West Country Tiling answer frequently asked questions using their roofing expertise from over 35 years in the roofing industry.

As traditional roofers, West Country Tiling offer a wide range roofing services including, roof repairs and maintenance, roof tiling and slating, lead repairs to valleys and chimneys. In addition to this we also provide carpentry, stone masonry, timber work, new and reclaimed material sourcing and a scaffolding service from Frome based S.A.M. Scaffold.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about roofing methods and materials. If you are looking for a reputable roofing who operate throughout the South West of England, please get in touch.

  • What different types of roof tiles are there?

    There are several types of roofing tiles, including:

    • Clay roof tiles – also known as plain tiling, made from natural clay and known for their durability and aesthetics.
    • Stone slate roof tiles  – stone tiles that offer an elegant and high-end roofing option.
    • Natural slate roof tiles – natural slate tiles offer a long-lasting water-tight roof covering.
    • Lead roofs – this very versatile material is available in fix milled lead sheet and flashings.
    • Cedar shingles – these shingles are sawn from wood and have a smooth and uniform appearance, adding rustic charm to a roof.
    • Oak shingles – these wood shingles are typically split, not sawn, which gives them a more irregular and textured appearance, which can give amore rustic and traditional look.
    • Single lap clay tiling – these are available in Pantiles and Double Romans and have a timeless and traditional appearance that adds character and beauty.
    • Modern concrete roof tiles – made from a mixture of cement, sand, and water, offering strength and longevity.
    • Metal roof tiles – manufactured from steel, aluminium, or copper, they provide excellent durability and are often lightweight.
    • Composite roof tiles – engineered tiles combining different materials for improved performance and aesthetics.
  • What are the advantages of using roofing tiles?

    At West Country Tiling we use various roofing tiles, including stone stales, natural slate, clay and lead. See our gallery for how these different roof products look in situ.

    Roofing tiles have several advantages, such as:

    • Durability – many roofing tiles have a long lifespan, ranging from 30 to over 100 years, depending on the material.
    • Aesthetics – they come in various styles and colours, adding beauty and character to a roof.
    • Weather resistance – roofing tiles provide excellent protection against rain, wind, hail, and extreme temperatures.
    • Low maintenance – once installed correctly, roofing tiles generally require minimal maintenance over their lifespan.
      Fire resistance – some roofing tiles, like clay and concrete, are naturally fire-resistant, adding an extra layer of safety to the property.
  • How long do roofing tiles typically last?

    The lifespan of roofing tiles varies depending on the material used.

    • Generally, clay and concrete tiles can last 50 to 100 years.
    • Metal tiles and slate can often endure for over 50 years, while asphalt shingles may last only 20 to 30 years.
    • Cedar or oak shingles can last 30 to 40 years. 
    • Natural slate roof tiles are renowned for their exceptional lifespan. When installed and maintained correctly, they can last anywhere from 75 to over 150 years, sometimes even longer.
    • Good quality stone slates can last for hundreds of years.
  • What are roof slates?

    Roof slates are stone tiles typically used for roofing purposes. They are cut into thin, flat pieces and installed on the roof to provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing roofing material. Slates are a double lap roofing material. They can be made of stone, metamorphic rock (such as Welsh slates), or man-made.

  • What makes roof slates special compared to other roofing materials?

    Slates are known for their unique beauty, longevity, and natural durability. They can last for a century or more with proper maintenance, making them one of the most durable roofing options available. As historical roof restorers, we often use stone and natural slate on traditional roofs throughout the South West of England.

  • How are roofing tiles installed?

    Roofing tiles are installed in an overlapping pattern over a solid roof deck or underlayment. The installation process can vary slightly depending on the type of tile used. Generally, we start by preparing the roof deck, installing flashing around roof features, and then laying the tiles from the bottom of the roof upward, ensuring they interlock and overlap to prevent water infiltration. Proper installation is critical to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the roof.

  • Are roof slates suitable for all climates?

    Roof slates are well-suited for various climates, including regions with harsh weather conditions. They are resistant to frost, hail, and fire, making them a popular choice in areas prone to extreme weather.

  • What is a listed building?

    A listed building is a structure that is recognised and protected by law due to its historical, architectural, or cultural significance. It is typically listed on a national or local heritage register, and alterations or repairs to listed buildings are subject to strict regulations to preserve their character and historical value.

  • Can roofing tiles be used for any type of roof design?

    Roofing tiles can be used for various roof designs, including gable, hip, mansard, and some custom designs. However, the suitability of roofing tiles for a particular design may depend on the tile’s weight and the pitch of the roof. Some tiles are more appropriate for steeply pitched roofs, while others may work better on low-slope roofs. As experienced roofing professionals, we can advise on the best tile options for specific roof designs.

