Creating a new building can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience for many. However, in the hustle-bustle of it all, there are many things we end up missing. These minor customisations are what turn buildings into lovely homes. That includes the roof work, which should be perfectly according to your preferences. Many roofing materials are available in the showrooms, like asbestos, metal, fibre cement, polycarbonate, etc. If you’re opting for fibre cement profiled sheeting for refurbishing the roofs of your house, then keep reading.
These types of roofing sheets offer excellent sound insulation, making them perfect for agricultural buildings. They are also the ideal pick for you if you’re experiencing bad weather conditions. You can count on them to protect you from snow or extreme heat – or if you’re simply interested in a finial. Knowing how to fit this roof work is essential in ensuring the workers’ health and safety. To find out all you need to know about these profiled sheeting, read our complete guide on how to fit fibre cement roofs.
What are fibre cement roof sheets?
Fibre cement is a durable building material made up of Portland cement, sustainable cellulose fibre, anthracite and fine sand. These ingredients are combined with water and shaped into corrugated sheets used for roofing and cladding. The sheets are categorised by the size of their corrugations that serve different purposes. These sheets are corrosion-proof, waterproof, flameproof, and relatively low maintenance.
Fibre cement sheets are ideal for house buildings, industrial buildings, and agricultural buildings. They also resist mould or algae growth and will not react to any cleaning chemicals. Another unmatched property of these fibre cement sheets is their longevity. Thanks to ingredients like anthracite, they can last for more than 50 years and even more if properly taken care of.
Due to their outstanding properties and performance, more people invest in this roofing system to reap its benefits. These sheets have the natural grey colour of the cement that can vary according to the amount of sand. However, they are now available in several colours and sizes to fit your building’s exterior aesthetic. From Van dyke brown to Juniper green and slate blue, you can find all the basic colours in fibre cement sheets.
Here are a few safety tips before you begin
Installing a roof on your building is not an easy job. Hiring a professional to do this job will help you get your roof upgraded without any hassle. However, if you want to fit the fibre cement roofing by yourself, here are a few precautions that you need to take. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe during the roof installation project:
1. Put on your protective gear:
The first and foremost thing is to protect yourself before starting this project. Avoid wearing loose clothing or heavy footwear like wellington boots. Put on heavy-duty rubber gloves, protective goggles, a mask, and a safety harness. Ingesting or inhaling any fibre cement particles can be a hazard to your health. Make sure to keep your nose and mouth explicitly covered while you mitre the edges.
2. Take help from a friend:
Installing roof sheets or fibre cement rooflights is not an easy task. Even if you think you can manage to upgrade your roof on your own, it is better to ask a friend or family member to help. They can assist you in getting supplies from the garage or help you lay the sheets out in a sequence.
3. Lay them in one sequence:
Before you fit the sheets on your roof, lay them out in sequence on the floor. You don’t want to fix a sheet upside down and redo it all over again. Trust us, redoing it is not a fun process. Instead, ask someone for assistance while you arrange your sheets in sequence.
4. Do not work in harsh weather:
The idea of having an upgraded roof for your house might sound appealing but avoid starting this project during any harsh weather. Staying outdoors in extreme winter or summer can take a toll on your health. Choose a day with moderate weather to change your roof.
5. Use safety roof ladders:
Make sure to use safe telescopic and roof ladders while doing this job. Using the traditional wooden ladder for this project is not safe. Strong winds or direct impact can cause you to fall and result in severe injuries.
6. Only buy from a trusted brand:
Cheap quality fibre cement roofs can cause more harm than good. To prevent scams, it is essential to buy your roof sheets from well-reputed brands. Return any broken or scratched pieces upon arrival. Working with any compromised material will damage the entire roof of your house.
Step-by-Step installation guide
Building a roof or a pitched roof is quite different from fitting a fibre cement roof which can be done in five main steps. If you miss any step, you can damage the roof of your house along with the fibre cement sheets. So, here is what you need to do:
1. Plan the placement:
Plan a strategy to fit your fibre cement roof before starting your work. Gather all your hand tools and put on your protective gear. Make sure you have permission to change the roof of your house if you live in a rented space. Go through the rules and regulations of your area to avoid any legal issues in the future.
Check all your fibre cement sheets for any fault or overhang before you start fixing them on the roof. Replace any if needed as damaged sheets will not serve their purpose. Read the guide that comes along with the sheets to be aware of any specific requirements.
2. Lay the sheets out:
Lay your sheets on the frame of your roof from eaves to piece ventilating ridges for the ideal placement and zero damage. Next, lay them out in the same manner (from eaves to close-fitting ridges) throughout the roof. Check for any adjustment in size if necessary and mark the changes. Then, alter the size and place them back on the frame. The roll-top verges of the sheet should sit on the top barge board, which is the external corner of your roof. This placement on the top barge board is crucial for stability.
While overlapping the sheets, do it in the direction of the wind and avoid overhang. If the edge of the sheet is open against the wind, the wind load can cause serious damage. Once you measure the girth and set the sheets on your roof, it is time to take them off. Don’t leave the sheets unattended as it can be pretty dangerous,
3. Mitre the edges:
Mitring the edges of your sheets is necessary to prevent leakage gaps in your roof. First, you need to cut the opposite corner of each sheet at a 90° angle with a hand saw. You can also use a power saw for this step. However, make sure to keep your eyes and mouth covered as it will release micro dust particles in the air.
All pieces of the fibre cement sheets will be mitred except two pieces. The first sheet you fit on your roof will have no mitres, as well as the last sheet you will place on the roof. Mitre the sheets before putting them on top for a safe and easier process of fitting the sheets. Using a saw at such a height is not advisable for safety purposes.
4. Fix the sheets in place:
Once you are done mitring the sheets, overlap them over each other. Use a mastic lapping tape while you side lap and end lap for maximum hold. Drill holes in your fibre cement sheet and attach them to the purlin with the help of screws and sealing washers (for those who don’t know, the purlin is a beam covering the length of the roof). Secure the screws tightly against purlin and without cracking the sheet’s surface. Using self-drilling top fix fixings is ideal to avoid any manual errors. Repeat this process on all the sheets till they are fixed in their designated place along the purlin. Once you reach the top, add cranked crown fibre cement sheets on the apex of your roof.
5. Seal to prevent water damage:
The last step is to seal all the overlaps in your fibre cement sheets. It will prevent water ingress and dirt accumulation between the fibre cement sheets. Use a high-quality sealant and foam filler to secure your roofing or cladding. You can also use Butyl strips to seal your sheets without a hassle. If you have used a plain wing ridge on the apex, apply a good amount of sealant where it overlaps. Let the seal dry, and you are done with fitting fibre cement roof sheets.
Make sure always to use a ladder or walkways while fixing your minimum roof pitch, as these sheets are not meant to carry heavyweights.
Fibre cement roofs are an excellent investment for agriculture-related buildings. They offer a lot of sound insulation and protection from troubling weather. These fibre cement roofs are one of the most practical roofing solutions for all kinds of buildings. Follow our guide on how to install these roofing sheets safely. Not only have we shared an easy installation guide, but we have also shared tips to increase their durability.