A Guide to… Pitched Roofs

There are many different types of roof covering. It can be confusing to even find out what already covers your roof! Although it is likely to be pitched roofs, it could be flat roofs or a combination of both. And then you need to decide if this is the correct type of roof covering, or if it would be more suitable to install another type…

This post is intended to be an easy to follow guide to pitched roofs which gives examples of how they are used and which coverings, such as tiles and slates, are most commonly used with them.

Pitched Roofs

A pitched roof is the roof which most of us would probably imagine when asked to think of a “roof”.

An old house with a pitched roof

An old house with a pitched roof

The pitched roof is designed in the shape of an inverted V with the sides sloping down, usually to the side of the house. There are many different types of pitched roofs, depending on the size and layout of the house which they are covering. Once the construction of the roof is complete the pitches are most commonly covered by tiles or slates which are clipped or fixed onto the roof battens (pieces of wood fixed to the rafters at regular intervals). Another important component of a pitched roof is the lead flashings. These are found at points of the roof which may be vulnerable to water ingress, such as at the chimney stack, abutments and walls, in order to keep them water-tight.


A group of pitched roofs

A large house or building might have multiple pitches in order to maximise the space throughout the upper levels of the building. They will also commonly have other roofing aspects such as gable end walls, eaves or dormer additions.


An American house with multiple pitches

There is a list of slates and tiles which are regularly used on pitched roofs below. For a more in depth list of the different types of tiles DIY Doctor has an extensive list on their site.

Interlocking tiles

These are tiles which fit together, some of the earliest are known as Pantiles and Double Romans. Interlocking tiles are a larger tile, which means they can be laid faster than some other tile types, and are quite cost-efficient on straight forward pitched roofs. This makes them a favourite of large contractors and developers. However, on more complex roofs they can require more cutting due to their size, which can take longer.


Interlocking Tiles

Plain Tiles

Plain tiles offer a much more traditional looking roof covering, with a varied look which can differ greatly from other tile types such as Slates and Interlockers. There is a variety of plain tile products available – machine made plain tiles are available, and the higher end products are generally hand-made and exceptional quality.


A recent pitched roof carried out by MJR operatives which has a plain tile covering.

Slate Tiles

In the UK Slate tiles have been used since the early 18th century due to an abundance of good quality slate in three main areas: The Lake District, Wales and Cornwall. It also gained in popularity in The Cotswolds and The New Forest, especially since the railways made it easier to transport materials longer distances.

Orpington lead work 2

A recent pitched roof carried out by MJR operatives with slate tiles as a covering. This is the chimney detail, including lead flashings which are used to maintain a waterproof seal.

If you have any queries about the state of your roof, or you fear that it may need some attention, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, or send us an email, asking for our advice. We always recommend having your roof checked for any issues regularly (about once every few years).

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