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What roof covering on my DIY self build

[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”big” animation=”none” background=”plain”]For many people adding to their current home is the preferred option than moving to a new one.  It may be that more space is needed or that a dedicated space for a specific reason is required.  It might be that the homeowner wants to add to their home and make it more attractive for sale in the long term.  Whatever the case, when work is being done it may fall under the official system known as planning permission – but what work requires planning permission and what can be done without it?[/dt_quote]

What Roof Covering on my DIY Self Build?

One of the biggest decisions when embarking on a self-build project is to decide on what roofing material you want to add.  Roofs account for 20-30% of the visible exterior of the house and that means it plays a big part in the look of the property as well as the insulate and weatherproofing of it.  There are lots of different materials to consider and here is a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular.

Roof tiles

Many homes around the country will have interlocking roof tiles on the roof.  These come in a variety of different materials, colours and finishes to create a variety of different looks to the home.  They can be easy to lay, depending on the material used, and create a strong, weatherproof system on the roof.  You can also work with different pitch and roof structures with these tiles.

Clay tiles

Clay tiles are popular for curved roof areas or those with intricate details required as they come in a vast range of colours and shapes.  You can get valley, ridge and gulley specialist tiles and can have details such as fish tail and bull nose to create patterns.  Clay life have a long lifespan – some found during a renovation in Lincolnshire were dated to the 14th century!  But weather can take a price from them with the wet, freeze and thaw cycle we experience in winter.  Always make sure clay tiles meet the UK’s front requirements.


Stone is a historic roofing material that has been used for centuries but is one of the most expensive ways to roof your home – it tends to be chosen in specific areas of the country such as the Cotswold or Pennines to fit in with surrounding property.  Stone makes for a heavy roofing material and this means a structure beneath it needs to be able to manage the weight.  It is also usually used for 45-degree pitches as a minimum and is laid in diminishing courses with the smaller tiles at the top and the larger ones at the bottom.


Slate is the most common stone for roofing material and is popular around the UK, with some areas having a large supply of it including Wales and Cornwall.  There does need to be careful handling with slate to ensure it overlaps enough to weatherproof the space below and tiles need to be laid in battens over an underlay.  This material needs a pitch of at least 30 degrees to function properly.

Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingles are one example of wood style shingles that are another classic roofing material that has come back into fashion in recent times – another example is oak shingles.  Wood shingles can be left untreated to allow the weather to gently mature their colouration or they can have a preservative added to them to further lengthen their lifespan and keep their colour the same.  Premium, handmade shingles are the very best and will cost more than roof tiles but last longer and have that magic quality of real wood.




Concrete may sound a bit industrial as a roofing material for your home but is now available in the form of concrete tiles and is becoming more popular.  They offer excellent waterproofing when laid on the roof and can work with shallower pitches.  Being man-made, there is a great variation of colour and finishes available including various heritage styles.  They don’t always weather as well as some other materials so may not have the full lifespan of the materials that they imitate.


Metal might sound like a modern, industrial roofing material but it has been used for domes and complicated roof styles for centuries.  However, it is a roofing material that has been modernisation with new metals available and a wide range of styles.  Aluminium and zinc are two examples of new styles of metal roofing material that can be fixed to shallow roof properties.  It is long lasting and can adapt to complex shapes and curves.  There are some environmental concerns about the mining of the material and they can be more attractive to thieves.


In some areas of the country, the traditional thatch roof is coming back as a modern option as well as being maintained on older properties.  Thatch has a firm lifespan of around 15-25 years and does require regular maintenance to make sure it keeps protecting the property.  As well as traditional long straw, there are also water reed options for your roof.  You will likely need to work with a qualified thatcher if you want this roofing option.


Choosing the right roofing material for your home is about balancing the requirements that come with the design, such as the roof pitch, with the look you want to achieve.  There are lots of options, although some may require a specialist to help on the project while others are much easier for self-build projects.