Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings due to its durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. However, to ensure optimal performance and longevity of a metal roof, proper installation techniques must be followed. One crucial aspect of metal roof installation is the inclusion of sarking, which acts as an additional barrier for heat, moisture, and noise. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the importance of sarking, the different types available, and the key considerations for choosing and installing the right sarking for your metal roof.

What is Sarking and Why is it Important?

Sarking is a crucial component of a building’s insulation system that is installed between the roof and the ceiling. It serves multiple purposes, including thermal insulation, moisture protection, and noise reduction. By incorporating sarking into your metal roofinginstallation, you can enhance the energy efficiency, comfort, and longevity of your building.

Thermal Insulation Benefits of Sarking

Metal roofing have the potential to radiate heat, making the interior of the building uncomfortably hot during summer months. Sarking acts as a radiant barrier, reflecting heat away from the roof and reducing the amount of heat transferred to the interior. This can significantly reduce the need for air conditioning, resulting in energy savings and a more comfortable living or working environment. Additionally, sarking helps to retain warmth during colder months, providing insulation and reducing heating requirements.

Moisture Protection Provided by Sarking

Sarking acts as a vapour barrier, preventing moisture from entering the roof cavity. Moisture can seep through permeable materials and cause damage to the roof structure, insulation, and ceiling. In regions with high humidity or prone to condensation, sarking is essential for preventing moisture-related issues such as water damage and mould growth. Properly installed sarking creates a protective layer that keeps the roof cavity dry and free from moisture-related problems.

Noise Reduction with Sarking

One common misconception about metal roofing is that they are noisy during rain or hailstorms. However, advancements in sarking materials have addressed this concern. Sarking helps to dampen the sound of rain or hail hitting the metal roofing, reducing the noise transmitted into the building. This can contribute to a quieter and more peaceful indoor environment, enhancing comfort and reducing disturbances caused by external weather conditions.

Types of Sarking for Metal Roofing

When it comes to selecting the right sarking for your metal roofing, there are different options available depending on the climate, insulation requirements, and specific needs of your building. Here are two commonly used types of sarking for metal roofing:

Combined Foil & Glass/Wool Insulation Blanket

This type of sarking consists of a foil-faced insulation blanket that provides effective thermal insulation, moisture control, and noise reduction. It is a cost-effective solution that helps to reduce heating and cooling energy requirements, improving the overall energy efficiency of the building. The blanket is installed over the battens, creating a barrier between the metal roofing and the interior space. Proper installation ensures that there are no air gaps between the insulation and the underside of the roof sheeting, maximising its efficiency.

Metal Roofing

Reflective Foil Sarking

Reflective foil laminates, also known as sarking, are commonly used as heat insulation under metal roofingsheeting. They serve a dual purpose by acting as a vapour barrier when properly sealed. Reflective foil sarking should be installed with a sag or drape between the rafters or battens to allow for a vapour barrier effect. This type of sarking reflects radiant heat, reducing heat transfer into the building and helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. It is crucial to choose a high-quality reflective foil that is specifically designed for metal roofing and provides excellent moisture resistance.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Sarking

Selecting the right sarking for your metal roofing involves considering various factors such as the climate, building design, metal roofing material, and insulation requirements. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Climate and Insulation Needs

The climate in which your building is located plays a significant role in determining the type of sarking that will be most effective. In hot climates, where cooling is a priority, sarking with high reflectivity and thermal insulation properties is recommended. In colder climates, sarking with higher vapour permeability and insulation value can help to prevent condensation and maintain thermal comfort. Consult with a metal roofing professional or insulation specialist to determine the most suitable sarking for your specific climate and insulation needs.

Roof Material and Construction

Different roofing materials have varying thermal properties. For instance, metal roofing are generally more thermally efficient than tile roofs. The choice of sarking should complement the thermal characteristics of the roof material to maximise energy efficiency. Additionally, consider the construction method of your roof. If the roof is being installed for the first time, it provides an opportunity to incorporate sarking seamlessly. However, retrofitting sarking may require careful planning and consideration of existing roof components, such as solar panels.

