Roof tiles have a major impact on both the appearance and comfort of a home. But with so many different shapes, colours and roofing materials, it can be hard to work out which might be best. Here are two possibilities.
As a popular choice for houses all around Australia, terracotta tiles suit varied climates and are available in diverse hues and profiles, providing plenty of options for you to customise the roofing to your home style. This clay-based roofing is extremely durable and can last many decades, even more than a hundred years, depending on its environment and particular structure.
Terracotta has a high thermal mass, which means it traps and stores heat from the sun during the day, keeping the rooms underneath cool. Then, in the cold evening, this stored warmth releases, helping to maintain a comfortable night temperature within the home. Because of this quality, terracotta tiles are ideal for temperate southern climates, but they can also undergo colouring and other treatments to reflect the sun's heat, making them suit hotter climates as well.
A mixture of sand cement and water go into the production of concrete tiles. Concrete is stronger and not as brittle as terracotta and is less likely to break on impact if someone walks on the roof for maintenance or to install solar panels or hot water units. However, concrete is also heavier, which means you need to make sure your building structure is sturdy enough to bear its weight. Though terracotta has a high thermal mass, concrete has a higher thermal mass still, so it is best suited to colder climates that benefit from the release of stored warmth during the evening. In hot, humid environments that rely on cooling breezes for a good night's sleep, lower thermal mass materials work better.
Concrete is even more versatile in terms of design than terracotta. The tiles are available in a variety of moulded shapes and profiles. Concrete is also able to mimic other materials such as terracotta, stone or even wooden shingles so you can create virtually any roofing within your imagination. Contractors add pigments to the cement mix before casting, or they paint the tiles afterwards. Concrete is also notoriously durable, lasting for many years. For alpine regions, neither concrete nor terracotta tiles are ideal as a roofing material, as snow can settle along the joins to cause leakages.