The benefits of roof sarking can come as quite a surprise. Many people don’t realise the protection this roof layer provides, often because it seems that roof tiles offer sufficient protection. A tiled roof can expose the inside of the home to many problems when there is no sarking under roof tiles. As an independent building inspector in Brisbane, we experience numerous summer storms with hail, heavy winds and rain. Just one large piece of hail is enough to crack a tile. When a tile cracks, it is the perfect way for water to get inside the home. Cracked tiles don’t just cause problems. Birds and other animals like possums and cats can walk on the roof and easily dislodge a tile without you realise until it rains. But when roof sarking is present underneath a tiled roof, it will capture any water that enters. When there is no sarking, well, you know what happens.
What is roof sarking?
You don’t see sarking when you look at a tiled roof. The hidden gem is what saves the day when the roof tiles can’t. Sarking is a layer beneath the layer of tiles, a thin, flexible sheet with an aluminium foil lining. This layer provides good insulation by reflecting radiant heat. When water enters your home via roof tile cracks or lifted tiles, the water is redirected down into the roof gutters.
Why should you use roof sarking?
Residing in Brisbane means that wet weather, particularly storms, during the summer, is typical. Queensland has the highest average annual rainfall in Australia. It’d be a clumsy move not to have roof sarking here, particularly if you have a tiled roof. The reason to use it is obvious. Not only will your internal roofing structure and ceilings be saved, so will your furniture, electricals and other personal items. Having sarking in your roof also helps with mould issues caused by moisture entering the roof and keeps dust at bay. It’s peace of mind.
Is roof sarking mandatory?
Here’s where you’ve got to be careful and why it’s essential you know about roof sarking. The Building Code of Australia states that modern tiled residential roofs with a rafter length longer than six meters have sarking. Although roof sarking isn’t mandatory on all new builds, it’s good practice to protect the house from moisture – even metal roofs. Ask your builder or architect to include sarking no matter the measurements. There’s nothing worse than moving into a brand new home only to be struck by a storm that cracks and lifts tiles, letting in water and creating vast amounts of damage.
The small expenditure required for the installation of roof sarking is worth every penny and peace of mind. Not only does roof sarking protect the roof’s surface, but it also protects the structure of the home. You’ll worry less about a crack or patch in a tiled when you’ve got sarking under roof tiles. If you’re reading this, not as someone who is building a house but as someone looking to buy one, be sure to check out this aspect on the building inspection report. It could end up being a deal-breaker if the home doesn’t have sarking installed.
Ben is the Director at Safeguard Inspections on Brisbane’s Bayside, and a qualified and experienced building and pest inspector with over 25 years experience in the construction industry. He enjoys helping others make smart property buying decisions.