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Modern Roofing Materials vs Traditional Roofs
ELC Roofing Group > News > Modern roofing > Modern Roofing Materials vs Traditional Roofs
ELC Roofing Team Repairing a Slate and Tile Roof

The Advantages of Modern Roofing Materials Over Traditional Roofs

As is much the same with any industry, methods and installation processes can change and improve over time. 

Roofing applications and materials have gradually evolved over time to be more contemporary.

Whist certain traditional practices have remained the same, there is a a trend of homeowners trading traditional roofing materials like concrete or slate for modern alternatives like zinc.

Other types of roofs like felt roofs, green roofs and solar roofs have also all grown in popularity across the UK and there are various reasons as to why.

From cost-effective solutions to reducing your carbon footprint, it’s not difficult to ascertain why homeowners are choosing more modern materials, shapes and structures.

Single Ply Flat Roof - Wickham Bishops

Types of roofs

One of the benefits of modern roofing coverings are all the different kind of shapes, forms and pitches you can create with them.

What makes them so popular in current times are the wonderful architectural designs you can achieve.

For example, with modern materials, you can create everything from flat roofs to double pitched roofs.

Modern roofs and materials:

  • Flat roofs
  • Zinc roofs
  • Copper roofs
  • Aluminium roofs
  • Single-ply
  • Green roofs

Traditional roofs

  • Concrete
  • Clay
  • Lead
  • Slate
  • Tile

Zinc 13, ELC Roofing, Sudbury, Ipswich, Saffron Walden

Comparing modern materials to traditional ones

So, what are the main differences?


Whilst felt roofing is more cost-effective, it is not as durable as new roofing solutions like zinc roofs, for example, which can last more than 100 years.

Materials like felt, slate and tiles quite often require maintenance or even a full-blown replacement in less than a decade.

However, there are traditional roofing materials like lead, which can also be expected to remain strong for 100 years.

When looking at a material for a new roof, opting for quality over cost will hold more advantages for the homeowner.

For example, materials like zinc are self-healing and require little to no maintenance. Whereas lead is also resilient to corrosion, weather and radiation.

So here, there are traditional materials that can compete with modern ones, however, it will boil down to cost and quality.

Restoration Work 24, ELC Roofing, Sudbury, Ipswich, Saffron Walden


It goes without saying that modern roofing covers can be more expensive in comparison to traditional materials.

But it can also be argued that they hold their value due to the advantages that they bring.

For example, certain modern materials like zinc can increase your home’s property value as well as reduce repair and maintenance costs.

There are other benefits homeowners can expect, for example solar tiles over clay tiles have the potential to recoup costs elsewhere.

However, this will be totally dependable on the amount of regular sunlight your home receives.

Garden roofs can be more expensive because they will require more maintenance as you essentially have a garden on your roof, but introducing a garden roof with a flat roof can be more manageable and more cost-effective.

At the end of the day, costs will depend entirely on the size of your roof, what you wish to achieve with the project and the materials you opt for.

In our professional opinion, there are some traditional products which work really well, however, we see many more benefits from modern materials just because they eliminate the need for repairs.

Lead Work 11, ELC Roofing, Sudbury, Ipswich, Saffron Walden

Combining traditional and modern

However, some homeowners like to mix traditional architecture with contemporary materials, which makes for a unique look as they often sit beautifully alongside each other.

So whatever your vision, the options for your roof are endless. Have something particular in mind? We work with architects, designers and have been established for over a decade.

ELC works on all roofing projects, big, small, traditional or modern. Whatever your wishes, we can help make it happen.

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