Heritage Tiles Ltd :: Article about hand made clay roof tiles

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01708 853 953

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Hand made clay roof tiles

Hand making clay roof tiles

At Heritage Clay Tiles Ltd, we make a range of high quality handmade clay roof tiles. Although some of the process has been automated, we still adhere to the basic rules of hand crafting our clay tiles in a time honoured way.

The process starts in the clay quarry were we source our clay. The excavated clay is then stored in our hoppers for about a year to weather.

Following this weathering process, the clay is taken on for processing. The raw clay is broken down into smaller pieces and water is added to create the correct moisture balance. The clay and water is then pulverised and mixed to an even consistency.

A conveyer belt then transports the clay to the rolling system where the clay is pressed into the requisite sized slabs ready for the next stage of the manufacturing process. The next stage is for the long ribbons of pressed clay to be cut with wire into the requisite sized tiles before going off to the makers.

The hand made process begins on our clay roof tiles

The makers add sand to the tiles to give them their unique colour. Differing levels of manganese oxide in the sand give the different levels of colour desired. Once the sand has been added to the surface of the clay hand made roof tile, the tile is placed into the mould and is pressed and any excess clay is cut off with a wire. Once this has been done, the punch is brought down to create any nibs, holes and our manufacturing identification marks. An impression of the makers hand is left in each and every tile, which is a unique indication that the tile has truly been hand made.

Special shaped hand made clay tiles and fittings

Any special shaped clay tiles and fittings are cut by hand with the use of profiles to achieve the desired shape. The clay piece is then placed over a former to give it its unique shape. The clay is patted and smoothed over the former with a smooth wooden pat like the sort used to shape butter. The newly shaped tiles are placed onto racks to dry for approximately seven to ten days. We expect a shrinkage of around five percent during this time.

The firing process of our hand made clay roof tiles

The tiles carefully checked for defects before they are loaded onto large racks ready to go into a pre-drier. The hand made clay tiles will stay in the pre-drier for about two days or until the moisture content has been reduced to less than one percent.

Once the clay tiles have been pre-dried, they are loaded into the kilns where they are baked for about a week. The tiles will often reach temperatures of around one thousand degrees centigrade. This time and temperature ensures that the tiles will remain very durable and be able to withsatand elements such as frost when they reach their final destination. On average, the hand made clay roof tiles will shrink by at least another seven percent during the firing process.

Once the firing process is done, our skilled craftsmen will inspect each and every one of the hand made tiles to ensure theree are no defects. Any twisted, cracked or warped clay roof tiles will be disguarded so that our customers can be guaranteed that only the finest quality hand made clay roof tiles find their way into our stocking yard ready for dispatch to building sites around the country.

Further information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 01708 853 953, email us at sales@heritagetiles.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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Disclaimer - images used on this website are for illustration purposes only and the end product may vary in colour. Samples are available on request.