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Clay Tiles

Where would we be without clay tiles? Well, there have been many alternatives to clay tiles over the years ranging from natural slate tiles, artificial tiles and even ones made from asbestos for their fire retardant properties. So the question is, why do we keep coming back to clay tiles when there are so many different options available? The simple answer is that they are the best tried and tested product that are robust, natural and have such a long life.

Average lifespan of a clay tile

With the correct care, the average clay tile can last for well over one hundred years. This makes the clay tile one of the longest lasting roofing materials. When you buy your clay tiles from Heritage Clay Tiles Ltd, you are buying into a tradition of excellence that will literally last for longer than your lifetime, making clay tiles a true investment for your property.

Over the years there have been a rather large number of shapes or profiles of clay tiles. These include:

  • Plain clay tiles: Did you know that originally the size of the plain clay tile was defined by statute in 1477 during the reign of Edward IV. These are double lap clay tiles that are now also made from concrete. They are specified generally for their aesthetic properties. The colour were generated through the control of the kiln atmosphere to generate either red, brown or blue tiles depending on the degree of reduction in the kiln. Some clay tiles are still manufactured in this traditional way.
  • Imbrex and tegula clay tiles: These clay tiles were an ancient Roman pattern of curved and flat clay tiles that make rain channels on a roof.
  • Pantile clay tiles: These clay tiles are manufactured with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. An example of this is the double Roman tile, dating from the late 19th century in England. Thes clay tiles are very popular in towns such as Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City for both the main properties and their garden sheds and other outbuildings.
  • Interlocking clay tiles: These clay tiles are quite similar to pantiles with side and top locking to improve protection from water and wind.
  • Flat clay tiles: These clay tiles are probably the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. A good example of this is the clay tile called the beaver tail tile. Flat roof clay tiles are usually made of clay but also may be made of stone, wood, plastic, concrete, or photo voltaic solar cells.
  • Roman clay tiles: These clay tiles are flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end and a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Antefixes These are vertical blocks which terminate the covering clay tiles of a tiled roof.
  • Monk and Nun clay tiles: These clay tiles are also referred to as mission or barrel tiles. They are semi-cylindrical tiles laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. Originally they were made by forming clay around a curved surface, often a log or the makers thigh. Today barrel clay tiles are mass produced from clay, metal, concrete or plastic.

As you can see from the above list, which is not intended to be exhaustive, clay tiles are by far the most popular choice within the building trade and has been for many centuries.

There are other materials available, but none have the aesthetic qualities of clay tiles and all are inferior to clay tiles. They will not look as good, last as long and will be either too expensive to replace or repair, or in the case of asbestos, they will be illegal by todays building regulations because of their associated health and safety implications. Sure they are fire retardant, but when you consider that clay tiles were born from fire, why was their ever a need for them? The joists supporting them would collapse during a fire in exactly the same way as the joists holding up the roof of clay tiles.

Other alternatives to the clay tile such as plastic can become brittle over time and frequently bleach under UV light. We also recognise today that plastic is not an ecologically responsible medium for manufacture as we strive to cut down on plastic products as much as we possibly can. Plastic can often be recycled, but once made, it will effectively be around forever in some form, polluting our oceans and ground water supplies. Plastic does eventually break down, but it never biodegrades.

Concrete tiles are tedious and unattractive to look at, even when mixed with pleasant pigments, they will never have the same look, feel or durability of natural clay tiles either.

Clay tiles are still the number one choice

With such a long and successful history, it is little wonder that clay tiles are still the favoured roofing material around the world. The materials they are made from are easily sourced, subtle differences in the clay composition from different regions can give rise to some wonderful variations and the abundance of colours and tectures available from clay tiles is another massive plus point.

So whenever you want the very finest clay tiles to put the crowning glory to your building project, call Heritage Clay Tiles Ltd for a no nonsense conversation. Our expertise in the building industry is second to none and we are confident that we will be able to supply the builder or DIY enthusiast with the perfect clay tiles that they require for their roofing project.

Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 01634 471 344, email us at sales@heritagetiles.co.uk and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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