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How to Get Your Roof Ready for Bushfire Season

How to Get Your Roof Ready for Bushfire Season

In Australia we are no strangers to bushfires. In cities and regional towns alike, they’re an ever-present threat as we are surrounded by the beautiful bushland of our many national parks and the tinder-dry grass of fields and pastures. Our climate is one of our biggest international drawcards, attracting tourists from around the world who are keen to soak up the sun on our stunning, world-class beaches, and to see our unique flora and fauna. Unfortunately, our climate is also one of the biggest threats to the safety of our families and homes, being prone to regular bushfires and grass fires.

When is bushfire season in Sydney?

While bushfires can occur at almost any time in Australia, there is an acknowledged “bushfire season”. Because of the size of our continent and the vast range of climate zones (believe it or not, there are eight climate zones in Australia), bushfire season varies from region to region. In the northern regions the danger period is winter, while southern regions are more at risk during the dry summer months.

Fire Seasons

Here in Sydney, the greatest bushfire danger period occurs following a dry winter and spring. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney homes are more at risk from spring to mid-summer. Particularly dangerous conditions are produced by deep low-pressure systems near Tasmania that force strong, hot and dry westerly winds into vulnerable coastal regions.

The return of more moist conditions, often brought about by the development of tropical cyclones off the coast Queensland, typically signals the end of “bushfire season”. However, our climate being what it is, with ever-changing weather patterns and significant periods of drought, the risks of bushfire never disappear completely.

 

How do homes get damaged during a bushfire?

While authorities can try to control the threat by employing backburning and other coordinated fire prevention strategies, there are actions that homeowners can take to minimise the damage to their properties.

Damage caused to homes by bushfire can occur in one of three ways:

  • Ember attack
  • Direct contact with flame
  • Radiant heat.

Research has shown that most bushfire damage to buildings is caused by embers or sparks being blown through unprotected openings. However, if flames ignite vegetation or flammable materials close to the home, there is greater risk of flames making direct contact with the home.

6 ways to prepare your roof before bushfire season

One of the most effective bushfire protection strategies that homeowners can use to reduce the potential risks posed to the safety of their home and families, is to ensure their home’s roof is well-prepared. We’ve put together a list of things you can do to ensure your roof is ready for bushfire season.

Ensure trees are properly trimmed back

1. Ensure trees are properly trimmed back

It is recommended you keep at least a 2m gap between your roof and any trees or tree branches to reduce the danger from radiant heat and sparks. Ensure all trees on your property, particularly those close to your home, are properly trimmed and don’t allow any branches to hang over your roof. Remove lower branches on large, established trees, to provide a vertical fire break and reduce the risk of grass fires reaching into the treetop leaf canopy.

Clean leaf litter and other debris from your roof and guttering

2. Clean leaf litter and other debris from your roof and guttering

It is recommended you pay particular attention to removing leaves and debris from your roof valleys, gutters, and downpipes. This task can be made much easier by installing gutter mesh to your gutters, however it is recommended that any such materials have a flammability index of no more than 5.

Routinely check your roof and ensure it is well-maintained

3. Routinely check your roof and ensure it is well-maintained

It is recommended you routinely check your roof and perform roof maintenance where necessary. Take particular care to ensure that gaps in your roof are blocked, to help prevent sparks and embers from entering your roof space. This involves checking that:

  • flashing is intact.
  • sarking has a flammability index of no more than 5.
  • pointing on tile roofs is in good repair.
  • roof tiles are intact, properly bedded and secure.
  • metal roof cladding is secure and undamaged.

Ensure any openings or gaps in your roof meet requirements or guidelines for fire safety

4. Ensure any openings or gaps in your roof meet requirements or guidelines for fire safety

Gaps underneath the corrugations in metal sheeting should be sealed or protected by sarking, mesh, use of a profiled metal sheet, a neoprene seal or compressed mineral wool. Tiled roof should be fully sarked. It is recommended that any openings or gaps in the roof, through which embers may enter the roof space, are protected and have been constructed in accordance with fire safety recommendations or requirements. This includes:

  • Roof vents and ventilators
  • Skylights
  • eaves and fascia

Roof vents and ventilators

Typically, these should be constructed of non-combustible materials with openings protected by corrosion-resistant steel or bronze mesh with a maximum aperture size of 1.8mm, and penetrations through the roof to accommodate vent pipes and ventilators should be sealed with a fire-retardant sealant or non-combustible collar.

