Concrete roof tiles were put through a series of tests at James Cook University to assess their performance in severe weather conditions. These conclusive tests have proven how the tiles can withstand major storm damage, including heavy hailstorms. This is indeed great news for homeowners looking to protect their families during stormy weather.

In comparison with metal roof sheeting, concrete roof tiles experienced little to no damage from the impact of hail that was greater in size, density and speed than that from extreme weather events.

According to Simon Ingham, senior engineer, Cyclone Testing Station at James Cook University, the study aimed to examine the response of building materials, particularly roof sheeting and tiles, to severe weather type events such as ice balls or hailstones.

“We aim to minimise loss and suffering by conducting research, testing and community education on the response of houses and low-rise buildings to severe weather events,” Ingham explained.

The study used ANSI FM4473 Standard as reference material and two ice ball sizes for the test – the first being 35mm, which they equated to match the class 1 energy requirement within the standard, and which equates to 80km/h. The second size was 60mm, equating to class 4 in the standard, which equates to nominally 100km/h.

The testing involved projecting the ice balls at test samples of concrete tiles and metal sheeting using a modified wind-driven debris simulator.

Three different areas of the tiles were targeted when projecting the ice balls on the material, including supported and unsupported areas, with the same test repeated on the metal sheeting.

The results showed that the concrete roof tiles absorbed impact from hailstones with the same density as a watermelon. The hailstones shattered upon impact on the concrete tiles. However, the metal sheeting sustained significant damage, including dents while the hailstones remained intact after impact. According to the research team, the metal sheeting acted much like a trampoline with the hailstones bouncing off the surface, potentially creating a serious safety issue for people in the vicinity.

The James Cook University study results establish the superiority of concrete tiles over metal sheeting as a roofing material, clearly demonstrating their resilience in the face of severe weather conditions.

Additionally, concrete roof tiles, unlike metal sheeting, won’t rust or corrode – an attribute particularly important for Australians who live in coastal towns and cities throughout Australia. Concrete tiles also get stronger with age and provide better thermal insulation.