Building a new home in Melbourne ? Re-roofing an existing one ?
If you’re building a new home or re-roofing an old one in Melbourne and need the services of a slate roofing company, this article’s for you. Here’s a simple process of how- and the steps involved- in choosing a company to suit your roof slating project. I’ll also be answering some of the most common questions I get from owner builders and professional builders about these types of roofs.
What’s the process if I’m interested in slate roofing ?
First thing you need to do is find and contact a reputable slate roofing company.
Notice here I said ” reputable slate roofing company”. That’s right … you need a company that deals exclusively in slate roof installations, preferably has a great reputation for it and is well established. What this means exactly is you do not need a plumbing company or a tile roofing company that ” sometimes dabbles ” in a bit of roof slating when works a bit slow, or an easy opportunity presents itself.
Find someone or some company that installs these roofs everyday. They should be able to supply you with great testimonials from previous happy customers. Testimonials from previous customers isn’t an iron clad guarantee that they’re perfect for you, but it’ll surely help in your decision process.
They should be able to send you to look at previous jobs similar to the type of roof or nature of work that you need.
Ask to see recent work and older roofs that they’ve installed. The older installations will give you an idea of how their work skills stack up over a few years in the elements as well as show you how that type of slate weathers.
We’ve all heard the story’s of roofers here today and gone tomorrow. It would help to know that they’ve been around in the same location for a while and would continue to be if you have a warranty issue or some other problem.
Roof slating is a craftsmen’s trade and to do it correctly takes many years of practical experience under the guidance of someone who’s an expert. For a quality and long lasting job no part timers needed for this type of roofing …that’s what I believe anyway.
How to find a specialist slate roof company
There’s probably quite a few ways to find a good roof slating company but below I’m going to list what I feel are some of the best.
I’m a roof slater by trade but this is how I find all my home services providers and tradesmen.
- Word of mouth … or referrals – For whatever building work I need, I always ask my friends and people I know if they can recommend anyone who they’ve had work done for them. It’s usually a good start to finding someone. So if you know someone with an old home that’s got an old slate roof, chances are they’ve been through the screening process already and may already know someone who they were happy with and trust. Maybe you know someone who’s a builder or in the construction industry. Of course they may also be able to point you away from some whom they haven’t been happy with as well. Either way it’s a good way to get the ball rolling and you’d be surprised at what info people can give you when you just ask around.
- Job site signs – This is also a pretty good way of finding a good slate roofing company. Most reputable slate roofing company’s will have a job site sign on the fence or up on the scaffolding. They’re proud of what they do and have no reason to try to do the roof on the down low quietly. Inquiries from signs usually bring in genuinely interested potential customers so will be followed up keenly by the slate roof company. The signs usually only have the company name and phone number and this is all that’s needed for making initial contact. If it’s a neighbors roof being done you can just quietly observe the work in progress. You can see how the workers conduct themselves and If the roof installation moves along smoothly and efficiently. There should be a minimum of rubbish around the home or anywhere for that matter…. it should be removed and cleaned up as the job progresses. When the roof’s finished and all the scaffolding removed, take a good look at the finished roof. How does it look ? If it looks good and you didn’t see anything untoward during the installation, contact the company for a chat. In many instances you can simply knock on the door and ask the owners how they felt about the service. Most homeowners are happy to tell you about the company they employed and how they feel about them.
- Websites – If the above two methods aren’t feasible, the internet is a good source for finding slate roof company’s. Probably the biggest drawback for searching on the internet is that a lot of less desirable contractors can also advertise there. When browsing through the company’s that do slate roofing in your area, see what sort of information they offer you. Are they helpful with answering questions you might have ? Are they offering little pieces of information that may help with your slate roofing needs that you hadn’t considered ? Really … are they interested in helping you make good decisions with information or just interested in getting your work without considering what you really want. When you contact them ask lots of questions, they should be happy to answer any queries or questions.
- Independent reviews on the web – Another good source for finding a specialist slate roofing company or any other trade for that matter for your project are google reviews. When you find a company that you may be interested in contacting check them out a little further. These reviews are written by previous customers of the company and can usually tell you of good or bad experiences that they may have encountered.
These are just a few of the ways to find a good company that specializes in slate roofing. There are others of course but these can be a good start.
Slate roof FAQ’s
The second part of this article is answers to a few commonly asked questions about slate roofs. These are a few of the ones we get asked about the most. These questions and answers relate mainly to new home slate roofing and also re-roofing. If you have a more specific question give me a call, John, on 0403022137 and I’ll do my best to answer.
I’m going to word the questions below as they’re actually asked by people inquiring.
- “What’s the blue colored stuff that you’re rolling out on the roof before you’re putting the new timbers on” ? Answer : The blue stuff is actually insulation foil more commonly referred to as sarking. It’s blue in color merely to stop the suns reflection in the installers eyes. It’s actual color is silver and is very reflective and damaging to eyes if not colored … the blue is just incidental. As mentioned sarking is installed to add insulating properties to the roof space but also it’s an excellent dust barrier to stop all manner of fine leaves and dirt particles entering the roof.
- ” Are there different types of quality and colors of slate roof tiles “? Answer : Yes … there are many types and colors of slate tiles available in Melbourne. However, some slate colors are usually only available in poor quality slate tiles and in my opinion it’s not really a good idea to use them. Probably the most common color people associate with slate roofs are the bluey black charcoal types seen most commonly being used at present on new constructions around Melbourne’s inner Eastern suburbs. These slate tiles although very similar in color can vary hugely in their quality. You really need to do your research thoroughly to get the slate to fit your expectations of what you want from a slate roof. A whole book could be written about quality of slate suitable for roofing. At the very least choose a slate that’s NF certified to A1, S1 and T1 standards and should be ticketed to say so.
- “What type and size of slate battens do we need to suit our roof ” Answer : Most likely if you’re building a new home these days the roof will be designed with rafter spacings of 600mm. For strength at this spacing you need to use 50×38 mm battens with the 38mm being flat to the rafters. For the older period style homes in Melbourne that are being re-roofed the rafters are spaced more or less at 450mm. Battens size for these is 50x25mm with 25mm face to the rafter tops. In both cases the batten timber type should be Oregon. Why you ask ? Being a softwood it’s very easy for the slate nails to be hammered in without force down flush with the surface of the slates to make the whole roof sit nice and flat. Any slightly protruding nails can cause slates to sit unevenly and look not so good. The natural oils in Oregon tend to make it much more stable and less prone to twisting and warping as can happen if pine battens are used.
There you have it … a few tips for finding a good slate roof company in Melbourne and also a couple of answers to some common questions we often get asked.
If you’ve got your own question or need a bit of help or advice, feel free to ask me 0403022137
Abardeen Roof Slating & Tiling 66 Eglinton St Moonee Ponds VIC 3039