Building a house: Where does a 'roof shout' come from?

A few of the samples out at Muriwai testing station
Michele Powles

A few of the samples out at Muriwai testing station

Michele Powles is building a house in West Auckland and is documenting the weekly trials and tribulations of the process in this weekly catch up.  

Roof Shout! Finally

Let's not mince words, it didn't just rain last week - some PR genius from Game of Thrones decided to run an international campaign to ensure that winter was coming … everywhere.

The roof was supposed to go up on Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. To be fair, it was only sporadically raining on Wednesday and they did manage to make a good start.

But when Thursday's sunshine arrived like the melted golden butter on perfect toast, I was very relieved. And so was Marcus – Our Man of Roofing Iron.

"Perfect roofing weather," he said, as he stretched and let that glorious sunshine rebound off the black roofing iron at his feet.

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A selection of the samples out getting hammered in the sea air at Muriwai.

Hotter than a cat on a black tin roof?

I remember when I wanted to paint our current house black.

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There was wailing and gnashing of teeth that it would get too hot, the wood would warp and the world would end. OK, maybe just that the wood wouldn't enjoy it, as the colour would heat everything up too much.

With this house there was a small discussion with our architect, Glynn, over whether a black roof would make the house act all Swedish sauna and be too hot.

But with our R5.2 ceiling insulation, we quickly realised that this wasn't going to be an issue. It's also super durable, so now it's up, that's it. A quick clean every so often and we're sorted.

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Almost there . . .

I get to have a sleek, black Dimond roof, and what's more, I get a sleek black house when the rest of the black Colorcote corrugate goes up.

Went up quick?

That's the beauty of a long-run steel roof; once the weather decides to play nice, and you get a couple of quality roofers revelling in the sun on their backs, it gets up quicker than a toddler looking for Easter eggs.

If you're a details person, you'll notice the cavity batons are on top of the wrap, rather than below it.

This makes the most of our Proclima weatherproofing and airtightness membrane system, and if you want more of the technical skinny on this, there's more detail, as usual, over on Building Boxes.

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The roof going on the lower section.

But the roof isn't corrugate?

Nope. It's Veedeck. Our roof is in two parts. The steepest section slopes away to the south, and the smaller section bears the full brunt of the northern sun.

That northern roof also has a much lower pitch. Five degrees to be exact. This means that when it comes to a long-run steel roof, corrugate isn't an option.

Instead we chose to use Veedeck from Dimond, which has a similar profile but can handle the low pitch we need. And I have to say, to my rain-soaked eyes, that puppy looks mighty fine.

Still a normal tin roof though.

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Watching the roofers at work.

Sort of. With Colorcote there are a few options when it comes to ye olde Kiwi tin roof. We're using Colorcoate ZM8 where the base steel layer has additional magnesium in the protective alloy coating, giving it marine-grade weather fortification.

Given that we're close to the mangroves, we will get sea spray, so that extra level of anti-corrosion faction is a big deal for us. I've seen what they put this stuff through too. Out at the testing station in Muriwai, on Auckland's west coast, there are rows of roofing product getting hammered by more than a little of your average stormy weather scenario.

In fact because New Zealand has some of the most rigorous climate conditions for this type of product (ocean plus geothermal plus epic UV damage) we also have some of the best testing practices around.

Not much in the way of green technology in a tin roof though?

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And it's done!

Well it's a great way to collect rain water (which we'll be doing), and you can mount solar panels on it no trouble.

And more than that, Colorcote are the first to adopt water-based paint technology in steel coating, meaning a lot less nasties going down the drain or up in the air in their factories.

So...roof shout!

Yes. Finally. And happily Mr Building Boxes flew back from Japan just in time to see the final sheets of Veedeck going on. Fox and I made cake, oh, and brought beer. I did a little research about where the whole roof-shout tradition has come from.

I have vague recollections of Kevin McLeod from Grand Designs waxing poetic about its origins, but in New Zealand, my research concluded it pretty much means beer.

We sat around, eating cake and drinking beer, and realised that some roofer somewhere was having a good laugh. I mean, there's only ever a roof shout. That's some genius roofer marketing. It's not like there's a plumbing shout, or a framing shout, or even a "walls are up" shout. The roofers are often only on site for a couple of days too.

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Roof shout means cake ... right?

When Mr Building Boxes brought it up, even the roofers nodded in agreement, and laughed. But they didn't say no to a second piece of cake ...


* Introducing the family and the build

How to price a new build

* How to find a builder

How to get resource consent

* How to work around rain

* How to: concrete foundations

* How to: build an outside office

How to: sell your own property

How we sold our house by ourselves

The truths of building: you're bound to change your mind

Timber framing goes up

How to cope with the stress of building a house

A baby, an apple tree & a broken arm

Michele Powles is a writer and mother of a Lego engineer and destruction specialist. You can read more about their New Build Love over at or on Facebook

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