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How to choose the right roofing material for your property

  • 19 Sep 2016

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It probably isn’t overstating it to say that the roof is the most important part of your property, whether it is a house or a commercial building.  It protects the entire property from damage by rain, wind or snow and creates a place to install insulation to make a property more energy efficient.  

If it’s time to replace your roof or you are building a new property, then there are lots of styles of roofing material to choose from – but which is best for you?

Every type of material has its own pros and cons.  So what is best for a bungalow in the country might not be the same as what is best for a factory in the city. Here we look at the different materials and their benefits to help you decide.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are available in a wide range of shapes and colours and often with special tiles for areas such as gulleys and valleys.  They have a very long lifespan with one example being the Guildhall in Lincoln that was found to have clay tiles from the 14th century!  But the weather can take a toll on them, especially with the increase in rainfall we now see.  The constant cycle of wet then freezing conditions can lead to cracks though there is a frost requirement standard for clay tiles in the UK.

Stone 

Stone is one of the most expensive materials for a roof but it is often used in conservation areas and on listed buildings.  Stone can be made into thicker tiles that are good on properties with a steeper pitch, usually at least 45 degrees.  They do require specialist fitting and use stone nails but are extremely durable and have a great lifespan.

Slate 

Another popular roofing material, slate works on houses with a 30 degree roof pitch and comes in a wide range of colours including those from outside the UK such as from Canada, China and Spain.  Recycled slate is a way to get the same look while reducing the cost and is usually mixed with concrete to create the look while reducing the cost.

Concrete

Manmade concrete tiles have come to the top of the list in recent decades for their variety, ease of use and economy.  There are plenty of different styles and their interlocking form means they are very waterproof.  There are also lots of different colours to match with the property or the area.  Sometimes these tiles can weather differently, creating an uneven look and they don’t have the lifespan of the natural materials.

Metal

Metals have been used in roofing systems for hundreds of years – architects in the Elizabethan times used lead on their roofs while the use of cooper to create complicated domes and other styles is well known.  Metal is easy to make into a variety of shapes and styles and can be laid onto shallow pitches unlike some materials.  It is very long lasting but there is a trend towards stealing it for its re-sale value.

Author: Stuart Cooke – Marketing Manager at SpecifiedBy, Edinburgh

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