Rubba-Roof: The Final Solution?

After finishing this post I’ve realised how long it is! If you have a leaky roof though please bear with it, you will want to read this…

This may seem an odd post for my blog, but anyone that knows me including most of my clients will know that I have an ongoing battle with a leaking roof on our house.

Now before I start sounding like we’re living in some third world hovel I should explain that we live in a very old Orkney long house. The house was built in 1850 with clay and stone wall that are nearly 2′ (600mm) thick and a stone slab roof.

The cost of replacing the roof would be very high for what is more of an irritation than a disaster.And. I’d have to say that whenever we watch the news and see people up and down the country up to their waist in water, in the scheme of things we don’t have it to bad having to break out the odd bucket whenever the weather gets violent (which is does here from time to time!).

Links House, Westray, Orkney - We're very near the sea.

So, over the years I have tried various paints/coating with varying degrees of success. The problem of course is that where the drip appears inside bears little relationship to where the rain enters outside. The number of leaks and their location also depend very much on which way the wind is blowing; literally.

So the only solution, other than a new roof, is to paint the whole roof.

This works but never for long as we are so near the sea the roof is constantly sand blasted (salt blasted actually) and so painting the roof has turned into some something of an annual summer pastime.

Enter Rubba-Roof.

Links House, Westray - section of roof with Rubba-Roof applied

I came across this whilst searching for the next brand of coating to try in my quest for a more permanent, or least longer lasting, solution.


They offered a sample on their website so I requested one of these. When it cam it was a leaflet with an attached patch of rubber sheet. This supposedly was what the coating turns out like when cured. The sheet was stretchy “like what rubber sheet is”.

If this indeed was what the coating produced then I was optimistic as if have long thought that failure of previous coating has been largely due to the expansion and contraction of the roof slabs as they are quite large.

My wife who never believes anything at first glance didn’t believe that the patch was representative of the cured coating. I must confess I was little sceptical.

Anyway, nothing ventured…

I ordered two tins to try as it is a tad expensive at over £100 for a 10kg tin.

The first two tins impressed us enough to buy another four and I must say I am very impressed and encouraged with Rubba-Roof.

I peeled some cured coating off of a ladle that I had been using to take paint/coating out of the tins and it is indeed a rubbery sheet just like the sample.

Links House, Westray - section of roof with Rubba-Roof applied

I’ve done the worst sections of the roof now in between bouts of rain (are we ever going to get a summer this year?) and must say we have no leaks since.

The first two tins didn’t go on as well or as far as I would have hoped and was concerned that the product would work out prohibitively expensive. But  here’s Phill’s Big Tip – listen to the suppliers! I’ve applied three of the last four tins using a squeegee, as they say in their instructions, and it has gone on much better and gone much further.

In the picture to the right, the black area with the grey seams is what remains of the previous coatings.

All I need now is another couple of fine days and I’ll get the last tin on.

I reckon I will need at least another 6, maybe 8, tins making it 10 or 12 overall to do the whole roof, so it won’t be a cheap project but I am very optimistic as to its efficacy.

Rubba-Roof give an estimated life of 30 years, so I’d have to say if we get half of that I’ll be a happy bunny.

Given the cost and the way the weather is behaving this year I doubt if I will get the whole roof done this year.

But then I’m in Orkney where I think the Spanish term manyana must have originated. There’s always tomorrow, or next year in this case.

I’ll do another much shorter post (honest) next Spring to report how the roof faired over winter.

If you’ve stayed with me this far you must have a leaky roof yourself and be waiting for the link to Rubba-Roof.