Roof repairs for beginners

Hi - I am planning to get my roof checked and repaired. A roofer who came to fix a hole created in a storm said the capping needs replacing along with the concrete which holds it in place.
(The concrete statement seems consistent with posts on this forum)

My hesitancy stems from having a problem with a leaking channel (now fixed) a few years ago which took two different roofers to get fixed. I am not keen to create a new problem while another one is fixed.

So does capping need renovating, does roof capping affect channels, what do I need to ask from those asked to quote, what answers should I expect.
I would expect registration as standard. I am trying to find a reputable roofer and cut through the spin.
I am not planning on having it renovated/painted etc.


I assume that this is a tile roof. Are the tiles terracotta, slate or concrete? How old is the roof?

How it should be treated depends on the type of tile. Old terracotta tiles, especially the thin flat ones, can be very fragile, walking on them to get to the area to work on can break them.

It is common for the mortar that seals under the capping to crack or come loose before the tiles or caps fail. Unless the caps are visibly damaged I can’t think of why they would need to be replaced, they can be re-fixed if in good condition.

I see no reason for a problem in the valleys to affect the caps or vice versa. It is common for valleys to fail before the rest of the roof as they used to be galvanised iron and near the sea or where leaves etc collect they can corrode quite quickly.


Don’t hire a big guy - tiles can be brittle - I know this from experience. No point getting the capping done by someone who will tap-dance on the rest of the tiles. Same goes for anyone you let on the roof with terraotta tiles - as @syncretic said, very easy to break - check them out and warn people working on the roof that there are no leaks currently, so they are on notice (as much as they can be) and if theres breakage or cement falling away it might suggest damage by previous ‘roof walkers’ …

Taking a quick drive around to note any recently refurbished roofs might be helpful - some just gum them up an paint, but proper tilers are a different breed. Talking to another owner who has had work done if they are amenable might be handy - or asking a potential contractor for references might work also - this applies all over, but of course the issue with a bad roofing job is the collateral damage if it leaks …

Any my apologies, I couldn’t resist :slight_smile:

It would be interesting to hear how it goes!


If it all gets too confusing? I had an issue previously with a body corporate concerning cladding repairs.

It took a little research. I rang several building inspectors/certifiers and asked what it would cost for them to do an assessment of the existing building cladding. and provide a written report with recommendations. Some seemed disinterested or unreasonable.

It cost $400 from memory. The report recommended only minor work vs a major replacement costing tens of thousands each.

An independent report may provide advice you need on what is necessary for the roof and any other precautions or actions required longer term. A reputable roofing repairer should also provide good advice, but how do you judge who to trust if there is money in it for them to find work?


The ‘concrete’ is called pointing and older pointing was a hard mortar type mix. New pointings are more flexible and adhesive. Repair involves placing a ‘patch’ over existing mortar to hold it together. Replacement means removal of all old mortar and replacing it with fresh/new pointing mix.

Is the work being done under an insurance claim? If yes, it is possible to roof repairer is maximising the potential returns for tge work. A hole being a cheap fix, while roof and pointing is a lot more expensive especially if the pointing is replaced rather than repaired.

Large hail especially can result in loosing and cracking of old hard and brittle mortar type pointings.

If you are concerned, as your insurer for a second opinion of whether the pointing needs to be done. If it does, then it is important that it is to keep the roofing weather tight.


Thanks everyone - the roof is 25+ years old and comprises the standard roof tiles used at the time - don’t think it’s slate.
The hole is separate and is being dealt with under insurance.
The roofer who came out to do the make safe [on a 35+ Sunday] just mentioned they would need to be done as the pointing was deteriorating.


Replacing or repairing the mortar makes more sense to me than replacing the capping. It is something that will keep deteriorating so fixing it before it becomes a leak is sensible.


If this is the case and it is not covered by the storm damage…and you think it is worthy of investment to repair/replace the pointing, I suggest you get three separate contractors to look at the roof and provide quotes for a repair and/or replacement. Contractors can be found online using websites like Even local newspapers usually have advertisements for contractors.

I personally wouldn’t relay/use a insurance contractor as it possibly was not one of your choice and may have higher costs (due to their opportunity service provision).


When I had my roof recapped . It had Wunderlich Terra cotta glazed tiles . I phoned around for a few quotes . When I had settled on the contractor I would use I asked him if I could go and check on his handiwork in my vicinity .He gave me a list of addresses to check . I managed to speak to a few of the home owners he had done work for and they were all satisfied with his work and back up service . He did a great job at a very reasonable price .


Good advice thanks. Dumb question how do you find out what make your tiles are?

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Many homes had a tile or few stashed under the house for future need just in case, so if you have one it gets easy. If you have not had a look that would be step one. If you do not have a spare sometimes a photo to a supplier will result in instant recognition, or while getting quotes ask (or pay) for them to have a look and tell you. They are not hard to take one off and replace. Tiles generally have a logo mark on them.