How Much Does A Roof Restoration Cost?

How much does a roof restoration cost.

If you’re asking this question the chances are that you’re about to commence, or are in the middle of, obtaining quotes for a roof restoration. Roof Restoration is a massive industry in Australia and among our most popular home improvement projects. Done correctly he can make a huge difference to both the appearance and the value of your property. But like any major project careful consideration and Research should be done prior to engaging a contractor.

So exactly what is a Roof Restoration? What should be included in a Roof

Restoration? How long should a Roof Restoration take? And how long should a Roof Restoration last? And maybe, most importantly of all, why is there such a huge difference between the quotes I’m getting for a roof restoration?

The cost of performing a roof restoration on an average home can vary massively. It can start as low as $1,000 and exceed $20,000 in price. It’s these incredible variations in pricing that can confuse and confound consumers. So why is there such a massive difference? Why do quotes that seem similar have such ridiculous variations in costing? In this article we will examine what a roof restoration is, what some of the pitfalls are and how do to identify a professional job from a phoney one.  

What is a Roof Restoration and what are the correct procedures?

Roof Restoration is quite simply the act of improving your roof. traditionally it includes cleaning, repairing and re-colouring the tiles. There are a lot of different ways to perform this task, some that will last, and some that won’t. Maybe the most important thing to consider and understand when you’re about to obtain your quotes is that not everyone, indeed, most, trades people in this industry are not skilled or qualified. You see, like most other trades related industries in Australia, Roof Restoration suffers from a lack of skilled trades people. The problem with Roofing, however, is that there is still a very high demand. This has, unfortunately, created a void that has been filled by sometimes  less than savoury individuals. Well over half of the quotes you are likely to get will probably come from inexperienced and unskilled tradespeople. They can produce a reasonably attractive job initially, but are not capable of performing the more difficult tasks required on a quality restoration that need a skilled individuals attention. This is led to the industry having a bad reputation and many, many substandard jobs being done.

So let’s take a look at the individual steps that should be implemented in a quality roof restoration, and some of the corners that are cut with the less professional jobs.

Step one, replacing broken tiles and Ridge caps.


With a professional Roof Restoration usually any tile with a break in the corner that exceeds 50 mm, and of course split tiles, should be replaced. Any damaged or broken ridge caps should also be replaced. Tiles with minor chips in them can be relocated to the Blind side of the roof as they only have an aesthetic impact and will not affect the weather-ability of the roof.

With a less professional job, this simply isn’t done at all, or the breaks are just silicon and up.

Step two, pressure cleaning the roof.


Pressure cleaning is critically important to ensure that the roof coatings do not peel off. Very high pressure, at least 4000 psi, Is required so that not only the dirt and dust is removed but also the pollutants that accumulate on suburban roofs. Particular attention needs to be applied to the nose areas, or the more vertical section of the tile near the overlap, as these areas get less sunlight and are quite prone to moss and lichen growth. If this area is not thoroughly cleaned peeling of the coatings is almost inevitable.

With a less professional job, low power machines are often used resulting in inadequate cleaning of the tiles. The noses of the tiles are not clean correctly which leads to peeling. When a more powerful machine is used, with an inexperienced operator, the homes often become flooded because the water is applied at an upwards angle in an attempt to clean the noses of the tiles.

Step three, replacing rusted valleys.


The valley refers to the metal roof gutters that sit in between the opposing faces of your tiled roof. Any rust present needs to be either completely removed or the valley itself replaced. There are no products on the market today that can successfully treat or encapsulate rust. Anti-rust paints need to be put on to a surface that is completely free of rust, and rust converters are ineffective and the manufacturers do not offer a warranty. Valleys that are left with rust present in them will fail and cause the coatings to peel.  

With a less professional job, paint is applied directly onto rusted valleys or, at best, an anti-rust paint is applied over the top, which will have little or no benefit.

Step four, re-bedding the ridge caps.


The bedding refers to the solid concrete positioned underneath the ridge caps. It is often confused with pointing, which is actually the exterior application that is applied over the top of this solid core. If this material is cracking or crumbling, or the ridge caps are loose, it needs to be stripped out and re-done. Most homes over 10 years old will require at least a partial re-bed, but generally all ridge caps should be stripped away and a new foundation of concrete applied. The mix of concrete is also very important. At least 25% cement should be utilised, and a good quality bricky sand used for additional adhesion. If this is not done you can expect the restoration, particularly along the ridge lines, to fail within five years as a maximum.  


With a less professional job, the loose ridge caps and cracking and crumbling mortar is simply skimmed over and left unrepaired. In fact, with very inexpensive restoration jobs, the ridge caps are not touched at all, and the paint applied directly over the top of the old mortar.

Step five, re-pointing the ridge caps.


The pointing material refers to the waterproof compound that is applied over the top of the bedding. It is designed to seal the ridge cap and prevent moisture ingress from affecting the concrete bedding compound. Historically, a cement mix and an additive with high elasticity was used to achieve this. In more recent times a silicon type compound with a glassy sand is utilise for this task.

With less professional jobs, the pointing is either only partially done, or not attended to at all. In cases where it has been done often just a coloured cement, high in water content, is sponged over the top of the bedding to give the appearance of a smooth surface. This is very brittle and will generally crack within a few years.

Step six, applying a penetrative primer coat.


