The roof plays an important role in the overall aesthetics of a home, and replacing it can be the single greatest improvement to the home’s performance, energy efficiency and visual appeal. A roof not only makes up 30 per cent of a home’s facade but also carries a defined architectural style. It’s therefore important to ensure the correct style of roof for the particular period of the home so that the design aesthetic and appeal of the home is maintained and it remains a marketable commodity.     

Residential design has evolved over the years with Australian homes featuring many different styles. Monier has developed a useful guide to help architects, designers and homeowners match roof tiles to roofing styles, complete with options on profile, colour and budget.

Terracotta tiles have proven to be a timeless feature on homes dating from the late 1800s through to the present day. The Federation period, encompassing homes built from 1890 to 1915, was the earliest to make the roof a distinct feature, with complex roof forms setting the tone for the grandeur of the architecture. One of the most popular styles of the Federation period was the Federation Queen Anne, characterised by steeply pitched roofs made of terracotta tiles or slate, with extensive decorative embellishments including terracotta ridge cappings, finials, dragons and gargoyles.

Edwardian architecture was just one of 12 styles under the Federation period, built between 1901 and the first World War, and easily distinguished by the square shape of the roof, made from terracotta tiles or slate. Unique characteristics also included brick or weatherboard construction, complex terracotta tiled roofs, wooden verandahs, stained glass window panels, and ornate plaster cornices and ceiling roses.

Californian Bungalow houses are usually freestanding, single-storey houses with informal lawns and gardens. Built between 1915 and 1940 and heavily influenced by American architects, these houses feature a low-pitched gabled roof, emphasising horizontal lines covered with terracotta tiles; double hung or casement windows, featuring Art Nouveau or patterned stained glass; and heavily built verandah posts, often pylon-shaped and tapered upwards from a wide base.

The same period saw the rise of Australian homes, also influenced by The Old English style of architecture, which tended to draw on Tudor and other English styles harking back to the days of Henry VIII. Features of the Old English home included textured red or ‘tapestry’ multi-coloured brickwork, dark-stained half timbering laid over brickwork, Gothic or Tudor style sandstone trims to major doors and windows, centred or flattened ‘Tudor’ arches, steeply pitched terracotta tiled roofs and diagonal shaped chimney stacks with multiple ribs and elaborate stepped tops.

Concrete roof tiles began to appear in the 1950s, and reflected the financial limitations, material shortages and building restrictions that governed the size and style of housing in the years following World War II. The modest houses also dropped much of the exterior decorations and chimneys with the style distinctly recognisable by their front-facing walls that had three, and sometimes even four walls. This led to the front entrance sometimes being brought around to the side, within one of the alcoves created by the multiple fronts. These homes were made from red brick or fibro, with standard timber or steel, windows and front fences that had a castellated top and raised feature piers.

Monier offers a broad range of roof tiles designed to complement homes featuring diverse architectural styles from period to contemporary, and meeting the unique needs of any reroofing or renovation project. By selecting the correct roof tile to complement the design of the home, one can always ensure the integrity of the period.

Image: It’s important to ensure the correct style of roof for the particular period of the home