We hope to provide you with as much information as possible before you have any works carried out. Simply click on each question to reveal the answer. If there’s anything we haven’t covered or if you’d like more information please call us on or email us.

How do I choose a new roof?

There are many things to consider when choosing a new roof.

1. Roof Pitch

Each roof tile is different and each will perform at different roof pitches. It is important that you select the right tile for your roof.

2. Material

Roof tiles are manufactured in clay, concrete and slate.

Clay – clay brings warmth and character to a building and is available in a wide variety of permanent colours and textures which over time will never fade. Clay roof tiles will perform in excess of 60 years.

Concrete – concrete is the most common roofing material used in Britain. Concrete provides an economic alternative to natural materials.

Slate – there are many options available, natural slate, recycled slate or slate appearance products which are manufactured from clay.

3. Colour/texture

Think about colour and texture. Consider what kind of effect you want from your roof; do you want it to look new or weathered so that it blends in with the older surrounding buildings?

Do you want a solid, even colour or a varied effect?

Does the surface need to be smooth or coarse (sandfaced)?

4. Profile

Roof tiles vary in shape and are available in numerous profiles:

Plain Tiles – a small tile (265 x 165mm) which is cambered and has no other feature except for nibs and nail holes.

Pantiles – A tile which is moulded into an S shape which gives the appearance of ‘waves’ and ‘troughs’ on the roof. A Pantile can be either Single (one ‘wave’) or Double (two waves).

Roman Tiles – a tile which is flat in the middle with a slightly tapered roll at one end. Roman Tiles are available as Single (one roll) or Double (two tapered rolls).

There are also many other profiles available, please talk to your local stockist for more information. A full list of Roofing Advice Centres is available on our Homepage (please insert link to the ‘roofing advice centres’).

5. Sustainability

Intelligent product design can also add to the ‘true value’ of roof tiles by reducing the environmental cost of a building.

Each roof tile will have a BRE (British Research Establishment) rating. Ratings account for the performance of the product in relation to its environmental impacts. An A+ rating will have the lowest overall environmental impact.

6. Weight

Some roof tiles weigh more than others so if you are replacing concrete then a switch to plain tiles may not be an option. Most trussed rafters are normally designed to take a roof tile loading of up to 60kg/m².

7. Roof Complexity

How complex is your roof? Roofs that require many cuts and careful setting out need a tile that can cope easily.

Is your roof curved? There are some tiles which will cope easily, for example plain tiles, however, interlocking tiles will not be suitable.

8. Rafter Lengths

Long rafter lengths in certain areas, especially at low pitches with flat tiles can cause problems with water drainage. A profiled tile may be a better option.

9. Local vernacular

Look at your neighbouring buildings to see which roof tiles are popular in your area, roof profiles vary dramatically across the UK.

You may need to consult your planning officer if you have a listed building or are in a conservation area. Your local planning department’s website will have lots of information on Planning; also you can visit the Governments Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk

Do I need to submit a building regulations application to reroof my property?

If you are re-roofing more than 25% of the roof area, then you will need to apply for approval. This is so that the building inspector can check your loft insulation thickness. As a condition of granting approval, you will be required to increase your loft insulation to meet current legislation; ie a minimum 270mm of fibreglass type insulation.

Do I need Building Regs approval if I am only replacing the roof tiles?

Yes. Because of high number of relatively old houses in England and the slow rate of replacement new rules were introduced in 2008 to improve the thermal insulation of properties having building work done. This is part of the government’s drive to lower carbon emissions.

So, as a condition of granting approval, you will be required to increase your loft insulation to meet current legislation; ie a minimum 270mm thickness.

What do Building Regs say about the weight of my new roof tiles?

Building regulations require that the weight of a replacement roof covering is similar in weight to the old tiles or slates. If it is significantly different then a survey of the roof structure may be required to be carried out by a competent person.

How can I get further information on Building Regulations?

Your local building control department’s web site contains lots of information on building regulations. You can also visit the Government’s Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk.

Don’t be afraid to call your Local Authority Building Control Office, they’re there to help, and will give free and impartial advice to any questions you may have.

Do I need planning permission to re-roof my house?

You don’t normally need planning permission to re-roof a property so long as the building is not listed and is not in a Conservation area.

Are there any limitations or conditions to planning permission?

If there are any alterations planned to the roof such as the addition of roof lights or skylights, then the alteration must project no higher than 150mm from the existing roof plane and must not project above the highest part of the roof.

Do I need to erect scaffold for my re-roof project?

