Concrete is a versatile material. It can be cast into countless forms for construction in any design imaginable.
Most people know concrete can be used in sidewalks, roads, and even foundations of houses.
But did you know that it also makes for good roofing?
Solid concrete roofing is a great option when you want to make your home stand out. It can be designed in any size, shape or color that you desire.
When it comes time to design the roof for your new house or commercial building, solid concrete roofs are a practical and affordable choice!
How does Solid Concrete work?
Solid Concrete is an ideal roofing material for any kind of application.
It can be directly applied onto the roof and does not require a base layer to create its structure, which makes it one of the least expensive ways to upgrade your current roof with concrete tiles.
If you’re looking for something that will last longer than asphalt shingles, Solid Concrete is your best bet.
Solid Concrete works by applying a thin layer of concrete to the roof decking and solidifying it with heat until it has reached maximum hardness.
It can be applied in almost any temperature or condition as long as there isn’t too much moisture present because this makes the process more difficult.
The concrete is spread out in a thin sheet and then melted with an infrared heat source until it has reached maximum hardness.
This takes about 30 minutes for the average sized roof, but can also be done faster if necessary.
Types of Solid Concretes Roofing
Some of the most common types of solid concrete roofs include:
- Concrete tiles – Concrete tiles are typically composed of concrete that is poured into a mold.
- The molds can be flat or curved, which allows the tiles to mimic traditional roofing materials like slate and clay.
- Concrete shingles – Concrete shingles work in much the same way as concrete tiles except they are usually thinner and shaped more like regular shingles.
- Concrete flat roofs – Concrete flat roofs are typically quite thin and made out of prestressed concrete beams that can either interlock to create a dome shape or be laid in rows like traditional roof shingles.
- Rubber membrane roofs – Rubber membranes are composed of rubber, plasticizers, reinforcing materials (glass, carbon fibers, etc.) and reinforcing steel.
- They are typically used for flat roofs or low slopes (<15 deg.).
- Modified bitumen membrane roofs – Modified bitumen membranes work in a very similar way to rubber membranes except they contain more asphalt and a mineral-based tackifier which allows them to adhere better to substrate materials like concrete or plywood.
- Prefabricated panels – Prefabricated concrete roofing panels are composed of three layers: a fiberglass mat, a layer of cementitious material and a top coat with mineral granules to provide extra protection against water penetration.
- They come in many different styles (e.g., shingle) but can be particularly difficult to install.
- Slate-look roofs – Slate look roofing tiles are made of polymer modified concrete or fiberglass and can mimic the texture, color and weight of natural slate without any of the disadvantages (i.e., they won’t shatter in winter).
- They are typically installed with special clips that attach them directly to wooden supports rather than mortar.
- Exposed Aggregate Finish – Exposed aggregate is composed of coarse, angular pieces of stone that are bonded together with a cement-based binder.
- The most common types include limestone and quarried sandstone but other materials like recycled glass can be used as well.
- Patio Pavers – Patio pavers mimic the look of traditional rustic brick or natural stone tiles without the cost or weight of actual brick.
- They are typically made from a mixture of sand and cement that is poured into molds before being allowed to dry completely.
Concrete Roofing Benefits and Drawbacks
Solid concretes roofs have many benefits, making them a popular choice for homeowners looking to upgrade their homes or add on an extra floor:
- They are very durable – Concrete is more resistant to water damage than asphalt shingles and the polymer-based concrete tiles can last decades without requiring any extra maintenance.
- They are fireproof – Concrete roofs can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit so they won’t catch on fire like asphalt shingles or wood shake roofs will.
- Solid concrete is relatively easy to maintain – While the polymer modified versions require less frequent cleaning, all solid concrete roofs benefit from being completely waterproof so the only regular care they need is an occasional wash with a garden hose or pressure washer.
- Concrete roofs are quite lightweight – As long as you have strong support beams, solid concrete roofs won’t be any heavier than traditional asphalt shingle roofs.
- They can mimic other roofing materials – There’s no reason why your home has to look like everyone else’s, so if you want a roof that looks like slate or clay tile but doesn’t cost as much (or weigh as much), concrete roofs can do the trick.
However, solid concrete roofs also come with some drawbacks:
- They are not very fireproof – While they won’t catch on fires and burn down your home, solid concrete roofs are not very fire resistant.
- They won’t melt under the heat of a lighter or match but they can deform if someone tries to use them as an oven for cooking marshmallows by accident.
- They require regular maintenance – While polymer modified versions only need to be washed every few years with soap and water, all types of concrete roofs need to be sealed on a regular basis (every couple of years) with petroleum-based sealers.
- They are difficult to install – Solid concrete roofing panels can’t be installed by amateurs and require professional installation, especially the pre-fabricated versions which often come in complex shapes like interlocking tiles or shingles that have to fit together perfectly so water doesn’t get in.
As with any roofing option, solid concrete roofs have their own set of pros and cons.
Regardless of what you choose for your home or business, it is important to consider the benefits as well as the limitations before moving forward with a certain type of roofing system.
Before making a final decision on the material that will be used for your roof, you should do some research on each option and determine which one will work best for your specific needs.