Traditional Old English Cottage with Thatched Roof

Traditional Roofing Trends in the UK

Roofing in the UK has gone through many different trends and materials over the years, and today, many of these traditional trends can still be seen on buildings across the country, especially listed and protected historic properties. While these roofing trends may not be as popular as they were hundreds of years ago when listed buildings were first built, traditions have been upheld to ensure any repairs made to them do not take away from their classic aesthetic appeal.

At Chris Ball Roofing, we are experienced roofing specialists carrying out roofing services in London and all our new roofs are fully guaranteed and underwritten by the CoRC (Confederation of Roofing Contractors) for your peace of mind. Our team of staff undergo extensive training in the application and repair of traditional roofing methods, ensuring we can take on any job – no matter what the size.

The History of Roofing in the UK

Roofs on UK properties were traditionally made with the materials that were available to hand at the time, and in many places, this was initially thatch. Thatched roofs offered several benefits and the materials were easy to get hold of and process wherever your house was in the country. However, the Great Fire of Southwark, London broke out in 1212 and changed many peoples minds on the continuation of using thatch. Even though it had already been banned within the capital city in a rule dating back to 1189, wooden properties constructed with overhanging thatch roofs caused the greatest spread of the fire and this led to a change in the materials used for building properties and shops moving forward.

After the insistence of using different widespread roofing material, roofing trends started to move towards tougher materials and clay, stone and slate were the most popular. That being said, the material used on your roof in the early days would very much depend on your location in the country, for example, the availability of raw materials for creating clay roofing tiles was dependent on a location being near to water – such as a river or the coast. Large clay deposits in the South East and Midlands influenced a greater number of clay-tiled roofs while access to harder slate in the North and in Wales made slate tiled roofs more popular.

Clay tiles had been used prevalently during the Roman reign, however as the Romans left Britain so did their methods and practices for making clay tiles, leading the way for use of thatch for roofing which was much simpler for common folk to harvest and process.

It was only in the 19th Century, once the modern railway was introduced to Britain, that materials and minerals start moving around the country in greater quantities, making it easier for different roofing materials to be used in locations they weren’t commonly found.

Modern-day roofing trends now include a wide variety of materials and types with an increasing encouragement for roofs that provide energy efficiency and protection against severe weather forces. Many property owners choose to install solar panels on their roofs to offset their energy costs while others make use of cheaper, more durable materials including steel and concrete.

Traditional Roofing Methods

Even back in the early days of roofing, people were selective over the materials they used as they wanted to achieve several things: waterproofing, warmth, protection from pests and a barrier against the elements. This is what led to the following materials to rise in popularity and be used across many properties at the peak of their use:


Thatched roofs are made using straws, reeds, grasses and heathers that have been cut, dried and bundled into ‘yelms’. These are carefully taken up to the roof and attached using twisted hazel sticks known as ‘spars’. The thatch trapped pockets of air between yelms, offering improved insulation against the cold outside air. When laid with the correct pitch, thatched roofs filtered rainwater quickly away from the property, preventing leaks and pooling. Although thatched roofs were commonly blamed for spreading fires quickly between buildings – efficiently installed thatch burns quite slowly and fires were often caused due to poorly installed burners, chimneys and flues.

While thatch is still seen on plenty of rural properties, the practice is under fire and, due to the Plant Variety and Seeds Act 1964, has restricted access to the quality materials that thatchers need to faithfully reproduce the traditional methods of thatched roofs. This has also caused the maintenance and repairs costs of thatched roofs to skyrocket, making it a fairly impractical solution for many homeowners.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are an extremely popular roofing method – still commonly seen today – however, the methods for manufacturing these clay tiles have changed greatly as technology advances. Old clay tiles, that were handmade, were subject to natural imperfections such as warping and twisting during the firing process. This meant that handmade clay tiles installed on roofs could be difficult to lay flat and this often leads to leaks and holes. Today, clay tiles can be mass-produced with very little variation between the tiles, ensuring a protective barrier against the elements and upholding the traditional appearance.

Clay remains a popular roofing material today as it is cost-effective, offers durability against the typically damp British weather, is fire-resistant and reliable. The iconic red clay tile has even become something of a British symbol itself and can be seen on residential properties, city buildings and even castles across the UK.

Stone Roofing

Slate isn’t the only stone material that is commonly found on British roofs; in fact, there were plenty of different stones used over the centuries – from metamorphic slates to limestones and sandstones. Historic practices of using stone tiles were to fashion each tile into a thin, roughly rectangular shape and then overlay these with large overlapping sections to prevent moisture and water from entering the roof space.

