The choice of material for a new roof on a residential or commercial property is influenced by personal taste, suitability and budget. Fortunately, we have an excellent range of affordable, high-quality roofing materials available so that you have several options to choose from. Roofs fall into three broad categories; apex, flat or pent. Each style is often more suited to certain materials than others. Owners of listed buildings or properties in conservation areas are subject to regulations and will have a limited choice.

Tile or Slate?

A traditional slate roof retains an elegant sheen in all weathers. It is an expensive investment but it has a longevity of at least 150 years. An economic solution is to opt for slate that has been reclaimed from a demolished property. As a natural material, it is available in a range of colours but it can be difficult to match when carrying out repairs or adding an extension. Tiles are manufactured from concrete or clay in a variety of interlocking shapes such as fluted or curved and there is a palette of colours to choose from. A tiled roof is much heavier than slate and needs a sturdy network of joists to support the weight. Tiles are only suitable for a roof with a fairly steep incline or pitch that allows rainwater to run off without adding extra weight.

Metal Choices

An alternative to traditional slate or tiles is metal. Although copper or zinc can be used, it is aluminium that is proving to be a popular, economic choice. Thin, lightweight tiles of anodised aluminium have a subtle, metallic sheen that can easily rival the beauty of slate. Aluminium roofing tiles are available in a range of attractive shades. The metal is strong yet malleable and is ideal for covering expansive areas. It’s also resistant to rodents, insects, fungi and moss. It provides excellent thermal insulation and will still be aesthetically pleasing after sixty years. Lead is a traditional roofing material that can last even longer. It is often found on listed buildings where its flexible qualities are effective at covering difficult sections. However, it is expensive and needs regular maintenance to ensure that it isn’t splitting on weak spots such as ridges or seams.

Felt or Asphalt?

Felt is suitable for any type of roof but is often used for flat roofs. It is lightweight and flexible with a short lifespan of ten to fifteen years unless it’s applied in a triple layer. Felt is prone to cracking and warping particularly where pools of water form. However, it is one of the most inexpensive materials and is easy to install by gluing or nailing. A tougher alternative is mastic asphalt which is heated then poured over the roof to form a waterproof coating. It is an economic roofing material which can last more than eighty years although during hot weather it can become liquefied. It needs regular maintenance checks but any damage is easy to repair.

Alternative Roofing Materials

A single-ply system offers an economic, durable alternative to asphalt. It has a longevity of at least thirty years. It’s suitable for a flat roof of any size or complexity and is easily glued or nailed into place. Available as a rubberised EPDM or a thermoplastic PVC, it retains a flexibility that can withstand extremes of temperature without splitting or warping and is relatively maintenance-free. A cost-effective alternative to traditional glazing for conservatory roofs is RGP fibreglass which is available in flat or ridged sheets. The strong, transparent panels usually incorporate protection against the sun’s UV rays.

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  • Hurn Builders Ltd
  • 17 De Winton Terrace
  • Llanbradach
  • Caerphilly
  • Cardiff
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