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Choosing the right roofing material; make it count

Today, the roof is about durability, about heat resistance, about safety and about elegance and beauty, choose wisely

The roof is the first noticeable thing about the house. It is also the aspect of the building that is visible from the furthest and possibly stays in the memories of visitors longer. Picking the right kind of roof structure and the right type of roofing material is one of those significant decisions property owners have to deal with.

Among home owners, the roof is personal and it brings out the owner’s taste; in a commercial property, it can add to the attractiveness of the property and hence more tenants. The way the roof is framed, the way it is installed and the kind of roof-high or low etc., are all part of an effort to boost the appearance of the exterior of your property.

How do you get to decide whether to use wood or tiles or asphalt or iron sheets on your roof? There are a few basics to cover;

What is the cost of using the material? What is the quality of the material, does is last long- as in 10 years, 50 years or 30 years long? Are there specific installation and maintenance considerations that you’ll need to make during the roofing process and periodically there after? How heavy or light is the material in question, will it be too heavy to require special framing?  And lastly, can you find the material in various shades and colours, so as to pick the one that complements the style and colour of your house? Once you’ve answered all these, and taken into account your budget, then, time to choose…

Concrete and Clay tiles

These are among the most durable roofing materials. They can last up to 50 years or more; they don’t decay, and they don’t rust. The only thing one has to pay attention to is the cracking of the tiles, in which case, you just need to replace the cracked tile.

Clay or concrete tiles come flat, scalloped or ribbed. They are versatile, heavy, and elegant and should be installed by proper professionals. They are not cheap.

Slate roof

For this, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pocket than clay tiles. Slate roofs are more durable than tiles; they are also more beautiful and come in a flexible array of colours and shades for one to choose from. They are extra heavy, fire resistant and can even be recycled.

Slate comes in green, black, maroon, grey, purple and red and requires installation by a professional. But once set up, slate roof can last upwards of 70 years.

Wooden roof

Goes very well with cottages and bungalows and has been a choice product for many. A wooden roof has its charms and surely adds flair to your property. But it comes with a lot of limitations; there are fire restriction codes set by the local authority that might force you to seek fire-resistant coating for your roof or abandon the product altogether. Whereas it matures into an attractive colour, wood decays over time and will force you to undertake the roofing project again, sometimes sooner than you planned for.

The wooden roof also has the distinct problem of moss, fern and other forms of vegetative growth taking hold on the roof once it has started its decaying process. This compels the home owner, or the owner of the property to be on a constant watch for growth on the roof and to uproot them as part of the maintenance process.

Wooden roofs last 20-30 years but, due to weather differences and the kind of salty humid air in Mogadishu, the roof might last a lot less. It is advised that once installed, constant maintenance is needed unlike other materials that are set and forgotten. Also, they only come in the form of wooden shakes- which are thicker- and wooden shingle, which are a lot leaner.

Asphalt shingle roof

In the western world, this is one of the most common roofing materials used by private residential home owners. They are cheap and can be installed by any artisan with rudimentary training in handiworks. Since it is cheap, and comes in a variety of colours for choice, it is also widely available and can be re-enforced by other materials like fibreglass or cellulose.

Asphalt roofs generally last slightly above 10 years and, for most developers; it is preferred because it can work well with most architectural styles.

Metal roofs

Can last 40 to 75 years, is very good for rain water harvesting and it is light- weight. Metal sheet roofs are probably the most common type of roof in urban Africa, and definitely the most common roof type in Somalia.

Metal roofs come in stainless steel, zinc, copper and aluminium; they are super long lasting, offer heat and solar reflection and are good in extreme weather conditions. They are preferred in industrial size projects as well as in residential homes.

Metal roofs are expensive, but since they are mostly very light, they are less bulky to transport, they require minimal re-enforcing of the roof frame and minimal framing.

Of late, there are innovations in the metal roofing sector. Innovations that have led to better quality metal roofs; thicknesses of 28 gauge, the strongest yet, lengths that go from 2.1 meters to 3 meters with some available at customised lengths, depending on the needs of the client. These new designs are so innovative that they come in shades of red, charcoal grey, blue, green and brick red, as always, they are easy to install, water resistant and possess a strong anti-corrosion quality.

While maintaining these superb qualities, metal roofs still come in aesthetically appealing forms to be used in resorts, hotels, cottages and other such structures that are common in the hospitality industry.

As for its durability, the metal roof falls in the same category as the concrete and clay tiles. Once you set them up, you sit back and forget about it for more than half a millennia.

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