American Style Home? How To Choose The Right Roofing Materials

There’s a growing love for American Style homes in Australia. As our earlier article points out, there’s even a shortage of these homes in some sectors. The sunny coastal areas of South East Queensland in particular are hankering for Hamptons-style accommodations.

Getting the authentic touch on an American-style home is, surprisingly, easier said than done. Many builders in Australia simply aren’t familiar enough about differences in building standards between our countries — or don’t think it’s important.

One thing that will instantly add authenticity to your American style home are the right building materials. You might not think it, but the most important of these for the true authentic touch is actually the roofing material.

Tile Roofs

We love two roofing materials in this country:

Tile and tin.

tile roof

We’ll get to metal soon, but for now, let’s look at tiles for American style homes.

In 2017, the Master Builders Association of South Australia weighed up the pros and cons of the two ubiquitous materials. The determination was that while metal was more versatile, and often a safer bet in fire-prone areas, tiles took the cake when it came to lifespan, heritage appeal, and sound installation.

Sounds great for an American style home, right?

Not so much.

To be fair, you will see tile used a lot on American designs in Australia. This has more to do with people not realising that it’s not the right material, or not caring — or simply choosing tile because of preference.

The problem with tile is it’s completely inappropriate from a design and aesthetics perspective. Tile is fairly uniform in colour, shape and design. It has a flat, heritage look to it.

This isn’t what American-style homes are about, though. Their roofs have quite a distinct, unique appearance to them. In the Australian landscape, they should stand out from the regular buildings around them not just in design, but materials.

So what’s the alternative? Tin?

Tin Metal Roofs

Australia loves corrugated iron roofs. We have a fondness for them that exceeds their traditionally rural use. From the countryside to the city, you can find tin roofs most anywhere. Almost every person in this country will have some memory of being under a tin roof during a thunderstorm, listening to the rain pelt the metal above.

tin roof

If you’re after the country feel home, really love the sound of rain on a tin roof, or live in a fire-prone area, corrugated tin is an excellent choice.

Is it right for American style homes, though?

Generally speaking, no.

Corrugated tin is definitely used in rural homes across America. If you’re designing a farmstead based on some American gothic architecture, tin is an excellent choice.

But for most people, their idea of an American-style home is something more along the lines of a Hamptons or Cape Cod style home. These bohemian beach-friendly designs are about as far from the open countryside as you can get.

For these designs, corrugated tin is hugely inappropriate. It gives a farm finish to a coastal beach house.

To get the truly authentic finish on an American-style home, there’s really only one roof material you should use.

Asphalt Roof Shingles

Roof shingles are the quintessential choice of roofing material for American-style homes such as Cape Cod and Hamptons.

The reason is pretty simple: it’s the material of choice in America. Predictably, American-style homes just look more complete when topped off with the traditional roofing material.

Roof shingles provide clean, straight lines that typify the look of Hampton and Cape Cod homes. The horizontal rows of shingles should create a visual continuation of the neat horizontal rows of weatherboarding on the exterior of the home. The grey-and-black peppered colouring complements the usually white or pastel colours of the rest of the home.

Tile can be used to create horizontal lines across the house, but they’re too thick to give the proper appearance. Their overlapping shell patterning creates much too much visual noise over the roof, spoiling the clean lines.

Tin, as said earlier, is right out. Not only are you creating a farm finish on a beach house, your corrugated troughs would need to run horizontally for adequate drainage. This would completely clash with the horizontal lines of the rest of the house.

Asphalt roof shingles are the only material to provide the right look and finish to your American-style home. If you’re going through the effort to put together your dream home in a distinct style, don’t spoil it at the last minute with the wrong building material.roof shingles on home

And it’s not like you can’t get asphalt roof shingles in Australia.

GAF, the leading supplier of roof shingles in the USA, supplies the Australian building market as well. We’re proud to offer GAF asphalt roof shingles to builders across the country to give American homes authentic finishes.

With GAF roof shingles, you’ll not only get the authentic look and feel for your home, you’ll get the authentic product. More homes feature GAF roof shingles in America than there are homes in all of Australia. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

Don’t spoil your dream American home with the wrong finishing touches. Give your home the roofing material it deserves — asphalt roof shingles.

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