For anything other than a quick visual inspection it is advisable to erect some form of scaffolding or safe platform to carry out any form of work on a roof. If the work is in a localised area then a tower scaffold or similar platform could be used. If access is required to the whole roof or a substantial part of it then it is advisable to erect a scaffold around the working areas. This will act not only as a safe platform but also an arrest system in the case of a fall.

It is crucial that you follow good practice when using scaffolds:

  • Ensure that the scaffold is erected and dismantled only by a competent person under strict supervision of a competent supervisor.
  • Never erect a scaffold over people or busy pavements as this could present a danger to the public.
  • Ensure the scaffold is erected on firm, level ground.
  • Ensure the scaffold is braced and tied to a permanent structure.

It is also important that you check your home insurance as it may not cover scaffolding.

For more information please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/scaffoldinginfo.htm.

Please note, there is a certification procedure; when the contractor has completed the scaffold structure, a dated certificate verifies that the responsibility for the scaffold has passed over to you, together with an obligation to keep the scaffold on a safe condition. It is particularly important that you also display warning notices or remove access ladders if the site is left unattended.

What about ventilation in the roof space?

Ventilation, or to give it a fuller description; roof space ventilation, is required in some form in most circumstances. Ventilation is required to create air movement between the insulation and the underlay. This is a cold space into which air passes from inside the building. As the air passes through the insulation it cools and so loses its ability to hold as much water vapour. So if this cold, moisture-laden air is not driven outside it will form condensation in the roof space.

New vapour barrier membranes are available in breathable format, should be installed underneath the roofing battens and are an ideal way to ventilate the roof void, particularly when used in conjunction with dry fixed ridge and hip systems, as well as a simple form of eaves vent, thereby eliminating the need for unsightly ventilated tiles and slates.

Which is best, mortar bedded or dry fix roof?

A dry fix roof offers many advantages over a traditionally mortar bedded roof. Mortar requires regular maintenance, whereas dry fix systems are maintenance-free. Dry fix systems also provide other advantages, such as mechanical fixing to ensure security against wind damage; also ventilation at ridge and hip.

On some old traditional roof coverings or heritage buildings, mortar still has its place. But where possible it should be used in conjunction with other fixings such as nails, screws or clips for security. Although a strong mortar mix can resist wind uplift, if there is any movement within the roof structure then the mortar will crack and leave the fittings vulnerable to wind, whereas dry fix systems are able to cope with some structural movement.

I am having my roof replaced which adjoins my neighbours - what's the best method of ensuring there is a seal with the existing tiles next door?

Very often each roof in a row of terraced or semi-detached houses will need to be replaced individually; therefore the joint between the old and new tiling or slating between two houses must be weathered.

Sometimes this is done by simply mortaring a row of tiles or ridge tiles over the joint. Unfortunately, this can often lead to leaks and is not to be recommended.

A far better solution is to incorporate a ‘bonding’ or ‘jointing’ gutter. This can be formed from lead, or alternatively, there are a number of proprietary systems available. A bonding gutter not only provides an effective means to weather the junction, but it also gives a neat appearance, with old and new materials finishing closely together and the gutter being almost completely hidden.

The ridge tiles on my new house have come off in recent gales. Why has this happened?

Experience has proved that the correct mix of mortar (ie 3:1 sand to cement) is more than adequate to resist the highest winds ever likely to occur in the UK. However, where there is movement within a roof structure, particularly where the roof passes over masonry walls, the mortar bed can crack, leaving the ridge tile vulnerable to wind uplift. In new buildings in particular, where timbers etc are drying out and shrinking, differential movement can be a problem. For this reason, the current British Standard for slating and tiling, BS 5534, recommends that where differential movement can take place, such as at gables and abutments, ridges should be mechanically fixed as well as bedded.

I have damp insulation in a wide area of my loft, what should I do?

There are two possible causes for this. One could be leaking pipework or water tank in your loft space. If you can eliminate this as the cause then it is very likely that this moisture has come from long term condensation in the loft space.

The remedy is to provide your loft with better ventilation.

Sure-Roof Ltd can offer advice on how to eliminate the problem.

I have damp patches on the roof timbers what should I do?

Inspect the underside of the roof slope in good daylight. Look for tears in the felt or if the roof is not felted check whether the roof battens or slates or tiles are visibly damaged or missing. If the damp is close to an abutment wall the flashing may have failed and will need replacing.

Will I have to move out while you re-roof my home?

Temporarily moving out of a home is only necessary if the roof is structurally unsafe. Since this is a rare occurrence, in most instances you won’t have to move out of your home while we complete a re-roofing job.

My roof is leaking, will I need a complete re-roof?

Don’t fret. Your leak could be down to a single broken tile, in which case you won’t need a completely new roof. If there is serious damage to your roof, of course we will let you know and advise as to what is the best course of action.