Slate Alternative - Lanark

Niall Roberston, a first time selfbuilder and professional chartered building surveyor selected a natural slate alternative for his 320 square metre family home in Lanark. As the one and a half storey, 6 bedroom property is situated in a rural area where traditional slate roofs prevail, the Local Authority Planning department stipulated that it must have a roof with an authentic slate appearance, allowing it to blend into the surrounding vernacular.
Faced with this planning requirement, Niall considered various options. Quarried slate would have delivered the desired aesthetics but its high price, coupled with its material and labour intensive installation, meant its cost was preclusive. Slate effect products made from concrete or fibre cement on the other hand were cheaper, but didn’t live up to the overall build quality of the rest of the property. That’s when the Niall discovered an interlocking clay tile with an antique slate finish – a product which offered him the best of both worlds.
The tile offers all the lasting aesthetics of slate because it too is wholly natural, and made from clay with a riven surface and carefully dressed edges. Its authentic slate colour comes from natural oxides which are fired into the tile whilst in the kiln. This permanent colour will actually mature with age and won’t fade. Combined with its interlocking design and open gauge makes it as quick and efficient to fix as large format concrete tiles. Plus, unlike fibre cement products, it does not need to be double lapped.
Having found a solution to his planning problem, and one which delivered major installation benefits, Niall went on to complete the roof on time and on budget and is thoroughly delighted with the outcome. He said: “A self build project is a labour of love and you want everything to be perfect. The large format interlocking tile allowed us to meet the Planning department’s demands and create a slate roof without compromising on quality or exceeding our budget. Neighbours have commented on how attractive it looks and even our contractor, who was initially sceptical, has been amazed by the finished results.”
Thanks to product innovation, the clay alternative to slate allows self builders to create slate roofs quickly, easily and cost effectively – and without sacrificing on either quality or long-term aesthetics.
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