Tiled roofs are beautiful. Tiles are interlocking plates, made out of various materials. Traditionally, most roofing tiles were made from slate, fired clay or terracotta. They can be seen on traditional buildings that are a few thousand years old, in China for example. Clay tiles are strong, durable and do not easily break. The difference between clay and terracotta is that terracotta is a clay-based ceramic whereas clay is just that- clay.
Clay or terracotta tiles come in many shapes and sizes. After being formed in their mould they are then burned to become hard and keep their shape. They are usually laid to overlap on the roof to ensure weather tightness. Special fixing hooks are applied to a varying number of tiles to secure them onto the roof structure.
Advantages of clay tiles:
Made from natural material without chemicals
Clay tiles do not rot, rust and are safe against insects
Clay tiles can be pulverised and reused
Clay tiles do not warp
Disadvantages of clay tiles:
Weight: clay tiles are heavy and potentially require a stronger roof structure
Clay tiles should be installed by professionals to ensure they are installed properly
Tiles are made from various materials, not just slate, clay and terracotta. They can also be made from concrete, asphalt or fibreglass to name a few. Most alternative tile materials were developed due to the higher price of clay tiles. While we do in its current form not support fibreglass, concrete or bitumen tiles (they would have to be made out of recycled materials), an interesting new technology is emerging. One of our particular interests of tile roofing products is the Solar roof tile.
Solar roof tiles are an interesting, relatively new development on the roofing market. The premise is that many people would like solar cells on their roof, however do not like the look of them and do therefore not have any solar cells. In the solar roof tile the solar panel is integrated into the tiles, creating electricity. The solar roof also prevents potential water leaks that the fixing into the roof of solar photovoltaic cells could cause.
We are watching this space with interest.
( Photo: Tesla Powerwall 2.0 and Rooftop solar tiles )