It takes 42 hours to drive from Australia’s northernmost town (Bamaga) to Melbourne, clocking a total of 3,694 kilometres, and covering two of the earth’s climate zones. You’ll pass flourishing rainforest, barren desert, surging mountain ranges, and everything in between. The awesome diversity of our country has led to a variety of housing styles—Queenslanders, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, and more—each with unique designs that suit their environment.
Every house style has a unique type of roof too, chosen to match its style, and to stand firm against the conditions of the local environment—excessive heat, relentless rain, howling tempests, or a combination of all three. There’s lots of different roof materials to choose from in Australia, and in this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of the most common.
The most common roofing options in Australia
Steel roofing is a popular choice in Australia, and is also cheap to purchase (although extra cost is added after purchasing screws, flashing, and ridge caps). Particular styles can make a property look almost industrial. But it’s also available in a wide range of colours, including red, greys, creams, greens, and blue, allowing you to pick the style that best suits your home.
Steel roofing typically lasts between 20 to 50 years, with a long warranty often included from the manufacturer. It’s one of the most durable roofing materials on the market, able to resist water, extreme temperatures, high winds, mould, insects, and rot. It can also be installed quickly by professionals.
As a hard material, steel can produce a racket during heavy rain. But the sound of rain hitting metal is also soothing for some, perhaps conjuring memories of your childhood home as it’s battered by a tropical storm, heard from underneath a fluffy and safe doona. Storms can pose another problem too—large hailstones can create dents that are costly to fix.
Terracotta roof tiles
Terracotta roof tiles are made from clay, and can add a beautiful, natural look to your home. They usually come in darker colours such as black, greys, browns, and orange, offering a range of styles to match your home.
As with steel, terracotta tiles are a highly durable roof material, lasting up to 50 years before needing to be replaced. They stand up well to extreme weather conditions, but have a tendency to break when something heavy falls on them (e.g. a tree branch). Thankfully, individual terracotta tiles are easily replaced.
Terracotta is a great insulator, allowing you to save money on utility bills throughout the year. But they’re expensive to purchase, and must be installed by a professional to prevent leaks from occurring (although this is the case for all roof types)1.
Concrete roof tiles
Concrete roof tiles are one of the strongest roofing materials on the market. They can withstand intense rain, hail, wind, and sunshine, usually last up to 50 years, and typically come with a long manufacturer guarantee. Concrete tiles come in a range of designs that mimic natural materials such as wood, slate, and stone—some concrete roofs are stunning. They’re one of the cheaper roofing options too.
Concrete is a good insulator, and can help to bring down your power bills by regulating the temperature of your roof cavity. One downside to concrete is its porous surface, which can eventually cause them to fade and need repainting.
Slate roof tiles
Slate is a type of natural stone, and arguably the most beautiful of roofing materials. It oozes class, and comes in a range of sizes and colours, including black, gray, green, purple, red and green.
When installed correctly, slate roofing can last up to 150 years, blowing every other type of material out of the water. But on the other hand, tiles can be easily dislodged by people working on the home, and because they’re produced in batches, it can be nearly impossible to find exact replacements. It’s the most expensive type of roofing material too.
Because it lasts for such a long time, slate is one of the most environmentally friendly roofing materials. It’s also highly energy efficient, keeping your home cooler in summer, and preventing warm air from escaping in winter.
Finally, as a natural stone product, slate is resistant to fire, making it a great choice if you live in an area susceptible to bushfires.