Slimmer, lighter, more attractive and quicker to fix, it’s no surprise that thin leading edge concrete interlocking slates are a popular choice with many roofers. But what’s all the fuss about? Tom Woodhouse, site services manager at Marley Eternit, explains…
Concrete roof tiles have come a long way since they were first introduced to the UK in the 1920s and now many are designed to have a much more contemporary appearance.
Over a decade ago now, thinner, sleeker interlocking concrete tiles were designed to replicate the look of natural slate. Since the recovery in the housing market and escalating skills and time pressures, there has been a huge surge in demand for these premium look, easy-to fix tiles.
Offering a middle ground between the top and bottom of the roofing price range, thin leading edge interlocking concrete tiles are a quick and affordable way to create a stunning slate effect roof. They can be used for both new and refurbishment projects and, unlike traditional slates, they don’t require specialist skills and can be installed by any roofer.
At Marley Eternit, our slate effect Edgemere tiles are 40 per cent thinner than standard flat interlocking concrete tiles and come in three different styles – Standard, Riven and Duo – to suit your project and budget.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your concrete tiles to give your roofing project a premium finish, here Professional Builder Online asks all the important questions…
1 – How much do they cost?
While they are a bit more expensive, it is a relatively small difference in cost between using a standard flat interlocking concrete tile and a premium look thin leading edge concrete slate, like our Edgemere tile. In fact the difference can be as little as 3 per cent extra on the total cost of a standard domestic roof, yet it provides greatly enhanced aesthetics. The average cost of a re-roof is around £3,500, so you are only paying just over £100 to upgrade from a standard to premium look.
2 – Isn’t there a shortage of concrete tiles in the UK?
We know that product availability has been a big challenge for roofers and builders over the past couple of years. The popularity of large format concrete tiles means this is an area that was particularly affected. However, manufacturers have been working hard to boost production to meet demand. This means product availability is now much better, lead times are reducing and there is stock on the ground.
3 – I’ve been told fibre cement slates are too light, so can I use concrete slates to replace a natural slate roof?
It is true that on some refurbishment projects fibre cement slates may be too light to replace an existing natural slate roof. However, at around 44kg/m², our Edgemere concrete slates are not that different in weight to a natural slate, so they could be a suitable replacement but it would depend on the structure of the building and planning conditions. When changing a roofing material for one that is lighter or heavier, we always recommend consulting a structural engineer to give you appropriate advice on load bearing.
4 – Will the tiles be accepted by planning as a natural slate replacement?
In many cases our Riven Edgemere slate, which is designed to more closely resemble a natural slate, is accepted by planning departments. However, you will need to check with the local planning office as it will depend on the proposed location.
5 – How easy are they to install?
Our thin leading edge slates are designed to be very quick and easy to install, with a high coverage rate of 9.7 tiles per square metre. Like all interlocking tiles, they should be fixed to BS 5534 recommendations, both for new build and refurbishment projects.
6 – Is there a way to install them to BS 5534 more quickly?
Since BS 5534 was revised in 2014, all interlocking tiles are subject to more stringent fixing specifications, which means there is an element of clipping on all roofs laid in single lap tiles.
Traditionally these clips and nails come in separate bags and need threading together prior to installation, which is fiddly and adds extra labour time to the job. To save time, you can use the SoloFix one piece clip and nail. It’s comparable in price to a standard aluminium clip but can save as much as 30 per cent on roof clipping time.