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The Difference Between Tiles and Slates

Good quality roofing materials are essential to protect the roof from water leaks and weather damage, providing a sturdy roof structure for your home. Tiles and slates are the most commonly used roofing material, yet many buyers can be unsure as to what the differences are between the two. Abbey Roofing believe that you need all of the relevant information to ensure you purchase the most suitable material for your home and your budget, which is why we’ve outlined the differences below.

What is the main difference between tiles and slates?

If your budget can stretch to natural slating, it is a luxurious touch to your home and is great for maintaining the character of period or traditional homes. The longevity and durability of the material means that you needn’t worry about having to replace your roof, and repairs can be tackled by professionals quickly. However, if you are in need of more modern looking roofing solution, the colour and design choice of tiles may be much more suitable to your requirements.

roof slates


Slates are available in 3 varieties: natural, artificial and zinc. Natural slates are made from a fine-grained metamorphic rock that can be split into thin layers, and are the most resistant variety. Whilst this makes them more expensive, they offer an authentic and pleasing aesthetic solution for traditional style homes.

Often found on upscale homes, natural slating offers a very long lifespan, good fire protection and an invulnerability to rot or insect damage, all of which ensures a very low-maintenance roofing solution.


Slates are mainly grey in colour but are available in different shades, textures and patterns. Slates are fixed to the roof using pegs and nails and can be layered up for a textured aesthetic. Whilst this may look more pleasing, it does lower the wind resistance of the roof and lead to more issues with the slates displacing and breaking.

roof tiles


Tiles are produced from either concrete or clay and are available in a wide range of designs and colours, which makes them more suited to modern houses than slates. Whether you choose concrete or clay tiles, the tiles will have a life expectancy of 50 years and will be of equal durability and resistance.

Concrete tiles are available in plain or interlocking fittings and are usually bigger than clay, which makes them easier to install, however, for roofing with skylights or lots of chimneys, smaller tiles are needed to fit around the structures better, so clay will be used.

The flatter the tiles are, the quicker and easier the installation process will be, however you do have the option to layer up the fittings to increase weather protection – at an inflated cost.

Roof tiling and slates can be vulnerable to faults, breaks and displacement, meaning that fully trained professionals are needed to handle the roof with care. Abbey Roofing provide expert installations, repairs and maintenance for roof tiling and slates, and are able to tackle any issue on domestic or commercial buildings with ease. Our team have over 20 years of experience in the field and are the leading roofing specialists for both tiles and slates in Hemel Hempstead, Watford, St. Albans and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information.

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