Picking The Best Material To Cover Your Roof!

Stone

Stone is quite an expensive material to roof your house with, and it will probably only be worth while in areas where the stone is in the vernacular, such as the Pennines or Cotswolds.

Sedimentary stone splits naturally, like slate, into thin sheets that make good roofing material, with the thicker tiles making a heavier, stronger structure. They need a steeper pitch, usually a minimum of 45 degrees, and possibly a specialist fitter. Stone is laid in diminishing courses, with larger tiles at the bottom and smaller ones at the top. As with slate, curves are hard to achieve, and ridge tiles can be made of clay, metal or stone. UK-produced or salvaged stone tiles great with roofing preston and can be expensive, but may be specified by planning or preferred on certain high-spec builds.

Stone varies in thickness around the country, from the relatively thin Yorkshire stone, pictured left, to the thicker and less uniform stone slates traditionally used in the Cotswolds.

Concrete

A major player in roofing materials, the advantage of concrete tiles is the vast range available – many of which interlock, offering improved waterproofing, secure fixing and shallower roof pitches – and good prices. A wide range of colours, textures and finishes is available, from the thick double-roman tile that dominates new-build estates to all sorts of heritage-look tiles matching traditional tiles at a smaller cost. The disadvantage of these tiles is that they don’t always weather in the same way as the original items do, and can have a shorter life-expectancy, depending on the product. However, the wide range of styles means that concrete tiles are fairly adaptable in achieving more difficult shapes and special tiles are easily available for ridges and gulleys as well as for curves.

Slate

A plentiful supply of this easily splittable stone in the UK ensured its dominance, especially in Wales, the north of England and Cornwall. Slates need significant overlapping on several sides to ensure water-tightness, and the tiles must be laid on battens over an underlay. A slate roof requires a pitch of 30 degrees, and must be finished with clay or metal at the ridges and junctions. Curves are harder to achieve with slate, and are costly as well – simple roof shapes are usually the most economical.

Slate provides a smart and yet traditional roofing material, usually grey, but is also available in colours, from purple to green. Imported tiles come from Canada, China and Spain, and modern versions are available, including composite look-alike versions  and recycled slate, such as Sandtoft’s BritSlate range, which comprises 80 per cent slate, crushed and reformed. Composite and concrete versions are often interlocking, reducing the need for overlapping.

The best of the rest

Metal

You may think of metal roofing is something modern, but copper has been the roofing material of choice for centuries on domes and complicated features, while the Elizabethan gentry was well-used to taking the air on flat roofs covered in lead. These days there are many more metals available, and options include aluminium and zinc, which can be laid on relatively shallow pitches, usually on boards or rigid insulation. The fixing and seams vary according to the metal and fixing-system used.

Metal roofing is long-lasting and very adaptable for curves and complex shapes, but they do have drawbacks: environmental concerns in mining (for copper) and general production; prohibitive costs of many metals; and their appeal to thieves. Run-off from copper and lead run-off can also be a cause for concern.

A modern range of lightweight steel tiles, pressed to look like traditional tiles, is available, but more commonly in Europe. The advantage of these systems is that they are lightweight and can be laid on low pitches. Roofing membranes can also be coloured too look like metal, for a hi-tech take on a traditional look.

Thatch

Thatch gives a wonderful organic shape which is perfect for curves, and insulates well. It’s a traditional and sustainable material that should be encouraged, and fire concerns – which have prevented it appearing on many new builds – are quite easy to overcome.

Thatch has a definite life-span, typically lasting between 15-25 years, with checks and possible maintenance needed every few years. The drier the climate the longer lasting the thatch.

In the UK thatch tends to be made of either long straw or the less common, but longer lasting, water reed, though there is currently a shortage of good thatching material, as well as thatchers.

It requires a steep pitch and has a deep overhang, rarely requiring a gutter.

Stone

Stone is quite an expensive material to roof your house with, and it will probably only be worth while in areas where the stone is in the vernacular, such as the Pennines or Cotswolds.

