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The Pros and Cons of Different Roofing Materials

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by Avery Clark

2022-11-24 10:20 AM

A new roof is the most effective way to increase the value of your home, but each roofing material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some roof constructions last long but leak over time, while others lose their initial appeal but are still effective in keeping out the elements. Your new roof should look great, let in plenty of air, and keep the rain out of your home.

This article will help you decide roofing materials by comparing their benefits and drawbacks.


Key Concerns    

Your location and roofing budget are two of the most important factors when selecting a roof.

  • Lifespan: How long is the material expected to last?
  • Resilience: How well does it withstand the climate there?
  • Weight: Will the current structure be able to support the added weight?
  • Slope: How steep is the slope, and is the angle sufficient?
  • Aesthetics: does it enhance the aesthetics of my current home?
  • Sustainability: Eco-friendly alternatives are beneficial not only to mother nature but also to your bank account.
  • Compliance: Do you know if your new roof complies with local building codes?

After giving this some thought, finalize a roofing material.

Materials for Roofing: Several Varieties

When weighing the benefits and drawbacks of various roofing materials, it's important to consider how you want your home to look, the strength of your current roof tile types, your budget, and how much maintenance you're prepared to undertake. Here are some of the most common roofing materials used in the UK:

1. Metal Roofing

metal roof

Three steel varieties are utilized in distinct situations:

  1. Galvanized steel is zinc-coated, and zinc protects the sheet's inner steel layers from corrosion. Galvanized steel roofing sheets and panels are the most prevalent.
  2. Galvalume Steel - Like galvanized steel but coated with zinc and aluminium. Aluminium zinc prevents rust and corrosion in steel
  3. Galvalume roofing's aluminium characteristics make it durable and protective. Sheets are readily damaged and marred during installation.

Weathering steel is a heavy steel industry commodity used for building projects like bridges.

The outside metal layer is supposed to corrode and rust, which protects the inner. Weathering steel rusts and needs constant maintenance, making it unsuitable for structural construction.

Your project, environment, and budget will determine the metal roofing you need. Each steel has various benefits. Most steels have these properties:


  • Anti-corrosive and rustproof.
  • Portable and simple to set up.
  • One of the least expensive metal roofing options.
  • Available in a variety of shades.
  • Roofs made of steel can be given various looks by being given different profiles, such as Corrugated Metal, Timeform, and Box Profile.
  • It is recyclable.
  • Steel roofing panels, once erected, require little care beyond the occasional raking of leaves and removing of small branches and trash.
  • Hopefully, it will serve you well for decades.
  • Strong enough to withstand the weight of hail, the hooves of animals, and random bits of debris.


  • Damage to the sheets is possible if debris and animal droppings are not removed regularly.
  • Steel roofing may not have the longevity of more expensive metal roofing panels if not put in properly.

For its low cost, steel has become a popular material for roofing applications. Choose roofing specialists using home improvement apps like

The average cost of one square meter of one of these metal roofing options is around £11.40 (before taxes).

2. Solar Tiles

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As a relatively recent addition to the roofing industry, solar tiles are best utilized on newly constructed or extensively renovated residences. These tiles function similarly to small solar panels and can be set up in place of regular roof tiles. Solar tiles' aesthetic value is their primary selling point; however, they must be replaced every 30 years.


  • Unlike solar panels, they can be set up in no time.
  • Tiles may be installed in as little as 10 hours, whereas solar panels might take anywhere from two to five times as long.


  • Your roof's slope needs to be at the right angle to the sun for this roof tiles type to do its job.
  • Tiles with solar energy capabilities cost more than conventional solar panels.
  • Solar tiles are less efficient than solar panels since they produce less energy.

3. Asphalt Tiles

roof with asphalt tiles

When it comes to residential roofing, asphalt shingles are by far the most popular option. The benefits of these reasonably priced shingles go well beyond their low price, and they are extremely long-lasting, with some estimates reaching 50 years. Asphalt shingles aren't going to cause any problems with the weight of the roof or the stability of your roof's supporting components because they're so light. These shingles may be relied upon to keep the attic dry and free of moisture buildup.


  • Waterproof
  • Affordable
  • Repair the damaged roof tiles easily
  • Colour options are varied


  • Extreme weather, such as subfreezing temperatures or strong gusts, can cause damage.

4. Rubber Slates

roof with rubber slates

Rubber slates are unrivalled by any other roofing material in terms of aesthetics and sophistication. This roofing material is often fabricated from used tires and EPDM rubber. Did you know that it takes anywhere from 200 to 1,000 recycled tyres to produce enough rubber slates for a roof of a typical size? These slates weigh almost little and may be fashioned into any form desired with a sharp knife. In addition, rubber slates can be set up in any climate.


  • Appealing in a traditional way
  • Affordable both in cost and time to set up
  • Despite heavy foot traffic, the slates will not crack.
  • Reusable
  • Anti-UV and impact-resistant
  • Slates of the highest quality can last 50–150 years.
  • There are a variety of possible cuts, including square, rounded, and chisel-tipped shapes


  • Without the ability to withstand flames
  • Emit a scent that is noticeable during the setup process

5. Clay and Concrete Tiles

clay tile

Concrete or clay roof tiles are offered. Different forms and colours are available. Concrete tiles are formed by heating cement, water, and sand. Baking clay tiles at high temperatures also use natural materials. Yellow, white, brown, and orange are available. Most people recognize terracotta clay tiles, and High-temperature-baked clay tiles don't fade. Concrete tiles are eco-friendly because they're made from natural elements.


  • Clay tiles don't soak enough water, so they're low-maintenance.
  • Installing concrete tiles is cheaper.
  • Both tiles are multicoloured.
  • Beautiful
  • Wind-resistant clay tiles won't fade.
  • Durable


  • Installation difficult
  • Heavy tiles

6. Green Roofs

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Green roofs are new to the UK but prevalent in Scandinavia. Real plants make up these planted rooftops, which are great for eco-friendly households that prefer green roofs. When properly cared for, moss and other live plant components can represent an efficient roofing material. As more folks select green roofs, their future seems bright. Green roofs supply oxygen to the air and insulate and absorb precipitation. Your roof can even hold plants. Before building a green roof, install a waterproof membrane.


  • Drainage and air quality are improved.
  • Beautiful
  • Green roofs insulate better than other materials.
  • Greenest roofing


  • Installation is expensive
  • Precious
  • Damageable

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What kind of material do most British roofs typically consist of?

Clay is still widely used as a roofing material because it is inexpensive, reliable, and resistant to fire and the normally wet weather of Britain.

2. Which five roofing materials are most popular in the UK?

  • Roof with asphalt shingles. The most typical roofing material you see on homes today is an asphalt shingle roof.
  • They are standing seam roofs made of metal.
  • A cedar shake roof
  • Slate roof; composite (synthetic) shingle roof.

3. Which roof has the most extended lifespan?

The longest-lasting roofing materials are concrete, clay, or slate tiles. These materials perform noticeably better than any manufactured roofing materials, such as metal roofing, asphalt shingles, and other natural items like wood shakes.

4. What kind of roof costs the least in the UK?

Concrete tiles are undoubtedly the most economical option because they are among the least expensive roofing materials and require little care after installation, except for the occasional cleaning to remove some moss and mildew.