01 Mar 2017

Russell Roof Tiles offers advice to those striving to achieve best product finish first time


Whether it is social or private housing, commercial properties or a self-build project, one of the continuing challenges in the construction industry is roofing defects. Here Russell Roof Tiles, one of the UK’s leading roof tile manufacturers, offers its advice to those self-builders striving to achieve best product finish first time.


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Roofing contractors are often disproportionately blamed for many roofing problems. In fact, it is estimated that only about 25-30% of problems are workmanship-based and much of the remaining 70-75% can be designed out by the correct detailing, better coordination of the trades (e.g. fascia board heights), or the use of dry-fix systems.

However, other issues that can arise during installation are not always ‘defects’, i.e. they won’t contribute to a leaking roof but they can have a major impact on the aesthetic of the roof.

A pitched roof can account for 40% of the facade of a building and has a role in creating the right look for a property – it’s an essential element in the overall design.

Roofing is an integral part of any building and, on some styles of structure, the roof is a very dominant feature. So, depending on the shape of a building, or its roof, it can have a major impact on a property’s appearance.

The roofing sector has an annual market value of £4b. There are over 7000 contractors working in that space and it’s estimated that around 750 merchants stock roofing products, so being able to help and direct customers to the best advice can set one merchant apart from another.

There are four main pitched roof tile choices in the UK – concrete, slate, clay and stone. Concrete versions of the latter three are the most widely used on around 60% of properties, natural slates are used at 20% of the total and clay tiles around 10% – the remaining 10% is made of various other materials.

Concrete roof tiles are crafted in ‘batches,’ and while the size, shape and weight are controlled using modern methods of manufacturing, the colouring is not 100% the same in every batch as it can be affected by a number of different factors during the manufacturing process. This variation is acceptable as part of the BS/EN Standards for the manufacturing of concrete roof tiles, recognising the difference of colours due to the natural products from which the tiles are made.

It is because of this that Russell Roof Tiles advises that to achieve the best effect, tiles should be mixed from different packs – normally a minimum of three. It is a condition of its product guarantee, ‘RussSpec,’ that instructions are followed with detail in accordance with the fixing specification.

RussSpec is Russell Roof Tiles’ 15-year guarantee when using Russell’s whole roof solutions, and where the roof has been installed in accordance with the information provided.

The technical team at Russell Roof Tiles produce detailed specifications and instructions; they are on-hand to offer advice and answer questions, ensuring minimal issues before, during and after installation and are a great point of contact for both contractors and merchants looking to offer them advice. Products must be installed using normal standards of good workmanship and should meet the requirements of the British Standards for Slating and Tiling (BS 5534 and BS 8000-Part 6).

Mark Parsons, Technical Director at Russell Roof Tiles, comments: “Correct mixing when laying a roof minimises the visual effect of any slight colour variations within the production batch, or between different production batches in the shipment, as well as any efflorescence should that occur. This is why we always recommend mixing tiles from at least three different packs to achieve the best natural look.”

It’s important for merchants to highlight that contractors need to follow the instructions as set out by the manufacturer as this might not only have a major impact on the overall look of the roof, but the property as a whole.

Modern, double-format tiles – such as Russell Roof Tiles’ latest product launch, Bute – make light work of tiling a whole roof, speeding up installation. But it is important to remember; more speed less haste.

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