Building Solutions for Grenada

The Builder's Guide

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A roof can represent somewhere between a quarter and a half of the visual area of a house, according to most architects. Therefore visual appeal is one good reason for giving the roof special attention. Roofs are designed to do rather more than keep out rain and other weather elements. Whether it is the crowning glory of a cathedral or just the lid over your humble home, its requirements remain very similar.


You can tell a lot about a roof by how it looks. Normally, a good indicator of a well laid roof is straight lines. If shingles were set and fastened properly, they should form straight lines all the way up and across the roof. This tends to indicate that the roof is well built and as a result, will last longer.

At first sight it should be pleasing to the eye; but to be deemed a success, it must fulfill several functional objectives. In essence a successful roof represents a marriage of beauty and function. Appearance is important, but so is structural integrity. No matter how magnificent the cathedral looks it would be judged a failure if it leaked badly or posed a danger of collapse. The same can be said for the roof of your home.


Weather Resistance

Being able to resist the weather is not merely desirable but mandatory.

No definition of weather is given but building regulations by laws on construction include rain, winds, sun which are singly or collectively responsible for causing damage.


Strength and stability

It is not only weather loadings which have to be taken into account by the designer. The weight of the covering materials and structural timbers are also acknowledged in the calculation . Lastly, the designer will need to ensure that the completed structure is strong enough to withstand the weight of a workman. A number of factors must therefore be taken into account to ensure structural stability, dead load (weight of roof covering) imposed loads (workmen) and wind loading (effect of pressure or suction).



A covering material on a roof is exposed to many destructive forces. Atmospheric pollution, a growing problem of industrial society, is a test of roofing integrity. Metal details such as galvanize or zinc sheeting deteriorate more rapidly in certain locations. Salt laden atmosphere on coastal sites for example. In total the durability of covering materials is put to the test by many destructive influences. No roofing material will last for ever.



Roof acts as a sizeable collector of rainwater and a system for its collection, transport and dispersal is essential for almost all buildings. Designing a system concerns factors such as pitch, catchment area, siting of downpipes and so on. Planning this provision needs knowledge of flow rates, configuration of gutter runs and the capacities of products being fitted.


Precoated Metal Roofing

Is both economical and durable. Lasts typically between 20-30 years and comes in a variety of different colours.


Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used type of shingle.

They’re reinforced with fibre glass or paper and range in durability; typically 20 to 30 years.

Asphalt shingles usually have three sections or “tabs” per shingle and an overall length of 3’. Most have dabs of tar or roofing cement on front to hold down the shingle that will lay on top of it.



In most cases, a cupped or upturned shingle can be repaired by sticking it back down with roofing cement. Replace a shingle that’s missing (or loose) by gently bending back the shingles above it. Remove any nails and remaining scrap pieces. Slide and nail the new shingle in place. Then glue down the raised shingles with roofing cement.

Appointing a contractor who is competent in the use of the chosen roofing materials is a good tip for builders. Many contractors specialise in different roofing materials and know exactly how the materials should be used.

Good roofing specialists will also be able to advise on the right fittings and accessories. But it is well worth your while as a builder to look at a few roofs the contractor has completed.


Clay and Concrete Roofs

By contrast a concrete roof does have different characteristics from a clay roof. But although clay roof tiles cost more the extra outlay should be more than compensated for the added value gained. However if cost is a primary consideration then concrete is cheaper and very adequate. Concrete tiles have an acceptable life-span. But the colours can fade. On the other hand clay matures with age. Many people who choose clay rather than concrete do so because clay matures and weather rather than simply age.







Roof Appearance

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