A guide to different roof tile types - what's the best choice for a project?

High quality residential property featuring Marley Acme Double Camber

When it comes to finishing a roof, there’s an array of roof tile types to choose from, with options available in various materials, shapes, profiles and sizes. Choosing the right one often comes down to aesthetics, but other factors to consider include the roof pitch, the weight of the roof once complete, weather resistance, the sustainability of the tiles and project budgets. Local requirements such as planning permission, heritage projects or being in a conservation area may also play a part in the choice of roof tile type.

We’ve put together this guide to help ensure the best choice of roof tile for each project.

Roof tile materials

One of the first things to consider when choosing a roof tile is the material. Roof tiles come in a wide range of options, and here at Marley, we specialise in providing clay tiles, concrete tiles and cedar shingles and shakes. We also offer the Marley SolarTile®, which can replace standard roof tiles to provide solar photovoltaic power to the property. Other roof tile materials may include natural stone and fibre cement.

When it comes to material, which roof tile type is best? The answer is: it depends on the project!

Since the material will play a big part in the roof's overall appearance, think about what looks good. Also, find out what types of roof tiles other buildings in the area use. Do you want the roof to stand out or blend in?

Other considerations include the material’s durability, longevity, wind resistance, weight, maintenance requirements, ease of installation and cost.

Concrete roof tiles

Concrete tiles often look very similar to clay. While the colour of clay and concrete does tend to fade over time, both have similar life spans, are low maintenance (with regard to cleaning and replacing tiles) and meet fire classification of at least A2 fire. Concrete tiles also tend to be more cost-effective than other materials.

An alternative to clay or slate, Marley's concrete roof tiles are manufactured to meet the most exacting of project briefs and can provide the appearance of other more ‘natural’ products. Colour options are similar to clay, with a range of reds, oranges, browns and greys.

When considering concrete roof tiles, options from Marley include Duo Modern interlocking, which incorporates a mock bond down the centre, giving the look of a small format slate. There's also Edgemere interlocking slate, which features an 18mm thin leading edge, providing an affordable upgrade to standard interlocking tiles.

Clay roof tiles

A traditional favourite, clay tiles have been used for thousands of years. Modern clay tiles are available in hand-crafted or machine-made formats, with the two types differing mainly in terms of look and price.

They are available in a range of browns, reds and greys and are provided as variegated blends that create a traditional and high-end look, providing kerb-side appeal. They are also ideal for heritage properties and locations where you don’t want a new roof to look new. Feature tiles, such as club and bullnose tiles are also available to further enhance aesthetics and add visual interest.

Marley offers a variety of clay roof tile types, including Ashdowne handcrafted, Acme Plain Tiles and Lincoln clay pantiles. They are made to conform to all modern building standards (BS 5534:2014+A2:2018, the code of practice for slating and tiling for pitched roofs and vertical cladding, as well as NHBC guidelines) without losing that traditional look, and since they are compatible with our dry-fix roofing systems, installation is quick and easy.

Cedar shingles and shakes

For a truly natural appearance, cedar shingles and shakes might be the perfect solution. They’re also one of the most sustainable roofing and cladding materials with one of the lowest carbon footprints of widely used building products available. Marley’s Western Red cedar shingles and shakes come with full PEFC chain of custody and can be treated with a preservative coating for long life.

Shingles and shakes can be used for a wide range of structures, from garden gazebos to the grandest of dwellings. They can be used for both roofing and cladding and are suitable for pitches as low as 14°.

Shingles and shakes perform the same functions but are manufactured in different ways. The difference between shingles and shakes comes down to how they’re sawn and shaped. Shingles are sawn on both sides and thinner at the butt giving a smooth face and back. Shakes can be split on one or both sides; they are often rougher in texture and larger in size, making them more suitable for cladding.

Integrated solar roof tiles

With increasing energy prices and a drive towards achieving net zero, solar roof tiles provide a solution for cutting carbon footprints and energy bills. The Marley SolarTile® delivers an aesthetically pleasing and reliable option with a 25-year panel efficiency guarantee. It also saves money and reduces installation time because it replaces roof tiles instead of being installed over them.

Stuart Nicholson, Director of Roof Systems here at Marley, explains: “Marley SolarTile® is an integrated roof tile, meaning that it replaces standard roof tiles and sits flush with the roof surface. This gives the finished roof a streamlined and attractive finish. It also mitigates problems associated with more traditional roof-mounted systems, which can suffer from weather damage and debris build-up and attract pests.”