Metamorphic rock like slate naturally forms in layers before experiencing tremendous heat and pressure which makes them exceedingly strong, it can then be split into individual thin and strong tiles which are ideal for use in roofing.

Today’s slate tends to be a mixture of slate and other similar materials crushed into an aggregate (small pieces) before it is reformed into uniform tiles. It doesn’t quite follow the traditional slate roofing method and as such has diluted the traditional slate roofing meaning.

When you are looking for trusted roofing services in London, don’t settle for a cheap solution.

Your roof, whether traditional or modern, requires care and careful maintenance to ensure it lasts and sufficiently protects you, your family and your belongings from the elements. At Chris Ball Roofing, we have generations of experience working with roofs of all types – from listed to new build.

Get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team today and find out about our roofing services for your London property. Call us on 020 8291 3388, email us at or use our online contact form

How Does Weather Affect My Roof?

Hail in hand on a rooftop after hailstormIn the UK, it’s rare we experience severe weather phenomena such as tornados and hurricanes. However, the weather we do experience affects your roof in a variety of different ways and it’s important to keep on top of roof maintenance to reduce the likelihood of needing expensive roof repairs on your London property.

Our seasonal weather is quite typical in the UK, fresh temperatures and blue skies during the autumn and spring, the warmth of the summer sun and the cold, dark, frosty winters. All of which can have an adverse effect on the health of our roofs. Make sure your seasonal to-do list includes checking over your roof, both inside and out, adding additional checks when the weather has been particularly intense.

How Hot Weather Affects a Roof

While it might seem unlikely that the summer sun is doing that much damage to your roof, much of the effect the sun has on your roof is unnoticed until a period of intense weather – such as an overnight summer storm, which can bring plenty of rain and debris raining down on your roof.

UV Exposure

As many roofs are unshaded, there is no level of protection between your roof and the unfiltered UV rays from our sun. Over time, exposure to heat and UV rays can start to dry out your roof, causing shrinkage as well as causing wood structures to bleach and weaken, potentially even cracking. Tiles that face long exposure to daily high summer temperatures can begin to buckle or split and the joins between tiles can become looser as shrinkage occurs.

Luckily, a well-maintained roof – whether maintained by the homeowner or a professional roof repair company in London – can last many hot summers without too much damage from the elements. This is especially true if your roof is under ten years old and you keep a well-ventilated attic that can help distribute some of the heat felt from the sun.

Older Roofs

If you have a roof older than ten years or an unventilated attic space, known as a ‘Hot Roof’, talk to your local roof repair company about the benefits of a new roof or additional insulation. Advantages of investing in a roof include improved energy bills, better insulation against lost heat and improvement of airflow ventilation around your roof.

Thermal Shock

One of the greatest threats during the summer is the risk of thermal shock on roofs – thermal shock occurs when the temperatures reach higher than average during the day but drop off rapidly after the sun goes down. This extreme change in temperature and moisture in the air can cause the materials on your roof (especially metal) to expand and contract within a short time frame, affecting the structural integrity and on some occasions, leading to warping.

Preventing Growth

If your roof is unmaintained, either through lack of time or buying a property that hasn’t been maintained on a regular basis, your roof might have some moisture trapped between tiles or under within support structures. Over the summer, with the increased warmth and a supply of water, mould and moss can grow rapidly; spreading across your roof in a blanket of green, creeping into your attic spaces and down the external walls. Make sure to treat your roof and regularly remove any green growth to reduce the likelihood of rapid spreading that requires additional effort or cost to remove.

How Cold Weather Affects a Roof

The colder months bring shorter days, less sunlight, frosty, bitter temperatures and an increased chance of rain and snow.

Rainy Days

Rain is the most common weather experienced in the UK, and even more so over the winter months. The constant beating down of water on your roof can begin to take its toll after a few weeks and months of regular rainy weather. Make sure your roof can drain properly, with no water collecting in pools or puddles on flat surfaces, keep guttering clear of leaves and debris to prevent overflowing or blockages. As part of your winter roof maintenance, you should also check that your downpipes are centred over drains with no chance of leaks or spills that could create slippery, icy walkways.

