All Roofs are NOT Equal – Irene Wanjiku

All Roofs are NOT Equal – Irene Wanjiku


Take a stroll around your neighborhood and you will find a surprising sight as you quickly discover the varying roofing materials used in different shapes and colors. Although a roof does not necessarily determine the style of the home owner, most of them speak volumes.
Deciding on the right roofing product will be overwhelming if you don’t have the accurate information from the onset and since roof will be one of your major expense, it is in your best interest to do the right thing the first time round.
All roofs are not equal neither is the cost of purchasing, maintaining or installing them. The following factors will help you determine which roofing solutions will help your project look stunning, withstand the pounding rain, heat, winds and other elements that mother nature might throw your way: budget, style,environmental compatibility, colour and pitch.
Armed with the answers, the journey of selecting the most suitable roof will be more enjoyable. We can now discuss the variety of roofing products that you can choose
Roofing shingles: The word shingle came from the German word Schindle which means a roofing slate. Shingles are an American invention first used in 1901. All shingles were initially organic with the base material used primarily being cotton, wool, manila or wood pulp. As cotton became more expensive, the Asphalt Shingle & Research Institute in
the 1950’s began to test other base materials with a longer lifespan and that were easily available.
The fiberglass shingles were born with a base of glass fiber strengthening mat which is then coated with asphalt and mineral fillers making the shingles one of the most
waterproof roofing product.

Roofing Shingle

Fiberglass shingles come in distinct design options with excellent aesthetic features; Architectural (Cambridge) shingles and 3 Tab shingles (Superglass). The 3 Tab shingles
are characterized by a uniform shape, size and look. They require less production material hence lighter offering a lower cost for both the material and installation cost.
Architectural shingles in contrast are heavier and longer lasting with a higher aesthetic appeal due to their shadow effects. Though more expensive to purchase and install, they come with longer manufacturers’ and workmanship guarantees.
Fiberglass shingles have numerous qualities which help them resist wind, rain, fire damage and discoloration which is a major concern. Due to their flexible nature, they can adopt to numerous shapes and designs. They are used for commercial and residential properties provided they have a pitched roof. The cost will be between Ksh.1300 Ksh. 1700 per square meter. Due to their flexible nature, shingles are laid on a firm decking such as OSB Boards at an additional cost of Ksh. 986 per square meter. This initial cost is however long forgotten over the years since they are maintenance free.
Metal roofing: Metal roofs were originally made from corrugated galvanized steel. Over the years they have been coated with zinc and aluminium, roll-formed into corrugated sheets and sold under different brand names such as Galvalume or Zincalume. Metals like tin, lead and copper have also been used in roofing. One of the main disadvantage
of metal roofs is the noise they create particularly when it rains.

Metal Roof

To reduce the noise impact, innovation gave rise to the stone-coated steel tiles. These are steel roofing panels made from zinc aluminium, coated with stones with a coloured ceramic coating. These come in different profiles and the most common are shingle profile, shake and tile profiles. The cost of the metal tiles range between Ksh. 380 – Ksh. 1800 per meter / square meter depending on the particular metal roof and brand.
Clay and concrete tiles: Clay tiles are produced by baking molded clay into a tile under high temperatures. Each tile’s density is determined by the temperatures and time it
undergoes the heating process.

Concrete and Clay Tiles

Concrete tiles are made from cement, sand and water in varying proportions. The mixture is then baked at high temperatures on molds to form different shapes and then cured to acquire the necessary strength required.
The main disadvantage of the clay and concrete tiles is their heavy weight and as a result, they require a stronger structural support. Due to their predisposition to cracks,
they require constant maintenance. The cost is between Ksh. 600 to Ksh. 1,050 depending on the designs and strength requirements.
Thatch: These are roofing materials made from dry vegetation such a straw, water reeds or palm. It is an old low cost roofing material that can be used in both tropical and temperate climates. Its main disadvantages include mold attack and short lifespan. The disadvantages can be addressed by the synthetic thatch that comes at a premium due to its maintenance free properties. The cost for the natural Thatch and synthetic thatch range between Ksh. 250 – Ksh. 900 per square meter.

Thatched Roof


APP Waterproofing Membranes. APP is an abbreviation for Atactic Polypropylene which is a waterproofing membrane manufactured from modified bitumen with the addition of plastomers. The membranes can have fiberglass or polyester as reinforcement.
Unlike all the products discussed above, APP membranes are used on functional flat roofs. The cost will range between Ksh. 600- Ksh. 900 per square meter. Irrespective of the roofing solution you select, ensure that the installation is done by a reputable professional
company. Remember to ask for your guarantee to mitigate the cost impact on any roofing problems that might arise.
The author is a roofing specialist most commonly known as ‘The Roofing Queen’ and Managing Director of Rexe Roofing Products Ltd. She can be reached via


  1. Hi Julie Bungei,
    I am somewhat of a newbie to internet marketing and blogging. So with that being said, I am very glad that I found this blog post. I plan to stay connected to your blog. Can’t wait to see what you’re going to write next. Thanks.

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