Unique roof designs

Unique roof designs

An increasing number of housebuilders and small developers are opting for unique-shaped roofs. Technical Director Mark Parsons from Russell Roof Tiles explains how to ensure a roof is sustainable while also being aesthetically pleasing.

With a roof making up around 40% of a house’s overall design, it is a significant element of any development and can often be a very dominant feature. Therefore, small developers and housebuilders are increasingly choosing to make roofs on new-builds stand out to prospective homebuyers by incorporating interesting shapes and designs.

Across the country, there are four main pitched roof tile choices for unique roofs: concrete, slate, clay and stone. Concrete tiles can replicate much of our indigenous materials and now account for around 60% of the market. Natural slates are 20% of the total and clay tiles around 10%, with the remaining 10% being made up of various other materials.

Products must be installed using normal standards of good workmanship and should meet the requirements of the British Standards for slating and tiling (BS 5534 and BS 8000-Part 6). However, constructing a unique roof also requires skill and knowledge of the material from both the manufacturer and the roofing contractor. Therefore, roofing manufacturers must work closely with the customer to provide a detailed specification, ensuring housebuilders are using the right roofing tile and accessories.

Russell Roof Tiles’ new Bute Tile

One-off solutions
To achieve a distinctive but pleasing look, a plain tile blend may be specified by the builder or developer. When fitted, the tiles will provide the appearance of a traditional clay tile roof but have the economy of a concrete tile along with the much-improved environmental credentials.

The tiles also have particular fixture requirements and fittings. For example, bonnet hip tiles are used on the hip of a roof to provide a distinct roof line, or a dry cloaked verge is used to provide a neat maintenance-free finish not requiring any mortar. Each one has been designed to both match and work in harmony with plain tiles – ideal when building a unique roof.

Regional variation
The builder also needs to understand that every region and every roof in the UK is different and requires different measures and products when roofing. For example, adverse weather creates a stronger need to ensure roof tiles, fixtures and fittings stay in place. Small components such as tiles are more vulnerable to storms, so it’s vital to provide the correct specification initially. It is important that manufacturers design-out potential issues, ensuring that the builder has the best fixing specification and that all the necessary factors have been taken into consideration including roof shape, accessories, weather conditions, and local topography.

The new fixing specification facility on Russell Roof Tiles’ website helps builders and the roofers get hold of specifications quickly and efficiently and provides them with specific fixing instructions. By pulling together topographical information on the exact location of the project, it calculates the correct fixing using the latest software, thereby turning the task into a couple of minutes’ job and ensuring that a specification fully complies with all the latest British standards.

Assistance available
The technical team at Russell Roof Tiles can also assist with bespoke fixing specification for highly exposed locations, unique properties and developments to meet the required building standards. Russells’ dry fix solutions (dry ridge, dry verge, dry valley and dry hip systems) may be specified and are all fully compliant with the BS 5534 standards.

Customers can also benefit from having a RussSpec – our 15-year guarantee – when using Russell’s whole roof solutions, and where the roof has been installed in accordance with information provided (the substitution of Russell Roof Tiles components with other products at any stage of construction invalidates this guarantee). As part of our RussSpec service the team produces detailed specifications and instructions and is on hand to offer advice and answer questions.


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