  • Do roof slates require special maintenance?

    Slate roof tiles require minimal maintenance, but regular inspections are recommended to identify and address any issues promptly. Keeping the roof clean and free of debris is essential to prevent potential damage.

  • Can I make changes to the roof of a listed building?

    Making changes to the roof of a listed building usually requires permission from the local planning authority. Significant alterations or repairs must comply with conservation guidelines and maintain the building’s historical integrity.

  • How do I maintain roofing tiles?

    While roofing tiles are generally low-maintenance, some care is necessary to prolong their lifespan. Regular inspections should be performed to check for cracked or damaged tiles, which should be replaced promptly. Gutters and downspouts should be kept clear to ensure proper drainage. It is essential to remove debris, moss, and algae from the roof surface, as they can compromise the integrity of the tiles. Avoid walking on the tiles unless necessary. Contact us for any maintenance or repair work to your roof.

  • Can roof slates be recycled?

    Yes, slate roof tiles can be recycled. When a slate roof reaches the end of its lifespan, the tiles can be salvaged and reused for other construction projects or crushed and used as aggregate.

  • How do I choose the right roof tiles for my home?

    When choosing the right roof tiles for your home you should consider the functionality, aesthetics and durability. Consider the architectural style of your home and look for colours and textures that complement it. There are many different materials to choose from, including hand-made or machine-made clay tiles, natural or stone slate, wood shingles or modern concrete tiles.

    Other things to consider when choosing your roof tiles include, the weather conditions in your region, if your roof structure can support the weight of the chosen tiles, any maintenance requirements, local authority regulations and building codes, energy efficiency and performance warranties.

    Some roofing materials may require specialised installation techniques. To ensure that your chosen tiles are installed correctly, comply with building regulations and are compatible with your roof structure, we recommend that you hire experienced roofing professionals.

  • Are roof slates heavy?

    Yes, slate roof tiles are relatively heavy compared to other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles. It is crucial to ensure that the roof structure can support the weight of the slate tiles before installation.

  • What roofing materials are suitable for listed buildings?

    The choice of roofing materials for listed buildings is critical to preserve their historical appearance. Traditional materials like clay tiles, slate, wood shingles or lead are often preferred.

  • What are the benefits of installing clay roof tiles?

    Clay roof tiles offer durability and longevity, they can withstand harsh weather conditions. Clay tiles are also fire-resistant, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly and only require low maintenance. Clay roof tiles are available in a variety of shapes, colours and textures, allowing you to create a visually appealing roof.

    However, it is important to note that clay roof tiles come with some considerations, such as their weight and the need for proper installation. Please contact us to determine if clay tiles are the right choice for your specific roofing requirements.

  • How do I find a suitable contractor for roofing work on a listed building?

    When hiring a contractor for roofing work on a listed building, it is essential to choose a company experienced in working with historic structures. Look for contractors with a proven track record in conservation and restoration projects, such as West Country Tiling, we are registered National Heritage Roofing Contractors. Please contact us to if you have a listed building roofing project that requires a specialist roofing team.

  • Can I install roof slates on my own?

    Slate roof tile installation requires specialised skills and knowledge. It is generally not recommended as a DIY project. Professional roofers like West County Tiling have vast experience in working with slate tiles, and are able to handle the installation correctly. Please contact us to determine if natural slate or stone slate are the right choice for your home.

  • How do I maintain my roof tiles to extend their lifespan?

    Taking good care of your roof tiles is the best way to extend the lifespan of your roof. Here are our tips:

    • Carry out regular inspections. Check for any broken or missing tiles, as well as any signs of damage or wear.
    • Clean gutters help prevent water from overflowing and saturating your walls. This reduces the risk of leaks and water damage.
    • If you have trees near your house, trim any overhanging branches to prevent them from falling onto your roof and causing damage.
    • If you notice moss or algae growth, especially in shaded areas, clean it off. They can trap moisture and accelerate tile deterioration. Use a mild biocide for this.
    • Avoid walking on your roof as this can lead to broken or cracked tiles. If you need to access the roof, use proper equipment or consult a professional.
    • If you find any damaged tiles during your inspections, replace them promptly to prevent further issues.
    • Ensure that your attic is well-ventilated. Proper ventilation helps regulate temperature and moisture, preventing damage to the tiles.
    • Consider getting a qualified roofer, such as West Country Tiling, to inspect your roof every few years. We can identify potential issues that might go unnoticed during your routine checks.

    Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way in preserving the life of your roof tiles.

