Clay Roof Tiles

Although clay roof tiles are often associated with the Mediterranean (Mediterranean roof tile is among the most popular), it is likely that the concept of tile shingles made from kiln-fired clay and ceramic actually originated in the region that is now Pakistan some five to six thousand years ago. It is also possible that the ancient Egyptians also developed shingle tiles. Today, clay roof tiles are found on structures all over the planet, and represent one of the most durable kinds of roofing materials available.

Although the Romans originated very little during their heyday two thousand years ago, they were able to refine the ideas of others and disseminate them throughout Europe; ultimately, Mediterranean roof tile found its way to the New World. Today’s Mission roof tiles, commonly found on Mission-style homes in Southern California, are strongly influenced by the Spanish type of clay roof tiles which are direct descendants of the old Roman kind. Clay roofing materials are coveted for their attractiveness as well as their extreme durability.

How To Make Tile Shingles

Although these roofing tiles require many of the same materials and methods that go into the production of fine pottery, making them totally by hand is not an option; specific molds are required. The reason for this is that shingle tiles must be uniform in order to “lock together” during installation. It is also important to have proper grooves, or channels, in order to make certain that water does not pool on the roof.

During the process of pouring the clay into molds, the manufacturer may add different pigments in order to create various colors. In some cases, these tiles may purposely be given a weathered, aged appearance.

When the tiles have dried and become solid, they are taken from their molds and placed in a kiln, where they are exposed to extremely high temperatures. This causes them to become extremely hard. After the firing process, the finished tiles are sprayed with a sealer or specialty glazing that enable them to stand up to the weather for decades.

Be Aware

If you are thinking about using Mediterranean roof tile on your luxury home, keep in mind that clay roof tiles may not be suitable for all types of home construction or climates. These tiles may not hold up to freezing water, which may cause them to crack unless they have been specially treated to stand up to very low temperatures. In addition, clay roof tiles are substantially heavier than composite shingles; it is important that your home’s structure is designed to carry the load.

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