Ample Drainage

By ensuring your roof has efficient drainage, you are reducing the weight of water that would otherwise collect on roof surfaces and preventing the build-up of moisture between tiles that can cause unsightly mould and moss growth. By keeping on top of your roof maintenance before it gets too late into the winter season, you can prevent leaks and moisture ingress through damaged structures to reduce the likelihood of damp, rot and mould in attic spaces. Not only can damp, rot and mould be difficult to get rid of, but, if it’s in a place that isn’t often used or visited in your room (such as unfinished attic), the problem can become an expensive nuisance before you realise it’s occurring.

Snow Flurries

With the wetter weather and temperatures dropping, snow is never far behind. Snow doesn’t ‘drain’ off a roof as easily as water and the build-up of snow can be quite weighty on unmaintained or old roofs. Although many homeowners allow the snow to melt naturally, those who want to clear the snow from their roof should make sure to do so properly, in order to prevent further damage. For instance, some homeowners think using a normal show shovel can be an effective way to ‘knock down’ snow flurries. However, this can cause damage to tiles, knocking them lose or removing them completely. Additionally, some homeowners use rock salt or other ‘melting’ solutions, but these can react negatively with the materials on your roof, requiring yet more expensive repairs.

If you are concerned about the weight of snow build up on your roof, we would advise calling your local professional roof repair company who can advise on the best method of removal for your property.

High Speed, Icy Winds

Bitter, icy winds can also have an adverse effect on your property, especially as we experience the tail end of intense weather from severe weather in international countries. High winds can loosen, move and jostle your tiles, sometimes lifting them up and causing a chain of damage across your rooftop. The best preventative method of protecting your roof against high winds is to regularly check your roof for loose or missing tiles and have these repaired or replaced where necessary.

Weather Roof Maintenance and Safety

Remember, when preparing your roof for intense weather patterns and working at height, you must only do so if you have the confidence to do so and know how to utilise the correct safety equipment. Falls from a roof or from a height can cause life-changing injuries or worse. With that in mind, it is always safer to call a professional when you don’t feel confident in carrying out checks or performing maintenance yourself.

Roof Repairs London

At Chris Ball Roofing, we have been repairing and installing roofs for decades and have the experience to carry out roof repair in London on a variety of roof and property types and structures.

Get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable team today on 020 8291 3388, email us at or send a message via our contact us page.

Your Guide to the Different Roofing Materials

Roofs of various solid materialsFrom London flat roofing to pitched roofs in London, different roofing projects in the capital require different materials in order to look their best and perform to the best of their ability. A good roof should be sturdy, durable, and reliable, yet factors ranging from location and weather to even the property itself can all play a role in determining which roofing material is best suited to the project at hand.

As experienced roofing specialists in London, the dedicated team here at Chris Ball Roofing are perfectly placed to give you honest, impartial advice about your roof. Whether you need an entirely new roof or just a spot of maintenance, our highly trained team can help you out.

We’ve put together a handy guide to the different types of roofing materials we use in our projects to give you a better idea of what is available and why our team might recommend a certain material for a particular roof.

High Performance Felt

Felt is a great choice of material for a wide variety of roofing projects in London. Flat roofing, in particular, can benefit greatly from felt. Here at Chris Ball Roofing, we only use industry-leading brands of felt in order to ensure longevity and durability. We are fully approved to lay products from the manufacturers we use, enabling us to offer up to 25-year warranties on our new felt roofs.

High performance felt is an ideal choice for the following:

  • Flat roofs
  • Rear extensions
  • Garages
  • Offices and commercial buildings

Mastic Asphalt

Mastic asphalt is a type of asphalt that has been used for roofing ever since the 1960s. Today, this material is still a popular choice, largely due to its versatility and durability. Mastic asphalt typically has a lifespan of more than 50 years and also boasts the enviable properties of being recyclable, waterproof, and almost completely fire resistant.

Although mastic asphalt can be used in a wide variety of situations, it makes a great choice for the following:

  • Flat roofs
  • Car park roofs
  • Porches


Slate is a traditional, instantly recognisable roofing material that has been used for hundreds of years. We offer both natural slate and synthetic slate, giving you plenty of freedom when it comes to the specifics of your roof. The majority of slate roofs have a long lifespan, low rate of water absorption, and fire-resistant properties, making this material a firm favourite when it comes to roofing.

Slate roofing is a great choice for the following:

  • Pitched roofs in London
  • Older-style properties

Concrete and Clay Tiles

We offer a wide range of high-quality clay and concrete tiles from leading manufacturers, including both handmade and machine-made tiles. Concrete tiles are a durable, low-maintenance roofing option, while clay tiles are long-lasting and highly fire-resistant.

