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Why Roof Restorations don’t work

You see, I have been doing roofing solutions for over 20 years bu121t always to refuse to restore tiled (or metal) roofs.

Why is this?
There are several explanations:
Firstly I considered this industry to be run by cowboys and I did not want our good name to be associated with that.
Secondly I believe people do roof restorations for the wrong reasons.  I go into more detail on how a good roof restoration is carried out on the inside.
But first let me tell you what I consider to be the wrong reasons why people get their roofs restored:

1. To stop leaks.  This is probably the most common cause why people enquire about roof restorations.  They don’t want to spend the money for a new roof and hope to achieve the same result by having it restored.  Now it is true that in certain situations, if a roof restoration is carried out correctly, you can actually stop leaks.  However as a general rule of thumb, if your roof is leaking, look for the cause rather than getting it restored.  Here is an extract from an article published by the Archi Centre:  “You might consider repainting the roof for cosmetic/resale purposes, but there is no substance in the claim that this ‘waterproofs’ or extends the life of the roof.”  If you have Spanish half round tiles, you have a serious problem, because these are notorious for leaking and we have had to change a lot of such roofs over to corrugated iron roofs.  Another cause for leaks is an insufficient pitch on your roof.  This often happens on lean-to roofs that have been added at a later date.
While the situation is slightly different with metal and asbestos roofs in as much as we are often able to fix the leaks, this is really independent from the roof restoration process and could be done without repainting your roof.
2. To protect your roof and substructure.  As you can see from the Archi Centre quote, there is no evidence that you will extend the life of your roof by painting it.

So what are the right reasons?
1. To make your home look more attractive – I have always seen this as a very valid argument.  Without doubt a properly restored roof does lift the whole appearance and value of your home.  And if that is what you were after, you have painted your roof for the right reason.  But I never felt that this reason alone was good enough.
2. To cool your home down – With the development of new technologies, this suddenly becomes achievable.  Apart from significantly reducing your energy bill, you are also helping with the reduction of green house gases.  And who does not like to look after the environment while saving money at the same time.
So what changed my mind about roof restorations?  When several of our customers asked if there is a cheaper alternative (than re-roofing) to make their tired looking roofs look new again I started to investigate possible products.  And not only did I come up with a solution that I am happy to include in our range of quality products, I also found a team with over 30 years of combined experience to carry out the work to give you not only peace of mind, but to also be able to provide you with a 15 Year Guarantee.  We called this solution “NEW LOOK COOL ROOFS”.  It is a bit of a mouthful, and we may yet come up with a better name.
But what is so great about this solution?  There are many reasons that I discuss below.  For me the two most exiting reasons were the heat properties of the paint and our ability to make the roof virtually indistinguishable from a new on.
Let me tell you a bit more about the paint that gave the product the second or COOL part of its name.  There are many paints on the market that claim to be heat reducing.  But which ones really work?  For example some paints talk about using space technology with a ceramic base.  But in America, with much more stringent advertising laws, they are not allowed to promote them as such.  “The Florida Solar Energy Center has tested ceramic paints and found them to have no significant advantage over ordinary paint in terms of their ability to retard heat gains through exterior building surfaces.”
What I did was use my meticulous German nature to study various paints and their attributes.  As a result, I found a paint that meets my standards.  It reduces the roof temperature (and therefore the inside of the house) by up to 50 degrees.  And even better that it gets locally made right here in Adelaide but applied all over the world, especially in Japan, Dubai and also Europe.  And it outperforms many of the larger, well known brands.

Further investigation revealed several different ways that we can approach roof restorations and combine it with the high quality products and services that we already offer to our customers.  The reason that we included the ”NEW LOOK” part in the name is that we have created a process unlike that of normal roof restorers?  Instead of re-pointing your cappings BEFORE your roof is painted; we wait right until the end.  While this requires a little bit more care and time, it creates a small but very noticeable difference from standard restored roofs where the paint covers everything.  By installing the Flexi-Point AFTER we have painted the roof your roof will look NEW, not restored.

