Real Estate

What you need to know when choosing your new roof

Written by The ReReport

A roof enhances the overall street presence of your home.

It tops off your home’s look through its clever combination of shape, colour and style.

It also insulates against noise, protects against harsh weather and affects your home’s thermal performance — helping keep the indoors cool in summer and warm in winter.

There are three main roof types: steel roofing, ceramic/terracotta roof tiles and concrete roof tiles.

Costs will vary from one type to the next and each has its own aesthetic appeal.

Flat roof tiles, for instance, provide a modern, streamlined appearance and are less expensive than a steel roof. But the benefit of a steel roof is that it’s very low maintenance.

From the top

Henley design showroom manager Vicki Boburka said ceramic and concrete tiles had made a big comeback this year, particularly with new designs offering better durability, thermal performance and weather and impact resistance.

But steel roofing is also popular.

“Steel roofing, such as Colorbond, is known for its flexibility, allowing home builders and designers to think outside the box with its application,” Ms Boburka said.

She added one of the biggest mistakes people made when building a home was to undervalue and under-think their roof.

“Your roof makes up a big portion of your street appeal, especially with single-storey homes, so make sure the roof material and colour complements your overall external colour scheme,” she said.

It’s also important to consider a home’s location and orientation.

Corner lots, for example, have more street frontage, so are more visible, whereas homes on narrower blocks have less road exposure and are less visible.

The surrounding streetscape and environment should influence the direction you take with roof colour and material choice.

Ms Boburka said lighter roof colours were suitable closer to the coast, as they blended better with the sandy tones of the beaches and muted hues of the surrounding vegetation, whereas inner-city and suburban homes were more likely to feature mid to darker shades of grey.

Ms Boburka added mid-grey roofs reflected a significant amount of heat and produced less glare than light hues.

But in cooler climates, such as Melbourne, darker roofs were extremely popular due to their heat-absorption properties.

“(A dark roof) keeps the home warm naturally while reducing the amount of insulation and heating needed to heat the home, making it more comfortable indoors and providing better ongoing affordability,” she said.

Deciding on a roof type and colour from a small sample in a showroom can be tricky. Where possible, take some samples to where you are building so you can view the materials on site and also see what they look like in the sunlight.

To get a really accurate feel, combine samples of all the exterior materials that will make up the facade.

Play by the rules

Housing estates have covenants and guidelines that ensure what’s being built complements the look and feel of the development and maintains some style consistency.

Ms Boburka said some estates had regulations against the use of reflective materials, while others had strict rules against the use of profiled roof tiles because they wanted a cleaner, more minimalist feel.

There might also be restrictions on colour choices, so it is wise to check with your developer before making any firm decisions to avoid any disappointment and be sure your choice complies with the rules.

Hot right now

Flat, minimalist roof styles are predominantly the go for today’s contemporary new-home designs.

But Ms Boburka said incorporating straight lines and architectural angles as part of the overall look was also popular.

“Skillion roof pitches achieve a sleek modern edge,” she said.

Keeping the garage roof consistent with the main home is now a common approach adopted by most new-home builders.

“This helps to keep the costs low and the roof line of the house flowing smoothly,” Ms Boburka said.

“Flat garage roofs are becoming increasingly popular with new designs, in particular double-storey homes, to ensure the roof line doesn’t detract from other external facade elements.”

Handy hints

• Look at what type of warranty is offered on the roof — consider how many years are covered by the warranty and what is actually covered.

• Stick to a three-colour rule when designing your facade and choose one of these colours for your roof to achieve tonal harmony, but steer away from tones that blend with the brickwork. If your facade has red bricks, don’t go with a red roof!

• Think about matching your roof style to the style of the house. A light-coloured steel roof is nicely combined with a coastal-inspired Hamptons home, while darker-profiled roof tiles are beautifully teamed with traditional facades.

• Avoid making a feature of your roof by using a contrasting colour to the facade.

Source: Vicki Boburka, Henley

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