He says that the energy generated with solar roof tiles can be used to power lighting, electric heating and home appliances. “It can also be connected to an electric vehicle charging unit, so users can “fill up” their cars with free energy from the sun,” he adds. 

Marley SolarTile® is compatible with the entire range of Marley roof tiles, including clay and concrete tiles and cedar shingles and shakes, and it is suitable for installation on low-pitch roofs.

Selecting the roof tile shape and size

Another consideration when deciding on a roof tile type is the shape. Options include flat roof tiles, such as Edgemere and Modern, as well as S-shaped pantiles (like Mendip and Anglia) and Roman tiles, like Double Roman, with alternating flat and curved sections.
Large-format tiles can mimic the aesthetics of plain tiles but are much quicker and cheaper to install, which means fewer tiling battens would be required. Tiles such as Duo Edgemere and Ashmore, are options to consider.

Plain or interlocking roof tiles?

The choice between plain tiles and interlocking roof tile types will depend on aesthetic preferences as well as budget.

Plain roof tiles have a simple rectangular shape and are usually smaller than interlocking tiles. They must be laid double-lapped to ensure weather tightness, and they provide an attractive and traditional appearance. Options include Canterbury handmade clay plain roof tiles and Plain concrete roof tiles.

Interlocking roof tiles, such as Lincoln clay interlocking pantiles and Edgemere interlocking slate concrete tiles, have a unique shape that allows them to fit together snugly and securely. Interlocking tiles still require fixing to the roofing battens, but their design means that only a single lap is needed, and they are usually larger than plain tiles – so fewer tiles are required to cover the roof. This makes the installation of interlocking tiles quicker and more cost-effective than plain tiles.

Is the roof tile type suitable for the roof pitch?

One of the first considerations when selecting the right roof tile type for a project is the roof's pitch. Many roof tiles are suitable for vertical applications, and some can be installed on low-pitch roofs with a minimum pitch of just 15°. Our Mendip 12.5 concrete interlocking tile and Lincoln Clay Interlocking Pantile can be installed on a minimum pitch of just 15°. However, it’s essential to check the tiles to ensure roof pitch suitability. 


 Marley clay roof tiles - roof pitch suitability
 Products Minimum Roof Pitch* Maximum Roof Pitch*
Acme double camber clay plain roof tile 35 90
Acme single camber clay plain roof tile 30 90
Ashdowne handcrafted clay roof tile 35 90
Canterbury handmade clay roof tile 40 90
Eden traditional clay pantile 22.5 75
Hawkins clay plain roof tile 30 90
Lincoln clay interlocking pantile 15 70
 *Minimum roof pitch may vary depending on texture and headlap

 Marley concrete roof tiles - roof pitch suitability
 Products Minimum Roof Pitch* Maximum Roof Pitch*
Anglia interlocking roof tile 25 90
Ashmore interlocking double plain tile 22.5 90
Double Roman concrete roof tile 22.5 90
Duo Edgemere interlocking slate tile 17.5 90
Duo Modern interlocking roof tile 17.5 75
Edgemere interlocking slate concrete tile 17.5 90
Ludlow Major 22.5 90
Ludlow Plus interlocking tile 22.5 90
Mendip interlocking concrete roof tile 15 90
Mendip 12.5 12.5 15
Modern concrete interlocking roof tile 17.5 90
Plain roof tile 35 90
Riven Edgemere interlocking slate tile 17.5 90
Wessex interlocking roof tile 15 44
 *Minimum roof pitch may vary depending on texture and headlap

Our Western Red Cedar shakes and shingles are suitable for roof pitches from 14° to 90° (shingles) and 20° to 90° (shakes). 

Find the right roof tile type for your project

As experts in roofing systems, Marley offers more than 20 roof tile types, including clay and concrete roof tiles, roof-integrated solar tiles and cedar shingles and shakes. All our roof tiles are compatible with the Marley Roof System, giving you a single source for all your roofing needs.

To find out more about our product range, browse our collection of roof tiles online or download our product brochure. We also offer a sample service so you can see the quality of our roof tiles before committing to a specification. And if you’d like more assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our technical support team is available to answer your questions or help you decide on the best roof tile for your project.

Category: Clay Concrete Roofing