Roofing materials in North Norfolk are as varied as the walls. They have an equivalent impact on the character of a scheme, and so appropriate selection of roof coverings is vital.

Clay Pantiles

Red clay pantiles are the most common roofing material within the District. The roofscape of are towns and villages are distinctive for the red/orangey hue of the pantile. They were first used in local building in the 18th century. A pitch of between 35° and 45° is normal, but steeper pantiled roofs can be found where they have replaced thatch. The profile of pantiles varies, from single roll (so-called 'Roman' pantiles) to corrugated types. Pantiles remain the most appropriate roofing material where they can be obtained in colours and profiles to match the local palette. Bright orange pantiles are not usually appropriate, as they tend to look too vivid. Heavy, large concrete alternatives will not normally be acceptable, as they do not offer a subtle enough profile.

It should be noted that pantiles do not provide a suitable weather proof covering for pitches below 30 degrees. Contact the Building Control Team at NNDC for further guidance.


Widely used in medieval period with steeply pitched roofs (50° or over). Once widespread, thatch roofs are now quite rare and restricted to the east of the District. New thatched buildings are encouraged along with appropriate detailing, but it is important that the reed or long straw tradition continues in those parts of the district where it is most at risk, due to its contribution to the distinctive character of those areas.

To minimise the risk of fire spread there are limitations on the use of thatch in relation to site boundaries and attached properties. Contact the Building Control Team at NNDC for further guidance.


Slate is also seen throughout the District but less common and usually within more urban environments. Natural slate became the foremost roofing material in the 19th century, usually sourced from Welsh quarries. Laid at pitches as low as 25°, slate was often used in conjunction with the deeper plans of urban terraces. Colour, size and texture are important considerations. Imported natural materials should match the bluish grey colouring of Welsh slate where possible. Thick, slate coloured concrete interlocking tiles are not suitable alternatives to natural slate and some fibre cement 'slates' can look flimsy and have reflective un-weathered appearance. Reconstituted slates that closely resemble natural slate in composition and appearance may form an appropriate alternative to imported natural slate.

Plain tiles and Peg tiles

Plain clay tiles, known as 'peg' tiles in their early form, relatively few examples of this roofing material remain.

Last Reviewed: Monday, February 4, 2019

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