What are Concrete Roofs?
A Guide for Canadian Homeowners
Concrete remains one of the most popular building materials in Canada, the manufacturing industry generating a revenue around two billion CAD in 2017. of There are two main forms of concrete roofing: shingles and a single slab, several inches thick, which covers your entire rooftop. While the ingredients may vary depending on who manufactures them, generally concrete tiles all tend to have the same shape, size, colour, and texture. Additionally, all concrete roofs are usually made up three main components: sand, cement, and water.
Want to know to know if a concrete roof is the best choice for your home? The following article provides all you need to know about one of the sturdiest roof products available.
Advantages of Concrete Roofs
Weather Resistance: One of the main benefits of a concrete foof is its ability to shield your home from harmful elements– it can withstand category five hurricane force winds of more than 155 mph (when shingles are properly nailed in), heavy rain, hail damage and sheds snow easily. This makes them highly adaptable the Canadian climate.
Ever wondered why so many man-made objects – everything from pavements, highways, and parking structures to boats- are constructed with concrete? This is because it is one of the few materials in the world that is virtually impermeable to both fire and water. Its slow rate of thermal conductivity (heat transfer) also means that concrete roofs are also immune to forest fires.
Lifespan: It is longer lasting than many other roofs, with a shelf-life of around 30 – 40 years when correctly installed and maintained. Indeed, one of the most iconic concrete buildings, the Roman Colosseum, built in 80 A.D. has survived up to the present day.
Sustainability: Concrete, though often thought of as an artificial substance is in fact produced organically in some parts of the world. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly products, being produced from some of the world’s most readily available natural substances, energy efficient, durable and easily recycled.
Energy Efficiency: Concrete’s inherent ability to absorb and retain heat in colder months while reflecting most of the heat from the sun’s rays in the summer, means your heating and cooling bills will be greatly reduced. Scientists have even recently built a concrete roof capable of producing solar energy. https://futurism.com/scientists-have-created-a-concrete-roof-that-generates-solar-power/
Disadvantages of Concrete Roofs
Installation Difficulties: The installation process is one of the most challenging of all types of roofs. Amongst other complications, cutting tiles for valleys is a slow process and tiles are easily broken, especially when walked on.
Replacement Difficulties: Tiles tend to fade quickly over time and finding new shingles to match them can become an issue
Weight: The material is also heavier than many other roof systems.
Price: Cost-wise, it is more expensive than asphalt roofs and usually falls into the price range of wood shakes.
Which Homes are Best Suited to Concrete Roofs
For many homeowners, one of your main concerns when choosing a roof will be its aesthetic appeal. It’s easy to customize a concrete roof for most types of homes, given the fact that the shingles are available in various patterns, colours, sizes, and shapes. With their ability to mimic the look of shake, slate, and clay tiles, they mesh well with traditional suburban homes but they are also used frequently for Spanish, Mediterranean and modernistic architectural styles.
Photo 1 – Concrete slab roof on a Greek beach house, providing a futuristic appeal
The bricks can be categorized under three main profile appearances:
Flat Profile – As the name suggests, these are entirely flat
Low Profile – Have a slight curvature, with a rise-to-width ratio equal or less than 1:5
High Profile – Have a curvature with a rise-to-width ratio of more than 1:5
How to Install Concrete Tile Roofs: A Basic Overview
Concrete tiles are one of the most difficult of all roofing materials to set up. It is highly recommended that instead of attempting to put up this material on your own, you contact an experienced roofing specialist.
That being said, if you’re curious about how the process works, we’ve put together a simple step-by-step breakdown.
Installing Concrete Slab Roofs:
- Create a framework of insulating concrete structures or pressure treated lumber, which will form the “skeleton” of the completed roof
- Reinforce the frames with steel bars and a concrete mixture
- Determine how much and which type of concrete you will need to fill in the roof. Pour concrete, after installing the formwork, starting from the farthest corner and working your way in.
- Use a concrete vibrator to ensure that there are no open air pocket
- Finish sealing the roof, using a bull float to keep it smooth and level
- Allow the roof several months to properly dry out and harden
Installing Concrete Shingle Roofs:
- Estimate how many tiles you will need.
- Determine the weight of the tiles, in order to gauge the level of structural integrity that is required. Pro tip: many homes composed of wood are not able to fully support a concrete roof without being properly adjusted, while a building with concrete walls and flooring is ideal for this type of roof
- Build a strong base with sheathing attached
- Secure flashings around any open areas
- Fasten the tiles to felt or roof battens
To Conclude: The Next Step
Since the earliest historical times, humans have used caves as shelter, realizing that rocks provide the best protection from harsh elements. It’s no surprise that concrete, along with slate, flagstone and sandstone are still used for rooftops today – especially for homeowners seeking enhanced weather protection.
The top selling point of concrete roofs is therefore their ability to act as a powerful barrier to all types of climate conditions, at a competitive price.
Want to learn more about Concrete Roofs? Looking for a reliable roofing contractor?
Look no further! Call us now for a free no obligation estimate at 1.855.582.7263 or fill in the form at the top of the page and we’ll get back to you soon!