Skylights

These should be sealed with a non-combustible sleeve or lining. Ventilated skylights should have openings protected by corrosion-resistant steel or bronze mesh with a maximum aperture size of 1.8mm.

Eaves and fascia

Gaps between rafters should be sealed with a non-combustible material at the line of the wall, or the junction between the roof and walls should be sealed by a fascia and eaves lining.

Ensure roof insulation is fire-resistant

5. Ensure roof insulation is fire-resistant

If you live in a particularly fire-prone area it is highly recommended that any roof insulation you install should be fire resistant, to provide an additional layer of protection. Products like Bradford Fireseal roof batts and Gyprock Fyrcheck both have excellent fire resistant properties, being specially constructed for fire separation and use in fire rated wall and ceiling systems.

Consider a roof sprinkler system

6. Consider a roof sprinkler system

Roof-mounted sprinkler systems work to cool the area around the home and extinguish embers. There are a range of roof-mounted and gutter-hung systems on the market – some are specially-designed hoses that attach to a garden hose and rely on gravity to drop a curtain of water that protects the home; others are high-volume, high-pressure systems that use pumps that can be connected to a water storage tank or swimming pool to deliver large amounts of water via long-range sprinklers.

In addition to creating a protective wall of water in front of your home these systems also work to keep your roof and gutters wet, as protection against any debris that may have been blown in by the bushfire front and ended up on the roof or in the gutters and downpipes.

Contact Sydney Roof & Building Supplies for all your roof protection and maintenance needs

Sydney Roof & Building Supplies carries a wide range of high-quality roof materials and roofing supplies, including hand tools, roof primers and paints, flashing, cowling, gutter mesh and roof insulation. Our fantastic team of knowledgeable staff are committed to providing all our clients with superior service – expert advice, fast delivery, and wholesale prices. For more information, call the team at Sydney Roof & Building Supplies today on (02) 8090 3483 or click here for further contact details.

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Is Your Roof Weatherproof?

Is Your Roof Weatherproof?

Getting ready for the rainy season.

The roof is the first line of defence of any residential or commercial building against the weather elements. The blazing sun, heavy rainfall, and strong winds don’t easily impact a well-maintained roof. This is why it is essential to check the roof’s condition with every change in season and the rainy months are coming. Is your roof ready for heavy rain?

The Importance of Regular Roof Maintenance

Keeping the roof well-maintained is the best way to protect the home or building from harsh climate conditions. Neglecting the roof results in water leaks and structural damages and could cost thousands of dollars to fix and a roof in a state of disrepair is also a risk to the health and safety of the occupants.

Giving the roof at least twice a year inspection, by yourself or professionally, will help keep it in tiptop shape. Taking care of the basic roof repair and maintenance yourself is relatively easy, but there are cases when roof repair is better left to professionals. The roof experts will know exactly where to look and what to do with different roof issues.

Getting the Roof Ready for Heavy Rain

Give the roof a careful look and inspect for damages and signs of a leak and do not ignore even just one seemingly small issue. A minor gap can easily give way to bigger roof trouble. Here are some tips on what homeowners can do to secure their roof for the upcoming rainy season:

  • Clean the roof’s dirt and debris hotspots.
  • Check for damaged, loose, or missing roof tiles.
  • Look for water and rust damage.
  • Inspect the flashing for any damage.
  • Take a look around the chimney and vents.
  • Clear away tree branches.
  • Consider replacing the old, broken-down roof.

Clean the Roof’s Dirt and Debris Hotspots

The gutters, downpipes, and drains are debris hotspots and prone to blockages. When these areas get blocked, rainwater will overflow and get under the eaves and into the roof cavity. Another thing about uncleared dirt and debris is that mould and algae can form and cause the gutter and roof to rot.

Cleaning the roof of dirt, leaves, twigs, and other debris will help clear away surface water. Don’t forget to clean the roof valleys as well to prevent leaves from making their way into the gutters and cause blockage during a heavy downpour.

Rainwater can easily flow and move away from the roof with a clean gutter, downpipes, and drains. Homeowners should therefore make roof cleaning a priority during roof maintenance.

Check for Damaged, Loose, Or Missing Roof Tiles

Inspect the roof space for any cracks, loose, displaced, or missing roof tiles and get them fixed right away. Don’t forget to also check inside the roof space for signs of roof or sarking damage. A light passing through whatever tiny cavity there indicates the presence of cracks or tiles shifting out of place.

