Which is best: Roofing with tiles, roof sheets, or a concrete roof slab?

Roofing with tiles picture showing how tiles are removed

Which is best: Roofing with tiles, roof sheets, or a concrete roof slab?

There are three main types of roof covering i.e. roofing with tiles, roof with roof sheets, or concrete roof slabs. When designing a house one of the questions you face is what type of roof cover the best is. Within an age of diversity and the abundant choice of roof design and materials, one tendency has become very clear. The complexity of the geometry of buildings, and more especially of roofs has increased.

It is therefore simple to deduce that the number of defects increases or decreases in direct proportion to the covering type. This also applies to roof maintenance in years to come. The ideal would be for any property owner to find the best roof covering which will meet the functions of a roof. So, the aesthetics of the roof is not the only factor to be considered in the choice you make. Not an easy exercise indeed.

Let us look at a few of these functions:

Functions of a roof covering

  • Protection from elements i.e. sun, wind, and rain
  • Strength and stability
  • Durability
  • Control of heat loss i.e. insulation
  • Prevention of condensation
  • Acoustics i.e. the exclusion and prevention of noise
  • Fire protection and prevention

Out of all the above one absolute requirement stands out. The roofing type should prevent water from reaching the interior of the building. As previously noted, when one investigates the different roof type coverings one finds roofing with tiles, roof sheets, or installing a concrete roof slab are among your options. As said, the quest is to find the best type of covering that complies with aesthetics, functionality, maintenance, and cost. So, where do you start?

In our opinion, one should start by looking at the aesthetics element first and reduce the options according to choice. Next, the choice can be made towards the cost of material, installation, and future maintenance. After these steps, it should be clear which roof covering type is best i.e. either a roof with tiles, roof sheets or concrete slab.

Roof Buddies has been in business since 2011. Through the years we have noted that when it comes to the cost of materials, installation, and future maintenance of sheet metal roofs are less than roofing with tiles, or concrete roof slabs. The future maintenance required with a tiled roof is much more than with any other roof-type coverings.

Roof maintenance of a tiled roof

The maintenance options for a pitched tiled roof consist of the following annual maintenance steps:

  • Inspecting and repairing all roof ridge tile mortar joints. This includes waterproofing of the ridges.
  • Inspect all roof tile valleys and ensure the tiles are evenly spaced with a wide-open gap. This will allow rainwater and plant debris such as leaves to flow down with ease. Blockages cause a leaking roof.
  • Replace all broken tiles to prevent water leaks.
  • The roof may require to be painted after more than ten years to strengthen and waterproof the roof tiles.

Roof maintenance of an IBR steel roof

Now, let us look at the maintenance required with a pitched IBR steel roof.

  • Inspect the roof sheets for signs of corrosion. Apply a rust converter to stop corrosion when spotted. Minor cost of materials and labour.
  • Check the roof screws and rubber washers if they are loose or worn out. Water seeps through the spaces if roof screws are loose or when the washers are worn. New screws and washers are to be installed. The cost is minimal.
  • No roof valley or roof ridge maintenance is required. No cost involved.
  • The roof may require paint if the level of corrosion reaches a ratio of about 80%. Can be costly depending on the type of roofing paint and the use of a contractor is required.

Roof maintenance of a concrete roof slab

The last of the roofing types is concrete roof slabs. Here the annual maintenance requirement is as follows:

  • Inspect the roof areas for damming and blocked outlet pipes. Pipes should always be open and in some cases additional pipes installed for adequate outflow of water. This involves some costly construction work.
  • Inspect the waterproofing installed to see if it comes loose or has any cracks. Torch-on membrane is the most common waterproofing type with a lifespan of 7 years. Annual maintenance is the recoating of the aluminum topcoat on an annual basis. This can be costly as the services of a contractor are involved.
  • Investigate for cracks in the roof slab surface. The repair cost is a lot due to the construction nature of the exercise.

From the above discussion one can see that roofing with tiles is not the best option to consider. The pure nature of the escalated installation and future maintenance cost makes a choice based purely on aesthetic factors dangerous for your pocket. If one considers a tight budget the option of a pitched IBR steel roof stands out above all options. In the middle are concrete roof slabs.

For more on roofing with tiles, concrete roofs, or roof sheets give us a call. We are here to help! Also check the SANS regulations to make an informed decision about which roofing type.




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