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ROOFING MATERIALSA roof is made up of several successive elements, from the inside to the outside: the frame, the insulating elements, the screen under roof, the ventilation and the roof space, the roof, the evacuation of water and the openings.

Roofing materials are of various types, and are today more and more advanced, to meet all expectations in terms of performance, aesthetics, and budget.

Roofing materials: what is the cover for?

The roof is the top layer of the roof. She is in direct contact with the outside elements. It is, therefore, the first bulwark protecting the house from aggression such as rain, sun, snow, wind, hail, cold, heat … The choice of roofing materials is therefore paramount.

The cover must combine several qualities to protect the house and the other elements forming the roof :

  • Wind resistant (the roofing material must not come off and fly away under the effect of wind).
  • Ability to support a person’s weight on an ad hoc basis, for maintenance and repair.
  • Resistant to shocks (hail, branches and other debris carried by the wind, a passage of small animals …).

The cover: the aesthetic touch

The blanket is seen from the outside. In addition to its protective qualities, it contributes to the aesthetics of the outside of the house. We will focus its choice of cover material according to the desired rendering, according to several criteria:

  • the form ;
  • the material;
  • the color.

Indeed, the ranges of roofing materials have been expanded, thanks in particular to the technical progress made in this field, which today makes it possible, for example, to color concrete tiles with pigments.

Good to know: the exterior aesthetics of the house is governed by local regulations. Check the standards in this matter with the town hall.

The different roofing materials

Roofing materials have evolved significantly over time. Today, there is a wide range, from the most traditional and traditional to the most advanced.

Whether you are looking for a traditional style, an original aesthetic, a regional architecture, energy performance or ecological qualities, there are some of all expectations.

Here are the different roofing materials :


Material type Description Advantages disadvantages
Terracotta tile
  • Clay earth tile, flat or in the shape of a half-cylinder (channel tile), or interlocking.
  • Material most used in France for the cover.
  • Resistant to frost.
  • Solid.
  • Durable (about 50 years old).
  • Rot.
  • Washable.
  • Ecological (constructed of natural materials).
  • Available in several shapes and colors.
  • Adapts to the regional architectural style.
  • Resist badly to shocks.
  • Heavy material (between 50 and 90 g / m²).
  • The price: it takes between 12 and 100 tiles per m² depending on the type of tile.
  • Natural stone of black hue, even bluish.
  • Cover, natural color or cement.
  • More used in the regions of Anjou and Brittany, rich in slate shale.
  • Very resistant.
  • Very good longevity of 75 to 150 years).
  • Aesthetic.
  • No foam.
  • Combustible.
  • Keep its color with time.
  • May rust (presence of iron inside).
  • Some slates are friable.
  • High price.
Zinc Type of metal used for roofing, usually in the form of leaves.
  • Metal easy to work.
  • Aesthetic (bluish reflections).
  • Resistant.
  • Waterproof.
  • No foam.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Lightweight.
  • Good longevity: between 30 and 100 years, depending on the environment (sulfur pollution causes its degradation).
  • Request a great technique and experience at installation.
  • Tendency to tarnish over time.
Concrete roof tile Tile created from a mortar and surface treated.
  • Less expensive than the classic tile.
  • Maybe colored thanks to the addition of pigments.
  • Not very durable: fading under the action of UV and rain.
  • Unattractive
Shingle Semi-rigid plate formed:

  • a fiberglass frame;
  • then a bituminous coating;
  • and finally a surface protection.
  • Second most used roofing material in the world after the tile.
  • Several aesthetics available.
  • Adapts to all types of roofing.
  • Raincoat.
  • Fire resistant.
  • Alter with age.
  • Low durability.
Photovoltaic roof tile Tile equipped with a system for transforming solar energy into electricity.
  • Replaces bulky solar panels.
  • Integrates aesthetically in the roof.
  • Allows you to save energy.
  • Ecological.
  • Possibility of receiving financial aid.
  • High purchase cost.
  • Variable energy production depending on the season.
  • Unattractive, although more and more discreet.
thatch Natural and vegetal material, usually reed stalk for cover.
  • Charm.
  • Classical and old architecture.
  • Natural and ecological.
  • Sound and thermal insulation.
  • Good durability (about 50 years).
  • Regular maintenance: every 3 years.
  • The thickness decreases after 25 years.
  • High cost.
  • Requires a steep roof (at least 35 °).
  • Few specialized roofers (thatch houses).
  • Plant material (heather) from the Landes forest.
  • Picked up and braided manually.
  • Regional aesthetics, looks like stubble.
  • Resistant to insects and fungi.
  • Used only regionally.
  • High cost.
Stone Tile made of natural stone.
  • Regional and classic aesthetics.
  • Resistant to fungi and mildew.
  • High cost.
  • Heavy.
  • Cover technique tending to disappear.
  • The renovation is no longer subsidized.
  • No longer used in new construction.
Corrugated sheet Steel roofing material, in the form of corrugated sheets.
  • Resistant.
  • Available in several colors.
  • Lower cost.
  • Good durability (between 10 and 30 years).
  • Bad thermal capacities.
  • Bad insulation to noise.
  • Unattractive
Wood Tile or shingle of solid wood, manufactured semi-industrially or by hand by sawing or splitting wood.
  • Aesthetic.
  • Thermal and sound insulation.
  • Insect resistant.
  • Good durability (between 30 and 120 years depending on the species used).
  • Frequent maintenance (anti-UV treatment).
  • Maintenance according to the essence used.
  • Gray with time.
  • Implementation difficult.
  • Few specialized manufacturers and roofers .
vegetated Cover composed of several layers, the last being a thin vegetation.
  • Aesthetic.
  • Natural.
  • Ecological.
  • No or little maintenance.
  • Thermal insulator.
  • Can be improved by installing an automatic watering system.
  • Only on a low pitched roof (up to 35 °).
  • Roof thicker because of the superposition of several layers.
  • Cost.


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