Look for Water and Rust Damage

The roof is also prone to water and rust damage, and the most obvious sign of these would be discolouration. Another tell-tale sign would be the presence of mould, lichen or algae. Moisture build-up causes these signs and should not be ignored.

Roofing material made from concrete or terracotta will show discolouration as a sign of water damage. Metal and tin roof, meanwhile, will have rust on it. Any of these signs means only one thing: The roof is leaking or is about to.

Inspect the Flashing for Damage

Roof flashing may look small, thin, and insignificant, but these roof installations do a crucial job of directing the water flow away from delicate roof areas as this is typically installed in places where water might seep in, such as valleys and joints, protrusions, ridges and around vents and chimneys.

Since roof flashing is critical in keeping the water out, it must not be ignored during roof inspections. Repair or replace loose and rusted flashing, and the roof will do a better job of keeping the water out.

Take A Look Around the Chimney and Vents

Heavy rain, coupled with whipping wind, is a recipe for disaster for any roof, driving water up into projections like chimneys, vents and pipes, and even skylights. Unfortunately, these installations are also huge leak hotspots and should not be ignored. Look for cracks, gaps, worn-out sealant or flashing, and signs of water damage around these areas. Problems can be easily repaired with sealant, caulk and flashing and shingle installation.

Clear Away Tree Branches

Leaves, twigs, and dead branches may fall off and accumulate on the roof. These will become a massive contributor to clogged gutters, downpipes and drains. Tree branches may also scratch the roof and wear away the tiles as they move in the wind.

To prevent damages on the roofing and for better defence against leak, clear away any hanging branches by cutting hanging limbs and foliage to make sure nothing will touch or fall on the roof.

Consider Replacing Old or Broken Roofing

In the case of an old roof with recurring damages, it might be best to consider a replacement. If it’s been more than 25 years since its last replacement, it may become saggy, with badly damaged shingles or mould and will have seen better days. It might be time for a new one.

Although this is an expensive option, perhaps the last resort, a fresh roof installation gives the home more robust weather protection. Think of new shingles, neat flashing, and better sealants. Sometimes, replacing the whole roof can be more cost-effective in the long run than having constant spot repairs.

Keep Your Roof Ready for All Seasons with Sydney Roof and Building Supplies

It is a good idea to check the roof after major weather events like hailstorms but giving it a careful assessment before the bad weather approaches would be extremely beneficial. Make it a point to check the roof’s status from time to time.

If your roof shows signs of damage and deterioration, it will not stand a chance against heavy rains. Give your roof a fighting chance and have it ready for all seasons. For all your roof needs, you can count on Sydney Roof and Building Supplies. We carry a wide range of supplies, from flashing and insulation to workwear and many more.

Visit our shop at Unit 2, 6 Yatala Rd, Mt Kuring-Gai 2080. We are open Monday to Friday, 6am to 4pm. Alternatively, for enquiries, visit us online at srbs.com.au, email us at mark@srbs.com.au or call us on 0280903483.

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Basic Roof Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Basic Roof Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

These roof maintenance tips can help you save money now and in the long run.

Your home’s roofing protects you from different harsh environment conditions like heavy rains, strong winds, and extreme heat of the sun. Regardless of the season, your roof is exposed to extreme hazards that may cause damage if it’s not given the proper maintenance it needs. Neglecting these roof hazards may result in:

  • Corrosion
  • Denting
  • Scratching
  • Leaking

If not mitigated, you will be left with no other option but to replace your roof.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to maintain your roof without the cost and hazards. After all, hiring a roofer can result in exorbitant fees, and it might not be the safest right now given the COVID-19 pandemic. If you can take care of these issues yourself, you can avoid putting your roof and yourself in a dicey situation.

Here are some basic roof maintenance tips to keep in mind. Just a caution: always take appropriate safety measures in whatever you do! If in doubt, have a licensed roofing specialist do it for you.

Regular Roof Inspection

A regular roof inspection can be quite helpful in knowing the status of your roof and the potential problems that might eventuate. The roof’s surface can be damaged by several factors, such as exposure to the extreme heat of the sun, presence of water, and accumulation of debris falling from nearby trees.

It is imperative to check the gutters for shingle granules as these are an indication that your roof is starting to wear and needs extra care. You also need to check the roof for the presence of algae or fungi, which could cause damage to the roof if they remain overlooked.

