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Roof Maintenance

As a general rule of thumb, every building material has an expected lifespan, affected by its location, design, preservation, and the maintenance applied to it. From the moment a house is fully built, it will experience general wear and tear of external forces and those living in the home.  Below are some common maintenance issues found with roofing, signs to look out for, and ways to maintain your roof.

The most common roof types in New Zealand are heavy-weight tile, light weight tile and profiled material. While these will be maintained and monitored in similar ways treating repairs is slightly different.


What to look out for

  • Missing shingles, cracked or slipped tiles, dented flashings and rust damage. Also watch out for erosion of the surface coating and cracked/missing mortar on concrete tile roofing.

  • Regularly check for lichen and moss growth. Moss roots can grow into the roof, under the paint and tiles, and cause permanent damage. Lichen grows in damp, shaded areas causing rot and deterioration.

  • Signs of a leak include musty odours in certain rooms, water stains on the ceiling, spots on exterior walls, and bulging patches on interior walls. Leaks may be caused by unrepaired cladding damage or deteriorating tiles.

  • Keep an eye out for dark water stains on rafters and insulation in the attic after rain as this could indicate a leak as well.

How to maintain your roof

  • Inspect the roofing on a regular basis (without walking on it.) Most of the issues listed above can be spotted quickly and regular inspection ensure any issues are found before they cause too much damage

  • Clean the gutters so they are clear for drainage, reducing the likelihood of lichen and moss growth. Clogged gutters also make it easier for water to seep through the structure of the roof. It is recommended that you clean gutters out twice a year.

  • Remove overhanging trees – these could fall during bad weather and damage the roof. This also stops leaves falling and piling on the roof, which can absorb moisture and eventually rot the roof

  • Inspect the attic regularly for water damage

  • If you have a shingle roof – wash it. Algae will grow and although it won’t cause immediate damage it can rot shingles if left for long enough. You can avoid the growth of moss, algae and mould by spraying affected areas with a mix of water and bleach. Just let it sit for half an hour and then power wash it off.



New Zealand Build Magazine, Issue 190 (June/July 2022), Common Maintenance Issues p.64-65

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