CLEAN SLATE: Workers from Renew Ltd cleaning a roof.
CLEAN SLATE: Workers from Renew Ltd cleaning a roof.

The Bermuda roof design and water collection system is unique to our tiny island.

It’s a sustainable and efficient way to capture our most precious resource while also providing a secure roof over our heads and a distinctive Bermudian charm.

Throughout the years the industry has adapted various techniques and replacements to the norm of slate, lime and cement, but the overall concept remains the same.

Upkeep, maintenance and traditions of the past are still carried out today and Renew Ltd takes pride in being a part of this process.

Our goal is to highlight some of the cleaning and restoration techniques that Renew Ltd carries out; primarily focusing here on the residential market but with insight into the commercial field as well, along with new adaptations, methods and products that can help ensure our Bermuda roofs are correctly cared for and last well into the future.

There are many companies and individuals throughout the island who carry out their own successful styles and methods of effective roof care, some of which differ to the techniques we utilize, but nonetheless they can all be beneficial and we enjoy working with these companies to provide customers with solutions and options.

There are also many in the industry that may not understand the dangers of poor roof care and we advise people to be diligent when hiring someone to maintain and service their roof.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Whether you have a Bermuda slate roof or a synthetic structured roof such as SKB, they will both require cleaning and regular maintenance.

Traditionally, Bermuda slate roofs coated with powder or cement-based products require cleaning more often depending on the surrounding environment.

 However, with certain acrylic admixtures added to the coating process we’ve found a less porous surface is achieved and as such dirt build up is slowed, resulting in a longer lasting finish.

Various cleaning techniques include low pressure washing and sanitizing. For some older Bermuda slate roofs wire brushing is used when there are areas that are suspected of being unable to withstand pressure.

A wire brush should never be used on elastomeric or rubberized finished roofs as it can score the coating and cause severe long term damage.

Sanitize rinse

Low pressure washing when carried out by skilled technicians at the correct rate of pressure is an effective and efficient method of removing debris, dirt and mildew build-up on a roof.

Following this, a sanitize rinse of the roof will help to remove any left over mould or mildew that the wash was not able to achieve.

The sanitize rinse should be followed with a fresh water rinse after a period of dwell time before any coatings are applied.

For elastomeric coated roofs the sanitizer dosage rate should be minimal as well as the dwell time as it can cause damage if left for too long.

Often times a cleaning or even just a sanitize rinse can be carried out every few years without the need to paint, pending the condition and quality of the remaining coatings.

Before starting any roof works it obvious that all rain gutters should be blocked and completely sealed to avoid contamination of your tank water.

Protection of the surrounding area should be carried out and a plan to rinse throughout the process and on completion is often needed.

In the event there are large valleys or collection areas throughout the roof, often time’s gutters will require cutting or drilling to relieve the standing water during the works.

In some cases permanent roof relief points can be installed in these areas allowing clients to block their gutters during storms while water collected on the roof is safely diverted away. This is a valuable feature to those located near the shoreline or surrounded by heavy foliage, as water caught during storms in areas such as these can lead to tank contamination.

Roof Repairs and coatings

Finding the least aggressive form of repair method is always wise. Heavy hammering or hacking of slate is never a good idea and is rarely needed. Cracks can be seamed and gouged to an appropriate depth then filled with an effective
repair method.

Chronic movement of a roof can cause cracking to persist. With the use of certain techniques incorporating elastomeric coatings and cloth membranes you can seal these areas and create an allowance for movement in the future.

Coating options include powder/cement based products and elastomeric or rubberized paints.

Powder based is traditionally used on slate roofs, while elastomerics can be used on both. Choosing to switch from powder to elastomeric on a traditional slate roof can add benefits, but ensure you have a professional help you make this switch as there are several factors to consider before heading down this road to secure a successful longterm gain.

There is so much more. In conclusion, we’ve found that as a result of the poor economy, many people are forced to take the least expensive option when choosing their roof care provider, which, unfortunately, often creates issues with proper care and attention.

My advice would be to seek out professionals to care for your roof or the money you think you’re saving may only be a fraction of the cost for the fix you may require further down the road.

Get details from your roofer such as: What is their process, do they take photos of their work throughout the job, how do they carry out repairs and always try and get a full scope of works.

Renew Ltd carries out all levels of roof maintenance from cleaning and repairs to coatings and ongoing upkeep and monitoring (ie quarterly gutter cleaning and overview).

For more information visit www.renewbermuda.com or call 238-3639 for more details on this and other services that Renew Ltd provides.