Slates or Tiles? That is the Question08.23.2012
Roofing materials protect the roof from water leaks and humidity. They are an essential element of the whole building structure, and different materials can be used to achieve a well protected and sturdy roof. Tiles and slates are among the most commonly used.
How to choose? How do I help homeowners make a choice that will satisfy them for the next 50 years? That’s not so easy.
To make a relevant choice, many things are to be considered: price of course, but also aesthetics, roof inclination, roof structure complexity, climate, regional specificities, etc.
What if you choose tiles?
Tiles can be concrete or ceramic. Whatever material the client chooses, there may be many formats, designs, and colors of tiles. Technically speaking, it’s interesting to know that the material does not really make a difference; all kind of tiles will have the same resistance and the same durability - a lifetime of approximately 50 years.
Tile format and design plays an important role in your customer choice. If the format is bigger (which is often the case with concrete tiles), they are much easier to install, and therefore the cost for my working time will be much lower. Nevertheless, using big tiles is not always the optimal solution for all roofs. Smaller tiles are better choice for irregular roof (lots of chimneys or roof windows). In summary, the simpler the roof design, the less tiles and tile installation cost.
Format and design is also about tiles being more or less flat. The flatter they are, the easier the installation is. Depending on their design, they might need double or triple fitting. Of course, the more fitting I have to make, the higher my quotation will be, but the building will be more protected against rain and wind load. That’s also a great benefit!
What if you choose slates?
Slates bring authenticity to any roof sure, maybe more than tiles. However they are more expensive and less easy to install.
There are 3 different kinds of slates: natural, artificial, and zinc. Natural slates are of schist, they are more resistant but also more expensive than artificial ones produced in factories. Aside those two types, you have the faster to install zinc ones.
Like tiles, slates have different formats, designs, and sizes. But installation methods vary more than in case of tiles installations. They are not fitted, but fixed to the roof structure with small copper or inox pegs and nails. You can have double layers of slates (for rectangular slates), and some other more aesthetic but less resistant to wind.
All in all, clients will base their choice on the best price for quality ratio, but your role is to explain them in detail the upsides and downsides of each solution. After all, there is a solution for every taste and every budget, and that's all that counts.
Which roofing materials do you recommend? What is your own customer's favourite? Comment!
Photo credit: Bryn Pinzgauer
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