Thursday December 14 2017

How to choose the best roofing materials

The type of ironsheets will determine the value

The type of ironsheets will determine the value of house. Classy ironsheets will give a small house class while mediocre ones will make a nice one ordinary. Photo by Rachel Mabala 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

While constructing a new house or planning to move your family to a new one, the roof type is one of the key things to look out for. Some people leave this to the building contractors. But if you want the best, you must be part of it.

The type of roof, according to Moses Kinobe, an architect at Kinobe and partners says, depends on the roof slope, the materials used for roofing and the shape of the roof. There are many roof types some of which date back to the colonial era while others are of modern designs based on the latest architectural designs.

He says, “The architectural house design or structure plays an important part in determining the type of roof to be used. The thickness or lightness of the walls affect the roofing process as light walls will require light roofing and vice versa. Also, the weight of the roofing material affects the strength of the walls.”

The materials and roofing style will determine the cost of roofing. Durable and genuine materials will cost you more as well as hiring qualified personnel.

Deo Nsambu, a sales’ person at Mabati Roofing System, says iron sheets come in different gauges, types and colours. The different types include super eco, eco tile, Roman tile, galvanised and ordinary. These differ in texture as well as price.

Slate and tile roof shingles
If you are looking for sophisticated roofing material to give your house a cozy look, slate may be your answer. A slate roof gives your house a natural appearance, fire resistance, invulnerability to rot, ease of maintenance and an expected life of more than 70 years. It is available in a variety of colours and styles.

However, these tiles are heavy, very costly and need a high degree of expertise for installation. They are very fragile thereby complicating gutter cleaning and rooftop maintenance.

Ceramic roofing tiles give a house character and are generally durable. Advances in the manufacturing process make the tiles resistant to fading. Ceramic tiles are fireproof, and quality tiles should last 50 to 70 years.

“Ceramic roofing tiles are however not suitable for climates with fluctuating weather. They are prone to erosion under these conditions. Although they are durable, they are also fragile; heavy winds can damage them,” Nsambu says.

Asphalt shingles were popular in Uganda in the 70’s and were commonly used to roof schools and hospitals. They were durable, suitable in all temperatures, provided reliable waterproofing, cheap and easy to install but these have been linked to cancer especially from drinking the rain water that ran on the roofs. They are also prone to fading and tend to exhibit inconsistencies in color. They develop black marks caused by algae thereby causing discolouration.

Metal roofing
Metal roofs are becoming increasingly viable, as metal shingles are low maintenance, lightweight and more environmentally friendly. However, installation can be tricky and requires a contractor with experience installing a metal roof.

As a metal roof starts to lose its shine, repainting is an option as long as the roof’s structural integrity is in good shape. It usually costs less to repaint a metal roof than to replace it.

“The iron sheets especially galvanized may also be a cheaper option for roofing. The galvanization adds durability to your roof but the homeowner should ensure maintenance because after some time, the paint usually peels off,” he says.

Flat roof
Flat roofs are cheaper to install compared to the sloped roofs due to a smaller surface area. They are considered to be a safer option as there is less chance of falling off and allow the homeowner to achieve a certain visual appearance.

Although some newer green-friendly solutions reduce heat absorption for flat roofs and offer greater leak-proof protection, often the coating does not last a long time so the flat roof may need replacing within 15 years.

“Flat roofs can require a great deal of maintenance to ensure that it remains watertight, says Kinobe. The roof must be cleaned regularly to prevent leaves and debris from clogging the drain. Also, the houses located in areas whose temperatures change from cold to hot abruptly are vulnerable to damage as the sun will gradually cause the roof to degrade.”

Wood shakes and cedar shingles
Manufactured from naturally renewable resources, wood shake shingles are a good eco-friendly roofing choice. Wood shakes have been listed as a preferred environment friendly choice because they produce minimal impact on the quality of water runoff and for their durability. They may last for around 30 years or more, making your house a solid investment in environmental responsibility for many homeowners.

Hipped roof
This is the type of roof where all sides are sloping downwards. It is very suitable for houses built on slopes. This type of roofing gives a house a compact solid appearance due to the pyramidal shape.
Hip roofs are a little difficult to construct because they require more complex systems. Hip roofs can be constructed on a wide variety of roof shapes. Each ridge is central over the rectangle of the building below it.

Roof pitch
According to Kinobe, the pitch of a roof is the angle at which it slopes. This usually determines its steepness to make the roof slope either low pitched or steep pitched. “The roof slope tends to influence the material and the type of roofing to be used for your house, in addition to other factors such as area climate, winds and budget,” he says.

Roof materials
There are several roof construction materials on market in Uganda and include plastic polymers, iron sheets, concrete tiles, asphalt and terracotta tiles to naturally-occurring ones such as wood, ply and slate.

Identifying genuine materials may be very difficult to a lay person but the engineers and construction contractors and help identify the fake from genuine products.

Nsambu says, “The concrete tiles last longer in extreme weather than many other roofing materials while giving off a modern look. When making a choice of roof type, knowing the right roof shape, ideal materials and right slope will help you make an informed decision.”

Using iron sheets

Iron sheets: Super eco iron sheets with a box-like design cost between Shs 33,000 to Shs 42,000. Eco tile and Roman tile cost Shs 78,000. Super tile (smooth) costs Shs 58,000 while the rough type goes for Shs 78,000. Ordinary gauge 30 iron sheets, cost Shs 33,000 while gauge 28 costs Shs 42,000.
Ridges and valleys; used to cover gaps left between the iron sheets when roofing or connect iron sheets range between Shs15,000 to Shs 28,000.