The weather in Australia can be prone to change, and our homes are a place to shelter from the elements. From beaming hot sun to torrential rainstorms, we need to ensure our home’s roofs are sturdy enough to keep us safe and comfortable.
Roof sarking is one way to protect you and your family from the changeable weather, and is an effective solution to keep your home as secure as possible. Alongside roof ventilation and leaking solutions, roof sarking is an excellent way to protect your roof.
In this blog, we’ll examine whether DIY sark installation or hiring a professional is the better option.
What is roof sarking?
Roof sarking is a waterproof thin pliable membrane that sits under tiled and metal roofs. Roof sarking has an aluminium foil lining on one or both sides and acts as a protective second skin, protecting your home by reflecting 97% of the sun’s radiant heat. As an additional insulation layer, roof sarking protects your home from dust, draughts and moisture.
Sarking all modern tiled roofs with rafter lengths of six metres or more is mandatory under the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Whilst some roofs may be exempt due to size, it’s good building practice to sark both tiled and metal roofs.
What are the benefits of roof sarking?
Alongside being an extra layer of insulation, sarking comes with other benefits for metal or tiled roofs, including:
- Waterproofing and moisture control. Sarking reduces the risk of a build-up of moisture, which can lead to mould and rot. Sarking can sometimes be a vapour barrier and protects your roof from rainwater. Any water entering your roof is safely directed to the gutters and away from your home. As a result, your insulation and structure remain dry.
- Temperature control. The temperatures in your roof cavity are regulated by reflecting the sun’s heat and trapping the warmth inside in colder conditions. Temperature control can improve the comfort of your home and reduce energy costs.
- Fire protection. Many parts of Australia are prone to bushfires, and sarking can protect your home against flyings embers. Sarking prevents embers from entering your roof cavity, stopping your home from catching fire. In bushfire-prone areas, roof sarking is mandatory for this reason.
- Wind and dust barrier. Roof sarking prevents draughts, dust and wind from entering your roof, leading to a more comfortable living situation. Some sarking allows for a small amount of vapour to enter, which can help prevent condensation build-up with airflow.
Can you add sarking to an existing roof?
Usually, roof sarking is added during construction as the membranes need to be directly underneath the roofing material. Although, it is possible to add sarking during a home renovation or the process of home extensions. If your roof is being re-tiled or replaced, you can add sarking before the installation is complete.
Roof sarking installation: DIY vs professional
Roof sarking is crucial in ensuring your home’s safety and comfort; therefore, installation must be effective. That’s something to bear in mind when considering your project. If you have the expertise and the confidence, there are ways to install sarking yourself, especially with the right tools.
Whilst professionals have the skills, tools and expertise, if you want to install sarking yourself, here are some factors to consider:
The skills needed
To begin sarking a roof, you’ll need to consider the skills and tools required for the job. The job requires being on a roof, so you must be comfortable and confident with heights. You’ll need a ladder, so having an assistant who can hold and watch it is essential.
Your roof dimension measurements must be precise, as incorrect sizes or measurements can lead to problems during and after installing the sarking.
The tools needed
The tools you need must be high-quality, and these can be expensive. You’ll need to remove the ridge capping, unfasten the clips and dismantle the roof battens to install the sarking sheets underneath the roof tiles. For the most effective and efficient job, you’ll need the best tools to aid you as much as possible.
You’ll need to consider safety measures, such as protective clothing, eyewear and comfortable shoes that you can easily move in.
The impact of incorrect sarking
If there are issues during the sarking installation process, problems such as leaks and damage to your roof can occur. If storm-driven rain enters your roof space, and the sarking can’t direct it towards the gutter, it can cause water damage. You must consider air gaps, thermal bridging, vapour barriers and ventilation – all potential things to go wrong if you install sarking incorrectly.
Hiring a professional
Roof sarking is an important process and must be done with extreme care to produce the best possible results. For the safest and most effective sarking, it’s best to hire a professional as they have the skills and experience. If you’re thinking about hiring a professional, here are some advantages to consider:
Expertise and experience
Professionals have the expertise and experience to install sarking on a metal or tiled roof. Installing sarking is a complex process that involves a high level of skill.
Australia’s average roof sarking cost can vary due to its thermal efficiency. Usually, the cheaper option is $100 for a 60m x 1350ml roll, and the more expensive can cost around $350 for a 22.5m x 1350ml roll, and you may have to pay more depending on the contractor.
Making the cost worthwhile, the expertise of a professional will offer peace of mind, mainly due to Australia’s climate. For example, you want to know that your roof sarking protects you and your functional home against bushfire embers.
Access to quality materials and tools
Professionals have access to high-quality materials that can provide the most effective installation. With various sizes, materials and weather conditions to consider, a professional will use tools to assist them during the job. You won’t need to worry about spending money on the devices yourself.
Installing roof sarking should be careful; taking your time will give the best results. Professionals have the tools, experience and skills to complete the project well and will deliver on time.
Overall, leaving roof sarking to a professional is the best option for the safest and most secure result, as installation can be dangerous. If sarking is ineffective, structural damage, mould and rot could be some of the potential problems you’ll face.
How to choose the right professional for the job
Choosing the right professional to install roof sarking is essential, so here are some tips for finding the most reliable one:
- Do your research on the different options.
- Ask around for recommendations.
- Check for licences and insurance.
- Look for a contractor with Australian standards and building codes.
- Compare quotes.
Ultimately, leaving roof sarking to the professionals is the better option as it’ll be a more efficient job with their skills and experience.
A safe and secure roof is essential, and roof sarking isn’t the only way to protect its structure. At EvoBuild, we offer a range of products, from Fastfix Wet Shield for leaks to Rapidridge for adequate roof ventilation that protects your roof against the elements and keeps your home as comfortable as possible.
For more information about our products or any queries, contact us today.