  • Do roof slates come in different colours and sizes?

    Stone slates and natural slates come in various natural colours, including shades of black, grey, green, red, and purple. Additionally, they can be cut into different sizes and shapes to suit the architectural style of the building.

  • Can I add insulation to roofs on listed buildings?

    Adding roof insulation to a listed building must be approached with care to avoid altering the building’s appearance. Any insulation work will likely require approval from the local planning authority to ensure it meets conservation standards.

    Please contact us if you have a listed building roofing project that requires a roofing team who are experienced in working on listed building roofs.

  • What is the importance of proper roof tile installation?

    Proper roof tile installation is crucial for creating a weather-resistant barrier to protect your home from rain, snow, wind, and other environmental elements. Proper installation of roof tiles includes insulation and ventilation, contributing to the energy efficiency of your home.

    When tiles that are installed correctly, they are more likely to last longer. Properly secured tiles are less susceptible to damage from strong wind. Using the correct flashing and sealing during installation will help to prevent leaks. Correct installation of roof tiles will ensure that the weight of the tiles is evenly distributed across the roof structure, preventing potential structural issues over time. Following proper installation practices will ensure that your roof meets or exceeds building codes and regulations.

    If you are putting new tiles on the roof, consult with the manufacturer for a fixing specification.

    Correct roof tile installation by a professional roofer can enhance the resale value of your home. Prospective buyers often consider the condition of the roof as a critical factor. Contact West Country Tiling for a quote for your roof maintenance, repair or reroof.

  • Are roof slates expensive compared to other roofing materials?

    Yes, slates are considered a premium roofing material and can be more expensive than other options like single lap clay and concrete tiles. However, their long lifespan and classic appeal make them a valuable investment for some homeowners.

    At West Country Tiling, we specialise in working with a variety of roof coverings, as well as stone and natural slates, we work with plain tiles, leadwork, oak shakes, cedar shingles, man-made slates, modern concrete tiles and single lap clay tiles.

  • Are there any grants or financial assistance available for roof repairs on listed buildings?

    There are various grants and financial assistance options available for repairs to roofs listed on buildings. Here are a few avenues you can explore:

    • Heritage Lottery Fund  provides grants for projects that aim to preserve and enhance heritage, including repairs to listed buildings. You can check their website for specific funding programs.
    • Historic England is a public body that looks after the English historic environment. They offer various grant schemes and advice for the conservation and repair of historic buildings.
    • Some local authorities provide grants or financial assistance for the repair and maintenance of listed buildings within their jurisdiction. Check with your local council for specific programs.
    • National Heritage Memorial Fund provides grants for projects that secure the long-term future of our heritage. While not exclusively for listed building roof repairs, it is worth exploring their funding opportunities.
    • The Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund is specifically designed to support urgent roof repairs for listed churches and cathedrals. It is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
    • If your listed building is a place of worship, you may explore grants offered by ChurchCare, which supports the conservation and repair of churches, including roofs.

    Before applying for any grants, we recommend that you carefully review the eligibility criteria and application process and also consult with your architect or surveyor. Please contact us for help navigating the available funding options for your listed building.

  • What impact does the weather have on my roof tiles?

    The impact of bad weather on your roof tiles depends on which type of tiles are on your roof, their age and the severity of the weather conditions.

    • Rainwater can gradually wear down roof tiles. Over time, this can lead to erosion, weakening of the tiles, and potential leaks.
    • Strong winds can lift or dislodge roof tiles, especially if they are not properly secured.
    • Hailstorms can cause significant damage to roof tiles, potentially resulting in cracks, fractures, or even completely shattering the tiles.
    • Extreme cold temperatures can cause contraction in roof tiles, potentially leading to cracking.
    • Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause roof tiles to expand and contract, leading to cracks or breakages over time.
    • Exposure to UV rays from the sun can cause fading and deterioration of roof tiles over time.
    • An accumulation of snow and ice on the roof can add weight and stress to the structure, potentially leading to damage or collapse.

    To mitigate the impact of bad weather on your roof tiles, it is important to ensure proper installation, maintenance and periodic inspections of your roof. Contact West Country Tiling for roof maintenance and roof inspections.

  • What are the benefits of installing a slate roof?

    Installing a slate roof offers durability, longevity, low maintenance, sustainability, energy efficiency and they look good too.