Concrete and clay tile roofing is ideal for pitched roofs.


Lead is one of the oldest roofing materials that is still in use today, largely thanks to its durability, reliability, and resistance to corrosion. Lead roofing is flexible and long-lasting, making it a great choice for many different roofing projects.

Lead roofing is a good choice for the following:

  • Historic and listed buildings
  • Parapets
  • London flat roofing
  • Valley gutters
  • Pitched roofs in London

Fix-R Liquid Waterproofing Systems

A waterproof roof is essential to keep your property and possessions safe and dry all year round. We can offer Fix-R Liquid Waterproofing Systems to repel water and resist standing water, improving the quality of your roof. This system is a hybrid polymer waterproofing system that is applied in liquid form, allowing for cost-effective application and minimum wastage.

For more information about our materials and services, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of roofing specialists in London today or give us a call on 020 8291 3388.

What Factors Can Affect Your Roof’s Lifespan?

Damaged black roof shinglesYour roof is one of the most important elements of your home, and a good-quality roof is essential when it comes to ensuring you, your family, and your belongings all stay dry, warm, and protected from the elements.

Here at Chris Ball Roofing, we specialise in providing roofing services throughout the capital, ranging from flat roofing and pitched roofs in London to many more professional roof offerings. We are highly experienced in the work that we do and consistently aim to complete each job to the very best of our ability.

However, every roof is different, and the lifespan of a roof can vary depending on a host of different factors and variables.

Here are some of the factors that could affect the lifespan of your roof. Use this knowledge to stay aware of what could threaten your roof’s health and keep it in the best shape possible.


The location of your property plays an important role when it comes to your roof’s lifespan, with various factors falling under this heading contributing to the overall health of your roof. From the weather to the natural environment surrounding your property, the location should not be overlooked.

Weather Conditions


While this is unlikely to be an issue here in the UK, prolonged periods of strong sunshine can cause cracking or even breakage of certain types of roof tiles.


Strong wind can wreak havoc with your roof, damaging or breaking shingles or roof tiles, and potentially causing the need for repairs once the bad weather has passed.


If your roof is not watertight, rainwater could make its way through the weakest areas and, depending on the severity of the problem, this could lead to water damage. Similarly, without repair, the excess water making its way into your home could contribute to the occurrence of moisture-related problems like damp and rot.


If there are trees close to your home, it’s important to do your best to ensure that they are sturdy enough to minimise the chances of damage occurring during high winds or adverse weather conditions. Similarly, if trees do overhang your roof, you should be prepared to check for any signs of damage in particularly windy weather.

Roofing Material

This is one of the most important factors to consider – largely due to the fact that different roof materials suit different conditions, and each material has its own unique list of pros and cons. You can learn more about the different types of roofing we offer here.

Failed Flashing

Flashing acts as a seal between the joints of the roof, helping to keep water out and preventing leaks. Therefore, water can make its way into your roof and potentially cause damage if the flashing has deteriorated over time.

Poor Ventilation or Insulation

Ventilation and insulation are important throughout the home, but if your attic or roof space is particularly badly ventilated, it could potentially lead to problems. Poor ventilation could cause a build-up of heat and moisture which is trapped with nowhere to go. In turn, this could weaken the roof structure or cause damage to the shingles or roof tiles.

Lack of Maintenance

No matter how expertly it was installed, the chances are that every roof will require a bit of maintenance from time to time – particularly after bad weather. However, if you do suspect that your roof may be in need of maintenance, it’s always best to enlist the help of an experienced roofing contractor in order to ensure the work is completed to a professional standard.


Age is one of the most obvious factors affecting the lifespan of your roof, yet it is one that many homeowners often overlook. Every roof has an expected lifespan, which will vary depending on the factors outlined above, so if your roof is starting to look a little old and tired, it may be time for an upgrade.

Chris Ball Roofing Services

Here at Chris Ball Roofing, our professional team is highly experienced when it comes to both installing new roofs and maintaining existing ones, guaranteeing a top-quality service every time.

While it is virtually impossible to say for certain exactly how long a particular roof should last due to all the different factors that play a role in determining longevity, our team can give you an estimate for your peace of mind. Similarly, you can rest assured, safe in the knowledge that we are dedicated to completing each job to the very best of our ability.

For more information about our services, ranging from installing pitched roofs to repairing flat roofing damage, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call on 020 8291 3388 today.

