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Q&A with Handy Mac: Water, door and roof dilemmas

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Daniel needs advice on tanks for water storage, Sheila has a problem with a sliding door and DJ can’t decide what type of roof to put on his new home

Q: We will be moving to our new home soon and I am interested in installing a 2000 or 2500 litre rainwater tank. There are a few manufacturers on the market, some of whom offer a 10-year guarantee.

Where can I find a comparison done of a technical nature among the various manufacturers so that I can select the best value for money and one which will last the longest?

A: Price was very much governed by demand at the height of the drought, with lots of “no-name” brands coming on to the market.

I did have a few reports about thin walls and pin-holes, but have had no complaints about the big-name brands.

Perhaps other readers can comment further.

It is important to ensure the tank is installed on a stable base and all the connections are done properly.

Q: About three years ago, my daughter had the window taken out of the room I now occupy and an aluminium door was installed. I love it. It’s much better than a window and lets in more light and sunshine. However, it no longer locks. The door appears to have dropped slightly and the lock, a lever system, does not go into the place provided for it in the frame.

I am hesitant about calling a company that manufactures aluminium doors in case it becomes a “big” job when maybe a reliable and knowledgeable person could do a not-too-expensive repair.

I would be grateful for any suggestions.

A: Over time, the runners tend to wear down a bit, and the door is then lower. It is best to have it serviced by an expert as a handyman can end up with the door lying on the ground.

In the interim, try lifting up the door as you slide it closed and hold it up while you engage the lock.

Regular companies will have a standard call-out fee and I believe it would be money well spent.

Please call Ahmed on 0824932255 or Alan on 0824163811 for a quote or further advice.

Q: I am building a house and I have been getting mixed reviews on whether to get a flat roof, slab, or something else – tiles or corrugated iron (I believe it has a fancier name now). Please advise.

A: Do what best suits the design of the house. I guess you are still in the design stage, otherwise you will have to go with what is on the approved plan.

I am not a fan of flat slabs or low-pitched roofs as I believe the lower the pitch the more maintenance you are going to face down the line, especially if parapets are involved.

However, the initial costs can be lower, especially if you stick to metal sheeting, not a concrete slab.

For me, the most attractive roof is one covered in Mazista slate, but this comes with problems because of the malthoid needed between each course and the cost of the slate.

If I were building for myself again and had an unlimited budget, I would go for a pitched roof with no parapets and covered with imported clay tiles. There are some really amazing products out there at the moment. Next on my list would be a pitched roof covered in cement tiles – still attractive and relatively maintenance-free.

The best value for money is probably a medium-pitched roof covered in one of the new-age metal sheeting products. Today there are new metals with different alloys, but I think the corrugated pattern is still the most attractive, and it comes in a range of colours and thicknesses.

It is important to match the type of sheeting to the area in which you are building.

Areas closer to the sea, for example, need a thicker sheet with a more robust coating, but don’t go out and spend a fortune on the best covering available if the underlying timber structure is not put together properly. And ensure the person or company erecting the roof is a registered roofer and compliant in terms of the relevant acts.

Any type of roof must come with some form of guarantee. Never make a final payment until you have the guarantee in your hand.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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