Choosing Your Roof Pitch: The Changing Styles of Architecture

shingle roofing on outbuilding

Choosing Your Roof Pitch: The Changing Styles of Architecture


Roof pitching has undergone many changes over the years as developments in technology have lifted the constraints of our materials and allowed fashions to evolve. Financial limitations and storage needs have also played a part, leading to a history of roof architecture that is quite literally up and down! So if you’re planning a new build or want to renovate your existing roof, take a look at this overview of some of the most iconic styles of Great Britain to give you some inspiration.

Cottage Style

The British countryside is characterised by its many cute cottages, with tall thatched roofs hanging out over the low ceilings and thick walls. Thatch was one of the first methods of building roofs going as far back as the Bronze Age and was still the main material used in the countryside until the 1800s. The steep pitched roofs of cottages were born out of the constraints of building with thatch as they had to be at least 45 degrees, but preferably 50, to allow the rain to run off properly. From these practical beginnings an aesthetic was born that is now strongly associated with a cottage style property. This style has been continued in the absence of thatch often with windows positioned to add interest to the line of the roof.

Georgian: 1720 to 1820

Georgian architecture refers to buildings across the reign of the first four King Georges, who reigned in succession, and is the dominant architecture style in the beautiful city of Bath. The style is characterised by a simple box shaped building with symmetrical placement of single windows, chimneys and doors, which are sometimes embellished with columned porches.

The roof pitch is shallower than previously used at around 39/40 degrees and incorporates a few different styles. A large proportion of the roofs are side-gabled, where the roof has two sides forming a simple triangle with the front door situated on the rectangular shaped wall. There are also a proportion of gambrel roofs, where there are two pitches to the roof – one visible from the ground which is very steep and then a very shallow pitch towards the centre; and also a proportion of hipped roofs, where there are four sides to the roof instead of two, which all slope down to meet the walls. The roofs of Georgian buildings are also often slightly concealed by a parapet, which is a small wall extending above the wall, which gives the style it’s very rectangular appearance.

Victorian period: 1837 to 1901

The Victorian period is actually home to many different architecture styles including Gothic Revival with embellished trusses, Romanesque Revival with both square and round towers and the Arts and Crafts Movement, which went back to a hand crafted and asymmetric feel. All styles rejected the boxed symmetry of the Georgian style and celebrated a more idiosyncratic approach.

A massive influence on architecture in the Victorian period was the Industrial Revolution which introduced mass production. Ornamental elements for buildings could be produced very cheaply which allowed architects to be influenced by more lavish styles from ancient eras and far-away lands. This in turn led to the Arts and Crafts movement towards the end of the period, where people tried to reinstate the skill of the human hand, such as with woodcarving, stone masonry and thatching. The roofs of a lot of Victorian buildings returned to a steep pitch as it was a period of decoration and embellishment and a prominent roof provided a great opportunity to get creative.

Low-Pitched Roofs

Many buildings of the 20th Century have once again gone back to shallow-pitched roofs, but this has been done less with a concern for style and more for its cost-saving benefits. Low-pitched roofs are less expensive due to the fact that they use less materials and whilst this does put more pressure on the roof as water rolls off less easily, technology has developed to accommodate this more frugal option.

Limitless decisions!

Roof styles have been limited by many things throughout history from the materials available to financial considerations and even our own imaginations! The good news is that today almost anything is possible. Metrotilelow pitch roof tiles can be used on pitches as low as 10 degrees compared to a minimum of 35 degrees for clay tiles and 20 for slate, offering a huge financial benefit. But if you want to go for an elaborate steep roof, we can do that too in a variety of different styles to realistically emulate slate, shingle, pantile and roman tiles, whilst also offering unparalleled weather resistance, security and longevity. This gives you all the benefits of modern technology with traditional style, so the only limitation is your imagination!

Visit our website for more information on our lightweight roof tiles or give us a call for a no obligation quote on01249 658514.