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ROOF DESIGN
Pitched Roofs
In spite of changing fashions, the pitched roof remains the most popular roof shape for domestic and public buildings simply because it is the most efficient at shedding water.

Also, the overlapping roof tile and double-lap slate are the most popular coverings because they are durable, inexpensive, easy to lay and widely available. Moreover, their simple rectangular shape, easily cut, and a wide variety of colours and textures allow it to be used on a vast range of roof shapes and designs with confidence, flair and economy.

Design criteria
The design of a pitched roof is dictated initially by the shape of the building, the span between the structural elements and the use to be made of the space enclosed by the roof. Although traditional roof construction, in which rafters and purlins are cut and fitted on site, has largely been superseded by the use of pre-formed trusses, the current move towards using the roof space for accommodation has prompted developments in attic truss design, requiring a lightweight roofing material, for which fibre cement slates are so suitable.

After structure and function have been taken into account, the design of the roof may be modified by other considerations, such as weathering and aesthetics.

The easiest roof to design and construct, especially if pre-formed trusses are to be used, is the gable-to-gable shape. Because of the simplicity of this design, interest is often created by the addition of gable parapets, dormers, projections to the plan shape, or special features in the slating. Both the appearance and the weathering of the roof can be improved by the use of hipped ends in place of gables, but these require a more complex and costly structural frame, and also more elaborate detailing.

Types of roof
The pitched roof covered with tiles or slates offers the designer a vast choice of roof shapes. Whatever the shape and finish of the accommodation below, it is the design and detailing of the roof that probably has the greatest influence on the appearance and effect of the building as a whole.
Some examples of the variety of roof shape available are shown below, but many more combinations are possible.

Various roof shapes

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