Thinking about roofing

Since we are renovating and building a new home and have the opportunity to see what else is available in other regions of the world, I have been keeping an eye open for ideas from the northern hemisphere that might translate across to Australia, as well as checking out the differences.

Tar paper roofing tiles with shallow metal guttering both assist in the management of snow and water in this climate.

Tar paper roofing tiles with shallow metal guttering both assist in the management of snow and water in this climate.

One area that has interested me in particular is the varying roofing and cladding materials used over here in colder Scandinavian regions. For example, in Tromso, the chalets we stayed in had tar paper roofing tiles; that wouldn’t translate well to Queensland – the tar would drip off the roof in 40 degree heat, I am guessing. I asked someone how the roofing was constructed using this material. The process it seems is to lay down the ceiling timbers on top of the rafters first then add a layer of waterproofing material followed by plywood, insulation, plywood, waterproofing material and finally the tar paper, keeping everything snug and dry.

As many buildings have a second or third story, the roof cavity is utilised as living space with the vaulted ceiling following the roofline rather than being closed off as it is in Australia. This was interesting to me as the new house will be constructed with a vaulted upper ceiling to assist with air circulation.

In other areas of Scandinavia, the main roofing materials were a mixture of clay tiles or a wide profile metal cladding. I am guessing the wide profile assists in allowing the snow to slide off easier. There were also a large number of copper roofs in major cities; I’m not sure if this was to show wealth, purely a design element, or if there is another practical reason for it.

Sod roof with timber guttering on a heritage house in Sweden.

Sod roof with timber guttering on a heritage house in Sweden.

We also visited some heritage areas and saw some older forms of roofing, such as timber slats and shingles and sod roofs. I guess with such an abundance of timber, this is a practical solution. Sod roofs, of course, will be well watered in this climate.

 

 

 

 

Clay tiles dominate in the Belgium villages.

Clay tiles dominate in the Belgium villages.

As we moved south through Denmark and into Germany and down into Belgium the roof materials changed again and we saw slate, clay tile, corrugated iron, asbestos tiles and even the odd thatched home.

All this has given me food for thought for the roof of the new house we will soon be commencing on the vacant block of land created at Banyo. I definitely want the wider profile iron sheeting over the office space, which will nestle within the carport to the front of the house. The profile will hopefully add that classy, but simple, Nordic element to the home.

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10 thoughts on “Thinking about roofing

  • July 15, 2015 at 12:24 am
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    I haven’t heard of tar paper before. It sounds like a great solution for a roof if it has those waterproof layers. Preventing leaks is important.

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    • July 15, 2015 at 6:52 am
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      I is not a good solution here in Australia though, my father-in-law used to use it on a cubby house in Melbourne and even down there it deteriorated in the strong sunlight and had to be replaced every 5 – 10 years.

      Reply
  • October 6, 2015 at 6:13 am
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    I love the idea of a sod roof! It seems like something you’d find in a hobbit house in Lord of The Rings. Very cute, though I wonder what effects it would have on your home!

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  • December 1, 2015 at 7:49 am
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    I have never seen those hexagonal roof tiles before! Around here, people only use the standard rectangular tiles. All of the roofs in our area look the same. If I had endless disposable income, I’d probably get cool spanish tile, just to stand out in our neighborhood.

    Reply
  • February 12, 2016 at 10:20 am
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    I had never considered how different roofing materials might hold up better or worse in snowy conditions. It is interesting that tar paper helps manage snow better than a metal roof would. Is it because the snow is less likely to slide off and form icicles?

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    • February 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm
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      I’m thinking that would be the reason.

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  • March 17, 2016 at 1:17 am
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    It’s interesting how different roofing materials can be beneficial for different climates. For instance, clay tiles and wide profile metal cladding can help snow slide off easier, so that material is great for colder climates. However, for warmer climates, something like plain metal roofing might be better to reflect heat and save on cooling costs. Thanks for the article.

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    • March 17, 2016 at 6:24 am
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      Thanks Hazel, it is interesting, I have also found that the metal roof is better in these sub-tropical climates where we get the odd summer storm that brings hail stones, those with a tile roof often find they end up with cracked tiles. I have seen an article recently where someone has clad the roof of a renovated Queenslander in tar shingles, it will be interesting to note how long that product lasts up here.

      Reply
  • July 31, 2016 at 6:14 am
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    Great article, I like the picture of the sod roof, I don’t think I see any of them up here in Ontario. The most popular roof types around here is the good ole asphalt shingles, they are very inexpensive. I myself prefer the look of a nice cedar roof.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2016 at 6:44 pm
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    Wow…
    What a lovely post…Though the tar concept will not be applicable for the place I am residing in currently. But still it sounds as a great solve for a roof having waterproof layers. I feel for the summer season, plain metal roofing will be appropriate to reflect the heat. The concept of sod roof sounds interesting.
    Keep posting and keep sharing…. 🙂
    Regards;
    Ajdak

    Reply

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