Tips for preparing and upkeeping your roof in the Australian Summer
Regardless of whether you live somewhere on the coast, like Bondi or Manly, or further inland, Australian summers can be brutal – and in Western Sydney suburbs, like Penrith and Richmond, summers can often be just as harsh as far-flung places in central NSW and Australia’s outback and interior!
Homes situated further from the NSW coast may experience more intense heat, sun, UV exposure and damage and less rain during the summer, while homes in cities and regional towns closer to the coast tend to have more rain and leaf litter build up, in addition to having to contend with heat, sun and UV issues. Summer in Australia also brings with it the risk of bushfire – that ever-present threat to life and livelihoods.
So, what can you do to prepare your home for the Australian summer? Here at Sydney Roof & Building Supplies we have compiled a list of practical thing you can do to reduce heat in your home (keeping it more comfortable during the warmer months) and what you can do to ensure your home is safe and prepared for whatever the Australian summer throws at it.
What can you do to prepare your home (and your roof) for summer?
It is important to make sure you and your home are well-prepared for summer, not least because of the effects the Australian climate can have on our lives and property and the risks posed to our personal safety and the safety of our home by our climate and the changeable nature of our weather.
Ensuring the integrity of your roof is a key part of preparing your home for summer in Australia, requiring you to proactively inspect your roof and guttering, undertake regular maintenance and attend to repairs in a timely manner. With this in mind, here are 3 important steps you can take to prepare your home (and your roof) for summer 2021:
- Take steps to reduce the heat in your home.
- Have a rainwater management plan.
- Bushfire-proof your home and roof.
1. Take steps to reduce the heat in your home
Reducing the heat in your home and controlling the indoor climate can make a huge difference to your comfort level during summer. With a climate such as that experienced by the Sydney region throughout summer, ranging from breezy coastal to humid suburban to stifling, dry inland conditions, it’s important to consider the energy efficiency of your home and the ways in which you can better regulate your home’s temperature. There are several steps you can take to reduce the amount of heat in your home and get a better hold on indoor climate control, including:
- Plant trees in your garden, to provide shade to your walls, windows and roof and help to keep the air surrounding your home cooler.
- Choose a light-coloured roof – trees can only do so much for shading your roof and lowering the ambient temperature in and around your home. Simple science tells us that lighter colours reflect more light, while darker colours absorb heat energy – this can be especially problematic if your roof has inadequate insulation. If your roof is due for a restoration or re-paint, consider going for a lighter colour, to increase the thermal efficiency of your home.
- Ensure your roof is weatherproof – check for and repair cracks in roof tiles, ridge capping and pointing; look for and repair rust holes in metal sheet roofing; make sure there is adequate, well-installed insulation; check that sarking and flashing are intact.
- Consider roof ventilation – a great way to reduce the temperature in your roof, which will help to regulate the temperature in the rest of your home, is to install roof vents or a powered roof ventilation system.
2. Have a rainwater management plan
The nature of the Australian climate is such that, even in coastal and urban areas, we can experience lengthy dry periods followed by drenching rains that can significantly increase the volume of water run-off. These sudden deluges, where the stormwater system is unable to cope with the additional run-off, can cause damage to waterways and result in flash-flooding.
If you have a rainwater tank installed to your home, summer rainstorms may also pose the risk of flash flooding. In the lead up to summer it is essential to check that your gutters and downpipes are clear of debris, undamaged and intact, and able to effectively channel rainwater into your water tank.
It is also important to ensure that your rainwater tank isn’t too full, to prevent water flowing back into your gutters and eaves. To that end, newer systems allow owners to more easily monitor the level of water in the tank, so that water can be released ahead of any predicted heavy storms.
3. Bushfire-proof your home and roof
Damage caused to homes by bushfire can occur in one of three ways: Ember attack, direct contact with flames and, less frequently, via radiant heat. 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.
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.
- Ensure trees are properly trimmed – retain a 2m gap between your roof and any trees or tree branches and properly trim all trees on your property, paying particular attention to those close to your home. Don’t allow any branches to hang over your roof and remove lower branches on larger trees.
- Clean leaf litter and other debris from your guttering and roof – remove leaves and debris from roof valleys, gutters, and downpipes. This task can be made much easier by installing gutter mesh to your gutters.
- Ensure openings or gaps in your roof meet fire safety regulations and guidelines – make sure that all gaps beneath corrugations in metal sheeting are sealed or protected by sarking, mesh, a neoprene seal or compressed mineral wool; make sure your tiled roof is fully sarked. Make sure openings in the roof, such as roof vents and ventilators, or gaps in the eaves and fascia or surrounding skylights, through which embers may enter the roof space, have been constructed in accordance with fire safety requirements and/or are adequately protected.
- Ensure roof insulation is fire-resistant – any insulation you install in your roof should be fire resistant, to provide an additional layer of protection from heat and fire. Bradford Fireseal roof batts and Gyprock Fyrcheck are excellent fire-resistant insulation products that have been specially designed and constructed for fire separation and use in fire rated wall and ceiling systems.
- Consider a roof-mounted sprinkler system – Roof-mounted sprinklers operate during bushfire conditions to cool the area around the home and extinguish embers. These systems create a wall of water around your home and keep your roof and gutters wet, to protect against flying debris that may end up on the roof or in the gutters and downpipes. They can even be connected to a swimming pool or water tank, to minimise the demand on mains water in an emergency situation.
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.Continue reading