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We believe that a roof is the most integral part of a home. It’s what holds your walls together and keeps your house, your possessions, and your family safe and secure.
What You Must Know About Torch Down Roofing Installation
In Australia, roofing materials usually fall into one of two possibilities: concrete roof tiles; or corrugated metal roofing with a bonded paint finish (known in Australia as Colorbond, or CB). Which option is best for your situation? Both will keep the weather out, so weigh up the factors below before you decide.
A Bit of History: The concept of bonding paint to a galvanized base originated in Chicago, and was further developed in Australia into a product that has remarkable corrosion resistance and is aesthetically interesting: Colorbond©. It comes in many standard colours and is resistant to the elements. Whereas a galvanized corrugated roof might last 20 years, a Colorbond roof would have a 50 year life or longer.
Terra cotta tiles are also an option; they literally last forever. Think archaeological dig. There are examples of terracotta roofing that have been around for 1000s of years. However it is about double the price of a concrete tile roof.
For our purposes, we will compare concrete roof tiles and Colorbond roofing, and will focus on Melbourne conditions. Both products do an admirable job at what they're designed for (keeping the weather out). Concrete roof tiles have been used in Melbourne for at least 75 years and there are many houses in older suburbs such as Heidelberg and Camberwell that still have their original concrete tile roofs.
Why would you select one product over another? It comes down to personal taste, lifestyle, a few other factors... and COST.
Architectural Merit: This is a personal matter. Colorbond has a modern stylish look with clean lines. However, there are many concrete roof tile profiles that give a different architectural result than a standard half-pipe tile. For a small addition in price, you could (for instance) select a flat shingle style. There are also many colours in concrete roof tiles.
Noise: This is an important consideration. Insulation and ceiling notwithstanding, you will hear rain on a Colorbond roof. While we might think of raindrops falling on a metal roof as a pleasant sound, it can be disturbing to some people, especially in heavy downpours. Tile roofs are much quieter.
Water Collection: If you want to collect roof water in a tank for household use, Colorbond is the best option. You will harvest more water because concrete tiles have a level of absorbency. Also they tend to retain dirt, dust and so forth which washes into the water tank. During the recent 10 year drought in Melbourne, home owners were encouraged to collect rain water for household use. This influenced the demand for Colorbond roofing.
Weight: Colorbond is a fraction of the weight of a concrete tile roof (10% to be precise!) So your roof framing can be much lighter. Also, a Colorbond roof is no heavier wet than dry. A concrete tile roof will absorb water before it runs off, so a wet tile roof is heavier and engineering specifications need to allow for this.
Rodents: It is simpler to make a Colorbond roof pest-proof by nature of the way the product is installed.
Bushfire: Melbourne is a city adversely affected by summer bushfires. If you are building in the outlying fire-prone areas, BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) regulations will make it in your interest to choose a Colorbond roof, as they are easier to seal against external ember attack.
Resilience: If you need people to climb on your roof for maintenance reasons, Colorbond is more resilient. However, if you need to penetrate the roof (for instance for a vent or air conditioning) this will be more expensive with CB.
Eaves or Veranda. If you have extensive verandas or eaves, a Colorbond roof will be more desirable because of its lighter weight. With verandas you want a shallower roof pitch, and this can only be achieved by some form of sheet roofing. Typically roof tiles are not recommended on a roof pitch of less than 20 degrees. And because Colorbond is a descendant of old-fashioned corrugated steel, this delivers the traditional Australian veranda look.
Cost: Concrete tiles are over 20% cheaper than Colorbond, which is why more than 90% of homes built in Melbourne have a concrete tile roof. The advertising might have you think that CB is as cheap as tiles, but this is not the case. Designers sometimes prefer Colorbond. One client paid to have plans drawn up by a designer. When seeking quotes, they were horrified to see thousands of dollars extra for a Colorbond roof, when they actually preferred a traditional tile roof.
Which roof is best for you? Look at each factor as it relates to your situation. Weigh up its degree of importance, and then decide which roofing material best serves your particular needs, tastes, lifestyle, and budget.
Roofing - Common FAQ Sheet
1. What should I look for when selecting a roofing contractor?
Since the roof you install is only as good as the contractor who installs it, choosing a qualified roofing contractor is essential to having a healthy roof that lasts a long time. Skilled workers will determine the outcome of a roof replacement project. The best contractors have many years of experience in installing multiple kinds of roofing systems.
Another way to test the quality of the contractor and business is to ask for references that have had complaints. Since it is possible for any roof to have a problem, it is important to know how the contractor deals with past clients. A good contractor makes a commitment to their clients and the work they have done.
2. How much roof maintenance is needed after installation?
Since all roofing types and materials need different amounts of maintenance, there is no simple answer. Routine maintenance can be anything from keeping your drains and gutters clean to extensive work. Maintaining your roof is your responsibility, so whichever material you choose; make sure that you will be able to fulfill its maintenance needs.
For instance, asphalt shingles and wood shakes and shingles need to be maintained by routinely cleaning out gutters and trimming back tree branches. Replacing damaged shingles and keeping moss or algae off of the roof are ways to ensure longevity.
3. How much does a new roof cost?
This question also has no simple answer since replacing a roof varies on the materials and installers you choose. You can usually get a free estimate from a contractor. Before agreeing to a price, make sure the following considerations are made:
- the square footage of your roof
- roofing material you choose
- if you are keeping or removing your existing roof
- any permits needed
- the amount of labor needed to get the job done
4. How long does it take to replace a roof?
Replacing a roof usually requires a lot of work. The process may take a few days or a few weeks. Remember that bad weather can delay installation. If you are repairing rather than replacing your current roof, it may take less time.
5. How should I prepare for the installation of my new roof?
There are a few things you should do before the installation process begins. Since hammering can cause vibrations inside your home, take loose items off of your walls and shelves. You should also make sure your driveway and surrounding area is clear so the workers have space to move materials directly to your roof. It is a good idea to park on the side of the road instead of your driveway.
Make sure you can provide electrical power outside. In any case, contact the installers if you have any questions.
6. How long will my roof last?
Roofing, like any other material, is likely to deteriorate with time. A new roof can last anywhere from 10 to 40 years, although 20 years is the average. You can lengthen the life of your roof by choosing the right contractor for the original installation and keeping up with any maintenance requirements. Even if you follow these recommendations, there are factors you can't control such as weather elements.
7. When is the best time of year to install a roof?
The best condition for installing a roof is when the temperature is above freezing and there is minimal chance of snow and rain. Since you cannot predict bad weather, always know that installation delays may occur.
8. How do I know when my current roof needs to be replaced?
Different roofs deteriorate at different rates. If you see any of the following signs, it is time to consider replacing your roof:
- Leaks in numerous places
- Continuous leaks, even with repairs
- Problems return soon after repairs
- Repairs do not fix the problem
Roofing is one of the most important investments you can make. Improper, aged or substandard roofing can lead to a host of other more expensive problems. If you are selling your property, a well-chosen roof can yield a solid return on your investment. Whatever your budget or design desires, whether you want architectural shingles, tile roof installation or something in between, a Roof Master consultant will work with you to make it a reality.
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