What to consider before roofing with tiles

Besides providing shelter to the structure of the house, the colour, quality and style of the roof contributes greatly to its look.  

Herbert Zziwa, a foreman with a construction company in Kampala says in modern construction, a roof plays a key role in beautifying the house.

Clay tiles are a traditional roofing material known for their ability to withstand strong weather conditions such as wind, hail, fire and rain.

Architect Abdu-Wahab Nyanzi says besides being expensive to buy, clay tiles are usually heavy and require a stronger structure than other roofing materials, adding to the expenses involved in building a house.

Nyanzi notes that tiles need to be pre-drilled and stuck if the roof is steep. Also, there are cases where they have to be held in place with metal brackets making the entire roofing exercise costly.

What a developer needs to know

According to Nyanzi, before you roof, it is important to consult your Architect extensively on materials, format and type of roofing.

“It’s not cheap to bring a roof down for correction once it’s up. So, getting it right the first time is very important,” he advises.

Before you roof, it is important to consult your Architect extensively on materials, format and type of roofing.

He says more timber is needed to support the heavy roofing tiles.

“Since the tiles come in smaller pieces, you will need to have the purlins closer to each other for support,” he advises. 

Nyanzi also says tiles are not entirely water-tight. As a result, you have to spend money on an underlay in the form of plain G1 sheets or chicken wire mesh and polythene sheet.

Given the labour-intensive nature of constructing a tiled roof, more money will be spent on labour compared to iron sheet roofing. However, even with expert installation, tiled roofs can leak just a few months after installation. The tiles often move out of their intended position, allowing water to penetrate.

Once there is a leak, the roof deteriorates quickly and tiles can actually fall off. Besides, tiles are very fragile and they crack easily.


Each tile costs between sh2,500 and sh3,200. Dharmendra Kanji Vekaria, a sales manager in a construction company says the clay or concrete tiles are durable. He says there are corrugated-shaped and flat or tapered-shaped tiles.

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