Pros and cons of different types of roofs

Your roof is one of the most important parts of your house, and if you're building a new home or replacing your roof, you have several options. Given that storm events in Melbourne and around Australia have wreaked havoc on many roofs across the nation - now might be the right time to review your options as well as finding out which is the best type of roof to have if you're buying a new home. If you are buying a new house, the age of the roof is also an important consideration.

The Service Central team has gathered info from our quality tradespeople and given you some advice on your roofing choices. Whichever option you choose, you can be sure you'll find a quality business to install or repair your roof right here.


Tiles are a versatile option as they come in various textures and colours. Plus, tiles last about 50 years - many Melbourne residents found that their tiles took a beating in the storms, especially on houses built in the 50's and 60's where the tiles were coming to the end of their life span. They cope well will all kinds of weather and tiles are also fire resistant which is increasingly relevant especially in bush-fire prone areas.

The downsides of tiles include that they are heavy, so some house structures might need additional load bearing structures to support them. Costs to install tiles are high and tiles can also shift causing leaks, but a properly maintained roof shouldn't cause issues like leaks. In most states you won't need a qualified plumber to fit or repair a tile roof, and can use a specialist roofing company.

Metal (tin and colourbond roofs)

Metal roofs are common in Victorian and Edwardian style homes, and are also traditionally used in commercial buildings. They are versatile and energy efficient and can add character to period style homes plus style to newer modern buildings. They last around 30 years which is not as long as tiles, and installation costs for metal roofs are comparably high. A qualified plumber will need to install your tin or colourbond roof. Some flat metal roofs also don't allow for ceiling insulation to be installed, so this can also add to their downsides depending on the style that is installed.


Shingles give your home a great traditional look, and they can be made out of lots of different materials, most commonly fiberglass/asphalt. Paper or wood based shingles are available in other countries like Switzerland but they don't resist fire so we've never come across examples in Australia. Shingles are laid over a plyboard base and are lightweight which can reduce building costs saved from costly structural walls.

Shingles are the easiest roof material to install so you can expect installation of shingles to be less expensive than installation of tiles or metal. Plus, they are easily repaired if damaged and come in a comprehensive range of styles and colours. Your shingle roof will last around 30 years and if shingles are properly installed you'll find them low maintenance.

Green roofs

Green roofs consist of an insulation layer, some waterproofing, drainage like pebbles and plants. Basically, a green roof is a garden on your roof. Green roofs are more prevalent in Europe, but Australians are increasingly seeking info about them with the view to incorporating them into their future plans. Adelaide is at the forefront of these developments with Adelaide zoo owning and maintaining many green roofs in the region.

Green roofs preserve space, control water runoff and reduce a building's energy costs while looking beautiful and attracting wildlife, cooling the city down and provide extra insulation. Green roofs significantly reduce your carbon footprint and your costs of running a building. Costs vary and there is no evidence of how long a green roof lasts - however if the green roof is installed well, who knows!

Many of the roofing experts registered with Service Central cover all of these options, so if you need some specific advice and quotes simply post a job now.

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  • We have a flat roof in our new house. I don't like our current roof so I want to get it replaced. I'm just not sure which roofing will be best for us.

    over a year ago by Tara
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