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Roofing Material




Tile, as used for a roofing material, is installed on roofs of structures to act as a barrier to prevent rain or snow from entering it.

Different types of roofing tile are installed depending on the climate where a building is located.

Use In Building Construction

a typical flat roof found on a condominium building

Each building is its own ecosystem and the roof plays a vital part in maintaining this ecosystem by keeping the outside weather out and the inside weather in. It accomplishes this by deflecting rain, snow and sun and with help from insulation maintains a constant temperature inside.

Material for roofing tiles vary based on the climate in which a structure is located and the availability of materials within a given region. The shape of a roof also lends itself to climate however most condominium buildings have flat roofs regardless of their location.


Tile has a high perceived value due to great aesthetics, which increases unit re-sale value. Air conditioning energy savings and improved comfort level, and very minimal maintenance costs also add value that only a tile roof can deliver. But the greatest tile advantage for condominiums especially, is their long life cycle. This greatly impacts the true roofing cost. [1]

Typical costing in US dollars for a 1500 sq. (150,000 square feet) Condominium re-roofing project. Initial costs:

High End asphalt shingle: $500 per sq, total cost:$750,000

Low End Cedar Shakes: $650 per sq, total cost:$975,000

High End Cedar Shakes: $750 per sq. total cost:$1,125,000

Unicrete Lightweight Concrete Roof Tile: $750 per sq, total cost:$1,125,000

Unicrete Estate Concrete Roof Tile: $600 per sq, total cost:$900,000

Flat Roofs

  • Like individual homes that commonly have sloped roofs meant to aid in drainage, flat roofs rely on gravity to drain water.
  • It is imperative that flat roofs are tightly sealed to insure that there is no leakage into the inner membrane of the structure.
  • Flat roofs do have a slight slope that enables water to escape through provided drainage areas.

Common Problems with Flat Roofs

Pooling and vegetation are common problems on flat roofs
  • Blistering

Blisters result from air or water becoming trapped between layers of the roof. As the sun heats the roof, trapped gasses expand creating bubbles and blisters in the surface of the roof. If gone unnoticed, water can leak into the roof through these blisters, potentially weakening the roof and leading to future leaks.

  • Water Pooling

If water is sitting for more than 48 hours it is referred to as pooling. This excess of water places increased weight on the roof and can change the roof structure. Depressions may also result, affecting the drainage slope and causing the pooling to continue.

  • Vegetation

Continued pooling may result in vegetation growing on the surface of the roof. Vegetation will grow roots, hold moisture and deteriorate the surface of the roof.

  • No Protective Surface

All flat roofs need a protective surface to protect it from the sun and help keep the roof cool. The major problem without a protective surface (gravel for example) is a shortened life expectancy for the roof.

  • Patches

It is common to see patches of flat roofs. Patches indicate past leaks or weak areas. If the patching has not been done correctly, these areas are likely to leak again. As a general rule, if 25% of the roof is covered with patches, then the roof needs to be replaced.

  • Old or Damaged roofs

With older roofs the best way to determine how worn out they are, besides the obvious signs, is to walk on them and see how they feel under your feet. Look for loose areas, depressions, deteriorated surfaces, cracking, and discoloration. [2]

Roof Gardens

The infamous tree atop Eugenia Place in Vancouver

In order to become more sustainable and to offer more greenspace to its residents, more condominium buildings are installing gardens on their rooftops.

Plants reduce the amount of heat absorbed by a condominium building by resisting thermal radiation given off by the sun. This can translate into the cooling of a building by 7-20 degrees Fahrenheit, (4-11 degrees Celsius). Resulting in lower energy consumption.

The Eugenia Place situated on Vancouver's English Bay took the concept of a roof top garden to new heights by having a 37 foot tall oak tree as a centerpiece of their rooftop garden. Planted as a tribute to the old growth forests that used to dominate the shorelines of English bay, the tree is situated 200ft above the shore. It has become local landmark for the area.[3]

Solar Power

Solar Panels on Abondance in Montreal power the entire building

To further reduce costs associated to energy consumption, certain condominiums are having solar panels installed on their roofs.

These systems can cost in excess of $200 000 and can take up to ten years before this investment is recuperated through energy savings. [4]

These systems bolster reputation in a market where sustainability has become a focal point to drive sales. Resulting in lower vacancy rates for buildings equipped with these systems.

The first condominium in Canada to be powered %100 by solar power is the Abondance located in Montreal. Completed in 2010 by EcoCite Developments, the rooftop solar panels supply all of the 14,500 kilowatt hours needed annually to power the building.


  1. Signature Roof Tile LTD
  2. Sean Moss Home Inspection Services
  3. Venture Vancouver
  4. Pro Eco Energy
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