When choosing a roof for your new home, you’ll most likely be faced with a choice of the two most popular Australian roofing methods – traditional concrete tiles or corrugated metal roofing with a bonded paint finish, known as Colorbond or CB.

While concrete tiles have been used throughout Australia for over 75 years and remain the first choice for many homeowners, installations of Colorbond roofs have increased significantly in recent years. Originally developed in the USA, the technique of bonding paint to a galvanised base has undergone extensive refinements here in Australia to create a non-combustible roofing material that not only has outstanding resistance to corrosion, chipping, peeling, and cracking, but also offers an aesthetically pleasing solution for all kinds of roofs.

Concrete tiles and Colorbond both have their merits, and although sometimes it just comes down to personal preference, it’s important to understand the qualities of both materials in order to make an informed decision suitable for your particular home.

AESTHETICS

There’s no doubt that concrete tile roofs continue to be a popular and cost effective way of recreating the appearance of more expensive terracotta tiles. They’re available in a variety of colours to contrast or complement the rest of the building, and with the advent of new production techniques, you can either opt for a traditional look for your roof or something more modern.

Colorbond roofs are characterised by their clean lines, giving a crisp, modern look. Colorbond comes in a wide range of colours, suiting all kinds of locations and tastes, so aesthetically speaking, it’s all down to personal preference when it comes to choosing between the two roofing options.

A LIGHTWEIGHT OPTION

One major advantage of using Colorbond over concrete tiles is the difference in weight. Colorbond is extremely lightweight, meaning that much lighter roof framing can be utilised and rafters can be spaced wider apart. Unlike concrete tiles, which tend to absorb a percentage of rainwater before it runs off, Colorbond roofing weighs the same whether it’s wet or dry. If you’re considering adding a traditional Australian veranda to your property, it’s advised you go for Colorbond roofing as it’s suitable for use with flat roofs, minor pitches, and steep pitches.

RESILIENCE, WEATHERING, AND THERMAL INSULATION

The Colorbond manufacturing process produces a material that is far more resilient and weather resistant than traditional concrete tiles, thus requiring less maintenance. Colorbond can withstand pretty much anything the Australian weather can throw at it, and it’s also non-combustible. However, this resilience can be a disadvantage if you need to add a vent, flue, or air conditioning after the roof has been installed, as it’s extremely difficult to penetrate.

You’ll also find that Colorbond has exceptional thermal insulation qualities, meaning a possible reduction in energy costs, but you must ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the roof space to minimise the effects of condensation.

MAINTENANCE COSTS

It’s worth taking maintenance costs into account before making your decision. Concrete tiles are more fragile than corrugated metal, making them more prone to cracking and leakages. It’s also more common to experience ridge capping problems and leaf blockages with concrete tiles.

You should also factor in colour oxidation and deterioration, as concrete tiles can fade significantly within five years of installation. A Colorbond roof makes these problems practically disappear, with minimal maintenance required and colours staying true for many years.

NOISE ABATEMENT

In the past, traditional corrugated metal roofing has meant that the sound of rainfall was amplified throughout the home. While this is true to some extent with Colorbond roofs, it’s possible to minimise the noise with the use of acoustic blankets, foil, and insulation. Many people enjoy listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof and prefer to choose Colorbond for this very reason! However, if you feel this would be an issue for you, you may prefer a concrete tiled roof instead.

COST CONSIDERATIONS

Finally, if cost is the most important factor in your decision then you’ll find that concrete tiles can be more cost effective to install. However, when factoring in the costs of future maintenance, it will be higher for concrete tiles than Colorbond roofing. So again, while the roofing materials have their own similarities and differences, it all comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two.

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