The Advantages of Traditional Roofing Materials Over Modern Counterparts

Close-up of a rooferAs is the case in any industry, methods change over time and the way that things are done gradually evolves. Roofing is no different, and over the passing decades, we at Chris Ball Roofing have noticed a trend of homeowners trading in traditional materials such as concrete, clay, and slate for modern alternatives.

Felt, green and solar roofs are growing in popularity across the United Kingdom and there are a number of reasons why. From cost-effective solutions to reducing the home’s carbon footprint, it’s easy to see why homeowners are opting for modern materials, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best option.


While felt roofing is certainly more cost-effective than concrete, clay, lead and slate solutions, it simply isn’t as durable and will require maintenance or a full-blown replacement within as little as 10 years. When you consider that a lead roof can be expected to remain strong for 100 years, the difference in quality is clear. Naturally, lead benefits from resistance to corrosion as a result of weather and radiation, making it an ideal roofing material.

Lead has to be handled by a team that has undergone four years’ worth of training, due to the harmful nature of the material. Lead’s resilient nature also makes it the perfect option for unpredictable British weather.

As well as lead, clay and concrete can also be expected to last for around 60 years, which still amounts to a more than respectable lifespan for your property. If you are planning to sell your current property in the coming years, it is worth considering that clay roofing usually increases resale value.

Weighing up the Costs

While some modern roofing styles, such as felt, are cost-effective, many are not. Solar tiles are proving to be highly popular, especially with such a keen focus on producing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint, but does that alone make for the ideal roof?

The answer may not be what you hope for, considering that solar tiles are substantially more expensive than standard clay tiles. Of course, there is the potential to recoup those costs elsewhere, however, unless your property will see a good amount of regular sunlight you aren’t going to benefit half as much as you might like to think.

In a 365-day year, London can expect to see an average of 106 rainy days and 1481 hours of sunlight, equalling just less than 17% of the year. Those who are looking to invest in solar panels should bear in mind that they can expect the energy output to decrease 1% annually.

Many other homeowners, especially those with flat roofing, are opting to install green roofs. A property with greenery sitting on top is certainly more aesthetically appealing, but it demands a lot of maintenance as it is essentially a garden on your roof. If you consider the amount of time you can spend out in the garden mowing the lawn and tending to any flowers or plants you are growing, that could be the same amount of time you spend on the roof. This is perhaps why many homeowners opt for a green roof when they only have a small garden or not one at all, as an alternative.

Why Traditional Roofing Materials Remain King

Here at Chris Ball Roofing, we fully believe that traditional roofing materials remain the best, not only because of the average life expectancy or due to the costs involved, but because the quality cannot be brought into question. Concrete, clay, lead and slate roofs are proven to last the distance and withstand the potentially extreme weather conditions that roofs can be subjected to in the United Kingdom.

That isn’t to say that modern roofing methods don’t add value and, in some cases, aren’t the ideal solution for your property. Our fully qualified team will be on hand to offer expert advice on what style of roofing will best suit your property and budget.

We offer a free no obligation quotation on any roofing project. A member of our team will provide you with clearly written specifications and fixed prices on the work that needs to be done, allowing you to make an informed decision as to whether to press ahead with any work.

For more information, please get in contact with Chris Ball Roofing today and we will be more than happy to help.

7 Advantages of a Skylight

7 Advantages of a SkylightWhen you think of roofing companies and roofing services in London, your mind might immediately jump to images of tiles, sheets of slate, and the various stylish yet sensible options you see atop the capital’s roofs. Yet these solutions are just the start of what Chris Ball Roofing can offer your home. Skylights and roof mounted windows can turn the upper rooms of your home into light, airy, and luxurious living areas. Whether you want a new office, a guest bedroom, or just somewhere to relax in style, these seven reasons show just how a skylight can make an ideal addition to your property.

Mood Improvement

Study after study consistently shows the same thing when it comes to exposure to natural light – an overall improvement to your mood. Not only does soaking up the sun help to increase the levels of vitamin D in your body, but it also triggers the release of serotonin. This hormone improves the connection between nerve cells in the brain and other parts of the body, and is strongly connected to improvements in mood. This is why natural light is so important when fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Regulating Sleep Patterns

If you install a skylight in a bedroom, one of the biggest advantages is the regulation of sleep patterns. A room that is artificially dark or completely closed off from the outside world is one where anyone sleeping in it will wake up much less naturally than if the sun shines pleasantly upon their face as they awake. The natural darkness that comes with the arrival of night generates a hormone known as melatonin which regulates and manages the body’s sleep cycle. The more exposure to natural light there is in a room, the more the body will be able to control and coordinate the melatonin levels, and a better sleep cycle will be maintained.

