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Choosing the Best Roofing Materials

When it comes to investing in roofing solutions, the choice of materials plays a crucial role in determining the longevity and performance of your roof. While asphalt or composite roofing might seem like cost-effective options initially, taking a long-term perspective reveals that investing in more durable materials can be a wise decision for the overall well-being of your home. In this guide, we will explore various roofing materials, their lifespans, and why they could be the right fit for your roofing needs.

What To Look For When Selecting Roofing Materials?

When deciding on the best roofing materials for your home, it’s important to consult with reliable roofers who understand local conditions. Expert roofers, with their experience in diverse climates, can provide valuable insights into your roofing choices. Consider key factors such as durability, maintenance, and insulation capabilities when exploring options, including flat roofing materials and those specific to the UK. 

Notably, metal roofing stands out for its impressive lifespan of over 50 years with minimal maintenance. To stay well-informed, keep an eye on advancements in new roofing materials and insulation technologies. For personalised advice tailored to your specific needs, seek guidance from professionals specialising in roofing and insulation services.

The Best Roofing Materials and Their Lifespan 

  1. Composite Shingles

Composite shingle roofing is a widely chosen option due to its availability, affordability, and a moderate lifespan of 15 to 40 years. These shingles, made with an organic or fibreglass base saturated with asphalt, are coated with small chips of slate, schist, quartz, or ceramic granules. The popularity of composite shingles is attributed to their relatively low cost, easy installation, and decent life expectancy.

  1. Standing-Seam Metal Roofing

Standing-seam metal roofing stands out for its fire-resistant properties and impressive lifespan of 30 to 50 years. While being virtually maintenance-free, it requires prompt repairs if any seams open. Metals like steel or aluminium are commonly used, offering durability and resistance to wildfire danger. However, DIY installation is not recommended for this roofing type.

  1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing (BUR) is the go-to option for flat or nearly flat roofs, constructed from layers of roofing felt, fibreglass, and hot tar. Despite the distinct smell during installation, BUR roofs are fire-resistant and cost-effective. This type is essential for areas where composite shingles or standing-seam metal roofing are not suitable.

➡️ Read More: When and How to Go About Replacing a Slate Roof 

Detailed Look at Each Roofing Material

  • Asphalt Roll Roof

Asphalt roll roofing, crafted from the same material as asphalt shingles, presents a convenient option for roofs with relatively flat pitches. Its ease of installation makes it a popular choice for sheds or garages, providing a cost-effective and quick solution. However, its suitability for most home roofs may be limited. 

While it offers simplicity in application, the characteristics that make it suitable for sheds and garages—such as its composition and installation ease—may not meet the more complex needs of typical residential structures. For a long-lasting and resilient solution, homeowners may need to explore alternative roofing materials that align better with the specific requirements of their homes.

  • Wood Shingle Roof

Wood shingle roofs, composed of thin, wedge-shaped pieces of natural wood, present a visually appealing and charming aesthetic to architectural designs. Despite their undeniable beauty, the installation process can be intricate, posing challenges for both professionals and DIYers alike.

Moreover, these roofs face legal restrictions in regions with escalating fire hazards, prompting careful consideration of their suitability in such areas. Given the vulnerability to fire, wood shingle roofs may not be the optimal choice for locations prone to seasonal wildfires, necessitating a thoughtful evaluation of alternative roofing materials that prioritise safety and compliance with local regulations.

  • Clay or Cement Tile Roofs

Clay tile roofs, which encompass ceramic and concrete tiles, boast remarkable strength and durability, making them a traditional and enduring choice for roofing in the UK. Professional installation is imperative, requiring a robust roofing framing to support their weight, but once in place, these tiles can potentially last the lifetime of your home. However, with time, even durable tiles may succumb to brittleness and damage. 

In such cases, Heritage & Architectural Roofing Solutions, with expertise in tile roof installation and restoration, employs traditional techniques and premium materials. Whether restoring pitched roof tiles for an additional century of life or installing new ones, we ensure the longevity and resilience of your roof, blending traditional craftsmanship with modern solutions.

  • Lead Roofs 

Lead sheet stands as a timeless and exceptional roofing material, having adorned the roofs of churches, cathedrals, public buildings, and homes across the United Kingdom for centuries. Its reliability and outstanding durability, even in extreme weather conditions, make it a preferred choice for both historical and modern structures. 

Whether renewing roofs on heritage buildings or enhancing contemporary designs, lead sheet proves itself as a versatile and enduring solution, showcasing its enduring value in construction.

  • Slate Roof

Slate roofs, crafted from natural stone extracted from quarries, embody great durability. Despite being the priciest roofing option, slate roofs have the potential to endure for many years when maintained correctly. This longevity makes them a popular preference for sizable, high-end residences. 

For superior slate roofs, we exclusively utilise the world-renowned Penrhyn Welsh Slates and Cwt-y-Bugail Quarries products, known for their unmatched quality. The exceptional durability of Welsh slate, distinguishing it from other options, makes it a top choice for architects involved in heritage and prestigious projects. When installed with precision, Welsh slate enhances the elegance of any building, showcasing its enduring appeal and aesthetic excellence.

“According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), slate is acknowledged as the roofing material boasting the lengthiest lifespan, surpassing 150 years. Clay and concrete closely trail behind, with an estimated life expectancy of about 100 years.”


In conclusion, selecting the ideal roofing material is a pivotal decision that transcends initial costs, shaping the long-term resilience and aesthetic appeal of your home. Whether opting for the affordability and versatility of composite shingles, the enduring strength of standing-seam metal roofs, or the practicality of built-up roofing, each material offers distinct advantages. Recognising the unique needs of your property, from roof pitch to geographical considerations, is essential in making an informed choice.

Your Roofing Experts in Dorset

If you’re in the Dorset area, Heritage & Architectural Roofing Solutions stands as a reliable partner with over 15 years of roofing expertise. Our services include roof repairs, new roofs, flat roofs, leadworks, chimney works, and more. Based in Talbot Woods, Bournemouth, we have served various locations in Dorset, offering prompt, professional, and friendly service. Contact us today for a free roofing inspection and quote, and let our experienced team take care of your roofing needs.