Roofing In Kenya.

Roofing In Kenya.

1. what constitutes a good roof?

A good roof is the one that satisfies the house owner’s taste, style and budget and keeps the elements of nature at bay.
Each person has an individual taste or liking for a particular style of roof. Some people prefer gable,hipped,steep,flat or even green, with plant material growing on it. Some people would prefer the roof to communicate about their social status by putting up the most expensive and unique roofs in their neighborhoods.

2. Factors to consider when choosing the right kind of roofing

In snowy or very rainy climates, a steep roof, over 35 degrees in pitch assists in preventing the rain or snow from stagnating hence leakages.
Some roof materials such as clay and concrete tiles are good insulators hence prevent the interior of the house being too hot during sunny periods. In hot areas, these are very suitable.

The cheapest roof material is grass thatch. This is seen in most traditional huts. This costs around kes 200 per m2. The most expensive roof materials in Kenya are copper felt, transparent insulated roofs and stone-coated steel roofing . Insulated transparent roofing costs approximately kes 5,000 per m2.
These are used mainly for small portions of the roof e.g the skylight areas.

3. Roofing options available in the market, and a rough estimation of how much it may cost
Below is a list of various roofing options available and their costs, beginning with the cheapest to the most expensive per m2.

Grass thatch. kes 200.
Iron sheets Gauge 32. Kes 250.
Iron sheets Gauge 30. Kes 300.
Clay Tiles. Kes 600
Concrete tiles. Kes 700
Onduvile tiles. Kes 900.
Bitumen sheet shingles tile. Kes 1200.
Slate stone tiles/Mazeras.Kes 1500.
Wooden tiles. Kes 1800
Stone-coated steel tiles. Kes 2000
Transparent insulated roof. Kes 5,000.
Copper felt tiles.

4. Many clients are torn between the ‘mabati’ roof vis a vis the tile roof. What is a better option, and why?

Mabati roofs are lighter than tiles. This saves on roofing timber truss costs and reduces the chances of the house wall cracking due to excess weight.
Mabati roofs are viewed as lower class compared to concrete and clay tiles hence can significanly reduce a property’s rental or capital gains value.
Painted mabati and concrete roofs usually fade. This fading means that their paint material can find its way into the rain water harvested from their roofs into your tank. Paint material is very harmful to human health, causing very serious brain defects to young children and high blood pressure in adults. Clay tiles are made out of natural clay
soil so the rain water can be safely harvested for human consumption.

5. What determines the kind of roofing I choose for my house?

Each region has its own roofing style. In Southern Africa around the Kalahari desert where the climate is dry, the general style is flat roof since it rarely rains. In the middle part of Africa around the tropical rain forest, the general style is steep slope except for the savannah where we see flat roofs such as characterized by the Manyatta designs.
In the northern part of Africa around the Sahara, it rarely rains. Flat roofs are the norm.

Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.

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