And the “COOL ROOF” part of our name is referring to the heat reflective properties of the paint that we use.  In my eyes this is revolutionary and I will talk about both processes much more below:

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1. Pressure Cleaning the whole roof using hot water
2. Replacing rusted gutters and valleys if necessary
3. Changing all broken tiles with matching profile
4. Re-bedding ridge and hip caps with cement mortar
5. Applying an anti fungus spray to the whole roof
6. Painting primer for maximum adhesion
7. Installing base coat using Astec ‘Energy Star’ paint (reducing the roof temperature by up to 50 degrees)
8. Spraying Astec ‘Energy Star’ finish coat with ‘Dirt Guard’ strategically to the whole roof to achieve the perfect look
9. Re-pointing the ridge and hip caps using Flexi-Point to achieve the new roof look

1. Pressure Cleaning the whole roof

If you have ever done any painting before, you are aware that the quality of the final job is reliant on the preparation of the base.  You would never paint a window frame if it was dirty or had loose and flaky paint. Similar, any dirt, grime, grease, bird poo, tree sap ocleaningr any other loose materials will prevent the roof paint from properly bonding with the tiles and make proper adhesion impossible.  However it is not enough to get all this dirt and grime off the surface of the tiles.  The most vital area are the small pores that are all over the surface of the tiles.  We all know that it is hard to get paint to stick to glass because it is so smooth.  By getting the pores clean, we create little pockets where the paint can get a proper ‘foothold’.  Without using both a highly superior cleaning system and the best paint on the market, we could not issue you with a 15 year warranty on your ‘new’ roof.
It is also good to know that when we do your ‘Haffer New Look Cool Roof’ you are not contributing to damaging the environment.  Do we recycle the water that we use?  We would love to, and have investigated this method but unfortunately found it impractical for several reasons.  Instead of recycling the water, we do the next best thing.  We catch the grey water of your roof by disconnecting the downpipes and strategically distributing it through your garden.  This ensures that this precious resource does not get wasted.

2. Replacing rusted gutters and valleys

This is fairly self explanatory, but I am always amazed how often we get called to a home that just had its roof restored to replace the gutters.  The problem is that things are getting done back to front.  When we replace rusted gutters, we have to join the gutters on the corners.  When we do this, we often disturb the hip caps and need to re-bed and re-point (see below) them.  And not only are we doubling up on the labour process, it is also very hard to make this without visible signs.  So this step is essential before we proceed.  And if the valleys are rusted, it is even more important to fix them BEFORE they start leaking into your home.

3. Changing broken tiles

Now this is one of the key processes to make your roof both 12121waterproof and looking new.  Both are fairly obvious.  Brokeqwn tiles are one of the main water entry points into your home.  But often they are only chipped at the corners.  This is not a structural or leak problem, but prevents the final job from looking a million dollars.  I have seen roofs where these corners have been glued back with silicon.  While this is better than the corners being missing completely, it is still visible when the roof is finished, because paint does not adhere very well to silicon.

4. Re-bedding all hip and ridge caps

Where the different planes of your roof meet, you have either valleys, which we will not discuss here, or ridge and hip caps.  These caps need to be fixed to the tiled roof.  This is a two step process.  First the tradesperson will mix a mortar very similar to a bricklayer and ‘bed’ the caps down.  This mean he gives the caps support but leaves a gap where the cap meets the roof tile.  Later, when the mortar has set, will he go back and fill these gaps.  This process is called ‘pointing’ and is described under step 9.  Unbeknown to many customers, many roofing companies will ‘skim’ on this step as it is fairly tedious and time consuming.  While this may make the price much more attractive, it may result in your newly painted roof failing much earlier than you would have possibly expected.  I recently read a sign which said:  “You will still be able to taste the bitterness of a poorly done job, when the sweetness of a cheap price is long forgotten”

5. Applying an anti fungus spray to the whole roof

Anti fungus sprays prevent any mould spores that may still be 45residing in your tiles from spreading at a later date, compromising the adherence of the paint to the substrate.

6. Painting primer for maximum adhesion

Similar to most painting jobs, to achieve the best result, it is necessary to first use a primer/sealer to achieve the best possible adhesion.  Leaving out this step not only means that a lot more top coat is needed as it will soak into the tiles, but we also could not offer you our fantastic 15 year guarantee because the paint may blister over time.  You see, each of these nine steps is critically to achieve the optimum outcome.  Compromising just one step greatly increases the risk of future failure.

