What to look for in a pitched roof system solution
As a savvy and value-conscious roofing contractor, you’ve made the decision to start using pitched roof systems. You understand the benefits of sourcing all of the pitched roof components - tiles, tile battens, eaves ventilation, ridge ventilation, underlay, fixings and accessories - from a single manufacturer and that, as a result, the pitched roofs you construct from now on will be greater than the sums of their parts.
When choosing that one manufacturer what should you look for? What features of a pitched roof system should be on offer to make it worth your time?
Fully tested pitched roof systems
For manufacturers to confidently offer pitched roof system solutions, and to pass that confidence on to their contractor customers, means knowing that the system will work on any site, using any combination of components.
Compare that to selecting individual components and the temptation to select, say, a cheaper alternative underlay or ridge ventilation. The alternative components may look similar on paper, but there’s no way of knowing if they will work as part of the complete build-up, or in the particular conditions of the specific project.
By contrast, a manufacturer who knows - or, even better, manufactures - all of the products in their system, and tests all combinations of tiles and components, has much greater certainty about how a finished roof will perform. To use the same examples, that includes making sure the roof has the correct type of underlay and will achieve the required level of ventilation.
This is the value of a system in action over its price - the peace of mind that comes from purchasing a proven system from a single source, rather than trying to save a few hundred pounds here and there while adding uncertainty about how it will perform.
Pitched roof standards
Standards are vital to ensuring everybody works from a level playing field and that buildings are constructed with the safety of site operatives and eventual occupants in mind.
Unfortunately, the roofing market has seen component manufacturers, with little or no track record, claim to offer compliant products, but which only serve to risk safety, and the reputation of the roofing industry. We’ve seen tile battens stamped as BS 5534 compliant, in an attempt to look like better quality products, but which are nothing of the sort.
A manufacturer of pitched roof system solutions has to be capable of offering specifications that comply with all relevant standards - BS 5534, BS 8612, BS 5250 etc. - regardless of where in the country the site is. Every site and every building is different, in terms of height and exposure as well as location, so every project should have its own specification.
Re-using specifications from previous projects, however similar they might appear, is risky. A good system manufacturer will produce a bespoke specification every time. And that isn’t just about guarding against poor workmanship or potential roof failures. It’s about helping contractors who might actually be over-delivering in terms of what is needed, such as using more fixings than are necessary.
Keeping up appearances
Something else that varies up and down the country is the appearance of pitched roofs. The ‘roofscape’ of the UK has a rich and varied history, and a system manufacturer should be able to offer a variety of tile materials and styles to suit all aesthetics and budgets.
Whether plain clay tiles, pantiles, large format concrete tiles, cedar shingles, tiles to mimic the appearance of other materials, or even heritage and conservation projects, the roof has to look right as well as perform correctly. It comes back to value: if a client wants a clay tile look, but clay tiles are too expensive, then an alternative that meets the budget without compromising performance isn’t cutting corners - it’s just common sense.
Similarly, there’s a substantial difference in the cost of laying plain tiles at a rate of 60 per square metre compared to a large format tile needing just 10 per square metre, so it’s a case of picking the best solution for the individual project.
In general, there has been a movement to pitch roof designs with lower pitches. That puts greater strain on the performance of the roof, and requires greater care in installation, so tiles have to be capable of performing accordingly. A manufacturer with the technical expertise to develop products suited to a wider range of pitches, delivering modern performance while still being capable of achieving traditional aesthetics, is highly desirable.
Technical expertise and guarantees
Technical expertise has been the undercurrent to everything we’ve talked about so far. As the single point of contact, service doesn’t just stop at the supply of materials and products. A manufacturer that knows its system inside out can offer comprehensive installation advice and useful contractor tools to help achieve the best results.
And all of that should be backed up with a warranty - preferably covering 15 years - for complete peace of mind.
In an industry that has become increasingly risk averse, the economics of risk and corner cutting simply don’t work. Settling for something that is assumed to be ‘good enough’ when a proven solution is available is no longer acceptable - and those are the same qualities you should seek in a pitched roof system manufacturer.
About MarleyMarley is the leading provider of complete pitched roofing systems, covering more critical roof elements than any other manufacturer. A system specification, available with a 15 year warranty, can be provided for any individual project - eliminating the copying of specifications from previous projects and delivering peace of mind through the supply chain.
For more information, download the Roof Systems brochure, call our technical advisors on 01283 722588, or find your local Marley representative.