Prospects Of Using Aluminium For Roofing



aluThe basic necessities of life have always remained food, shelter and clothing underscoring the critical importance of shelter to mankind.  Any house without an appropriate roof is incomplete and in addition to its being an integral part of a house, a roof also adds beauty to a structure and can depict a certain social status of the house owner.

Throughout history, various items have been used for roofing, which include tree barks, bamboo sticks, thatch and clay, depending on the geography of a particular location.

Roofing has undergone a striking evolution during our era in both style and type of material used.  These include clay tiles, aluzinc, galvanised aluminium, asbestos and cement.

The individual’s choice of a particular roofing product is usually borne out of a consideration of affordability, product knowledge and level of sophistication.

However, for those who are willing to spend a little extra for long lasting quality, aluminium is the best choice. Aluminium does not rust, especially when it is thick enough.  Unprotected aluminum is resistant to weathering, fresh and salt water, many foodstuffs and chemicals as long as the correct alloy, thermal treatment and suitable joining techniques are employed.

A classical example of the long life of aluminium is the roof of St. James Church in Rome, built in 1897 but still in good condition.
Another peculiar property of aluminium has to do with its thermal attributes.  Aluminium is known to reflect about 90 per cent of sunlight helping to moderate the internal temperature of a room.  In our tropical environment, this must be an invaluable consideration for the choice of roofing product.

Aluminium is simply fire — resistant.  Embers and wind-blown sparks cannot cause an aluminium roof to ignite.  It will also protect the house from other wind-blown detriments that can cause fire.

The real advantages why house owners and project managers should choose aluminium and not the other metals which are marketed under various brand names Galvalume, aluzinc, Z – NAL, Zintro – Alum, Galval etc. are clear.  These products are steel which are coated using a fused mixture consisting of aluminium, zinc and silicon.

This brings into question the durability of the product.  Steel rusts very easily even if it is painted.  This means roofs made under the brands mentioned above will be replaced several times over the lifetime as against those produced with aluminium, making the latter (aluminium), rather inexpensive; since it does not require replacement just because of weathering.

Another issue has to do with material thickness (gauge).  The general standard for aluminium roof gauge is 0.40mm and above. The general gauge for aluzinc and the others is very thin as there is no minimum set (by the Ghana Standards Authority). However, on the Ghanaian market the thickness is usually below 0.20mm which increases its vulnerability to corrosion and the effect of strong winds.

Also a lot of the inferior metal products come as colour — coated, to conceal the product’s quality and composition, which makes it difficult to detect.  Unscrupulous sellers and contractors capitalise on this to reap undeserved advantage.

Many consumers have unfortunately been enticed by the prospects of lower costs to their long-term detriment.  This obviously stems from their insufficient knowledge about the unique properties of aluminium.

A vigorous and continuous education of the consumer has become imperative and the Ghanaian property owner must always remind himself that “Aluworks’ aluminium roof will last you a lifetime”.  By Lawrence Akpalu.

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