Everything You Need to Know About Choosing A Roofing Material

Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 8:40:09 AM UTC

Being the largest structure of a house, a roof is one of the first focus points of any home. It therefore has a great influence on how the home is perceived in terms of class.

Although cost is a factor on the type of roof materials used, it does not play a primary role in judging how well or bad a roof will look. In fact, very popular, modern and environmentally friendly roof materials are amongst the products rated as low to medium in terms of cost.

Various elements, however, will need to be taken into account when choosing your roof. These include:

Material type

  • Style
  • Colour
  • Cost

As any reputable builder will tell you that a roof is only as good as the structure it is build on. A poor, fire prone structure will destroy any roof no matter the quality of the roof materials or workmanship.

Leaving structure aside, the lifespan of a roof is directly influenced by the following factors:

  • Correct installation
  • Maintenance
  • Environmental aspects

With environmental aspects including the type of beating a roof will have to endure from the elements of Mother Nature. The choice of roof materials will therefore differ from area to area.

Roof Material Options

The list of roof material options available to the Australian market is considered numerous, but can be grouped into four main categories. These categories are:

  1. Metal
  2. Tiles
  3. Composite materials
  4. Natural materials

Metal

Metal includes a smorgasbord of options. The type of roof materials can further be sub divided into four categories, namely:

  • Steel
  • Aluminium
  • Tile
  • Copper

Options of rolled metal roofing are considered strong and relatively cost effective when compared to corrugated galvanised iron which is considered as very expensive. Metal is rated high in strength and light in terms of weight. Metal is also considered environmental friendly due to its high energy efficiency and very often recycled composition. It is regarded as cool due to its high solar reflectance, and very popular in homes going for a modern, cottage ranch or bungalow appearance

Tiles

Clay and cement are the two options when considering tile as your choice in roof material. Clay tiles are usually more expensive and much heavier than its cement counterpart although both are rated high in durability. Clay tiles are available in lighter colours and can reflect over 50 percent of the sun’s solar energy. Concrete tiles are available in a variety of colours, textures, shapes and styles which can compliment most home designs. It is ideal for home owners wanting a European, Mediterranean or contemporary style home.

Composite materials

The most common materials available include:

  • Roofing underlay
  • Roofing felt
  • Imitation slate
  • Composite shingles
  • Corrugated plastic roofing
  • Membrane roofing
  • Fabric roofing shade sails
  • Spray foam polyurethane roofing

With corrugated plastic roofing and fabric roofing shade sails (varies) being rated highest in strength. The first being rated low to medium and the latter medium to high in cost.

Natural materials

Many homeowners enjoy the look and feeling natural roof materials can offer. The materials available are:

  • Slate
  • Wood shakes/shingles
  • Thatch
  • Lake asphalt for flat roofs

Thatch roofs are considered high risk in terms of fire hazard, and therefore require frequent maintenance and fire prevention control. That’s roofs are also not ranked high in terms of strength. Slate, on the other hand is rated highest in strength, cost and lifespan. Slate is termed non-leaching, easy to repair and a very good sustainable roofing choice. Slate is also considered a very green material as it is a natural product, easy to repair and recyclable. This type of roofing material is ideal for home owners going for a Chateau, French or Colonial look.

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