The market consists of an assortment of roofing materials giving consumers a range of choices. Everyone has different opinions when it comes to making an articulate choice of roofing material to be used in their homes because each material comes with its benefits and setbacks. Here is a guide to help you make a technical and general choice of roofing material.
The primary focus in choosing a roofing material should be the climate of where your structure is built. You should be able to pick materials that will withstand the harshest of climate conditions like snow and ice or heat and sun and potential damage. Cost, weight, durability, ease of installation, maintenance, and general look of the materials should be considered as this will affect the entire project cost and façade (striking/appealing appearance) of your structure once construction is complete.
The most popular roofing material types in the market are asphalt shingles, metal roofs, and tile roofs. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages with their prices varying depending on the type of material you choose.
Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials as they are affordable and light. Despite asphalt being the dominant material used when making shingles, wood, slate, and plastic are also among other common materials used to make them. They are relatively cheaper to purchase compared to other roofing material options and since they are light, they are relatively simpler to install which is done by nailing or sealing to the roof frame. This generally brings down the overall costs of construction of such a roof type.
However, shingles are not as durable since they easily wear out. Because they are heavier than sheets, they require more timber for a more stable frame, involving more design complexities and in the long run translating to high construction costs. If not well fixed, they are prone to leakages and they also come with a high maintenance cost.
These have been the most predominant roofing material used over the years. They are commonly made of steel, iron, zinc, or aluminum making them incredibly durable. The most common problem faced by metal roofs is rust which causes wear and tear and because of this, many manufacturers are adopting cutting-edge technology to improve the sheet`s ability to resist rust as this is used as its test of durability. They come in three different categories depending on their design. There are the corrugated metal sheets, the box profile, and the tile profile metal sheets. The corrugated metal sheets consist of a pattern of smooth uniform folds on the surface of the sheets.
Metal roofs are energy efficient and help in regulating temperatures during extreme weather conditions. They are resistant to weather conditions and can withstand high winds and hailstorms. They can last up to 50 years. However, they are prone to rust.
Tile roofs are well known for their durability and weather resistance. They are commonly made out of clay though they come in various materials like concrete, plastic, and metal. They come in many designs and colors availing clients with a variety of choices. Their heavyweight poses a complexity like handling and installation hence requiring expertise leading to high costs.
However, despite all that, they are far more durable than shingles.
Slate roofs have over time been used as an alternative and environmentally friendly roofing option. Besides their durability, ability to resist harsh weather conditions, and fire resistance, they are a low maintenance roofing option, and installation or replacement does not lead to wastage. However, they are known to be very heavy and this not only has installation costs associated with them but also leads to high overall construction costs in the long run.
One can’t talk about roofs and forget to mention the grass thatched roofs, the predominantly used roofing type in Uganda. These roofs are put up using dry vegetation like grass, straw, water reed, palm branches, or papyrus. A few grass types used in Uganda include ‘Obukuli’ from Northern Uganda and ‘Kalenziwe’. Of late, grass thatch houses have become increasingly rare with the dominance of either roof sheets or tiles. Currently, they are most popular in rural areas however, a few modern buildings still adopt this roofing method, especially when constructing shades. They are also increasingly popular in recreational and hang-out spots like bars, restaurants, and clubs.
Besides being affordable, naturally insulating, environmentally friendly, and alluring to the eye, thatched roofs also have disadvantages like being highly flammable, susceptible to leaking, and not durable at all. This makes them the least favorable roofing option for commercial and permanent structures.
Furthermore, attention should be paid to different components of roofing materials irrespective of the type of roof you will opt for. Being knowledgeable about the different components of your roofing material will aid your decision-making process and give you a greater insight into what options are viable for your building depending on location, climate, and other factors.
It is a common roofing material that comes with many advantages like durability, ease of installation, and affordability. On the other hand, it is heavy, tends to corrode if not sealed properly, and needs to be coated with a sealant to protect it from the elements.
Stainless steel unlike copper can resist corrosion giving it an upper hand. It does not rust. Just like copper, it is another popular material and is very durable and affordable. On the other hand, though, it is heavier than copper and this weight is usually associated with high costs in the long run.
Galvanized steel is durable and resistant to corrosion making it the most sought-after roofing material among roofers. It can be used on flat and sloping roofs but not very steep roofs. It is quite heavy and not as durable as copper or stainless steel. A few of its major downsides are that it’s not only expensive and difficult to maintain but also requires a lot of upkeep.
In conclusion, there are various roofing materials in the market that one can choose from, though it’s important to find the best material to match the different climate conditions and topography. Making detailed research about your options and talking to professional roofing contractors will save you the costs of making wrong roofing decisions in the long run.
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