At Albec Roofing LTD, we are experts in all things roofing. We provide a wide array of services, from pitched and flat roofing repairs and installations, to chimney and UPVC & Soffit repairs, we can do it all. Contact us today to learn more! In today’s blog, we are going to discuss traditional roofing and how it is being used on houses today.

For as long as there have been houses, there have been roofs. Over the many centuries, roofs have changed in various ways. Different methods and materials have determined the design, purpose and durability of a roof. Today, we see many buildings with traditional roofs, or roofs made using traditional methods, on both listed buildings and some residential buildings. We will uncover these traditional roofing trends and how you can use them to transform your home.

large yellow-brick buildings, with dark roofs

Traditional Roofing Methods that are Used Today

The History of Roofing in The UK

Traditional Thatch

Thatched roofs have been used in the UK for centuries, and are still seen on many properties today. Thatched roofs are a traditional roofing material, as roofs were often built with whatever materials were available. The materials for thatch were easy to get a hold of and the process of forming a roof with thatch was relatively easy. However, The Great Fire of London broke out in 1212 (the first one) and changed many people’s minds on the continuation of using thatch. Thatch is particularly flammable and mass fires caused many deaths. After this, people began to see the potential dangers of using thatch as a roofing material and traditional roofing methods began to be used instead.

Introduction of Stone

As a result of the shift away from thatch, we saw an increase in the use of clay, stone and slate. However, unsurprisingly, the materials being used were very dependent on where in the country people were located. It was very difficult to transport sufficient materials across a long distance, so people had to make the most of what they had. In the Southeast and Midlands, clay roofs were particularly popular due to large deposits found in the areas. Whereas, in the North of England and Wales, slate was more common, making it a more popular material for traditional roofing.

Clay was a common practice in the UK during the period in which the Romans controlled the country. However, as their influence was removed, as were their techniques for creating clay roofs, hence why the easier method of thatched roofing was adopted.

The Industrial Revolution

The UK saw a large change in roofing during the 18th century as a result of the industrial revolution. As it became easier to manufacture and transport materials, variations in roofing techniques were seen across the country, particularly among the elite.  The wealthy would often display their status by having grandiose houses with slate roofs, as it was a much more expensive material than clay.

This traditional roofing method is still popular in the UK today, particularly on houses built before 1914. Traditional slate roofs provide many benefits to a property, such as improved durability and weather resistance. Although traditional roofing methods are not used as frequently as they once were, there are still many people who appreciate the style and benefits that traditional roofing can provide.

Traditional Roofing Methods on Modern Buildings

Thatched Roofing

They are made from a variety of materials, such as straw, reeds, sedges, or rushes. Thatched roofs are often seen on traditional cottages and farmhouses, as they are a very durable and cost-effective option.

One of the main benefits of a thatched roof is its breathability. This means that the roof can allow moisture to escape, which prevents the build-up of mould and moisture inside the property. Thatched roofs also provide natural insulation, which helps to keep the property warm in winter and cool in summer. Another benefit of thatched roofing is its beautiful appearance. This traditional roofing method allows homeowners to create a rustic home that could be straight out of a novel. These are often found in the countryside as they are very fitting with the ambience of the areas.

However, thatched roofs do require regular maintenance, as they need to be treated with a water-repelling sealant every few years to keep them in good condition. They are also not suitable for all properties, as they can be quite expensive to install and repair.  You will also need to ensure that your property is located in an area with low fire risk, as thatched roofs can be more susceptible to fires. That being said, there are practices to reduce this risk, and the results of having a thatched roof can be very rewarding.

Clay Tiles

This material has been used for roofing since ancient times, and they are still a popular choice today. Clay tiles are made from natural materials and are fired in kilns to create a hard-wearing tile. They are available in a variety of colours and styles, which makes them a versatile option for homeowners.

One of the main benefits of clay tiles is that they are very durable and long-lasting. They can last for over 100 years with proper maintenance, which makes them a great investment for your home. Clay tiles are also fire resistant, which gives you an extra layer of protection for your property. Moreover, clay tiles are environmentally friendly as they are made from natural materials

However, clay tiles can be quite heavy, which can put stress on the structure of your property. They are also quite expensive to install and repair. So, you will need to factor this into your budget. Whilst this can create a few extra costs through labour and installation, clay tiles are a great option for any home due to their durability and beautiful appearance.

Slate Tiles

Slate tiles are made from a type of metamorphic rock that is very strong and durable. Like clay, slate tiles have been used for centuries. They are still a popular choice today. Slate tiles are available in a variety of colours, which allows you to create a unique look for your home

One of the main benefits of slate tiles is their longevity. Slate tiles can last for over 100 years, which makes them a great investment for your home. They are also fire resistant and low maintenance. This means you won’t have to worry about them too much once they are installed. Slate tiles are also environmentally friendly, as they are made from natural materials. Slate tiles are very popular and often used in modern-looking homes. So, whilst they are a traditional roofing method, they certainly do not look outdated.

However, much like clay, slate tiles can be quite expensive to install and repair. So, you will need to factor this into your budget. On the other hand, you can purchase man-made slate tiles, which are cheaper but not quite as durable. These tiles do an excellent job at mimicking the appearance of real slate, and with the development of science and technology, they will only become more durable. So, be sure to do your research before making a purchase and make sure you find the correct tile for your home.

Contact Us

So, whilst some traditional roofing methods have been left behind, thatch, slate and clay are still popular in today’s world. All three traditional roofing methods can be used to transform your home. At Albec Roofing LTD, our team are experienced in all forms of roofing and will be able to help you with your project. To learn more about our services, explore our website or contact us today on 07969 845359 or

Article: Phoenix Marketing