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Traditional vs Modern Roof Tile Options

Traditional vs Modern Roof Tile Options. Traditional roofing materials such as clay and slate have been effective over time but come with some limitations in terms of weight, restricting roof pitches and cost. In contrast, modern roofing methods like galvanised steel, aluminum, and composite tiles offer more flexibility, allowing for lower pitches and more creative roof designs but can lack the authenticity and aesthetic of trusted clay and slate materials. Innovative manufacturing practices coupled with a healthy competition from modern roof tiles has forced the traditional industry to improve their product offering and consequently, we are now seeing a range of products that compete and the differences are difficult to distinguish. Take a look at some examples below:

Traditional materials:


Clay roof tiles have evolved hugely from what have traditionally been a cherished traditional roofing material, renowned for their enduring charm and longevity. While delicate, they offer timeless aesthetics and structural support. With proper care, they provide reliable protection against the elements for generations. Plus, the modern clay roof tile has now evolved to perform as well, if not better than the newly proposed materials mentioned later in this blog.


Slate roof tiles are high in density and as a result can be extremely energy efficient. Slate can cope with the changing temperatures of the British climate, perhaps better than any other traditional roof tile. During warmer temperatures keeping homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Being a natural resource, it also boasts fire resistance, eco-friendliness and exceptional longevity.

Contemporary roof tiles:

Metal roof tiles

Metal roofing outperforms traditional materials due to its durability, long lifespan and resistance to water, fire, mildew and rot. Its lightweight nature makes installation and transportation easier, making it suitable for low-pitched roofs. Metal roofs can also provide effective insulation, keeping homes comfortable in all seasons.

However, there still are a couple of downsides. Firstly, it’s the aesthetic. Metal roofs can look great but it depends on the building. In most cases, they just don’t compete with clay and slate aesthetically. Secondly, metal is not great for noise absorption, instead it amplifies the sound, particularly when raining.

Synthetic/composite roof slate

Composite slate is lightweight, durable and cost-effective for both the product and installation. Made with 90% recycled polymers, it is environmentally friendly and showcases authentic riven edges and traditional colours. It is worth noting that synthetic/composite roof tiles are easy to install as they feature detailed impressions for fixing and a pitch finder, making it suitable for DIY projects and cutting costs.

It is fair to say that the overarching consensus here is that it is down to preference and budget but as the industry is progressing to become more sustainable, we may see a shift towards the modern roof tiles. We supply a range of natural slate and clay products which include tiles that can go to low pitches. If you are looking for the perfect roof tile for your project but struggling to find the right one – speak to one of our experts today and we will be more than happy to help!

View our Slate range here.

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