It’s important to know the characteristics of your roof. The two main aspects are the:
- Pitch / Slope (representing the angle of the roof)
- Material (what it is cladded in)
1. Roof Pitch / Slope
In house construction, the roof pitch refers to the steepness of the roof. Roofs can be flat or varying degrees of steep. The standard slope of a roof is between 20 to 22 degrees. Quite often, the styling of the home will heavily influence the pitch of the roof. Obviously, the steeper the slope of the roof, the more difficult it is to walk upon.
2. Roof Material
The two main types of roof cladding are tiles and iron.
Concrete Roof Tiles
Concrete roof tiles are the most common roofing material today. They come in a variety of styles and colours and are always of substantial thickness. Concrete tiles are an affordable roofing material that provide high strength and accessibility. They are generally easy and safe to walk upon (in dry conditions) and can be easily replaced when damaged.
Some problems associated with concrete tiles are the sheer weight they can put upon timber frames and becoming brittle and worn over time.
Terracotta roof tiles are generally a fixture of older period homes and mostly come in one type of profile. These tiles are made in browns, reds and a variety of dark tan colours, being either glazed or matt in finish.
In my view, terracotta tiles are extremely difficult to walk upon in all conditions and will easily break if you are not careful. They are a light weight tile that most often has a walking tread to one side. Replacing damaged terracotta tiles can be frustrating as many of the brands are no longer in manufacture. There are only a handful of 2nd hand suppliers in Melbourne that sell terracotta tiles and profiles can vary for the same tile based upon yearly batch runs.
If you have terracotta tiles, I strongly recommend that you don’t attempt to walk upon them. Due to the porous nature of the tile, lichen and moss will happily grow from the moisture trapped inside, making them even more a challenge.
Colourbond / Galvanised Iron
Roofing Iron comes in a variety of different profiles, colours and thicknesses making it the obvious choice for more modern style homes. Its light weight nature makes it easy to install and shape where necessary. Safe to walk upon in dry conditions (depending upon the slope of the roof) and easy to keep clean are just some of the reasons why so many home owners and builders are choosing Iron for their roofs. Iron does not put additional stress upon timber frames and is treated with anti-rust additives.
When walking upon roofing iron, it is important to take note of where the iron sheet has been screwed to roof battens. These are the areas of most support and should always be observed by roofing professionals and home owners.