Metal Roofing

Material Quality and Performance

Not all sarking materials are created equal. It is essential to choose high-quality sarking that meets relevant industry standards and offers excellent performance in terms of insulation, vapor resistance, and durability. Look for products that comply with AS/NZS4859.1 and have been tested for their thermal efficiency and moisture control properties. Consider factors such as R-value, water resistance, fire resistance, and compatibility with other building materials when selecting sarking for your metal roofing.

Ventilation Requirements

Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a healthy roof space and preventing moisture buildup. While sarking acts as a vapour barrier, it should also allow for the escape of moisture and humidity from the interior of the building. Adequate ventilation, combined with the right sarking, helps to minimise condensation and maintain optimal air quality within the roof cavity. Consult with a roofing professional to ensure that the ventilation and sarking system work harmoniously to provide effective moisture management.

Fire Safety Considerations

If you live in a bushfire-prone area, it is essential to consider sarking materials that offer increased fire resistance. Certain sarking products are specifically designed to withstand ember attacks and reduce the risk of fire spreading through the roof cavity. Check the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of the sarking to ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations. Prioritise safety and choose sarking materials that provide enhanced fire protection in high-risk areas.

Metal Roofing

Installing Sarking Under Metal Roof

Description: sarking installation process

Proper installation of sarking is crucial to ensure its effectiveness and longevity. While the exact installation process may vary depending on the specific sarking material and roof design, here are some general considerations for installing sarking under a metal roof:

Installation Method

Sarking can be installed parallel to the eaves (horizontal roll-out) or from ridge to gutter (vertical roll-out), depending on the specific requirements of the roof design and climate conditions. Horizontal roll-out installation is considered good building practice as it allows water to cascade down lap joints and provides a drying passage between the sarking and roof sheet. Vertical roll-out installation may be suitable for specific situations but requires additional considerations to prevent water spillage and ensure adequate ventilation.

Sealing and Joining

To achieve maximum efficiency, all joins, penetrations, and discontinuities in the sarking should be sealed. This helps to create a continuous vapour barrier and prevent water ingress. Taping the vertical overlap between roll joins is recommended to seal the side laps and prevent water spillage into the roof cavity. Additionally, all joins should be lapped by at least 150mm to ensure a tight seal.

Sagging and Air Space

Proper sagging of the sarking is important to facilitate drainage to the gutter and prevent it from contacting the underside of the roof sheeting. However, excessive sagging should be avoided to maintain the effectiveness of the sarking. Creating a continuous air space between the underside of the roof sheet and the sarking is recommended to allow for a drying path and prevent temperature transfer from the roof sheet.

Compliance with Standards

Installation of sarking should always be in accordance with relevant building standards, such as AS/NZS4200.2. Following the guidelines and recommendations outlined in the manufacturer’s installation instructions is essential to ensure compliance and achieve optimal performance. Consult with a qualified roofing professional or installer to ensure that the installation process meets industry standards and best practices.


Installing sarking under a metal roofing is a vital step in maximising the energy efficiency, comfort, and durability of your building. By acting as a thermal barrier, moisture protector, and noise reducer, sarking plays a significant role in enhancing the performance of your metal roof. Consider the climate, insulation needs, roof material, and ventilation requirements when selecting the appropriate sarking for your metal roof. Proper installation, in compliance with industry standards, is essential to ensure the effectiveness and longevity of the sarking system. Consult with a roofing professional to guide you through the selection and installation process, ensuring that your metal roofing and sarking work harmoniously to create a high-performing and sustainable building envelope.

Remember, if you’re in the Central Coast area of Australia and are in need of metal roofing services, including roof repairs, roof restoration, or guttering services, Central Coast Roofing is your go-to source for connecting with reputable roofing companies. Reach out to us today to find the right roofing solution for your needs.