Your rooftop is one of the most important components of your house, even if you barely see it if at all. It is what keeps the rain and heat off you and controls the heat in your house – and yes, it even keeps out the chill on windy days.

The material you choose for your roof is dependent on the country you are residing in, as not every rooftop material may be suitable for the country you are residing in. For example, rubber rooftops and wood and cedar shake roofs are popular in Canada. However, use that material in Malaysia and you will find your roof either melting on you or becoming a feast for termites – if it doesn’t rot and fall in on you first.

The most popular rooftops in Malaysia are the ones that are wind resistant and can withstand our tropical storms. They are also the ones that can reduce and control heat penetration into the house. Listed below are some of the most popular rooftop materials in Malaysia.

Clay Roof Tiles

Clay roof tiles are the most common type of rooftop material in Malaysia. Almost every landed property in Malaysia uses clay roof tiles, as this material is most suitable for the Malaysian weather and temperature.

Clay roof tiles are resistant to heat, wind, and rain; and perhaps most importantly is that they are also resistant to rot damage and insect attacks. Another major plus point is that clay tiles which are made by baking clay at a high temperature can actually help to regulate and reduce the heat in your house.

Clay roof tiles are so durable that they can last for over a century. There is however a downside to the material – they break easily. Should you climb onto your roof for maintenance checks you will have to be really careful, or you may accidentally break the tiles. And should the tiles break, this may lead to leakages into your house during heavy rainstorms.

Asphalt Shingles

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Asphalt shingles are one of the most common types of rooftop material in Malaysia. In fact, almost every single house you drive past will have asphalt shingle rooftops.

Many Malaysians prefer having asphalt shingles for their rooftop as they look less traditional, aesthetically pleasing and also practical for the Malaysian weather. Asphalt shingles are made out of fibreglass or organic materials and are highly durable. They last for up to 20 years on average and require next to no maintenance.

Slate Shingles

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Slate shingles are another one of the popular options of rooftop materials in Malaysia. Slate shingles are made of stone and are entirely fireproof. They are extremely durable and have a lifespan of between 100 to 150 years.

A downside to having slate shingles as your rooftop material is that they are very pricey. Another downside is that they are very heavy, hence the building’s structure has to be strong enough to carry it. Due to its cost and building structure requirements, slate shingles as a rooftop material are mostly used on commercial buildings.

Concrete Roof Tiles

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Concrete roof tiles are another popular option for roofing material in Malaysia due to their affordability. Its durability is similar to that of clay tiles, in that they are wind, fire, and heat resistant. Its lifespan is however not as long as that of clay roof tiles. While clay roof tiles can last for up to 100 years, the lifespan of concrete roof tiles is only 50 years.

Another downside to having concrete roof tiles is that they are heavier than clay, and tend to absorb more water than clay, which will then add on to its overall weight on the structure of the house. On top of that, its absorption of water will also encourage the growth of mold which will cause your roof to become unsightly in the long run.

Composite Shingles

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Composite shingles which are also known as synthetic shingles are a modern invention. Many new developments use composite shingles for the rooftop of their homes as they look like asphalt shingles, yet are cheaper and lighter. Also, as composite shingles are man-made, it is resistant to mold and algae.

The affordable price does however come with a few downsides as well. Composite shingles are not as durable as the other organic material shingles on this list. They are not as wind resistant nor are they as resistant to heat. Also because they are manmade, composite shingles are not as friendly towards the environment as other natural materials.

Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are another modern addition to the list of rooftop materials. More and more Malaysians are starting to opt for metal shingles as this material is not only far more affordable – they are also aesthetically pleasing and reflect heat very well.

The material is also far lighter and hence will not be a burden on the structure of the house, yet it is very durable as well. It can withstand strong winds, is fire resistant, and is naturally impervious against molding, rotting, and insect attacks.

Metal shingles can last for up to 80 years and require little or no maintenance to look good and keep out the rough weather, which makes them a favourite for many modern homeowners.

Choosing Your Rooftop Material

Listed above are the most popular options of rooftop materials in Malaysia, across all affordability ranges. However, price aside, your rooftop should match the design of your house. Should you be looking at something more traditional, you will want to look at clay roof tiles or slate shingles, or asphalt shingles. If you want something that looks traditional without the heavy price tag, you can try composite shingles. However, if you are looking for a modern looking roof, you can try installing a metal shingle rooftop. Not only is this option very affordable, but it is also very stylish and keeps out the heat best among the other materials.

For more guides like this, visit PropSocial's article page.

(Written by Isabelle, 29th July 2021)