    • Slate is an exceptionally durable roofing material, known to last for centuries when properly installed and maintained. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, wind and hail.
    • Slate roofs have one of the longest lifespans amongst all roofing materials, often lasting 100-150 years. Installing a slate roof will reduce the frequency of re-roofs and lower the long-term maintenance costs.
    • Compared to many other roofing materials, slate requires minimal maintenance over its lifespan. It is naturally resistant to mould, mildew and insect damage. Periodic inspections and simple maintenance, such as clearing debris from gutters and replacing damaged or missing tiles, are usually sufficient to keep a slate roof in excellent condition.
    • Slate is a natural stone material, making it an environmentally friendly choice for roofing. It is produced from natural quarries and requires minimal processing, reducing its environmental impact compared to synthetic roofing materials.
    • Slate roofing has inherent thermal properties that can help to regulate indoor temperatures and improve energy efficiency. Its high thermal mass helps to absorb and slowly release heat, reducing the need for heating and cooling in the home.
    • Slate roofing offers classic beauty and elegance, enhancing the appeal and value of your home. Stone slate and natural slate comes in a variety of colours, textures and sizes, allowing you to choose the option that best complements the architectural style of your home and your personal preferences.
  • What should I do if my listed building’s roof is leaking or damaged?

    If you notice leaks or damage to a listed building roof, it’s essential to take immediate action to prevent further deterioration. Contact a professional conservation expert or roofing contractor experienced in working with historic buildings to assess the issue and propose appropriate repairs.

    The team at West Country Tiling have over 35 years’ experience in working on the roofs of listed buildings. Please get in touch for a listed building roof repair or reroof quote.

  • How can I clean my roof tiles safely and effectively?

    Cleaning roof tiles can help remain looking their best and prolong their lifespan. Here are safe and effective ways to clean your roof tiles:

    Materials Needed

    • Garden hose with a spray nozzle
    • Long-handled soft-bristled brush or broom
    • Mild detergent or specialist roof cleaning solution (avoid harsh chemicals)
    • Safety gear, including gloves, safety goggles and non-slip footwear
    • Scaffolding should always be used for accessing a roof

    Step-by-Step Process

    • Clear the roof of any debris, such as leaves, branches, or moss, using a long-handled brush or broom. Remove any loose debris from the gutters as well.
    • Mix a mild detergent or specialist roof cleaning solution with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the roof and surrounding vegetation.
    • Using a garden hose with a spray nozzle, wet the roof tiles thoroughly with water to loosen dirt and grime.
    • Apply the diluted cleaning solution to the roof tiles using a pump sprayer or a soft-bristled brush. Start from the bottom of the roof and work your way up to ensure even coverage.
    • Gently scrub the roof tiles with the soft-bristled brush or broom, focusing on areas with stubborn stains or algae/moss growth. Avoid using excessive force to prevent damage to the tiles.
    • After scrubbing, rinse the roof tiles thoroughly with clean water using the garden hose. Make sure to remove all traces of the cleaning solution to prevent any residue from damaging the tiles or causing discoloration.
    • Once the roof is clean, inspect it for any remaining stains or areas that may require additional attention. Repeat the cleaning process if necessary.

    By following these steps, you can safely and effectively clean your roof tiles, helping to maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan. If you notice any damage to your roof during this process, please contact us. We offer advice and quotations for roof maintenance, repairs and reroofs.

  • What are the pros and cons of different types of roof slates?

    Natural slate and stone slate roof tiles come with their own set of pros and cons. Natural slate is a type of metamorphic rock that is formed from shale or clay sediment that has been subjected to intense heat and pressure over millions of years. Whereas stone slate refers to roofing tiles made from various types of stone, such as granite, sandstone, or limestone, that have been cut into thin, flat pieces for use as roof tiles.

    Natural Slate – pros

    • Natural slates look good, offering a unique appearance, with a wide choice of colour, texture, and thickness to suite your style and taste.
    • With proper maintenance, natural slate roofs can last from 75 to 150 years, making them one of the most durable roofing materials.
    • Natural slate is fire-resistant, providing an added layer of protection to your home.
    • Being a natural material, it has minimal environmental impact compared to synthetic alternatives.

    Natural Slate – cons

    • Natural slate can be expensive due to its premium quality and the skill required to lay them.
    • It is heavy, so the roof structure may need additional reinforcement to support the weight.
    • While durable, natural slate tiles can be brittle and are prone to break if walked on or subjected to heavy impact.

    Stone Slate – pros

    • Stone slate tiles are incredibly durable and can last for up to 150 years, often outlasting other roofing materials.
    • Stone slate is naturally fire-resistant, offering enhanced safety for your home.
    • Stone slate provide a rustic and timeless appearance, adding character and charm to your home.
    • Once installed, stone slate roofs typically require minimal maintenance, reducing long-term upkeep costs.
    • Stone slate is a natural material with minimal environmental impact, especially when sourced locally.

