What are the differences between Tiles and Slate?

If your roof is looking a bit damaged or dated and you’re considering a  guttering repair or even something new, you’ll soon realise there’s more to choose from than just the colour. Your roof can be finished in a wide range of materials, and you’ll have to make a decision between slates and tiles. There are pros and cons to both, and we’re here to help you make an easy decision.


Natural slate is considered to be one of the best quality roofing materials, formed underground by extreme heat and pressure. The metamorphic rocks are split into flat-faced, smooth slices which are used to form slate roofing. 

As an extremely durable material, when slate is installed well it can last up to 50 years, and is the first line of defence against the elements – with low maintenance required. Any repairs that are required can be done with ease by professional roofers and the slate density can help conserve the temperature of your home, preventing heat loss and saving you money in the long run. Natural slate is also a good material for fire protection and is unaffected by pest damage and rot.

Slate can be installed flat against the roof pitch, or it can be layered to create a textured look, however the latter can increase the risk of individually broken tiles.  Natural slate is occasionally available in a choice of textures, and most often found in various shades of grey – although there can be small variations of natural colours. 

There are very few disadvantages to using natural slate, however as you might assume, it is quite a heavy material due to its density and so requires the proper support mechanisms in place. There are slate imitations available but they will not offer the same properties as natural slate due to the different materials used during the manufacture of these materials.


Roofing tiles come in a more diverse variety of designs and colours than natural slates, and are most commonly available in concrete and clay. Top quality roofing tiles offer similar durability to slates when installed by a professional, however concrete tiles tend to be more weatherproof and more able to withstand the elements. 

Clay tiles are a more viable option over concrete when finer roof additions need to be outlined, such as chimneys and skylights, and when structural support is unavailable or can’t be installed to hold up against the weight of concrete tiles. Normal roofing tiles are usually less costly than their slate counterpart too, especially if structural support improvements are required.

The main issue with roofing tiles is the increased need to clean them of algae and moss, although this can depend on your local climate and the finish of the tiles that you choose.