Historic and rare roof Coverings

In the UK we have a huge number of listed and historical buildings and homes, with the many private owners and organisations responsible for them, working hard to ensure that each building is well looked after and maintained. Historic buildings add to the lasting heritage of our built environment and the supply of authentic roof coverings is critical to their ongoing conservation and restoration. 



The roof covering of these buildings, are usually made from clay, stone, slate or thatch.  

Thatch, once the UK’s dominant roof covering, is well served by specialist contractors. The industry helps preserve the 24,000 listed thatch buildings which need recovering every 30 years. Thatch is also, surprisingly, being used in the new build market, as developers are forced to blend in with the local environment in order to be granted planning permission. For more information on thatched roofing try Thatch.org
Slates - Slate and stone roof coverings can be less difficult to source for replacement as, unlike tiles, the designs for slate and stone are simple and have changed little over the years. However, more unusual or historic slate sizes will require some care in sourcing and installing.
For more information on slate try Welsh//Slate or Cembrit
For stone slates try the Stone Roofing Association. 
Clay Tiles - When it comes to historic roof tiles, many older tile designs are no longer in mass production. These older clay tiles can date back to medieval times, but are more commonly from the Georgian and Victorian periods.  When it comes to replacing old clay tile designs property owners will usually start by considering the second hand market. The durability of clay tiles is such that there is a healthy reclaimed market, served by a number of specialist merchants.  Another option would be to try suggesting a similar product that is currently in production, to see if that will satisfy planning requirements. However this will not always work for conservation projects with strict planning requirements, as replacement products often need to be like-for-like.
In these cases, if reclaimed tiles cannot be found, then bespoke tiles will need to be commissioned with a specialist clay tile maker. Such work requires craftsmen who can manufacture bespoke clay tiles by hand. Original samples will need to be accurately reproduced using traditional methods and the same raw materials to ensure the roof blends in with the existing building and surrounding environment.
For more information on bespoke clay tiles for conservation projects try the Sandtoft Heritage Service
Some examples of historic clay roof tiles
Concrete Tiles - These requirements do not often apply to concrete tiles, however, deleted designs can be supplied by small niche producers. These companies use small numbers of moulds acquired from the major manufacturers when they withdraw or delete products. 
National Federation of Roofing Contractors - Heritage Roofing
In January 2008 The National Federation of Roofing Contractors launched a National Heritage Roofing Contractors register which lists reliable, high quality,  roofing specialists who work in this field. For more information please click here.
Heritage Links
The Listed Property Owners Club
English Heritage
T: 0870 333 1181
Historic Scotland
T: 0131 668 8600
The society for the protection of ancient buildings.
The Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
The National Federation of Roofing Contractors – Heritage Roofing
Sandtoft Heritage Service
Bespoke clay tiles & ridges for conservation projects



Stone Slate Assocation

W: www.stoneroof.org.uk

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