ROOFING SERIES: Roofing Materials 101

Posted On Mar 19, 2018 in Design

ROOFING SERIES: Roofing Materials 101

One of the advantages of building new rather than buying an existing home is access to terrific new product technology and guarantees that mean your home will be weathertight for decades to come.

Whether you know exactly how you want your roof to look, or if you just want a cost-efficient and durable solution, this blog post explains the most common roofing materials used in New Zealand, and gives an insight into how they can affect the look of your home and your budget.


The most popular roofing material in New Zealand is long-run metal, and for good reason. Lightweight, durable and easy to install, it comes in a wide range of colours and profiles to give a classic finish to any home. Profiles are the curves and patterns that give a metal roof striking shadow lines and personality, whether you like the traditional undulating curves of corrugated iron or the contemporary architectural lines of a tray profile.

The classic corrugated iron roof has largely been replaced by zinc or aluminium coated alloy-steel, which means less maintenance and greater durability, especially if your home is within sight of the sea.


Metal roofs are also available as tiles, pressed from zinc or aluminium alloy-coated steel that gives the look of a traditional tiled roof. Popular in our Smart Collection of houses due to their cost-efficiency and resilience, metal tiles come in a wide range of finishes, from a shingle or stone look to pre-painted metal. A metal tiled roof lends charm and character to the overall aesthetic of a home.

Low-maintenance and easy to replace, metal tiles typically weigh a sixth of the weight of a conventional tile which reduces the amount of timber bracing required, thus providing cost-saving in design and materials. Despite this, they give strength in the event of an earthquake and are impenetrable even in gale-force winds due to their interlocking design.


Asphalt shingles are suitable for roofs pitched over 15 degrees and are a low maintenance option in sea spray zones. Although they are comparable with metal roofing in terms of material cost, they must be installed over a plywood substrate, which increases the overall price of the roof.


Clay tiles (from concrete or terracotta) are suitable for roofs with a pitch over 10 degrees and are extremely durable and weather resistant. Popular on traditional Italian or Spanish style houses, they give a natural warmth and are good at absorbing the sound of rain and hail. Although the cost per square metre is comparable to metal roofing for concrete tiles, they are as much as a third heavier and require a greater investment in timber bracing. Clay tiles are significantly more expensive and require extra bracing as well.


Solar Panels and Tiles

As more clients look towards renewable energy sources, products have become readily available that can be installed onto the roof and convert light into electrical energy. Signature Homes can provide quotes for solar tiles or solar panels on request.

Skylights and Rooflights

Fixed panel skylights (roof lights or roof windows) are a great way to obtain natural light in certain homes. If electronic opening versions are used, they also provide ventilation in areas such as bathrooms and showers. Signature Homes can provide quotes for skylights or rooflights on request.

Deciding on the final details of your new build can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to exterior items such as the roof. These decisions have significant structural and financial implications if changed later, so getting it right during the design of your home is critical. If in doubt, ask an expert.

Building your home with Signature not only gives you access to our decades of experience and exceptional guarantees, we are also here to support you through design, budgeting and build so you get the best possible home for your money, lifestyle and design taste.

Click here to see images of beautiful Signature Homes roofs to inspire your new home.

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