It’s not the most exciting thing to do, choosing a roof for your house or building, but being as important as it is to the integrity of the entire structure, it is important to get it right. A wrong choice could prove expensive in the future.
The roof is the most exposed part of the building and your home’s main defence.
It is tasked with protecting your house from the rain, sun, wind and other hazards. A damaged roof could cost you thousands of dollars in property damage and building repairs if not sorted out as soon as possible.
With a wide range of roofing materials available, choosing a new roof for your existing or new home can be quite a challenging task. Some of the factors you will have to consider while making your selection include cost, the weight of the material, installation requirements and of course the kind of style you want.
Choosing the best roofing material for your home
The type of roofing material you select is determined by the kind of roof you want. A gently sloping roof or a flat roof will demand a different roofing material to a roof with a steeper pitch. Heavier materials such as tile and slate require a reinforced roof structure to carry the extra weight.
Here are the different roofing options that you can choose from:
- Asphalt shingles.
This is the most widely used roofing material in New Zealand. It’s popular because it is inexpensive to buy and install with installation requiring very little skill. Asphalt shingles are made of a fibreglass medium that is impregnated with asphalt. Textured finishes are applied to the product for aesthetic appeal.
Shingles are not particularly heavy and will therefore not require any specialised roofing structure for installation. An asphalt roof will last for about 25 years depending on the specific type of shingle you choose.
Wood has been widely used as a roofing material for centuries and, for the most part, is still a good option today. The roofs are usually made from redwood, cedar or pine. The shingles can either be split or sawn.
Although wood offers good heat insulation, the major downside to this kind of roof is fireproofing where wood does not perform as well as other materials – even when treated with a fire retardant. The roofing material is also quite expensive and will usually cost more to install as compared to other materials such as asphalt shingles. Life expectancy is in the range of 25 years.
The common metals used for roofing include tin, galvanised steel, copper, and aluminium. Other than copper varieties which are typically installed as shingles, metal roofs are usually manufactured for seemed roofs that consist of vertical lengths of metal sheets joined with solder.
Although metal roofs offer excellent fire resistance, they are expensive and require special skills to install especially for some styles. Metal roofs are also noisy when it rains.
These types of materials (with the exception of copper shingles) are ideal for gentle sloping roofs and have an expected lifespan of more than 50 years – which makes them one of the most durable roofing materials.
Roofing tiles are either made from concrete or clay. Because of their heavy nature, tiles (both clay and concrete) require reinforced roof structures that can handle the extra weight. Special skills will also be required to install them. Their major draw is style as tiles make for a very aesthetically pleasing finish.
Tiles are also very durable and can withstand the harshest of conditions. They offer good fire and sound proofing.
Making the choice
If you are remodelling, your choice of roofing material is largely determined by your current roof – how it slopes, its weight handling capabilities, and stylistic design. For new houses, on the other hand, all options are available to choose from. For both scenarios, however, you’ll want to consider the texture, colour, weight, durability as well as what has been traditionally used on houses like yours when making the decision.