04 Dec 2017

Choosing the right roof tile


With a roof making up 40% of a home’s overall design, selecting the right tile can have a huge impact on a project. Here, leading roofing manufacturer, Russell Roof Tiles, provides its top 10 tips on how to choose your roof tiles. As the only British roof tile manufacturer to have achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating in responsible sourcing, the company acts as a pioneer for sustainable manufacturing.

Talk to the planners

Local authority planning teams have rules and policies about roofing that should be discussed at the design stage. Consult with your local planning authority for advice before you decide on what you want.

The planning team will look at the local landscape and materials used and their remit covers the design, appearance and materials.

What is the design?

The look and design which is being achieved for any project will also dictate the roofing materials. Contemporary, traditional, flat or pitched roofing – these all need to be considered when specifying roof tiles. If you are looking for a roof covering with a complex design incorporating a lot of features and potential tile cuts, then it may be better suited to using concrete plain tiles to get the right details.

Pitched or flat?

The pitch of your roof will dictate what products can be used too. All roof tiles have a minimum pitch requirement. A pitched roof is very effective at carrying and distributing not only the weight of the chosen covering, but also deals effectively with environmental factors such as wind, rainwater and snow.

Common pitched roof coverings such as concrete roof tiles complement a pitched roof’s structural performance with outstanding resistance to challenging weather conditions.

Going for green

The roof is an ideal element for using sustainable technologies such as photovoltaic or solar thermal panels. In addition to energy generation, a pitched roof promotes the effective collection of rainwater and, in many cases, can support a rainwater harvesting system.

Is sustainability an important value for the building? If so, bear in mind that some tiles are much more sustainable than others.

Modern materials

There are generally four main pitched roof tile choices – concrete, slate, clay and stone. Concrete tiles can replicate much of our indigenous materials and account for around 60% of the UK market. Tried and tested concrete provides for a durable and affordable alternative to other materials and is available in a wide range of profiles, shapes and colours.

Look and style

Concrete tiles come in a growing variety of colours and profiles. There are a huge number of concrete roof tile options which are designed to blend with ‘natural’ roof tiles in the local area such as clay, slate and stone – that are quick to fit and highly cost-effective.

Weighing up the options

The weight of roof tiles needs to be considered. If the existing structure has weight restrictions, check the structure can cope adequately with whatever tiles are specified.

Rafter lengths

In instances of long rafter lengths, it may be better to use profiled tiles that provide channels for the water and more effective drainage.


Ensure that the roof void is adequately ventilated to prevent condensation. The roof should be designed to help vacate moisture from the property.

Long-term performance

Think about maintenance, performance and the robustness of the roofing products you’re specifying. Often, a pitched roof has a much longer life than a flat roof, for example. As well as tiles, the correct accessories such as dry ridge, dry verge and dry hip ensure effective fixing and are easy to use with significantly reduced maintenance. If further support is needed when specifying roof tiles, please contact Russell Roof Tiles’ technical department who will be able to assist with the correct choice.




Slate roof works in Wisbech

Carpenter Steve Jackson chose Westminster Slate, the latest tile from Redland, when he built his own four-bedroomed house on a plot at Christchurch in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

A large-format interlocking clay tile, the Westminster Slate has a hidden cut-back interlock and a finely tapered leading edge that makes it appear exceptionally slim. Its raised nail holes and custom-engineered head enables it to be installed on roofs with pitches as low as 17.5º.

Commenting on his choice of tile, Steve said: “The planners wanted a slate roof, or something that looked like a slate roof, and this tile does have a very nice finish – almost shiny rather than the matt appearance of some alternatives I looked at.” Although Steve is a carpenter by trade, this is the first time he has taken on the role of a builder.

“It’s my first venture in building my own house, though I have worked on plenty of others. It’s one of a plot of four so I’ve done all the carpentry on it, my brother-in-law helped me with the groundworks and I’ve project managed the rest of the trades,” he explained.







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