• Campbell Sutherland

A common issue, in Residential homes: Corroded Roofing & Vegetation debris.



The 2nd (out of 5) common scenario that I all to often find, when conducting building reports in the Wellington region, is the discovery of corroded roofing iron, flashing's, and vegetation debris build up. This may, or may not be obvious, but maintaining the integrity of your roof is an essential part of maintaining a weather tight home.


Roofs are quite often overlooked, for numerous reasons, a lot of the time, roof leaks are not always evident. Sometimes when the leak finally reveals itself, the damage is already done. I've seen it all, rotten roof & structural framing, through to molded gib linings and sodden insulation.


Many roofs that I report on, seem to be neglected. Proactive maintenance, just isn't being performed. I believe this to be the case for various reasons, such as

1) changes in the health and safety laws, working at heights, and the added cost it has created, having to scaffold and edge protect.

2) The cost of labor and materials to perform the work, and sometimes due to the height and pitch of the roof, homeowners are not getting up there to sight the condition of their roofs.


I believe roofing should be looked at like a car, some people choose not to service their car, and only perform maintenance, when the thing doesn't start, or worse blows up. Other people choose to service their engine and running gear, to help prevent these situations from arising. I believe roofing and building maintenance should be no different. I will elaborate on annual roofing maintenance must do's in a future blog, for now I'm highlighting the issue.


Roofing has been a big part of my career. I've been involved in all aspects of roofing, having installed new roofs, re-roofing, roofing extensions, shingle roofing in Colorado, copper and lead roofs in the UK, but primarily roof remedial's, specializing in rust repairs, flashing installs, and chimney flashing upgrades, throughout the Wellington area. Many roofing companies are now reluctantly performing roof remedial's, choosing to try and sell a full roof replacement.


This can be justified in many situations, but I believe not always balanced and informative advice. Performing isolated rust remedial work, such as removing lead head roofing nails, replacing with screws fixings, or replacing individual corroded roof flashing's, with a documented roof report, can buy you more time, and allow you to save for a full roof replacement, which generally starts at $20K while preventing moisture ingress which has the potential to deteriorate roof framing, structural framing and gib, adding to the cost.

New Zealand has harsh weather and coastal environments. Repainting your roof can also go along way to maintain the integrity and prolong the life of the roofing iron and flashing's, at a fraction of the cost of a re-roof.


I commonly see vegetation and debris buildup, throughout: spouting, roofing, and flashing's such as valleys, and behind chimney flashing's. Debris build up left to its own devices, can hold moisture which deteriorates the roof and flashing's and can initiate the surface rust process, or in some cases, block the natural flow of surface water, causing roof leaks.


Regardless of weather you have an old or new roof, if you are surrounded by vegetation, and tree's (which I love) performing regular routine checks should be put on the list for annual checks, and clean outs, or performing annual pruning.


My advice, if you are not confident in climbing a secure ladder, is to engage with a roofing remedial company, to regularly perform these duties. I am happy to recommend some reputable companies within the Wellington region, furthering that, many people forget, Plumbers are roofing iron remedial specialists, they can give an honest opinion, and perform roof remedial's, without trying to sell you a new roof.





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