For the longest time, homes in Australia basically came with either tin, or concrete tile roofs. Over the last few years we’ve seen a rise in a third option —asphalt roof shingles. As we move into 2020, renovators and new home builders alike are left asking themselves — which is the best roofing material for Australia?
Below we’ll go over the pros and cons of these three stalwarts and give our honest (if a little biased) opinion on the winner.
Tile roofing is fairly ubiquitous across suburban Australia. The distinct repeating layer design and myriad of colours is a popular option amongst many.
Pros of Tile Roofs
The popularity of tile roofs is well-earned.
First and foremost to their credit, they’re incredibly durable and long-lasting. They’ll withstand the Australian climate better than most things. They have a life expectancy of some fifty years; in drier areas of the country, this can extend much further.
Tiles offer many aesthetic options, as they can come in various shapes and sizes.
Cons of Tile Roofs
Tiles are quite heavy. A much sturdier, more reinforced structure is necessary to hold up the weight of the tiles, which can obviously lead to increased production costs on the house.
The tiles themselves may be long-lasting, but that doesn’t mean there are no upkeep costs. Tile needs to be painted, which means repainting in the future. The cement supporting the ridge capping tiles and gables will crack and fall away. So repointing will need to be factored in as an expected maintenance cost. The underlayment on the roof that supports the tile also needs to be updated every 8-20 years. This means removing all of the tiles, maintaining the underlayment, then relaying all of the tiles. You’ll need to do this 2-5 times over the life of the tiles, and it’s no small feat.
Lastly, cleaning and care of the roof is best performed by a professional, as tiles can be quite fragile and break under the weight of someone walking over them.
The archetypal rural roofing solution, tin roofs can be found across Australia from coast to coast. While tin is most commonly associated with rural areas, it’s a popular option just about everywhere. Tin roofed homes regularly rub shoulders with their tile and shingle counterparts, and they look good doing it.
Pros of Tin Roofs
Perhaps the most attractive thing about tin roofs is the low cost. It’s a cheap alternative of the three roofing materials on the list, and also one of the easiest to install.
Tin roofs are easily painted any colour you want, and while they lack the aesthetic appeal of the other options, they can be an excellent choice for minimalist suburban designs.
Particularly useful in the Australian climate, tin is great at reflecting heat away from the house. This keeps the home cool during the hottest part of the day and helps manage air conditioning costs.
Because tin is lightweight, it doesn’t require any reinforced structures underneath. This keeps installation costs lower than most of the alternatives on the list.
Cons of Tin Roofs
Tin roofs sound pretty great — what are the downsides?
Those who are looking to resell their home may be concerned about the lack of “curbside appeal” tin roofs hold. Yes, they can be painted a nice colour and suit simpler designs, but they lack the overall aesthetic punch of tile or shingles.
The lightweight nature of tin roof also comes at a cost. It can be very easily dented, particularly in a hailstorm or if a tree comes loose in a storm. Tin roofs are quite resilient, but still less durable than other materials.
Tin roofs also develop mould and algae quite easily. This can cause a pretty major slip hazard, as the growths will create slippery layers of film over the surface of the roof.
Another overlooked element is that the rubber seal beneath every screw will deteriorate. Over time, this rubber will break away leaving a potential leak at every screw hole.
Maybe Pro, Maybe Con
We were divided on this, so we had to give it its own section — Noise.
The sound of rain on a tin roof is incredibly relaxing for many, and a fond memory of childhood.
For others, it’s a deafening roar that drowns out everything in their home, and makes life unbearable during the midst of a heavy downpour.
The sound of objects hitting a tin roof can be dampened through several means, but these additions add cost and complexity to an installation that many try to avoid by getting tin roofs in the first place.
Last, but certainly not least, are asphalt roof shingles. Ubiquitous in America, they’ve slowly started to take a hold across Australia, and are increasing in popularity.
Pros of Asphalt Roof Shingles
Roof shingles are fairly comparable in price to tin roofs. There are some features that can make the cost slightly higher for shingles, mostly based around the shape of the roof, but on average you’re looking at a similar cost-per-area.
Roof shingles provide great protection from the elements, and asphalt roofing systems are designed in such a way as to be naturally insulating to help keep air-conditioning costs down.
If you’re bothered by the noise of a tin roof, asphalt shingles are a better alternative than sound-proofing. They don’t have the same roaring sound during heavy downpour, and don’t require special additions.
Like with tin, asphalt roof shingles are lightweight, so they don’t require extra-strong supports.
There is also excellent curbside appeal with asphalt roof shingles. They’re attractive, distinct, and will help a house stand out from the rest of the street. Even in a suburb full of asphalt roof shingle homes, the salt-and-pepper colouring is an attractive look that’s easy on the eyes.
Cons of Asphalt Roof Shingles
About the biggest downside to asphalt roof shingles has to do with who installs them! GAF roof shingles are guaranteed to last to up to 50 years – similar to tiles. However, they will need to be installed correctly. Unfortunately with the rise in popularity of this roofing material, many shonky, cost cutting installers have also popped up. This can lead to a shorter lifespan of the roofing system.
All three building materials are excellent choices, depending on your desires. For our money, however, we truly do believe that asphalt roof shingles offer the best value for money.
Although they must be installed correctly, they are very durable and won’t dent under a hailstorm.
It doesn’t need the expensive maintenance and upkeep of tile, while providing aesthetics that are equal or better.
When it comes to combining usability, appearance, and cost-effectiveness, asphalt roof shingles are the clear winner.
If you want a strikingly appealing home, consider GAF Roof Shingles. Request your Free Quote here: https://www.allamericanroofing.com.au/free-quote/
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