Types of Roof Covering Materials and Roof Functions

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The roof is an essential part of the building. The main purpose of a roof is to enclose a particular space and protect it from sun, rain, snow, wind, and dust. For homes and buildings especially, a roof performs multiple functions, all of which are tied into providing protection. Different elements and parts of the roof provide protection to the structure’s interior and exterior.


Main basic functions of roofs:-


Human Protection

The basic purpose of any roof is to provide protection to persons inside a structure from the elements. This purpose is necessary in every part of the world as the roof provides shelter against something as basic as bright sunshine; add to that other weather conditions, such as rain, snow, sleet, hail and high winds. The roof covering resist the weather conditions from peeping into your place. For an effective roof covering, it is essential to have a well structured framework with or without slope that keeps the roof intact. All of these factors contribute to proper weather resistance thereby ensuring human protection.


Possession Protection

Without a roof, not only would human inhabitants become vulnerable to the changing weather, but everything else inside a structure also. Possessions such as furniture, appliances, carpets, artwork, and clothing would be ruined quickly when rainwater or snow invade the structure. Also, the basic interior of the structure would be damaged by the weather from the flooring to doors and walls.


Strength and Stability

Strength and stability are provided by a proper roof structure. It depends on the materials used and also upon the methods and techniques used to put up the structure together. The roof should be able to resist all types of environmental loads of any magnitude due to rain, snow, and wind.


Water Protection

The exterior of a structure is also served by the presence of certain elements of a roof. Roof flashing is designed to protect exterior walls from water damage. Flashing is basically a piece of sheet metal that prevents rainwater from penetrating joints and causing damage.


Thermal Insulation

People living in varying climatic conditions hugely consider this factor for the regulation of heat as it is very important for the comfort of the inhabitants of that building especially in rainy or winter seasons.


Sound Insulation

Most roofs provide sound insulation up to a certain extent. In the cases of factories or studios, other sound absorbing layers on the interior will have to be fixed for sufficient insulation levels.


Roof Covering

For covering pitched roofs, a variety of covering materials can be used. A few of them are:-

  • Thatch and Grass
  • Corrugated Asbestos sheet
  • Tiles


Thatch and Grass: This is a traditional roof covering. It consists of a unique property to keep the interior of the house quite cool in the hot tropical heat. It is not durable, it can easily catch fire and it also needs regular maintenance. The thatch and grass also give residence to snakes, rats and insects as well. The attraction of these animals and insects to thatch and grass covering is a very likely which could be a problem to the residents.


Corrugated Asbestos sheet: Is a  very fragile material made from cement and asbestos. It should be taken care of when being transported and fixed and for that reason, corrugated asbestos sheets are not a commonly used material nowadays for residences.

Tiles: Tiles are mainly made out of clay or cement. The tiled roof has the ability to keep the interior of a building cool. However, a tiled roof can be very costly compared to other types of roofing.

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