The Top 3 Roofing Materials For Australian Homes

Reading Facebook recently we noticed someone asking what the best roofing material would be for their new home. Specifically, they were trying to choose between tile and Colorbond. Perhaps, not surprisingly, most people were suggesting Colorbond.

Of the two, I’d agree — Colorbond is a great, reliable option in Australia, if a little pricey. But I felt the question itself was too narrow. If you’re looking for the best roofing material for an Australian home, is the choice really just between tile and Colorbond?

I think you know the answer already.

Asphalt roof shingles might not be the most well-known roofing material in Australia (for now), but they are a serious, strong contender for one of the top options when building or renovating a home.

So let’s broaden the question a bit: What is the best roofing material for the style of your new home? Here are our top 3 picks.

Tile Roofs

Roofing tiles are traditionally made out of clay or concrete, and are a popular choice for roofing around the globe — and it’s not hard to see why.



Firstly, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, most tiles look great. There are many shapes and styles of tile to choose from, allowing builders and homeowners to create distinct, interesting looking roofs. They can also come in just about any colour you want, making them incredibly versatile and suitable to most home designs.

Far from just vanity, this can greatly increase the curbside appeal — and thus the monetary value — of the home.

But looks obviously aren’t everything. Tile is tough, and it lasts. One of the reasons it’s so ubiquitous as a roofing material globally is its ability to withstand harsh climates. From intense heat to tropical storms, tile will stand up to a solid beating and maintain its integrity. It’s also fireproof, which is increasingly on the minds of Australian builders.

This also leads to tile being incredibly long-lasting. While it’s not a cheap material for many reasons, it is quite the investment. A properly installed tile roof will last many decades if cared for properly; it’s the longest-lasting roofing material on this list.

Tile is a wonderful insulator as well. As summers get hotter, tile roofs will help maintain a bearable temperature within the home; and as winters cool down, you won’t need to rug up as much. Everyone wins.

Of course there are some downsides. When we say tile isn’t cheap, terracotta tiles certainly aren’t. We aren’t just talking about the cost per square meter (which, make no mistake, is very much higher than the other two entries on the list). Concrete tiles on the other hand, are your plain wrap version. Either way, tile is heavy, meaning the support structures beneath it have to be stronger and tougher. This, predictably, adds to costs, albeit hidden.

Despite how tough a tile roof is, an individual tile is a surprisingly brittle thing. So while it might protect you from the weather, a poor worker placing a foot wrong during installation can result in tiles cracking or breaking leading to costly water damage from leaks. The extra care needed when installing tile again contributes to greater upfront costs.

Colorbond Roofs

Colorbond is made out of steel with a durable baked-in paint finish, and is widely used across Australia. What makes Colorbond so popular is the combination of longevity, cost, and durability.




Traditional painted metal roofs always had a problem with the paint inevitably peeling at some point, leaving the metal exposed to the elements and succumbing to rust. Colorbond’s baked-in paint is much, much longer-lasting than external paint applications, protecting the metal for longer. Properly installed and maintained Colorbond will last a few decades, although not as long as tile.

Where tile is heavy and expensive to install, Colorbond is a lighter material. The roof doesn’t need to be as stout to support it, and the cost per square meter is reasonably priced. Installation is also much less of a hassle, as steel sheets are much more capable of supporting a person standing on them compared to concrete tiles.

In terms of downsides, corrugated tin roofs will need replacing a little more frequently than tile. While a nice, solid colour metal roof is certainly aesthetically pleasing at the start, many suffer the common colour fade, which can be a major consideration for some home buyers and builders thinking about long term value.

If you love the classic Aussie rural look, then a corrugated tin roof is the only way to go.

Asphalt Roof Shingles

Ubiquitous across America, the humble asphalt roof shingle is finally gaining a foothold on Australian shores — and for good reason.

We started with aesthetics on the last two, so we’ll follow the trend. Nothing else looks like asphalt roof shingles. Many builders and developers who build American style homes such as Hamptons or Cape Cod styles try to use tile to replicate the look, but it simply isn’t the same. There’s a distinct elegance to asphalt roof shingles that truly sets them apart. If you’re looking to stand out in Australia, there’s simply nothing better.

Asphalt roof shingles combine many of the benefits of tile and tin into one beautiful-looking product. Like tile, roof shingles are a great insulator and will dampen the sound from heavy rainfalls (great for going to sleep to, not great for hearing the TV or having a conversation with someone). On the other hand, it’s as affordable as Colorbond, lightweight, and relatively simple to install.




Properly installed GAF asphalt roof shingles can last as long as Colorbond. Since they’re lighter and won’t require the same amount of engineering and timber to support the weight of tiles, they represent a cost-effective roofing option compared to tiles.

And of course, asphalt roof shingles are designed for harsh climates. They will withstand sun, rain, and wind with the best of them, keeping your home protected from the elements.

If you are building an American or Hamptons inspired home with those classic high pitched gable roofs, then there really is only one contender – GAF Asphalt Roof Shingles! Give us a call on 1300 593 408


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