There is nothing like cracked ribs from falling off your roof to prove that roofing repairs are something best left to the professionals, who have the right gear to ensure that no damage is done to either your roof or any person. Despite this rather logical idea, Australian’s still have a fixation with DIY projects, usually because they think they will save themselves a few bucks if they replace their roof themselves.
Unfortunately, most homeowners, as skilled as they may be, are not roofers. Although many may know how to walk on a roof without causing damage, it is quite surprising just how many still manage to fall off a roof, bend their iron, or have unsecured items fly down and knock out their guttering. You may think you are going to save money by attempting your own Colorbond roof replacement but this is rarely the case.
Removing The Old Roof
Rather logically, the first thing you are going to have to start with it removing your current roofing material. Although Australian’s don’t usually have to worry about asbestos, there are still a few older roofing tiles that were made of this product. If you think that your roof might be one of the unfortunate few, then you are going to need to get a sample tested to confirm that it is asbestos based. If it is then you will need to follow extra precautions both for removing the tiles and disposal. It is recommended that you get professionals in to remove and dispose of any asbestos products, and we are now aware of how dangerous the fibres can be if you breathe them in – and when you are looking at a roof, this could affect your entire neighbourhood.
If you have the more standard corrugated iron sheets, your biggest concern is going to be getting these off your roof safely. If you have children or animals you will want to ensure that they are locked inside, as iron sheets falling off a roof can kill!
Although it is highly likely that you will want to replace the guttering as well – particularly if you are installing a beautiful colorbond roof, you don’t want your ugly old guttering ruining the effect, there is a right way and a wrong way to bring it down. What many DIYers don’t think about is how sliding a sheet of iron off their roof is going to cause damage to the gutters on the way down. You may think this is killing two birds with one stone, but what you are doing is ensuring that by ripping the guttering off, you will need to replace the boards as well as the guttering.
Protecting Your House
One of the biggest problems with roofing is beating the weather, and this is even more true when you are enjoying a temperamental Melbourne day. When you hire professional roofers, you will find that they work in a team – this isn’t an attempt to inflate the price but is a way to ensure that your roof can be replaced in the shortest time possible. If you are doing it yourself, you will need to be able to fix tarpaulins to your roof to keep your home weather tight once Melbourne decides you’ve had enough sunshine and it is time for a typical rapid weather change. You will, unfortunately, lose a lot of time in putting up tarps and then removing them again, so make sure you budget for this additional time if you are going to be taking leave from work to do your roof replacement.
If you decide that you will be better off hiring a roofing company, they will be able to provide an estimate on how long it will take to replace your entire roof, and you will find that they have different workers onsite throughout the day or two that it will take them. Generally, you should allow them a two to three days, which may also include clean-up – but confirm before you hire.
While your roof is off is a great time to add some extra insulation – particularly if you have a flat roof with no internal access. In Australia the most common type of insulation is Pink Batts™ but your local hardware store may be able to recommend other types that will perhaps be better suited for your precise location and roofing style.
If you hire a roofing team then they will be able to install this for you as well, and again, will be faster as they do this all day every day, so are pretty efficient at ensuring your insulation goes in the way it is supposed to. Usually a team of roofers will work together with different jobs assigned to different members of the team. So, while one or two people are removing the old roof, someone is coming in behind them and adding or replacing the insulation, and then someone else is coming in after this starting to install the new colorbond.
Tools You’ll Need To Replace ColorBond
Although many DIY sites will suggest that you can cut corrugated roofing iron with a standard circular saw, and technically you can, the better tool is a nibbler or iron shares – and these are certainly what the professionals will be using. The advantage of using these handheld tools is that the professionals are able to cut the iron to shape and size from the roof, rather than having to spend time measuring and cutting using an angle grinder or circular saw on the ground.
However, obviously there are safety concerns when you are using power tools while standing up on a roof, so this may not be the best option for more DIYers who have chosen to skip using safety harnesses. Which leads on to the standard minimum safety equipment that you will need when working with sheet iron. Safety glasses are a must, however because of the reflective nature of the work, safety sunglasses are the product you are after. You will also need strong flexible gloves that will protect your hands but still allow for grip and movability. As well as good non-slip shoes – work boots are not suitable, as you need to be able to feel where you are walking.
Replacing your own roof is quite doable, but you really need to consider how much it will really cost to hire a professional team in to look after it for you, compared to the cost for your time, skills, and buying new tools.