BY JUDE NJOKU
A POPULAR saying is that the only constant thing in life is change. In the building industry, change occurs virtually everyday in the design of homes and materials used in their construction. From the primitive system of covering the roof with thatch, we progressed to the use of corrugated roofing sheets popularly called zinc. This was followed with the introduction of asbestos. But its use did not last long before homeowners, particularly the affluent ones, switched over to long span aluminum roofing. Today, what is vogue among the rich is the use of roof tiles.
A Lagos based architect, Arc Innocent Azuogu explained that the roof plays a very significant part in the beauty and durability of a house hence many clients go for the best roof finishing. He gave reasons why those who can afford have switched over to roof tiles.
According to him, apart from the beauty these tiles add to a house, one can go to sleep once them are used because they are safe and once installed, there is little or no maintenance. They have enduring strength, are fire-resistant and safe. Assuming a section of the roof is damaged, they have the advantage of individual replacement over steel sheets. Again, those who use rain water as potable have nothing to fear because SON certified roof tiles have World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards for potable water. The fact that they come in a variety of colours give roof tiles an added advantage over other types of roofing sheets. The only disadvantage may be the cost; the low-income group may not be able to afford them.
There are various types of roof tiles used in Nigeria and across the world. These include: Ceramic roof tiles, concrete roof tiles, cement roof tiles, clay roof tiles, terra cotta, plastic roof tiles and metal roof tiles.
Most homeowners however prefer to use concrete roof tiles because they are not only aesthetically pleasant and good for a wide range of climatic conditions, they are as solid as concrete and come in a variety of colours. But the fear is that if a building is not properly reinforced, they may cave in. This applies to those who use concrete roof tiles that do not have SON certification. They also require minimal maintenance.
Due to technological advancements in the material and process of manufacture, ceramic roof tiles hardly fade. Their various colours and texture are ingredients that add a lot of quality to the character and beautiful appearance of homes finished with ceramic roof tiles. Ceramic roof tiles add aesthetically to a home by giving it a natural look.
Another type of roof tiles being embraced by homebuilders is the terra cotta roof tiles. They are durable and very attractive, giving the home an ornamental and distinctive appearance. Users of this kiln baked roof tile should however exercise a lot of care in their handling. The reason is because they are very delicate especially during the installation process. Terra cotta roof tiles are smooth in surface, and made in a variety of shapes, patterns, textures, and colours, to cover a flat or sloped roof.