7. Installing base coat using Astec ‘Energy Star’ paint (reducing the roof temperature by up to 50 degrees)

This is where your roof starts to look new again.  But much more important are the heat reflective properties of the paint.  We have investigated a lot of paints.  For example there are paints that claim to use NASA technology to reduce the heat transfer and therefore keep your home cooler.  Interestingly enough, it is illegal to advertise this in the USA as they have much tougher laws in this regards, because there is no proven evidence.  Now Astec use a proven 56system that reflects the infra red rays back into the atmosphere thereby keeping the surface measurably cooler.  What does all this mean for you? This proven system will substantially reduce your power bill and keep your house a lot cooler in summer.  Interestingly, not only is the roof surface cooler, the air above stays much more temperate as well because the infra red rays don’t stay around.  Astec is the pinnacle in heat reflective paints and they had their paints tested by an independent research institute in the United States at a cost of $5,000 (ouch) per colour.  Armed with this, in September 2009 Astec became the only paint company in Australia that has been recognised by CodeMark™ for their energy efficient properties.  Let me tell you that it took them a lot of sweat, time and money to achieve this acknowledgement.  We use the Astec range because similar to us they back all their claims.
Now we have compared the Astec product to Dulux paints, which claim to use a similar technology.  While Dulux achieves comparitive results in the lighter colours, Astec far out performs them on the more critical darker colours.  And it is these colours where the impact is much more important.  And to top this off, you receive a 50% longer warranty period (15 years compared to 10 years).  And make sure when you compare different warranties, what they cover.  I recently saw a 10 year pro rata warranty.  Not sure exactly what it means, but it seemed to me that if something failed after 9 years you will receive a 10% discount on your initial payment.  Also warranties are often limited to the materials, meaning that you will get them replaced but you still need to find somebody to not only apply it, but first get the old and flaky paint off.  Our warranty is unconditional.  Once we accept to do your roof, you can sleep peacefully knowing that it will last a minimum of 15 years.

8. Spraying Astec ‘Energy Star’ finish coat with ‘Dirtguard’ strategically to the whole roof to achieve the perfect look

From an appearance point, this is the most critical stage, because mistakes cannot be hidden.  Because of this it is of vital importance to get this step perfect.  We have invested in a highly sophisticated spray gun that cost $8,000 to ensure that you get the best appearance possible.
On many occasions, installers are not careful enough and get ‘over-spray’ onto partially dried surfaces.  This will res57ult in unsightly colour/sheen variations.  To avoid this requires careful planning and application of the final coat.
Another aspect of getting and keeping your roof looking immaculate is the unique component that Astec have added to their product called ‘Dirtguard’.  This incredible, silicon based additive prevents dirt from sticking to the paint and keeps the reflective properties of the paint at peak performance.

9. Re-pointing the ridge and hip caps using Flexi-Point to achieve the new roof look

On a new roof, re-pointing is the last step of the installation process.  With standard tile restorations, it becomes one of the first.  So once the job is finished, the whole roof will look the same and it is immediately obvious that the roof has been re-sprayed.  By leaving the pointing to end, we have added an extra step to the process, but the stunning result is well worth the extra effort.
Traditionally pointing was also done with mortar with different coloured oxides added in to match the colour of the roof tiles.  The big disadvantage is that mortar is rigid.  Now you may not notice this, but roof structures move constantly with different weather conditions.  They shrink when it is cold and expand when it is hot.  On top of that, most roof structures are made from timber, which is still breathing.  For all these reasons tiled roofs had to be re-bedded and re-pointed in regular intervals (about every 5-10 years).  Now several years ago the whole industry was revolutionised by the introduction of a new product:  “Flexi-Point”.  This product is made from water based polymers and fillers and as the name suggests, unlike traditional and inherently brittle cement mortar it retains a significant post cure flexibility.

So now that you have read about the complete installation process, you may see that apart from replacing broken tiles and flashings as well as re-bedding and re-pointing, we cannot waterproof your tiled roof.  That is not what paint is designed to do.  It makes your home look beautiful, keeps the temperature down and the dirt away.  This is what we can achieve.  We believe if anybody tells you anything different he is either lying or does not know his facts.

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PS. For the fast readers, let me recap the main advantages of the ‘New Look Cool Roofs’:
1. Hot Water Pressure Cleaning removes all residue off your roof including tree sap and old paint
2. Astec ‘Energy Star’ paint keeps your home up to 50 degrees cooler while lasting up to 4x as long
3. Astec ‘Dirtguard’ keeps your home looking new for longer
4. Re-pointing at the end of the job rather than early on makes your old roof look new, not restored