Increased Productivity

Just as the arrival of natural light in our bedroom gives our body the signal that it’s time to wake up, its continued presence makes sure that we know to keep on going and power through the day. A wide variety of academic investigations has found the same thing. The more natural light that an office space has, the more productive employees and staff become. One workplace study found that an office with no windows resulted in a 6.5% increase in sick days, while another study saw that workplaces with higher amounts of sunlight saw productivity and sales rises of between 5% to 40%.

Resale Value Boost

The aesthetic value of turning a gloomy roof space into a light and airy room should not be overlooked. The more pleasant that your home is, the more valuable it will also become. Of course, adding a skylight is far from the only factor that will dictate the price of the house, but adding value to your property is always a plus. A well maintained, carefully-positioned skylight will definitely make your home a more attractive property.

Property Health

Natural light is not only good for the people living in a building, but it also can be highly beneficial for the structure of the building itself. Many common types of mould, spores, and other unpleasant growths that can settle into walls and under tiles are repelled by natural light. This is why mould is most often found in darker corners, dimly lit areas, and places with little airflow. Any room with a large intake of natural light will probably find its air and walls far cleaner and fresher than a stuffier, darker space.

Fresh Air

The air in our homes can become stale and stagnant if there are not enough ways to let fresh air in. While windows, in general, are great for increased airflow, skylights are particularly useful. A skylight’s position on the upper floors of the property also means that warm air’s natural tendency to rise can be dealt with properly. When the skylight is open, the warmer, more stale air can be carried upwards and outside, allowing a fresh blast of new air to fill the room and circulate.


Aside from saving electricity, there are also heating and general utility cost advantages. The biggest one is radiation heat control. As the glass of the window heats up, physics dictates that the excess heat will radiate either outside or inside, whichever side is cooler. So a colder house will soak up solar energy without any additional panels or complicated wiring, and thanks to the greenhouse effect that is natural to glass, all that extra heat will be kept nice and secure.

Skylights are an excellent addition to any property. They provide healthy natural light, a feeling of space, an airy atmosphere, and a spirit of productive energy.

Alongside the many and varied services we offer, Chris Ball Roofing has supplied and fitted countless roof windows and skylights in properties of all kinds. This wealth of experience-tested knowledge has positioned us as expert roof window installers. Combined with our dedication to honest advice and customer satisfaction, our service is one that puts you first. Whatever your requirements or needs, we are happy to adapt and work around you.

Slate Roof Close Up

Is a Slate Roof Right For You?

The phrase “roof over your head” is evocative for a very good reason. You can have all the possessions you want, but if the roof isn’t there, none of that will matter. So naturally, the question of the best way to roof your house is one that people take their time considering, and choosing which roofing option is best for your home is an important decision.

To help you make the decision that’s right for you, we are going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of one of the most popular roofing materials – slate. As always, there are pros and cons to choosing a slate roof but by the end of this brief guide, you should be fully aware of everything a slate roof brings so that you can make an educated and informed decision.

What is Slate?

Slate is a metamorphic rock that is most commonly found in Spain, Brazil, China, and Australia, although in the UK, there are also slate quarries in North Wales, Cornwall, and Cumbria. It has proven extremely popular as a roofing material throughout history because of its natural water resistance, absorbing less than 0.4% of any water that lands upon it.

Although the majority of the market is still dominated by slate taken from mines, there is an increasingly large number of houses and construction firms switching to a lighter and equally durable alternative in the form of artificial slate. It can be more uniform, more eco-friendly, and overall easier to install than its natural counterpart, so it’s no wonder why more homebuilders see the benefit of this roofing option.

Advantages of Slate Roofing


It is difficult to deny that slate roofing has a style and artistry to it that few other roofing materials can match. The natural patterns that are present in slate rock, made possible thanks to the geological patterns and transformations during its formation, give slate a subtle but unique form and shape. Also, given how long slate has been a part of traditional construction all across Europe and further afield, it carries an undeniable air of history and gravitas.


When it comes to slate roofing, the base unit for measuring the lifespan is not years or even decades. A slate roof can very easily be expected to last between 100 to 200 years, sometimes at a minimum. This is why a centenary warranty on such products is not at all uncommon. This means that slate is exceptionally cheap in the long term and is highly eco-friendly since it will not need replacing or repairing on a regular basis.

