No other building material has been invariably tied to the history of Australia more than corrugated iron. This popular and versatile material is used in the country, not only for roofing, but also in sheds and water tanks.
It is fairly easy to understand why. Among all the building materials available, especially in the past, this type of structural sheet iron can be readily transported across various areas in the country. It is versatile and can easily withstand the harsh conditions of Australia. It may also be said that this building material perfectly blends with the textures and colours of Australia’s diverse landscapes. Today, many of today’s builders and designers are harking back to the philosophies and aesthetics of old builders with regards to the use of this building material.
A quick glimpse into this versatile building material’s history
Contrary to its name, corrugated material is manufactured using steel. Steel sheets are then crimped to provide them with greater strength.
In the past, manufacturers used wrought iron which was then galvanised using zinc. This gave an added protection to it against rust. Later on, plastic coatings were applied to the sheet metal. Apart from giving additional protection to the sheet metal, this made the colour finish more durable. This also made it possible to produce a diverse palette that perfectly suits Australia’s diverse landscape.
Today, manufacturers use Zincalume which combines aluminium, zinc and silicon. Well into the 2000s, Australia has emerged as the top exporter of steel products, banking upon its superior metal coating and painting technologies.
But what actually spawned the relationship between Australia and this building material?
Experts attribute this intertwining of histories to the Victorian gold rush which created a big demand for corrugated iron. At that time, prospectors were looking for a cheap, versatile and lightweight material that can be easily used to construct a diverse number of structures. Initially, the building material was imported from England. During that period, the building material was used for constructing prefabricated dwellings and houses, shops, churches and sheds.
A roofing material like no other
Today, corrugated iron roofing sheets remain popular among homeowners, builders and designers. And rightly so, as these offer several advantages over their counterparts. For starters, these roofs are resilient against rust and the elements, enabling them to last up to 100 years. They are resistant to rots and insects. Furthermore, the treatment used in their production make them practically invulnerable against algae. They also provide a high degree of protection against fires.
Additionally, these roofing materials are lightweight which makes them easy to transport, handle and install. These, in turn, can help lower installation costs.