Common roof maintenance needs includes checking claddings, flashings, fixings, gutters, chimneys, flues, and roof-mounted equipment. 

Inspect your roof at least once a year, paying attention to:

  • roof claddings, fixings and flashings
  • chimneys and flues
  • gutters and downpipes
  • roof-mounted equipment including television aerials and receiver dishes, solar hot water panels, and so on.

If tree branches have grown over the roof and their leaves could potentially block gutters or shade solar panels, or lead to moss growth, cut the branches back.

Safety

Safety

Many accidents during home maintenance work are the result of people falling off ladders or roofs. Ensure you have the right equipment – typically ladders or scaffolding – and set it up properly.

When climbing onto a roof with a ladder:

  • Set the ladder on a solid, level base with the treads horizontal.
  • Leave 1.0 m of the ladder above the level to be climbed, and secure the top if possible so it doesn’t slip.
  • Don’t lean the ladder against plastic spouting. 
  • The ladder should be at the right angle – 1.0 m out from the wall for every 4.0 m of height.
  • Don’t use a single ladder as a work platform.
  • Face the ladder at all times and use both hands when climbing up or down.

Free-standing scaffolds must:

  • be erected level, on solid footings or supports
  • be braced and tied to the structure if possible
  • have guardrails and toe boards
  • have the planks or decks secured to the scaffold structure.

WorkSafe New Zealand has guides available for download on its website:

Some New Zealand homes from the 1950s or 1960s may still have asbestos-cement roof claddings. If asbestos fibres get into the air and are breathed in they can cause potentially fatal illnesses. Fibre-cement roof claddings – often corrugated sheet claddings – should never be water-blasted, sanded, cut with power saws or broken into pieces. Before removing a cement-based roof cladding that may date from before the mid 1980s, get it tested to see whether it contains asbestos. You can find more information here.