Best Roofing Types for Tropical Climates


While there are many benefits to living in the tropics, dealing with nearly constant heat and humidity, as well as frequent rain, can be less than idyllic. This is particularly true for homeowners in tropical areas like Singapore, who often struggle to make their homes fit for purpose in such a hot and wet environment. At Home Improvement Leads, we understand that choosing the right roofing type to suit a tropical climate is at the top of the home improvement list for Singaporean homeowners. We’ve come up with a few things to look out for when choosing a roof for your home, including the best styles, materials, and waterproofing options to keep you cool, safe, and dry in your tropical home.

Appropriate roof styles

If you are building your home from scratch, one of the most important factors to consider during the design stage is the style of your roof. For rainy areas, a roof with little to no slope or pitch is not recommended because of the high potential risk of water pooling and leakage. Instead, opt for a gable or hipped roof with sloping sides to allow for rainy seasons and runoff. Hipped roofs are particularly common in areas like Singapore, with all portions of the roof sloping down from the middle.


Durable roof materials

Whether or not you can choose the style of your roof, selecting a roof material suitable for tropical climates is an essential part of keeping your home cool, dry, and protected. While the choice is ultimately up to you and your personal design preferences, the key things to look out for are durability, reflective properties, and affordability.


Clay tiles are traditionally used in many areas throughout Australasia. They’re extremely durable—some clay roofs last for hundreds of years—and they naturally transfer heat away from their surface because of their composition. However, clay is a delicate material that can easily crack and break, so some homeowners opt for more sturdy concrete tiles instead. Slate tiles are yet another option if you like this traditional look, but they cost more and have a more European design style than clay.


If durability is your primary goal, a metal roof made from either steel or aluminum is an excellent option for your roof. Metal roofs are extremely durable and can withstand large amounts of rain and wind with minimal need for repair. In addition, the material and light color of most metal roofing materials make them naturally reflective, so they keep your home cooler than dark, insulating materials.


Thermoplastic membranes, although most often used in commercial buildings, are a weather-resistant and durable alternative to traditional roofing materials that can save you both time and money during your roof installation. This kind of material is great for larger homes because it can be rolled out onto large surface areas and requires no waterproofing finish. You can find out more about thermoplastic membranes here and ask your local roofing professional if this is an option for your home.


Roof finishes

After you have chosen your roof style and materials, there are several ways you can further protect your roof in order to keep your home as comfortable and dry as possible. Spray or paint-like overlays and metal radiant barriers can further reflect heat away from the home and are placed over and under the roof material respectively. Waterproofing membranes in a variety of styles can be placed on your roof to prevent leakages and fill gaps. Finally, guttering and thoughtful planning of roof overhangs and surrounding landscaping will stop your home and garden from flooding during the rainy season.


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