Choosing Roof Tiles: Slate, Concrete or Clay?

Thinking of having your roof replaced with brand new tiles? Keep reading this article!

In this guide, we’ll look into the options of slate, concrete and clay, providing an overview of their features/properties, costs and pros and cons. We’ll also give our advice on what option might be best for you. Ultimately, our guide will help you make a decision when considering these three options. Let’s go!


Slate roof tiles offer an authentic aesthetic and incredible durability. In fact, a slate roof that is maintained properly may last for as long as 150 years! Along with a generally stunning appearance, there are many colours and types available, making a highly versatile option. Slates also offer fire-resistant qualities. Moreover, slate tiles are fairly eco-friendly. Looking at the downsides, slate is heavy meaning that your roof deck will require reinforcing before a slate roof can be added. As a result, slate tiles are fairly expensive. The costs involved with replacing your roof with slate tiles is about £75 per square metre plus labour costs. This makes slate roofs costlier than concrete roofs, 3-tab shingles roofs, felt tiles, metal tiles and more.


One of the most popular choices nationwide is that of concrete roof tiles. Along with being a versatile option (like slate) with various colours, finishes and profiles to choose from, concrete can be designed to resemble alternatives such as shingle and slate. Concrete roof tiles cost about £35 square per metre.  What’s more, concrete tiles are very durable and come with top-of-the-market resilience in dealing with the elements. Concrete roofs are fairly easy to install and can last for 60+ years in most cases. Concrete tiles are also environmentally friendly. On the other hand, concrete tiles are also heavy meaning that roof reinforcing will also be required. Other disadvantages of concrete roofs include their high maintenance costs, and they can be easy to smash.


Another common tile choice for a roof is that of clay. Clay tiles are stylistically and aesthetically gratifying with their simple but beautiful look. Clay tiles are also very eco-friendly and offer ease of installation, strength and longevity (clay tiles are expected to last for 50-70 years being longer lasting than concrete tiles on average). Clay roof tiles cost around £125 per square metre on average, making them more expensive than slate or clay tiles. 

The disadvantages of clay tiles include their heaviness (meaning that roof reinforcing may be needed) and more complexity/costs associated with their maintenance. The latter is especially true if you opt for hand-crafted or hand-made roof tiles.

Choosing Between Slate, Concrete and Clay Tiles

It’s important to carefully weigh up these options and consider your preferences and budget before making a decision. If you want to keep your costs down, concrete is the best option of the three. However, slate tiles are also less expensive than clay tiles. As for durability and longevity, slate would be the better option. However, if you’re more concerned with being as eco-friendly as possible, you’ll probably want to go with clay tiles. Ultimately, you’ll want to consider a wide range of aspects of each option before carefully deciding which is the best for you and your home.

Hiring a Professional Roofer

You’ll need to hire a professional roofer to replace your roof and first they must evaluate your roof to see if it needs reinforcing. We recommend obtaining quotes from three or more roofers before making a decision. This way, you can compare their prices, experience levels and any online reviews or ratings they might have.