Steep Roofs in Christchurch

One feature of Christchurch housing observed by visitors and new residents is the very high percentage of housing particularly in the inner hill suburbs that have very steep tiled roofs. These became very fashionable 100 or so years ago as the design copied the steep tiled roofs found in Europe and North America and Canada.  The irony is that the reason for the steep roofs and Europe and North America is because of the risk of roof collapse after a heavy snowstorm if the snow was to pile up on the roof.

As well as wearing awesome roofing shoes it is also important to wear a safety harness while you are on the roof. While heavy snow is a fact of life in the Northern Hemisphere it virtually never occurs in New Zealand except perhaps occasionally in the lower South Island. The very steep roof is fashionable throughout the older expensive housing in New Zealand,  and especially so in roofing Christchurch. This was a desirable feature back in the day but in modern times with the new health and safety legislation, these roofs have made it very expensive whenever they need even the most minor maintenance or repair.

The truth is that even the smallest job will require a considerable amount of scaffolding to be erected,  and this is no mean feat if the house is on a hilly site and particularly if it has difficult and steep access. A repair that might take a competent worker only 15 or 20 minutes to complete might involve up to $10,000 worth of scaffolding to be erected prior to the job and dismantled afterward.  This can come as a very rude shock to a retired homeowner who is already paying a high price for city rates because of the steep increase in the value of his or her property.

 Unfortunately, the very steep slope of the roof means that it is very impractical for all but the most athletic and agile homeowners to do the work safely themselves. They are trapped in a situation where they are forced to pay for a professional roofer to do that work.

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