Low Maintenance

Because of the exceptional durability of slate, it should not need regular repair when it has been installed expertly. Also, because of its high level of natural water resistance, slate is exceptionally resistant to the advancements of mould, fungus, and other unpleasant biological attackers.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing


Among the many different roofing options out there, slate is one of the heaviest available, often weighing between 8 to 15 lbs per square foot. Because of this, broader architectural allowances will need to be made for new buildings with slate roofing, whereas older buildings where a new slate roof is being fitted will need a thorough inspection.

Difficult to Replace

While slate is highly durable when it comes to the natural elements of wind, rain, and hail, it can be more fragile when humans are part of the equation. Since slate is manufactured in batches, colour matching is often difficult to achieve, although it is much easier with artificial slate.

Complex Installation

Installing a roof that could potentially last several centuries is not going to be a simple affair. Anyone claiming otherwise is most likely going to do a poor job of fitting the slate in place, which could result in long and difficult repair procedures. Slate roofing is a highly specialised and technical discipline, and you need to ensure that you have qualified experts like the team here at Chris Ball Roofing to guarantee a good job.

Whilst this overview has highlighted the major strengths and weaknesses of a slate roof, it’s always good to stay in the know about what’s available. At Chris Ball Roofing, we offer a range of different roofing material options from high performance felt through to clay tiles so that whatever your preference, you can find the right roof for your home.

Be sure to investigate as thoroughly as you can before making a decision on your roof and if in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact our experts today and we happily provide you with honest, bespoke advice for your project.


Signs of an Unhealthy Roof

Your roof is one of the most essential components of your property. It offers additional support for the structure of your home and protects everything you own – and your family – from being exposed to the elements. Without a roof, you’d likely be very damp, cold and uncomfortable, which is why keeping on top of roof repairs is a necessity. In particular, London and city-based properties could be at increased risk due to the higher levels of pollution in cities that you wouldn’t want to enter your home.

Luckily, there a few signs and symptoms you can keep an eye out for which will help to keep the cost of any potential repairs down. However, it’s important to make sure that if you are checking either the inside or outside of your roof, you do so from the ground or floor level, only using a ladder if you are fully competent to do so.


There are a few different sections that make up the exterior of your roof, from the rafters and flashing to the guttering and tiles. Familiarising yourself with these can help you identify any problem sections and explain your findings to your roofing contractor. Keep an eye out for the following signs which could be an indicator that you might need repair work carried out.

Tiles – Carefully scan your roofing tiles and make a note of any cracked, damaged, split or missing tiles. Missing or damaged tiles can lead to leaks in your property and should be replaced as soon as possible.

Guttering – Regularly check your gutters for any broken roof tiles which may have washed down the roof and become lodged in the guttering. You should also ensure guttering is secured as loose gutters could indicate deterioration or damage.

Flashing – Pay attention to flashing around chimneys, vents and joints – this will need replacing if it has been damaged to prevent leaks and moisture getting into your property.

Sagging – Your roof should be sturdy with no signs of sagging. Should you notice dips or damage to the structure of your roof, you should get in contact with your roofing contractor as soon as possible in order to minimise the risk of further damage occurring.


Accessing the interior of your roof may not be possible in every property and it should only be attempted in buildings where it is safe to do so. You should never attempt to reach areas that are unsafe – especially without the proper safety equipment.

If you are able to see or easily access the interior of your roof, look out for the following potential warning signs.

Light Leaks – Check the interior of your roof during the day. If you notice daylight entering through large gaps or holes, you will need to seek roof repair.

Moisture or Mould – If you check your roof and notice small or large pools of water or unexpected moisture, your roof has likely sprung a leak. If you don’t see water but your roof area smells musty and you can see mould, you may also be affected by a leak or moisture coming in from the outside.

Most roofs typically have a lifespan of between 15-20 years so if your roof is getting on in years, it’s probably wise to have a regular “health check-up” by a trusted roofing contractor. A well-maintained roof means a well-protected property!

If you are looking for roof repair in south-east London and require the services of an experienced contractor, please get in touch with the Chris Ball Roofing team today on 020 8291 3388.


Is Your Roof Winter Ready?

The winter season will soon be here, and while the weather is yet to throw the worst towards our homes, make sure you get all your roofing maintenance out the way to prevent the need for roof repairs on your London property when spring arrives. The health of your roof is imperative to the comfort level of your home and family and if your roof is suffering defects or damage, it’s more likely to be letting draughts in, letting expensive heat out and potentially affecting the structural integrity of your property.

