Sheds are still an essential item for every garden. They offer shelter for gardening equipment, keep firewood nice and dry, and are a great place for a workshop – the uses of a shed are endless! However, often homeowners are challenged with their shed roof leaking.
When repairing a shed roof or building a new shed it is important to choose a roofing material that will last several years, without being too expensive. Shed roof felt is one of the most well-known and popular options to use on shed roofs and is often what comes pre-installed when you buy a shed pre-built. Its low cost and simple installation are the reasons roof felt is often chosen as a shed roof covering. However, roofing felt for sheds can often cause leaks and need to be replaced regularly.
Is it time to consider replacing your shed roof with felt, or are roofing sheets a better option?
This article explains the advantages and disadvantages of the most common shed roof coverings, like metal roof tiles, corrugated sheets and rubber roof sheds. We have a deep dive into each material and compare their characteristics to the standard roofing felt for sheds to showcase what each shed roofing type can offer.
What is Shed Felt?
To begin with, it is good to know what roofing felt for sheds is. Shed felt is a flat material that is made by soaking compressed cloth/matted card in bitumen to make it water resistant. Then once soaked a mineral finish is added to one side to give its colour. It comes in set-length rolls, most commonly 10 metres long.
Advantages of Shed Felt
Undoubtedly the biggest advantage of using shed roof felt is its low cost. It will waterproof a shed roof in the short term without breaking the bank. Felt can be used for any roof shape and pitch. Although more complicated shapes are difficult to seal properly.
It is also known to be very easy to install. Shed felting comes in small, medium-weight rolls making it easy to handle. No power tools are needed to cut and fix the felt to a structure. Only a hammer and nails are required, plus cutting tools.
It is important to note here that you should have good knowledge of how to install felt on a shed. If done for the first time without professional help or guidance, the risk of an insufficient shed roof covering is high. Even the smallest leaks in one area can cause considerable damage in a short time.
Disadvantages of Shed Felt
When you install a felt shed roof you use large head clout nails to secure it down – this creates several holes in the felt which are hard to properly seal. As soon as the roof felt is no longer waterproof the wooden structure of the outbuilding will start to deteriorate quite quickly below. If this issue isn’t spotted right away, the repairs can be far more costly and complicated than a simple shed roof replacement.
Fitting roofing felt for sheds around corners and edges is a very fiddly job. You must make sure the cloth is folded, cut and fixed the correct way to achieve a waterproof finish.
Standard shed roof felt doesn't perform well on roofs exposed to strong winds. Even if a heavy-duty felt gets installed, the weak fixing used for this type of roofing material often can’t hold the sheets in place. In high winds felt often tears, especially in colder where it becomes brittle.
The mineral finish on the outside is good short term, however, can begin harbouring moss and grim quite quickly due to the rough grainy surface.
Finally, it is by no means the best-looking shed roof option out there! Colours options are limited and any colours available are quite dull in appearance. What’s more, with exposed nails the roof won’t look as quality as alternatives with hidden fixings.
Best Alternatives to Shed Felt
There are the 5 top alternative roofing materials you can choose for shed roofs:
- Corrugated Bitumen Roofing Sheets
- Felt Roof Shingles
- Shed Roof Tiles
- Corramet Corrugated Sheets
- Rubber Shed Roofing (EDPM)
We have listed a small description of each roofing material below to help compare and choose the best option for your shed.
Corrugated Bitumen Roofing Sheets
This roofing sheet is a big step up in quality compared to shed roof felt. Both have similar characteristics: low budget, lightweight, easy to handle and quick to install. However, using Corrugated Bitumen Roofing Sheets offers a few extra advantages.
To begin with, the corrugation of the sheet profile adds style and shape to the roof. Its shape also makes it much easier to install as Bitumen roofing sheets can get joined by simply overlapping the sheets. Compared to the shed roof felt, which can leak, bitumen provides you with a simple, watertight finish which is much lower risk.
For a very similar cost, corrugated bitumen sheets offer brighter colour options, including black, green, red and brown. Compared to the dull roofing felt option, these are all great colour options to create a splash of colour in your garden!
Another big advantage of bitumen corrugated is its superior lifespan. You can use Flexi cap screws which have coloured matched screw caps to hide the fixings as well as protect them from the elements. In addition, they come with a wide range of flashings to suit different roof shapes. It may not sound like a big deal but adding the correct roof flashings can add years to your roof's life. If you have a smaller budget then, just including the innovative Rock N Lock flashing is the place to start. That alone reduces the risk of wind uplift and protects the roof gables and sides.
Felt Roof Shingles
Felt roof shingles are another way to upgrade the dull and flat look of standard shed roof felt. Like standard shed felt roofing, shingles are made with a bitumen fibre and mineral coating to make the roof waterproof. This means they share similar advantages and disadvantages as felt; including lifespan issues, low cost and moss.
