Australia can pride itself on many things—our sunny beaches, extraordinary scenery and infamous barbeques. However, the world of roofing is not where we shine. How has the rest of the world adopted the new phenomena of dry fixed roofing, and Australia has not yet caught on?
The construction industry accounts for 9% of Australia’s GDP. With such a significant economic impact, we should be staying up to date with the latest innovations and technologies in the building trade. Dry fixed roofing has been a success around the world. The UK, Europe and the US have all taken advantage of this new method, boasting its durability and low-cost benefits.
Read on to discover the evolution of this new practice and where Australia sits on the curve.
What Is Dry Fixed Roofing?
Dry fixed roofing is the mechanical process of attaching roof tiles without the use of mortar. Using only screws, fasteners and clamps, dry fixed roofing boasts more durability and sustainability. Mechanical fixings allow flexibility between the tiles. Therefore, dry fixed roofs are better able to cope with heavy winds, extreme weather, or even with the vibrations of passing cars.
In addition, dry fixed roofs require no maintenance, and they are relatively cheap and quick to install—it can take less than half the time it takes to install a roof using traditional mortar. Plus, as they are not “wet”, they can be put together in all weather conditions, meaning no delays on your house renovation in the rainy season.
Dry fixed roofing also comes with the advantage of a built-in natural cooling system. By leaving openings and the top and bottom of the roof’s ridge, the system pulls air through, cooling the building and preventing heat transfer. This cost-free method of cooling your house should be all the rage in sunny Australia, yet we still rely on ugly, expensive external ventilation contraptions.
All materials used for dry fixed roofing are UV, wind and water tested. The high-quality products used help to future proof your home against strong weather and extreme winds. Unlike mortar fixed roofs, your roof tiles won’t go flying when the next big storm hits.
Dry fixed roofing is undoubtedly proving its popularity in Europe and the US; it is a tried and tested method Australia has yet to take advantage of.
How Is Europe Ahead Of the Curve?
Although considered a relatively new phenomenon, dry fixed roofing has actually been in use since the 1970s, first invented by Redland Roof Tiles Limited. Since then, it has attracted the attention of the rest of the world, becoming widely used across Europe and the US. Many new construction companies have since taken up the mantle, becoming the standard roofing technique.
Europe noticed the advantages of dry fixed roofing ahead of the world. In Ireland, 90% of roofs are dry fixed, Scotland the figure is 80%. In England and Wales, however, the statistics were only 20% until 2014, when new regulations were introduced, placing restrictions on the use of mortar. Further specifications were introduced in 2018 to ensure the quality of materials used for dry fixed roofing.
Now, roofs must use mechanical instruments in addition to mortar in all of England and Wales. Since 2014, the UK’s construction industry met its highest level on record in 2018, just a few years after the regulated introduction of dry roofing.
Elsewhere, dry fixed roofing has revolutionised the construction industry. Now the norm for newbuilds in countries across Europe and the US, dry fixed roofing is quickly becoming more popular than traditional mortar. It is becoming clear to builders and homeowners alike that mortar, while cheap, is unreliable and vulnerable.
When water gets into the mortar, it can cause a moisture build-up, resulting in mould. This weakens the structure of the roof. Similarly, heavy winds and extreme weather can cause the mortar to crack. Dry fixed roofing simply moves as it is more flexible. These cracks worsen as the mortar expands and contracts in hot and cold weather.
Whereas dry fixed roofing rarely needs maintenance or upkeep. With the increased instances of storms and extreme weather, it makes sense that the world is shifting to a more durable and longer-lasting roofing method.
Furthermore, dry fixed roofing is far more eco-friendly than its traditional mortar counterpart. As the world struggles to fight the climate crisis, the construction industries worldwide are turning to more sustainable methods to future-proof new homes. The natural ventilation system of dry fixed roofing can reduce air cooling bills by 43% annually.
Where Are Australia On the Global Stage?
While Australia takes the lead on many innovations globally, we are falling behind in the building trade.
Compared to the UK, Australia’s construction industry is set to grow 2.4%, whereas the UK is predicted to grow 8% over the next five years. Germany’s construction industry has a healthy outlook of 4% by 2025. Meanwhile, the US is set to grow by almost 5%. Comparatively, why is Australia falling behind?
While we cannot credit the entire success of the construction industry on the innovative technology of dry fixed roofing, we might suppose that Australia is not taking advantage of the new phenomena that other countries are utilising.
Dry fixed roofing is yet to dominate Australia, yet a few manufacturers are seeping into the market. RapidRidge dry fix roofing has been available since 2018 and is set to take Australia by storm.
Perhaps, we might predict an uptake in dry fixed roofing as extreme weather incidents increase over time. With proven resistance to winds, water, and heat, dry fixed roofing will soon become Australia’s norm.