Checking the Inside

Where it’s safe to do so, check out the inner portion of your roof during the day and check over all the joints and walls for light leaks. Cover windows to prevent too much light coming into the space, as this makes it easier to find small holes or gaps where light might be peeking through. Finding light leaks in your roof before the worst of the rainy season is vital because the longer that damp and moisture is allowed to work its way into your property, the harder it can be to dry out affected areas. In turn, this can lead to problems with damp, dry rot and wet rot.

If you do find light leaks or gaps in your roof, double check the surrounding woodwork and beams to ensure that damp hasn’t already started to spread throughout your roof space. It’s not always obvious by looking, so where possible and without risk to yourself, try a touch test on surrounding beams to check for moisture.

Should there be any pipes in your roof space, make sure these are sufficiently insulated with lagging. While heat rises, cold snaps can still make your roof space a chilly place and lagging ensures that your pipes are not at risk of freezing. Frozen pipes can rupture and burst, flooding your roof space and causing havoc in your home.

On to the Exterior

If you think of the average family home, you might be forgiven for forgetting the gutters in your mental image – they are so standard to our properties that often they get overlooked during our home maintenance sweep. However, gutters are a necessary component of funnelling water that rains onto your roof away from your property and down a dedicated drain, preventing water from dripping onto external walls or sitting on rooftops with nowhere to go.

Make sure all your gutters have been cleared of autumn debris like leaf litter and mossy patches and check that all fixings are secure to your property. Check that the connection between the downpipe and guttering is secure and watertight and ensure that the downpipe is in the correct place over the drain, which must also be cleared of any debris. Clearing your drain ensures ample drainage, preventing water puddling over paths and potentially becoming a hazard in icy cold weather.

If you are comfortable and can safely do so, get up on a ladder and check the exterior of your roof for loose, missing or damaged roof tiles which can cause problems with leaks and potentially affect the stability of the surrounding tiles. However, if you don’t feel confident, do not do so. Instead, check over your roof from the ground or call in a qualified roofing company to perform a roof health check.

Your roof is all that stands between your cosy home and the wet and cold weather, so it deserves to be looked after. If you are concerned about the stability of your roof over the winter season or need roof repairs for your London property, get in touch with our fully qualified, friendly team on 020 8291 3388 or email us at


How Can High Winds Compromise Your Roof?

We have been treated to months of nice warm weather in London, which has seen thousands of residents basking in the sun during this most unusual British summer. However, as we slowly begin to move away from summer and into autumn, you just know that the wet weather normally associated with Britain is lurking just around the corner.

Rain, hail and storms are not exactly the most pleasant of weathers to walk out in, but we aren’t the only ones who suffer. As roofing specialists in London, we have seen first-hand the damage caused as a result of high winds – and it isn’t pretty.

Exposed Frailties

The wind has a canny knack of finding and exploiting any frailties in the roof. The most common of these is any loose material at the edge of the roof – wind blows below and pushes up the material which, over time, can result in chain peeling. As tiles are disturbed, the insulation underneath can soon become exposed, which is not good news when the rain hits.

The roof becomes susceptible to leaks and other water damage, which can have a catastrophic effect on the home as a whole. This can easily be averted by ensuring that all materials are strong and sturdy, able to withstand the torment of high winds.


It isn’t just the wind itself that can lead to roof damage as debris is often the cause of having to consult a London roofing specialist. It’s not uncommon to find fences blown over and trees damaged due to strong winds, and it isn’t out of the question that such debris can hit or become lodged in your roofing or guttering.

Damage may not be instantly noticeable, so after a bout of strong winds or a storm, it will be worth checking your roof over for any damage. Scratches and cracks can soon deteriorate into more serious issues and cluttered gutters can soon result in costly damages.

As well as an exterior inspection, checking the interior for any sign of water damage is also essential. Any impairment as a result of a leak in the roof can result in moisture in walls and timber, which if left untreated, can soon cause serious structural damage.

Roof Repairs

If your home is in need of roofing repairs, it is important that you turn to a reputable company that can guarantee you a professional job with the desired results. Here at Chris Ball Roofing, we are proud of our status as one of London’s premier roofing specialists, meaning that when you work with us, you will know that no corners will be cut.

We offer a free no obligation quotation where we will clearly outline the work that needs to be carried out along with pricing. For more information, please feel free to send us a message via our contact form today.