    Stone Slate – cons

    • Stone slate roofing can be expensive to buy, they can cost more than natural slate.
    • Stone slate tiles are heavy, requiring a robust roofing structure capable of supporting the additional load.
    • Due to their weight and irregular shape, stone slate tiles can be challenging to install correctly. Skilled roofers are required.
    • Depending on where you live and type of stone you prefer, sourcing stone slate tiles can be challenging.
    • While durable, stone slate tiles can be brittle and susceptible to breakage if mishandled during installation or maintenance.

    The choice between natural slate and stone slate depends on your budget, colour preference and durability requirements. In our experience, we have found that our clients appreciate the timeless beauty and long-term value that stone slate and natural slate roofs provide.

  • How can I maintain the roof of a listed building effectively?

    Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of the roof on a listed building. By performing regular roof inspections, keeping gutters and drainage systems clear, and addressing any issues promptly will help to prevent any major damage.

    At West Country Tiling, we have over 35 years of experience in working on roofs on listed buildings. Our team can carry out roof maintenance checks and carry out any work necessary to keep your roof from developing any leaks. Contact us today to find out more.

  • What are the consequences of unauthorised roof alterations on a listed building?

    Unauthorised alterations to roofs on listed buildings can lead to legal repercussions, including fines or orders to reverse the changes. It is essential to obtain proper permissions and follow conservation guidelines to protect the building’s heritage value.

    Contact us today to find out more about how we can carry out roof alterations on a listed building.

  • Can roof tiles be replaced individually?

    Yes, individual roof tiles can be replaced if they are damaged. This is one of the advantages of using tiles, as repairs can be localised without needing to replace the entire roof.

    It is not recommended to walk on roof tiles, as they can crack or break under your weight. If roof access is necessary, we advise you to hire a professional with the appropriate equipment and expertise to avoid damaging the tiles.

    You should never attempt a roof repair yourself, as this is hazardous and may impact your roof warranty. Roof tiles replacement should always be carried out by a competent roofer. West Country Tiling are experienced professional roofers. Please contact us today for your roof maintenance quote.

  •  What is the impact of weather on roof slates?

    The impact of weather on roof slates depends on the specific conditions and the quality of the slate. The key factors to consider are:

    • Temperature fluctuations – Slate is generally stable, but extreme temperature changes can cause it to expand and contract.
    • Expansion and contraction – In colder climates, water can seep into tiny cracks in the slate and freeze. The expansion of ice can cause the slate to crack or split.
    • Water absorption – high-quality slate is relatively impermeable to water, but poor-quality slate can absorb water, leading to weakening and eventual cracking.
    • Moss and algae growth – consistently damp conditions can promote the growth of moss and algae on the surface of the slates, which can retain moisture and potentially damage the slate over time.
    • Weight– heavy snow accumulation can add significant weight to the roof, potentially causing structural stress. While slate itself is durable, the underlying structure must be strong enough to support the additional load.
    • High wind – strong winds can lift and dislodge slates, especially if they are not properly secured. Over time, repeated exposure to high winds can lead to damage and the need for repairs.
    • Impact damage large hailstones can cause cracks, chips, or breaks in the slates. Even small hailstones can gradually wear down the surface of the slate.
    • UV radiation – prolonged exposure to UV radiation can cause some types of slate to deteriorate and lose their colour. While slate is generally UV-resistant, lower-quality slates may be more susceptible to damage.
    • Thermal stress – intense sunlight can heat the slate, leading to thermal stress and potential cracking, especially if the temperature drops rapidly after sunset.
    • Salt crystallization – in coastal areas, salt carried by the air can crystallize on the slate surface, leading to potential damage over time.

    To mitigate the impact of weather on your roof slates you should regularly inspect your slate roof for signs of damage, remove debris, moss, and algae to and promptly repair or replace damaged slates to prevent further issues. West Country Tiling can carry out this roof maintenance for you, please contact us for a quote.

  • What types of clay roof tiles are available?

    Clay roof tiles are a durable, attractive, and environmentally friendly roofing option. Proper installation and maintenance are essential to maximise their lifespan and performance. Clay roof tiles available include:

    • Flat tiles – simple, smooth design that lies flat on the roof.
    • Pantiles – s-shaped tiles that create a ripple effect.
    • Roman tiles – curved design with a flat section, often used in Mediterranean architecture.
    • Barrel or mission tiles – semi-cylindrical tiles that interlock to form a distinctive pattern.

    If you require a quote for installing clay roof tiles on your home, please contact us. As professional roofers, we can assist with all aspects of roof installation, roof maintenance and reroofing.