Most Australian homes use either Colorbond metal or cement tiles for their chosen roofing material. Which is the best roofing option for the harsh Australian climate? Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of both.
In new builds, generally Colorbond roofing will come in at a better price than tiles. This is mainly due to other cost factors in the build. Concrete tiles can sometimes be cheaper than Colorbond when just looking at the material cost, and not considering other costs like trusses, insulation, etc. There may not be a huge overall difference between Colorbond and tiles dependent on the type of roof.
Colorbond roofing is a modern alternative to tiles. It comes in a wide range of colours and profiles and allows for some pretty spectacular architectural designs (can be used for curves). Tiles offer the elegance of a traditional, heritage roof with a wide range of colour options.
Colorbond weighs a lot less than tile roofing (it can be up to 90% lighter). This makes it faster and easier to install and handle. Because of the lighter weight of the roof this also means that the roofing subframe can be constructed from lighter materials (space rafters, battens, etc) which will save money when building a new roof.
A concrete tile roof has a lifespan of up to 50 years, and outperforms other roof types for resistance and durability. Concrete tiles can withstand the toughest environmental conditions, which may adversely affect metal roofing. Metal roofing (such as Colorbond) has a lifespan of 30-45 years. Colorbond may better withstand hail damage, but tiles offer longevity when considering all of the harsh Australian weather conditions. Location also plays a part in roof lifespan, if looking to build a roof near the ocean then tiles may be a better option in that type of corrosive environment.
The main threat during bushfires is ember attacks. As tiles do not have a complete seal between them, Colorbond is a more fire-resistant type of roof. Colorbond is easier to meet the BAL requirements for homes with a bushfire protection overlay. However, tiles do offer higher protection from direct heat, this may stop the timbers inside combusting from the outside heat and flames. A good option in bushfire areas is a Colorbond roof with sprinklers installed.
Colorbond metal roofing can be extremely noisy, especially in tropical storms and hail. If an acoustic blanket is laid during installation this can reduce the noise somewhat, but you will never get rid of all the noise. A tiled roof is a quieter option and offers better sound insulation.
Tiles offer a cooler roof space than Colorbond. So if insulation is not used a tiled roof will keep a lot cooler in summer and hold the warmth in winter. However, good quality insulation blankets installed with a Colorbond roof can make the difference between the roof types negligible.
If you have solar panels installed, the radiant heat in a tiled roof may keep the panels warmer for longer and this may affect the overall performance. Whereas, with Colorbond the roof is hotter during the day but the heat dissipates quicker when the sun goes down.
Colorbond requires minimal maintenance to preserve the look and structural integrity of the roof. It is very resistant to cracks and imperfections. Walking on a Colorbond roof for maintenance can be safer than walking on a tiled roof as you are less likely to cause damage (like cracking of tiles). A wet Colorbond roof though can be extremely dangerous as it will be extremely slippery.
Small repairs (such as replacing a single damaged tile) can be a lot cheaper and easier on a tiled roof, as with Colorbond you would need to replace the entire sheet (which would cost more than a couple of roof tiles).
Colorbond will fade and deteriorate at around 10 years and will need to be refinished. Dark colours will fade faster than lighter colours with UV exposure and weathering.
Both Colorbond and tiled roofs offer different advantages and disadvantages. Choose your roof based on all factors, not just the price or the look.
If you would like to discuss a roof restoration (and you live in Brisbane north to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane South to Logan and Brisbane Bayside or Redlands) contact us at Bayside Roofing for all your repair, restoration and roof painting needs. We also have a roof maintenance service so we can check your roof on a regular basis.