. So, here is my question:
“If you are renovating a home, restaurant, government building, retail space, or just about anything that requires water NOT entering the building, why is the roof left until last?”
Let’s unpack this question.
Why don’t people spend money on roof repairs?
Here are some possible answers:
- If you can’t see the roof, there is no value in fixing it.
- It only leaks when it rains.
- Cost can be a substantial percentage of the renovation budget.
- The roof doesn’t make them money.
Instead of investing in a professional repair service, the general response to a roof leak by a property owner is one of the following:
- Investigate yourself and put silicone over everything that may be the problem.
- Ask a friend who is a tradesperson to have a look, and they put silicone over everything that may be the problem.
- Call a plumber to have a look, and they put silicone over everything that may be the problem.
- Call a roofing company to investigate, and they put silicone over everything that may be the problem.
- Call a building inspector and have them come and write a detailed report of the roof, its condition, and what needs to be rectified.
The above is an escalating process that starts at, “I can fix this” and ends with, “The roof is still leaking. I have no idea why. Let’s call in the experts”. That process is generally the case when the budget is tight. Now, to say that calling a roof inspector first will save you money every time is just not true. Sometimes you can patch something with a little silicone (it’s magic stuff). However, relying on it is not a solution long-term.
What would your insurance company do regarding a water damage claim?
- Send out a damage assessor to give approval to your damage from a water leak claim. Approval will not be given if they deem that the roof is not up to code and/or has had a lack of maintenance.
- An instruction from the insurance company will be issued to the owner to remedy the issues before any approved repairs will be made. This does not guarantee that your damage will be repaired.
If the above happens to you, what is the best course of action?
- Have a building inspector carry out a report on your roof.
- Follow the advice of the building inspector, which is typically to enlist the services of a licensed roofing company to complete instructed work and bring everything up to code.
An insurance company will not pay out on damage caused if the roof is not compliant. If you fix the roof to code, the insurance company has to pay up.
Why should you fix your roof to meet code?
- Roof leaks won’t happen under normal weather conditions.
- Damage caused by roof leaks will be covered by your insurance.
- It increases the value of the property.
- No loss of income due to water leaks.
- No surprises when you come home from holiday.
- Confidence that everything beneath the roof is protected, including your family.
- You won’t continue to waste your time on things that could be fixed.
If your tyres wear out on one side, get a wheel alignment when replacing them. Roofs expand and contract and maintenance is required at least every two years.