Sedimentary stone splits naturally, like slate, into thin sheets that make good roofing material, with the thicker tiles making a heavier, stronger structure. They need a steeper pitch, usually a minimum of 45 degrees, and possibly a specialist fitter. Stone is laid in diminishing courses, with larger tiles at the bottom and smaller ones at the top. As with slate, curves are hard to achieve, and ridge tiles can be made of clay, metal or stone. UK-produced or salvaged stone tiles can be expensive, but may be specified by planning or preferred on certain high-spec builds.

Stone varies in thickness around the country, from the relatively thin Yorkshire stone, pictured left, to the thicker and less uniform stone slates traditionally used in the Cotswolds.

Concrete

A major player in roofing materials, the advantage of concrete tiles is the vast range available – many of which interlock, offering improved waterproofing, secure fixing and shallower roof pitches – and good prices. A wide range of colours, textures and finishes is available, from the thick double-roman tile that dominates new-build estates to all sorts of heritage-look tiles matching traditional tiles at a smaller cost. The disadvantage of these tiles is that they don’t always weather in the same way as the original items do, and can have a shorter life-expectancy, depending on the product. However, the wide range of styles means that concrete tiles are fairly adaptable in achieving more difficult shapes and special tiles are easily available for ridges and gulleys as well as for curves.

Slate

A plentiful supply of this easily splittable stone in the UK ensured its dominance, especially in Wales, the north of England and Cornwall. Slates need significant overlapping on several sides to ensure water-tightness, and the tiles must be laid on battens over an underlay. A slate roof requires a pitch of 30 degrees, and must be finished with clay or metal at the ridges and junctions. Curves are harder to achieve with slate, and are costly as well – simple roof shapes are usually the most economical.

Slate provides a smart and yet traditional roofing material, usually grey, but is also available in colours, from purple to green. Imported tiles come from Canada, China and Spain, and modern versions are available, including composite look-alike versions  and recycled slate, such as Sandtoft’s BritSlate range, which comprises 80 per cent slate, crushed and reformed. Composite and concrete versions are often interlocking, reducing the need for overlapping.

The best of the rest

Metal

You may think of metal roofing is something modern, but copper has been the roofing material of choice for centuries on domes and complicated features, while the Elizabethan gentry was well-used to taking the air on flat roofs covered in lead. These days there are many more metals available, and options include aluminium and zinc, which can be laid on relatively shallow pitches, usually on boards or rigid insulation. The fixing and seams vary according to the metal and fixing-system used.

Metal roofing is long-lasting and very adaptable for curves and complex shapes, but they do have drawbacks: environmental concerns in mining (for copper) and general production; prohibitive costs of many metals; and their appeal to thieves. Run-off from copper and lead run-off can also be a cause for concern.

A modern range of lightweight steel tiles, pressed to look like traditional tiles, is available, but more commonly in Europe. The advantage of these systems is that they are lightweight and can be laid on low pitches. Roofing membranes can also be coloured too look like metal, for a hi-tech take on a traditional look.

Thatch

Thatch gives a wonderful organic shape which is perfect for curves, and insulates well. It’s a traditional and sustainable material that should be encouraged, and fire concerns – which have prevented it appearing on many new builds – are quite easy to overcome.

Thatch has a definite life-span, typically lasting between 15-25 years, with checks and possible maintenance needed every few years. The drier the climate the longer lasting the thatch.

In the UK thatch tends to be made of either long straw or the less common, but longer lasting, water reed, though there is currently a shortage of good thatching material, as well as thatchers.

It requires a steep pitch and has a deep overhang, rarely requiring a gutter.

Shingles

shingles, and the more rustic-looking shakes, are a sustainable as well as long-lasting roofing material, with Western Red Cedar a typical wood.

They can be left untreated to weather to a beautiful silver, or, alternatively, they can be treated for longer life and to preserve some of the original colour. If you want to get the longest life out of your choice, opt for premium shingles.

shingles, and the more rustic-looking shakes, are a sustainable as well as long-lasting roofing material, with Western Red Cedar a typical wood.

They can be left untreated to weather to a beautiful silver, or, alternatively, they can be treated for longer life and to preserve some of the original colour. If you want to get the longest life out of your choice, opt for premium shingles.

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