Choosing the Right Roof Tiles

Tiles have been in use for roofing for thousands of years. There are many different shapes, material options and finishes available, so finding the right ones for a specific project can take some time. This guide will help you choose the right roof tiles by outlining key information such as the different types of roof tile and the advantages of the most common materials.

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  • How do I choose the right roof tile?

    CREATON Glass Roof Tile

    CREATON Glass Roof Tile

    Tiles have a number of advantages over other roof coverings, including their charming appearance and longevity. To choose the right tile for a pitched roof, a number of key criteria must be taken into account including:

    • Roof design and local regulations
    • Tile type and shape
    • Material options
    • Technical characteristics and finishes
    • Current trends
  • How will the roof design and local regulations affect my choice of roof tile?

    LUDOWICI - Bullnose Roof Tile

    LUDOWICI – Bullnose Roof Tiles

    Whether you are replacing old tiles on an existing roof or building a new one, it’s important to find out the relevant building regulations first, and see if your proposed design needs planning permission. You might be restricted to a roof shape and pitch that are in-keeping with the surrounding buildings. Local regulations can also have an impact on the tile shape, size, material and color options. For example, you might be required to use a specific type of roof tile that is used by other buildings within the area, especially if in a protected historical zone.

  • How do I know which type and shape of roof tile to choose?

    LÓGICA ONDA - Interlocking Roof Tiles

    LÓGICA ONDA – Interlocking Tiles

    Your choice of roof tile shape and type will not only influence the aesthetics of your building, but could also have an impact on the cost of installation, the overall weight of the roof and the number of tiles to be laid.  Here are some of the main types that you might come across: 

    Plain roof tiles are completely flat and do not interlock so often they need to have a double overlap (an overlap of over 50% with the layer of tiles above and below) to ensure adequate weather protection.  Plain roof tiles are often rectangular or bullnose shaped (making a fish scale pattern when installed).  You might be required to use this type of tile for restoring historic roofs, but they are not always used for new builds as they tend to be more expensive and heavier than equivalent interlocking tiles. 

    Canal tiles, (also known as barrel, bent or channel tiles) are a popular traditional roof covering.  The tiles are overlapped in a simple alternating concave and convex pattern.  Another traditional roof covering is made from overlapping tegula and imbrex tiles (tegulae and imbrices), which have been used since antiquity. The tegula is laid flat on the roof often with the edges turned up.  The imbrex, which has a shape similar to a canal tile, covers the joints between the two tegulae, making the roof weatherproof. 

    Interlocking roof tiles only have a single overlap (just at the edges) which keeps the roof weatherproof.  This means that interlocking roof installations are often lighter, less expensive and quicker to install than double overlap installations. Interlocking tiles are available in most traditional shapes,  including flat rectangular, flat bullnose, channel/barrel, s-shaped as well as popular regional tile shapes such as the marseille roof tile. Some interlocking roof tiles are double or triple channeled, helping to reduce the number of tiles required per installation. Whichever tiles you choose, many roof tile manufacturers have a range of special tiles for finishing roof edges, ridges and eaves or even to allow ventilation openings.

  • What do I need to know about roof tile materials?

    ASIAN STONES Flat Slate Roof Tile

    ASIAN STONES Slate Roof Tiles

    The choice of roof tile material can have a big impact on the price, weight and maintenance of the roof. Here is a summary of some of the most common roof tile materials:

    Clay roof tiles have been used for thousands of years due their long lifespan, robustness and the natural abundance of clay. Although the classic red and orange tints remain popular, there are a wide variety of different colors and shapes available today.

    Concrete tiles are a popular alternative to clay roof tiles because of their similar lifespan and variety of shapes. They are sometimes favored in modern newbuilds due to their low cost. However, they tend to be heavier, more absorbent and less robust than clay roof tiles against strong weather conditions.

    Slate roof tiles are extremely long lasting, robust and give an attractive unique finish, which can suit both modern and traditional buildings. However, they are very heavy and installation can be expensive. While more modern slate tiles tend to be much thinner than traditional ones, they can also be more prone to damage.

    Glass roof tiles are recyclable and can allow natural light to enter without breaking the continuity of the roof. They can also be used for solar heating systems. Glass roof tiles are often available in the most common roof tile shapes so they can be integrated into new or existing roof structures.

    Metal roof tiles are much lighter than clay, slate or concrete alternatives. Not only are they available in metallic finishes, they can also be finished to imitate more traditional tile profiles. Some are available in large sheets that look like mutiple tiles, which makes them much quicker and easier to install. However they can dent and be noisier than other materials.

    Plastic roof tiles, like metal roof tiles, are light, low maintenance, can imitate traditional tile profiles and finishes and be installed in large sheets. Transparent plastic roof tiles can also provide an alternative to glass tiles. However, plastic roof tiles tend to be less robust and may be prone to color fading or UV damage over time. The type of plastic used can have an impact on the overall robustness and environmental impact of the tiles. Some manufacturers have roof tiles made out of 100% recycled plastics.


  • What technical characteristics are important for roof tiles?


    NELSKAMP Roof Tiles

    When buying roof tiles, you will need to take into account a number of factors to make sure that the tiles are suitable for your project and budget. These include:  

    • The thickness
    • The weight per m2 
    • The number of tiles per m2 
    • The dimensions of the tiles 
    • The size of the tile overlap and method of installation 
    • The minimum and maximum roof pitch 
    • The length of the warranty
    • Fire, impact and weather resistance ratings (such as wind,hail, etc.)
    • The finish

    Not only can the finish impact the appearance of your roof, it can also affect the ease of cleaning and absorbency.


  • What are the current roof tile trends?

    EDILIANS PV Roof Tiles

    EDILIANS PV Roof Tiles

    With energy saving becoming increasingly important, companies are developing new lines of tiles which blend in with more traditional roof tiles. Two examples are glass roof tiles, which allow natural light to enter through roof spaces, and roof tiles with integrated solar panels to produce electricity. 

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