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5 most popular roofing for Malaysian homes


In Malaysia, there are several types of roofing material options for homeowners to consider. These materials differ in longevity, aesthetic, and cost.

Roofs used to be solely a functional part of a house but no more. In today’s age, the roof of a house is not there just to keep the sun, rain, and weather off us – they also have various other functions. Depending on the material you select, different roof materials serve different purposes.

Slate and tile roofing are better at being windproof, while metal shingles are ideal for our Malaysian storms. On the other hand, if you want a roof that can reduce the heat in your house, there are the green ‘living’ roofs made out of plants, terracotta tiled roofs, and even concrete tiled roofs.

Even the type of roof plays a role in your home, and for the Chinese, the roof even plays a role in feng shui. For example, high roofs are better at reducing heat in your homes, while for the Chinese – and depending on the house’s holistic feng shui – having three roofs may be better than having one roof.

Selecting the wrong type of roof can even lead to water collecting on the roof during heavy rainfalls which can result in leaky ceilings and water seeping into the walls of the house. Aside from that, in today’s modern world, roofs have also begun to serve an aesthetic purpose.

Taking all of the above into account, in this article we delve into the different types of roofing materials that are most commonly found and used in Malaysia.

1. Asphalt Shingles (Composite Shingles)

bungalow house bandar putri
K Plus E Design
Project: Proposed Interior Design for Bungalow at Bandar Putri 12

Asphalt shingles, which is otherwise also known as composite shingles, is one of the most used tiles in Malaysia, It carries a traditional look and feel, as can be seen in the picture above. This form of pitched roof design is the most commonly found and most affordable option for residential and commercial spaces.

Asphalt shingles are made out of organic or fibreglass materials, and can last for up to 20 years on average. There are various styles and colour options available, making this the go-to roofing material.

2. Metal Shingles

semi-d bukit puchong
Seven Design
Project: Foreston Bukit Puchong

There are two forms of metal roofing: shingles or solid form. This form of roofing is gaining popularity locally as developers are starting to opt for this stylish yet cost-effective option. Metal roofings are light, durable, and come in many colours. If you prefer an aesthetically flat roof or butterfly roof, then you should opt to get a metal shingle roof.

Metal shingles typically have a lifespan of about 80 years, and they are a preferred choice of many a home owner as the metal reflects solar heat. Hence by installing a metal shingle roof, home owners will also be able to save on their home cooling costs.

Read more: How much does it cost to build a house in Malaysia? Here’s a step-by-step guide

3. Wood Shingles

wood shingles roof
© Doug Schnurr | 123rf

Wood shingles are a popular choice for home owners who desire a unique and aesthetically pleasing roof, and can keep up with the cost of upkeep. Wood shingle roofs are especially susceptible to the weather conditions, especially in Malaysia. They are prone to weather damage and decay, and require annual maintenance. Even with annual maintenance, the wood shingle type of roof generally only has a lifespan of about  20 to 30 years.

For home owners who wish to opt for a wood shingle roof, their best bet would be to get one that is made out of cedar wood as cedar wood is naturally resistant to insects and rot. They will however need to ensure that the roofs are sprayed with fire-retardant annually as wooden roofs are more likely to catch fire as compared to the other types of roofing options.

4. Slate Shingles

slate shingles roof
© Alexander Stein | 123rf

Slate shingles are one of the pricier option of roofs. It has a lifespan of approximately 100 to 150 years and is the most durable option as proven by buildings with slate roofs from the Shakespearean era are still standing strong. Made out of real stone, slate shingles are one of the most fire-resistant roofs in existence. In fact, the slate tile themselves are completely fireproof.

Read more: 6 ways to brighten up your apartment with natural light

5. Clay shingles (Tile shingles)

tile shingles roof
Project: A Modern Tropical Mansion

Clay shingled roofs, otherwise also known as tiled roofs, is another popular option among developers and homeowners. They are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, and are the preferred choice of material for creating a pitched shaped roof, hips and valleys, lean-to roof, mansard roof, jerkinhead roof, bonnet roof or combination roof.

Similar to slate shingles, tile shingles also have a long lifespan – almost 100 years – and require little to no maintenance. Having said that, there are also a couple of drawbacks to this material. Clay shingles are typically heavier than asphalt, and requires a stronger roof structure to carry it.

Looking to spruce up your home design? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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