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architectural notes



Roofing Materials

Tile v Steel

There are principally two categories of roofing materials that can be said to be 'the crown' on a house.

Steel sheet and Tile substrate (clay, concrete, slate etc)

The oldest of these being clay tiles developed over the ages virtually in conjunction when man was able to control fire with the clay tile being the consequence as regards to roofing materials. The concrete tile development arriving at a later stage in the evolution of building materials

So let's imagine that the corrugated iron sheeting was developed at the same time, which material do you suppose would have been used?
The tile, simply because the fasteners required to retain the sheets in a water tight fashion would not have existed.

I think we would all agree that kiln fired tiles were used, not because they were the best but simply because they were the only commercial product available in the social evolutionary cycle.

Initially there was the galvanized corrugated iron roof sheet, was limited in size and it was used in much the same way a large tile, under and over with an overlap on the side

When you look at cost and speed, a metal roof is constructed faster than a tile roof. Both materials have their respective advantages and disadvantages

Today steel roof sheeting comes in continuous lengths to suit the roof, the most common being the corrugated profile, whereas tiles are much the same size as they have always been albeit that their contour profiles are more numerous and are considered to offer greater initial aesthetic choice.

The unfortunate aspect regarding colorbond is the surface integrity of their colours.
Within two years the surface integrity begins to dissipate and begins to acquire a chalky finish, which can be deemed acceptable, if it's all the same batch but not so great if dissimilar products (guttering eg) of the same colour are used in the construct.

A tile roof absorbs and attenuates (stops) sound whereas a steel roof unfortunately transmits sound much like a drum.

Regarding heat transfer, a steel roof does not store heat and sheds any heat load the minute the sun sets, whereas a tile roof absorbs and retains heat load for a longer period of time. This can be considered as being beneficial with a tile roof during winter which can be offset by efficient roof ventilation during summer.

Today many of the shortcomings can be nullified with the use of insulative and absorptive materials so the question becomes more relevant,...which is the better material to use?.

Some would say steel is lighter, tighter, cleaner, flashings are simpler to apply. One needs to be mindful that the trades aware of the traditional and the proven modes of flashing techniques do not exist any more and there is a need to consider future maintenance as may arise.

As regards to ventilation, whether it be roof ventilation or room ventilation, the versatility is better with clay or concrete tile as opposed to steel, as a clay, concrete tile roof is easily repaired via replacement, and as stated previously, has better sound attenuation qualities particularly when it rains.

Forte of a steel roof is it's continuous length and suitability to roof pitches under 12 degrees


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