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Orkney Roofing 101: A Definitive Guide To Roofing Options

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Wellington Builders | Renovations | Construction | Design & Architecture Services | Environmentally Conscious | Wellington Roofing & Waterproofing | Wellington Painters


Person holding a roof tile on a roof

If your roof issues are making you reach for the tissues, or worse still, a bucket for the drips, this Orkney Roofing Guide is for you!

Roof problems often start slowly and silently. Unlike a tree falling on your house, you probably won’t notice moss growing between tiles and letting water in or rust starting to take hold in a joint out of sight. By the time you see a water stain or mould appearing on your interior ceiling, the damage above your head could be more advanced than you might anticipate.

Getting nervous every time it rains is no way to live, but let’s be honest - It’s not like most of us are getting the ladder out to inspect/clean the roof every year either! So what should you do? If your house is older than 15 years and you’ve not yet taken a peek, it might be time to enlist someone to have a good look around. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to roofing!

If your friendly builder/roofer reports back with some issues, how do you know whether you should repair or replace the entire thing? More to the point, what are your options? Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place. Our roofing and waterproofing experts are here to share their professional advice!

Rather than a full replacement, perhaps a repair could do the trick for now. Repairs tend to cost a whole lot less than a re-roof, as you’re saving on materials and labour. Your roof might just need a good cleaning and a coat of paint to give it another lease of life. However, if the damage is widespread, or if the existing roof doesn’t fit with your aesthetic preference, then you might decide to replace the entire thing.

NOTE: Keep in mind that building codes have changed over the years, so, depending on when the existing one was installed, you may need to obtain building consent before you re-roof.


Depending on the type of roofing that best fits your home’s profile, there are a few different options available for a roof replacement:


One of the most commonly used roofing materials in New Zealand. It is also used for cladding sometimes! Comprising substrate steel strips, most commonly 0.40mm or 0.55mm thick and coated with a 45% zinc and 55% aluminium alloy. Colorsteel is lightweight, extremely versatile and cost-effective, and it comes in a range of profiles and colours. See for more information.

Best for: Most roof types/styles, as well as gutters, cladding, and downpipes

Lifespan: 25-60 years


Metal roofing tiles are a great option if you’re looking for a more traditional tiled roof. Providing an economical and durable roofing option, metal tiles give a quality finish to any dwelling and offer a cost-effective solution compared to heavier alternative roof tiles. They require less reinforcing timber in the roof bracing.

Best for: Traditional-looking tiled roofs with a minimum pitch of between 12-15 degrees (depending on your chosen tile style).

Lifespan: 50+ years


“Decramastic Tiles are scallop-shaped metal tiles also known by other names such as pressed metal tiles, Decrabond, and ‘stone chip roofs’. Decramastic Tile roofs were manufactured and widely used in New Zealand during the 1970s and 1980s. Due to the presence of asbestos, Decramastic Tiles are no longer manufactured and have been replaced by other types of metal tiles. There are still many original Decramastic Tile roofs on properties in New Zealand, but as they are particularly vulnerable to deterioration over time, and with new laws in NZ regarding asbestos, there has been a boom in the maintenance and replacement of these in recent years.” – (


This product is exactly as it sounds - a roof that is translucent/see-through. Usually made of polycarbonate/fibreglass sheeting, they come in corrugated or solid sheet options.

Best for: Sunrooms, pergolas, porches and carports. This product is also used commercially in roofing for large warehouses to let more light into the building (i.e. places like Mitre10, Pak’n Save, etc.)

Lifespan: Up to 25 years (depending on the specific product chosen)


There are multiple types of shingle roofing to choose from. Wooden cedar shingles have been used for many years as roofing material and house cladding. They are known for their stability and durability and are ideal for New Zealand environments (specifically coastal areas, as cedar does not corrode in salt spray environments).

Asphalt shingles are individual bituminous sheets nailed on top of a timber-sarked roof substrate with either a layer of bitumen felt or a self-adhering membrane in between. The overlapped method of shingle installation provides maximum watershed, and the ridge-vent system on the roof’s apex ensures the building is adequately ventilated.

Best for: Pitched rooves (Timber shingles are a traditional roofing material best suited to a steeply pitched roof. It is recommended that they should not be applied to a roof plane pitched lower than 18 degrees).

Lifespan: Cedar shingles: 20-25 years, Asphalt shingles: Up to 30 years


Made from recycled polymer, roof tiles capture the authentic appearance of natural slate roofing but are made up of 80% post-industrial recycled rubber and plastics and even from the off-cuts from the manufacture of nappies! If you are looking for a sustainable roofing option, this would be the one to go for. They are 100% recyclable. Because of what they are made of, these tiles are very lightweight and place less stress on the building. These tiles are flexible, won’t crack and have high impact resistance.

Best for: Period homes, historic buildings or modern buildings requiring the same antithetic appeal without the expense, weight and impracticality.

Lifespan: Up to 50 years



This product is a TPO (Thermoplastic polyolefin) waterproofing membrane that provides absolute water tightness. This product has been widely used across New Zealand and the Pacific.

Best for: Low-sloping roofs

Lifespan: 20-30 years


A ‘warm roof’ is when insulation is installed on top of the structure (i.e., the building is insulated from the outside). A thermally efficient roof helps prevent the internal dampness of structural materials and negates the need for vents that would normally allow the air to escape. This contributes to savings on heating and cooling bills and is obviously a very environmentally conscious design. A ‘warm roof’ can be overlaid on any existing roof, including metal, which means it could be a great option to investigate if your roof needs attention!

Best for: Low-sloping roofs

Lifespan: 20 Years (Based on the warranty lengths available online)


This rubber membrane comprises 70% butyl and 30% EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber; the latter provides extra UV resistance and elongation properties over 100% butyl membranes. This product comes in black or grey but can be painted over with approved paint systems.

Best for: Low-sloping roofs and gutters

Lifespan: 25-30 years

As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from as well as a host of variables to consider (pitch, location, climate, access, cost, lifespan, time, size, difficulty, etc.) when it comes to repairing or replacing your roof. With that in mind, it is vital that you get in touch with an expert to give you professional advice and discuss the best options for your needs.

A sound roof is key to protecting your entire house from devastating water damage, so it pays to get your repairs/re-roofing done by a company with years of expertise behind them. Remember that insurance companies don’t pay out for slow water damage/rot, so I’m sure you can imagine that a botched repair or re-roof carried out by inexperienced tradespeople can wind up being disastrous!

The Orkney Roofing and Waterproofing team are versed in almost every roofing system you can imagine, so they are the perfect people to speak to if you have questions.

Contact us today or give us a call on 0800 368 470. We look forward to hearing from you!


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