Selecting your roof tiles

a slection of concrete roof tiles in differnt styles and colours

Offering the home owner a wide choice of colours, shades and styles, roof tiles can be easier to work with, especially for the novice roofer. The UK is well looked after by companies operating at either end of the price spectrum. Larger companies like Marley, Russell and Sandtoft look after the mass market sector, whilst independent manufacturers like Dreadnought offer a more bespoke and traditional roof tile that is more suitable for prestige properties.

At first this wide choice can be bewildering for the home owner – the key differentiations are as follows:

Interlocking Tiles – amongst the cheapest and most convenient way to cover a pitched roof, some are also suitable for low pitches. These roof tiles are large so you do not need a lot of them to cover a normal sized roof (just ten tiles is enough to cover one square meter).  Interlocking tiles do not always work well on complex roof designs as they can be difficult to cut. Concrete interlocking tiles tend to be fairly chunky and may look cheap, whilst the higher quality thinner clay interlocking tiles can be pricey.

Pantiles – before interlocking tiles became fashionable, pantiles (tiles with an ‘S’ shaped profile) were popular, especially in the east of England.  Pantiles work well on almost any type of roof adding a quality and perspective not found with plain or interlocking tiles. Many colours and profiles are available manufactured from either concrete or clay.

interlocking brown pantile roof tiles form waves across the roof
interlocking pantiles

Plain Tiles – Plain tiles are a good option for traditional roof designs and are available in many shades and colours, both traditional and modern. It takes approximately 60 plain tiles to cover one square meter of roof, so they can take longer to install than interlocking tiles, but the end result can be very pleasing.

close up of five Keymer handmade clay tilesClay or concrete, handmade, handformed or machine made?

Handmade – a handmade tile is one that is completely made by hand. Desirable especially in period properties or where you are looking for a unique appearance and a warmer, deeper colour or shade.

Machine made tiles offer the home owner a very standard and consistent roof cover. Translating into a cheaper price, the downside is that one roof may look like any another.

Handformed tiles are a middle ground choice that offer some of the unqiue character of a handmade tile but at a cheaper price.

Clay tiles – traditional “Spanish” style clay tiles are the most well-known tiles, but there are many other designs available today.  Clay tiles tend to last slightly longer than concrete tiles (40-50 years).  Whilst clay tiles are slightly more expensive than concrete, they are warmer in colour and are much less likely to fade as the tiles age,

Concrete tiles – Concrete tiles offer a cost advantage but may not be as durable or colourfast as clay tiles. Cheaper concrete tiles also tend to have the colour ‘painted’ on one side of the tile which is more likely to wear off in time.

close up of a concrete plain tile roof

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