Using felt shingles can add more style to your shed as there is a range of different shapes available. Although this comes at a price as they are much harder to install. Each shingle needs to be overlapped, layered, and fixed correctly to prevent water from penetrating through the joints. It is also far more time-consuming than simply rolling out a sheet of shed roof felt.
Although there are more colour options, felt roof shingles have a similar dull colour appearance to shed roof felt due to the mineral material. This gives a more neutral look - if that’s what you are looking for!
If you are choosing between shingles or roof felt then shingles are the better option as they are made from slightly more durable material. The caveat to that is they are harder to install and there are better options out there so weigh up what’s best for you.
Shed Roof Tiles
Shed roof tiles are a very durable roofing option and will add lifespan to your installation. They are mostly made from metal and are therefore in a higher price bracket. The pricing of metal roof tiles depends on the colour so for colours other than basic grey the cost can increase significantly.
The initial investment is not only based on the cost of the metal roof tiles needed, but also on the number of fixings required. Metal roof tiles get installed to a structure using battens at very narrow spacings. The bigger the roof, the more battens are needed. Because each metal roof tile gets fitted individually, these battens must be placed exactly at the same spacing to result in a secure fixing. This makes it quite a time-consuming and technical installation for a shed roof covering. Something that only experienced DIYers would be best to attempt.
The installation method of metal tiles has some other challenges to bear in mind before choosing these for your shed. They are hard to cut on site at all and even harder to cut neatly. To install metal roof tiles you will need to nail upside down into the front face of the tile. Although this sounds easy in theory, once up on a roof it can present a few difficulties!
However, once installed the great thing is that tiles will last for a good amount of time!
Metal roof tiles are considered to be the noisiest option to use. This may not affect your decision if it is only a storage shed, however, is worth thinking about if you use your shed as a workshop or spend time in it.
Corramet Corrugated Sheets
Corramet corrugated roofing sheets are a great option for replacing roofing felt on sheds. With the same corrugated shape, these roofing sheets are an upgrade on the corrugated bitumen sheets. Naturally, the cost is higher initially but Corramet sheets will significantly outlast any bitumen-based options.
Manufactured from a special compound resin, Corramet sheeting offers great rigidity - a big advantage, especially for outbuildings exposed to high winds. The extra strength means this type of shed covering has greater spanning capabilities.
Corramet sheets are the only roofing sheets for sheds that are available in longer lengths up to 3 and 4 metres long! For projects on a big scale, using larger size roofing sheets can save a lot of installation time and also money in wastage.
Homeowners also like using Corramet due to its easy installation process and the fact they are compatible with all the Corrapol® flashings. The corrugation shape is the same as a standard bitumen sheet which makes them compatible with a wide range of flashings and ridge options.
Want to bring more light into your shed? It is easy to create a DIY rooflight with Corramet sheeting by simply introducing a Stormproof sheet on your roof. Corrapol Stormproof sheets match the Corramet profile meaning installing shed rooflights is as simple as overlapping the sheets!
When planning a project, don’t only consider the initial cost of materials but the overall cost of the installation. Investing in top-quality materials at the beginning will keep the risk of repairs and shed roof replacements low or even non-existent. A roofing installation using Corramet Corrugated Sheets and top-quality aluminium accessories will have a life span of over 20 years.
Rubber Shed Roofing (EDPM)
Rubber roofing sheets, also known as EDPM, are another option to waterproof a shed. It is very lightweight and comes in different lengths, making it suitable for any size project. This is an advantage over the roofing felt which is often only supplied in a 1 metre width. Rubber roof sheds are very durable and have a low risk to wear and tear, even in the harshest conditions.
The big disadvantage to a rubber roof shed is its very bland and flat finish. Rubber roofing sheets are slightly shiny and only come in grey or black. There is no profile to this material, giving it the same flat finish as rolls of roofing felt. This will make for a very odd-looking roof, especially if the installation is easily visible.
The Best Alternative to Shed Roof Felt
Corrugated bitumen roofing sheets are a great option for smaller projects. They are a low-cost material that is easy to install but offers a very professional finish. They come with a big variety of aluminium accessories to reinforce the most exposed areas of the roof.
If you are looking for the best and longest lasting shed cover then Corramet corrugated sheets will be the roofing material for you. This highly durable sheet offers the same great corrugated looks but with extra lifespan and strength. Additionally, fixings are included with each sheet, which is a big cost saver! As discussed, an advantage of using Corramet are the multiple sizes in which this roofing sheet is available. Longer lengths of 3 and 4 meters can make a serious difference for larger installations and won’t only save money but time.
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