Roofing materials

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Roofing Materials - Weatherproofing overview

When it comes to weatherproofing, the most important part of a roofing system is the topmost layer. This is the visible surface we see when looking at the roof of a building, which is designed to protect the structure from the elements. It’s not only protection that’s important but also the appearance of such materials, as there’s nothing worse than having to look at an ugly roof!

We’ve put together five of the most popular roofing materials used that are both good for weatherproofing but also aesthetically pleasing (when done right).

Clay Tile

Clay is what has been used for many years to create the traditional roof tile look that we have become so accustomed to throughout the residential streets of the UK. It’s the most popular roofing solutions that can be seen across almost every roofscape in cities, towns and villages. The most popular colour of these tiles is the traditional red, which appears to be a shade of brown/orange. These are designed to be interlocking, meaning that they are placed in a row one overlapping the next, with the next row placed on top until they are sealed at the top, which is known as the ridgeline with specially designed ridge tiles. This allows water to simply flow over one onto the next without the worry of moisture getting in.


This attractive alternative to solid roofing has become a symbol of countryside cottages not only in the UK but throughout many other countries as well such as Denmark. It’s the process of layering plant stalks on top of each other to create a weatherproof roof, helping to keep water out and heat in. It’s a very old method of roofing and also convenient if you’re constructing homes in countries where lack of resource or funds may limit the use of hard roofing. The plants used can include rushes, reed and straw, which are then carefully and skillfully installed using age old techniques with excellent results. Thatch can be easily incorporated into new builds, adding a traditional charm that tile just can’t accomplish.

Membrane Roofing

Membrane roofing is the perfect roofing solution for flat roofs, as the material is very light compared to clay tiles or slate and can also be completely sealed across the surface keeping water out. It’s a popular choice for large commercial buildings with flat roofs but also domestic premises. Many older terraced homes have a kitchen or bathroom at the rear with a flat roof, which you may notice have membrane roofs. New builds also incorporate it on garages and parts of the home that have only one level. There are numerous types of membrane materials including Synthetic Rubber and Modified Bitumen. The one thing they have in common is that each piece is completely sealed together creating one large waterproof surface area.


Slate roofing works along the same kind of lines and standard roofing tiles, the main difference being that they are completely flat and not curved for interlocking. This is due to the slate being naturally sourced piece by piece and not forged by hand. The downside to this is that slate can be very expensive but there are many upsides to make up for the price. Slate is naturally fireproof and very low maintenance, as it is 100% naturally formed, so it naturally puts up with the elements. Slate also has a very long life span and of course can be very attractive to look at, making it ideal for modern, traditional and also commercial buildings. It is very fragile, so always seek professional installers to avoid potential wastage.

Asphalt Shingle

While we were busy finishing our homes with clay tiles, thatch and slate in the early 20th century, our American friends across the pond were busy inventing a cheaper means to protect their homes. This was eventually invented in the form of Asphalt Shingle, which was a success due to its low production cost. Creation involves one of two bases, one fiberglass and one organic. A number of ingredients are then added to the mix giving each shingle protection from damaging UV light and special treatment, so they don’t stick together. These materials can include ceramic granules and vitrified brick, which also adds to the colour and once attached not only perform well against moisture and sunlight but also very strong winds.

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