As with most building materials, roofing wares are now trending towards engineered products. This is due to the rising cost of natural materials as well as the return on investment offered by engineered materials.
While the up front cost of installing a roof is a major consideration, the service life and maintenance costs must also be considered so as to ascertain which roofing material offers the best value.
The cost of roofing materials in Kenya vary depending on the type and quality of the product. The price of corrugated iron sheets, for example, is as low as Sh300 per square metre (sq m) for the thinnest grade with high quality pre-painted sheets going for up to Sh700 per sq m.
Roofing shingles, which are made of asphalt – a by-product of oil refinery, are fast gaining popularity in Kenya thanks to their relatively moderate pricing and visual attractiveness. They cost Sh2,000 per sq m excluding the cost of timber roof trusses.
Copper felt tiles and transparent insulated roofs are some of the most expensive roofing materials in the country, with the latter going for Sh5,000 per sq m. Due to the high installation cost, these materials are mainly used for small portions of the roof such as fanlight areas.
When budgeting for your roof, you should consider not only the upfront cost of materials and labour but also the entire life-cycle cost. For example, a shingle roof can last 15 years, but a quality slate roof can last for 85 years. This clearly shows that the cheapest roofing product may not save you money in the long run. It therefore makes sense to pay the extra upfront cost.
When factoring durability of materials, have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of the manufacturer’s warranty. It is recommendable to buy commodities from reputable manufacturers who will be there should a warranty need arise many years later.