The roof is the crown of any building and roofing costs contribute to approximately 10% of the overall construction cost. In order to get the best out of this investment, it is important to know the types of roofing material available and understand the pros and cons of each.
Concrete and Clay Tiles
If you take a look at many residential houses within the urban setup, you’ll find that a majority of them have been roofed with either clay or concrete tiles. These are popular because of their durability, with a lifespan of around 50 -100 years.
Clay tiles are molded from earthen clay that is then fired for hardness. Concrete tiles are made from standard sand mix concrete and colored to the desired hue. Clay tiles are actually recommended for harvesting rainwater because clay is a natural filter.
A key disadvantage with these two is that they are very heavy, thus require strong truss members. You will also need to provide for an underlay beneath the tiles when installing. This translates to a higher construction cost.
Be careful when installing solar systems on top of such roofs as they are quite fragile and the tiles can crack resulting in roof leakages.
Shingles are a popular choice for many high end residential units and some institutions. Available in a range of colors, the shingles are lightweight and come coated with naturally mined granules on the upper side to prevent against damage by UV rays.
Different companies offer different types of shingles but the two most common types are asphalt shingles (also known as bituminous shingles) and fiberglass asphalt shingles. Fiberglass asphalt shingles outshine the former in flexibility and strength.
This type of roofing is not recommended in hot climate areas like the Coast or Northern Kenya since they deteriorate quite quickly under extreme heat, and ultimately start cracking.
Stone Coated Metal Roofing Tiles
Stone coated tiles have gained popularity because of the attractive appearance they give to a roof. Many people refer to them as decra, not knowing that decra is a brand name but the product name is stone coated metal roofing tile. They are lightweight and come in a variety of profiles and colors.
Whereas this roof is considered long lasting with virtually no maintenance costs, the tiles can be noisy in the event of heavy rainfall. There are also some reservations about harvesting rainwater from such a roof as there is high likelihood of it being contaminated by the roof surface.
Polycarbonate Roofing Sheets
Polycarbonate sheets are a suitable roofing solution in scenarios where you want to allow natural light to pass through. They are ideal for use on projects that cover long spans such as parking bays, footbridges, canopies, pergolas, etc. While polycarbonate roofing may not be the best option for an entire house, they are ideal for residential project entertainment areas, pergolas, verandas, and poolside resting areas.
These sheets are also very lightweight, making it easy to transport and install them anywhere. With the UV blocking capabilities of polycarbonate, they are also ideal material for the construction of greenhouses.
Corrugated Roofing sheets
Corrugated iron roofing sheets or mabati as they are commonly referred to, are an inexpensive option. Initially, they were available in standard-grey color but nowadays they can be painted to any color during production and before delivery, on request.
The major drawback for this type of roofing material is that it gets noisy when its raining and if not galvanized it becomes very susceptible to corrosion or rust after awhile.
Box Profile Roofing Sheets
The box profile sheet is a modern alternative to the traditional corrugated iron roofing sheets. These sheets can be installed on both walls as cladding and on the roofs.
Due to their low price and high durability, they are commonly used in many industrial and residential buildings. They are available in various profile and colors.