A study on roof weathering revealed that algae commonly grows on the surfaces of roof materials, which include asphalt shingles, concrete and clay roof tiles, and even slate. Moss, lichens, and algae can all build up on a roof.

Metal roofs, on the other hand, are prone to rusting due to harsh weather conditions and the presence of elements like iron oxide. Rust may result in corrosion and can cause leaks that are detrimental to your home.

Washing Off the Damage-Causing Elements

Clearing off hazardous elements from your roof will surely extend its life. Common elements that find their way on to your roof include dirt, leaves and twigs, water, acid rain, and mould. These elements should be eliminated as soon as possible before they cause damage to your roof.

· Using water

You can use plain water to get rid of the accumulated dirt on your roof. You may use a bucket to splash water and wash off the dirt, or you can take advantage of your hose to make it easier for you. Using a hose can be awkward, but it is much more effective because the water pressure is stronger and controllable.

· Using detergents

Most people prefer using detergents on their roof because these materials are readily available in their homes. You can use mild laundry detergents and dish soap or other commercial detergents like those for cars. Just make sure they are mild as there are detergent types that can damage to your metal roof.

· Using solvents

Sometimes, water may not be enough to eliminate the hazards that accumulate on your roof. For tougher elements like oil, grease, tar, and rust, you can use solvents. But bear in mind that solvents should only be used to clean a portion of the roof. Avoid applying them to the whole roof as their strong chemical content could be dangerous to living things. Also, to protect yourself from harmful chemicals that come with these solvents, you must wear eye protection such as safety glasses.

Brushing the Gutters

Gutters are usually where debris like leaves, twigs, and algae accumulate. You have to regularly check the gutters to prevent them from clogging. Cleaning the gutters is something you can do yourself if you have the right tools.

Necessary tools like a brush and a ladder should be available at the hardware. Just place the ladder on one spot at a time, so you can start clearing the gutters of any debris.

Debris like twigs and leaves that collect in the gutter can block the waterway and prevent the water from going to the downspout. A high volume of water build-up could overflow on the gutter or come back up the shingles and down your house. It’s something you want to avoid.

Monitoring the Pipe Jacks

You have to pay close attention to your pipe jacks. A pipe jack is simply a flashing that sits at the base of any pipe that comes out of the roof. The flashing may start degrading over time due to harsh conditions. When broken, this can cause water leaks to enter through your roof.

Moreover, the rubber on the base of the pipe may start to contract and pull away from the pipe, which will cause leakage inside your house. It’s best to keep an eye on your pipe jacks to prevent further damage.

Check for Exposed Nail Heads

Nailheads are usually visible on your roof, especially on the flashings, at the bottom of the pipe jacks, or the ridges. Your roof is going to have exposed nails, especially on the flashings. These nail heads should not be exposed and should be sealed to prevent water from entering the shingles to the wood decking and your attic.

Use silicon coverage products to seal off these nail heads. You can find these products in hardware stores.

Keep Valleys Clean

A valley is where two downward-sloping roof pitches intersect. Although most modern houses do not have exposed valleys, some still do. Open valleys can accumulate twigs and debris that may cause clogging and rusting, so it is important that you clear out the valleys from time to time.

Check the Flashing and Seals on Skylights

Some houses have skylights that give natural light to a room. This part of the roof, however, is not immune to the accumulation of dirt and debris and also needs special attention. A skylight will have a flashing at the top and the bottom.

For the bottom part, you should check out the exposed nails and make sure that they are properly sealed off. The flashing along the side and the top of the skylight should be maintained well because this is where dirt and debris collects.

The seal between the frame of the skylight and the glass can degrade over time, which may cause water to enter through the roof. Check your skylight from time to time as you might need to have it resealed if the initial seal has degraded.

Get the best roofing materials from Sydney Roof and Building Supplies.

Your roofing serves as your protection from the effects of global warming — the extreme weather conditions and high temperatures, among others. That is why it’s important to keep it well-maintained. A lot of hardware stores offer roofing materials, but for some of the best for maintaining your roof, Sydney Roof and Building Supplies is your one-stop-shop!

SRBS has a wide array of roofing supplies for all your roofing needs. We stock high-quality roof materials that have been tested and proven to be quite effective by Sydneysiders. From cowls, fixings and fasteners, flashing, paints, gutter to hand tools and workwear, we have them all for you! Call us on 02-8090-3483 or email us at mark@srbs.com.au or at marie@srbs.com.au to enquire about our products and services.

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