Concrete tiles can become porous on their surface. Applying a sealant or a paint directly onto the porous surface can trap air in the body of the tile. As the trapped air warms up, it can begin to expand and then contract again as it cools. This constant expansion and contraction over the years continuously pushes on the sealant or paint applied above. Inevitably, over time, the membranes will begin to bubble and peel. This is generally disastrous for your roof as nothing can be done to rectify  badly peeling paint. Removing all of the paint can be virtually impossible, and applying wet paint over the top of peeling paint will just result in the wet paint peeling off as well. For this reason utilising a good primer that preferably incorporates both nanotechnology, for deeper penetration, and high adhesiveness, for superior bonding, is imperative. As a matter of fact, the application of a good quality primer, can result in a coating that simply can not peel. Weathering will eventually take its toll, but the actual coatings will be fused to the body of the tile. Providing the previous preparation steps are done correctly, your roof will only ever require a rinse down and a topcoat to keep up appearances.

Less professional jobs do not apply a primer coating at all. All restoration jobs that have not had a penetrating primer applied can be expected to fail sometimes within six months but definitely within 10 years.

Step seven, applying a high solids sealer.


A sealer coat is a thick membrane that should be applied over the top of the penetrating primer. Well this coat is not critical for longevity, it is essential to provide a superior finish for the topcoats. A good quality sealer coat should be very high on solids and is designs to be applied evenly over concrete tiles To minimise patchiness and insure a smooth and consistent finish.

A less professional Roof Restoration will either not have a sealer coat at all, or have a sealer coat applied directly onto the tile surface without a suitable primer. Occasionally a sealer is referred to as a primer/sealer. This term sounds like it could be adequate but is actually quite contrary. A primer penetrates and a sealer seals. It’s either one of the one or the other. It cannot be both. 

Step eight, applying to UV resistant top colour coats.


The two top colour coats are the most important in terms of long-term aesthetic appeal. A compound that is a pure acrylic, with high grade UV stabilises, cross linked polymerisation, and good dirt pick up resistance is ideal for a quality long-term finish. Recent innovations in the roof coating industry Have also led to titanium based pigmentation which, while expensive, can last many times longer than a traditional roof paint. In fact, the manufacturers of these products, generally warrants their materials for 20 years or longer. While you are doing your roofing research it is best to discuss this with the professional company you have selected. Some questions should be considered. How long will you stay in the house? Obviously the longer you stay in the home the more you may want to invest on your roof restoration to achieve a quality job to minimise inevitable ongoing expenses. If you’ll be in your home for five years or less, a more medium grade restoration might be a better option as it should still be presentable upon the sale of your property. If you are selling in the very near future, you may not wish to overcapitalise on your investment.

A less professional roof restoration company will not go into too much detail about the coatings they are using. They will generally not ask any questions regarding your requirements and they almost never provide you with options.

Step nine, the all important cleanup.

Upon completion of work, the gutters and surrounds of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. The neighbours on either side of the property should be approached and asked if any dirt or roof related debris has entered their property. Roof Restoration can be a messy job and the cleanup is a very important part of finishing the job.

Less professional roof restorations will leave your home in a mess and your neighbours complaining. Over the years we found that this is one of the issues that tends to irritate homeowners the most.

So, after all of that, how much should Roof Restoration cost?

Well clearly, it’s more about how long is Roof Restoration going to last and whether it’s performed by a qualified tradesperson. Below is a guideline that you can expect to pay and the estimated length of time that type of restoration is expected to last.

All of the below pricing is based on an average single story suburban Melbourne home of 150 m² to 200 m² of roof area. In imperial measurements, this equates to a 15-18 square home. Obviously smaller, or larger, homes will vary accordingly.

Basic spruce up.

Typically comprising of just a rinse down of the roof and one or two coats of an inexpensive roof paint.

Approximate cost – $1000-$2000

Expected serviceable life – six months to 2 years.

Entry level Roof Restoration.

Typically comprising of a pressure clean, repair of the ridge capping (but not full re-pointing or any bedding), and three coats of paint.

Approximate cost – $2500-$4000

Expected serviceable life 1-4 years

Standard Roof Restoration.
Typically comprising of replacement of broken tiles, full pressure clean, Partial re-bed on very poor concrete areas, full re-point of all Ridge work, and three coats of paint.

Approximate cost, $3500-$6000

Expected serviceable life time, 3–8 years

Quality Roof Restoration.

Typically comprising of replacement of broken tiles, full pressure clean, replacement of rusted valleys, full re-bed of all ridge caps, Full re-point in a flexible Compounds and 4 applications of quality roof membranes including a primer and sealer.

Approximate cost, $6000-$10,000

Expected serviceable life, 8-12 years. After this period this type of job will generally require a rinse down and topcoat only to revitalise it.

Premium quality Roof Restoration.

Typically comprising of replacement of broken tiles, full pressure clean, replacement of rusted valleys, full re-bed of all ridge caps, Full re-point in a flexible Compound and 4 applications of quality roof membranes including a primer and sealer. The top colour coats will incorporate either heat reflective technology, titaniumbased pigmentation protection or both. The membranes will come with at least a 15-25  year MANUFACTURERS warranty.

Approximate cost, $8000-$12,000. 

Expected serviceable life, 15–25 years. After this period this type of job will generally require a rinse down and topcoat only to revitalise it.

This is just a guideline only of course, there are many high pressure companies, particularly those that advertise heavily on television, that can come in at double or even triple the above pricing. In many cases, those exorbitantly priced companies, provide a very basic service that will not last for very long at all. It’s best to ask as many questions as you can and make yourself as well informed as possible prior to making a decision.

As we started earlier, it is imperative to discuss your situation carefully with an industry professional. It’s easy to fall into the trap of a seemingly inexpensive repair job that will ultimately cost far more in rectification works than would have a quality job. It is equally important not to overcapitalise on your investment if your personal circumstances might influence the actual requirements.