Our choices in home roofing today have never been greater, galvanized iron, slate tiles, terracotta tiles, wooden shingles, sheet metal…and the list goes on. You may even choose a green option with a roof made entirely of straw/thatch, although with bushfire being one of our major climatic threats here in Australia this wouldn’t be an ideal choice.
Whichever roof appeals to you most, there are a number of key factors that, as a licensed building professional, I always advise my clients on while also adhering to the Building Code of Australia.
In Australia our two significantly used roofing materials are generally either terracotta tiles or Colorbond steel, which is what I’ll be referring to from here.
The first important factor is wind rating. A wind rating of ‘N’ stands for non-cyclonic or ‘C’ standing for cyclonic, and determines how a roof is to be secured to your home. The designation of cyclone regions and wind actions are governed by wind standards, such as the Australian Standard AS4055 (Wind Loads for Housing).
With a tiled roof the weight of the tiles can be sufficient enough to hold a roof down. However, the much lighter roofing material of say galvanised steel must always be tied down. If your steel roof has not been correctly installed and instability occurs, say during heavy winds or storm conditions, it is a very real possibility that you could be collecting your roof from someone else’s property!
Next I refer to your roof battens. If you decided to change from a tiled roof to a metal roof, then the battens once used for your tiles will no longer be strong enough and new heavier battens will need to be installed. Your roof battens must be properly secured to your home rafters and the rafters must be secured to your home’s walls.
And then it’s a must to consider bushfire areas. To prevent any sparks or embers entering your roof cavity, all roof flashings should be scribed into the profile of your steel roof. And it goes without saying that with bushfire season now upon us, it’s imperative that you have cleared all leaves and other debris that has accumulated in your gutters over the past months. I would also refer you to NSW Rural Fire Services ‘Bushfire Survival Plan’.
And finally another very important factor that has and continues to catch out many home owners is their home insurance cover. In the event your roof requires repair or replacement through insurance take note: If your roof was not installed correctly to comply with the rules and regulations of Australian Standards, then you could see yourself battling your insurer and/or your installer. When it comes to claiming on your household insurance, if your installer is not a licensed and registered professional, then quite possibly your insurance policy will not be enforceable.
Remember, when choosing your next roof make sure an insured and licensed builder assesses your area wind rating and the structure of your roof (as per your local council regulations and the Building Code of Australia), as well as assisting with suitable waterproofing membrane, the durability and fire retardation of your chosen materials, the maintenance required (other than the cleaning of your gutters), and the energy efficiency you can achieve if say you’re in a warmer climate where light coloured materials can better reflect heat.
Just a quick note before I sign off, I want to acknowledge that this post did get rather technical so thank you for taking the time to read through it. Getting a little technical does seem rather warranted when we are dealing with a vital part of your home. If you would like me to clarify any points from above, feel free to leave me your comments below and I will be more than happy to answer these.