roof-1197886_1280You can’t ignore the right type of material that the roof of your house should be made of – after all, your house is where your family stays safe and the comfort of your loved ones is most important.

So what material should you use for the roof of your house? How is one material better than the other? How is one material more suitable in one part of Australia but not in the other? Well, you must know the answers to these questions before you make a decision on the roof material.

Here’s your bible to the most common roof materials used in Australia along with their pros and cons.

Terracotta roofs

A roof made out of clay-based ceramic tiles is called a terracotta roof. Terracotta in Italian origin means baked earth (or clay). This roof is one of the most common in Australia and also around the globe. Terracotta roofs are either glazed to cater for a variety of colours and finishes on the roof or unglazed so they’re in their typical red-orange shade.

Although suitable for a diverse climate like the one we have in Australia, terracotta roofs are not favourable for locations that receive more snowfall as the snow can get in between the tiles and result in leakage.


  • Are very durable and last for many years with little-to-no maintenance.
  • Are resistant to fire and water, so cannot be damaged easily.
  • Come in a wide variety of colours and finishes to add to the aesthetic value of your building.
  • Exhibit great thermal properties.


  • Are very fragile and can break easily.
  • Are very heavy and labour intensive to carry and transport.
  • Have the potential to grow lichens or moss.


Steel (metal) roofs

Steel roofs are the most common type of metal roofs that are used in modern days – although tin was used as another material for roof types many years back. Steel has replaced other metal roof types because it’s more durable, cost effective, stronger and has long lifespan – together making steel the best candidate for metal roofs.

Steel roofs come in many finishes and coatings that help to improve their performance as a roof type. Owing to this property, steel roofs are suitable for all types of residential, commercial and industrial buildings.


  • Have a very low weight that helps in reducing load on foundations/walls.
  • Are very durable and require no-to-little maintenance costs.
  • Are favourable for different climates and weathers.
  • Come in many colours.


  • Can easily corrode.
  • Provide less insulation against noise and heat.
  • Require more cost upfront in comparison to other materials.


Concrete roofs

There are many similarities between concrete and terracotta tiles/roofs and people sometimes confuse one to be the other. Like terracotta, concrete tiles come in a variety of colours that can help in creating very appealing roofs for buildings that are also long lasting at the same time.

Concrete tiles or roofs are mostly found in areas that experience temperate climates. Areas that have very wet or windy weather do not generally consider concrete roofs.


  • Require very low maintenance.
  • Very resistant to water and last longer.
  • Very safe to walk on for maintenance and repair purposes.
  • Offer a variety of colours and shapes.
  • Offer great thermal insulation.


  • Can degrade and lose charm over time because of fading paint.
  • Much heavier than terracotta tiles.


Thatch roof

Roof made from bundles of dried plant material is called a thatched roof. Such roofs are extremely rare in Australia. You may find them only in outdoor shading areas and pergolas, where a thatch roof adds to the visual appeal of the structure.


  • Are built from environment-friendly and natural material.
  • Look excellent and offer visual identity.
  • Offer excellent insulation.


  • Require more maintenance in the long run as compared to its competitors.
  • Are expensive to build and require more labour.
  • Can attract rodents and birds.

Some other roof materials that are common in other parts of the world are polyester roofs, solar shingles, roof shingles and roofing membranes; however, they’re not found here in Australia because of our diverse topography and climate changes.

Author Bio:

Jim Chronopoulos is the owner of Melbourne Quality Roofing offering all types of roof restoration services. With over 25 years of rich experience Melbourne Quality Roofing provides professional and affordable roof restoration services to commercial and residential properties in Melbourne & nearby suburbs.