Pitched Roofs

Highly visible and prominent, a home's roof is one of its key features and defining characteristics. Keeping your roof well maintained is a vital investment. Not only will this keep your property looking beautiful, it will also protect your home from damage caused from moisture leaking or seeping into your property from the roof.

Types of Pitched Roofs

Many houses in the UK are built with a pitched roof that slopes. Pitched roofs are found on both traditional and contemporary home designs. Some roofs have shallower pitches than others. For example Georgian homes have a shallow roof that tends to be hidden behind parapets. Regency and early Victorian homes might also boast a shallow pitched roof. The amount of pitch is typically dictated by the style of the property, your budget and any planning restrictions in the area. Generally, roofs with steeper pitches are more expensive since more materials are needed.

The pitch of the roof has an effect on the appearance of the house as well as how effectively it is at draining water. The slope of the roof allows water to drain into gutters and other structures on the roof, eventually finding its way to the ground. Generally, roofs with lower pitches mean more water is collected and discharged by the sloped sides of the roof. This means that tiles, slates or other materials on the surface of the roof need to be able to cope with the amount of water being drained. If the roof is not effective at draining water or if there are leaks, moisture can enter the home and cause a number of problems including mould and damp issues.

Pitched Roof Materials

Pitched roofs are made from a variety of materials. Each material is available in numerous colours and styles. The choice of material will often be influenced by the style of your property. It will also depend on the local area and what might be more commonly used. Related to this will be any planning restrictions that might be applicable, especially for listed buildings or homes in protected and conservation areas. Reclaimed materials such as tiles are often used when the appearance of the roof must be maintained due to planning restrictions, especially when newly manufactured materials cannot mirror the existing roofing.

Common materials used for pitched roofs include clay, concrete and slate tiles. These materials are durable and provide high levels of resistance from fire and decay. At the same time, they do crack and break. This means they need to be replaced and repaired over time. While concrete tiles are generally lighter, clay and slate tiles are heavier and more expensive. Installing clay and slate tiles may require additional support in the roofs structure because of their weight. As a general rule, the minimum pitch for slate and clay tiled roofs is 35 degrees. If a lower pitch is used, interlocking concrete tiles are recommended. Thatch is also used on some homes, especially cottages and properties with steeper pitches. A pitch of at least 45 degrees is typically needed to ensure water drains quickly.

Shingles made from composite materials may also be used instead of tiles. This material is cheaper than clay or slate tiles, although higher quality shingles made from asphalt and fibreglass are available. Unlike tiles, shingles do not create a dimensional look. While they do not break like tiles, they can blow away with high winds or scar in heat. Another alternative is using shakes. Offering a more natural look, shakes are generally made from wood. Wood shake roofs do require more maintenance than roofs with tiles or shingles. Metal such as aluminum and steel may also be used as a lightweight alternative to other materials. Metal roofing is available in a range of colours and styles, including options that mimic tiles and shingles.

Choosing a Pitched Roofing Contractor

Look for contractors that are certified as a Competent Roofer with the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), which is the main competent person scheme for tradespeople in the roofing industry. The NFRC represents more than half of the industry and its members adhere to a strict code of conduct. This ensures that you are dealing with a qualified and reputable contractor that follows best practice in business and service as well as delivers high standards in workmanship. Pitched roofing contractors may also be members of the Institute of Roofing (IoR) or the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CRC).

In addition to checking if the roofer is qualified, there are a number of steps you can take to choose the right contractor for your project. Make sure that the roofer has extensive experience with installing, replacing, maintaining and repairing pitched roofs. Check the contractor's references and look at examples of their previous work in your area. Also, ask for proof of their qualifications and insurance. You should also look at online reviews to get a sense of the quality of their work and customer service. Get three or more quotes so you get an idea of a fair and accurate cost for your project. All this information combined will help you make an informed decision on the best contractor for your needs.