The Advantages & Disadvantages of Clay Roof Tiles

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Clay Roof Tiles

If you are deciding between tile types for your roof, it is useful to do some research to determine what material will be best suited to your project.

It is a fact that clay roof tiles are arguably the best material that you can use on your roof, and the majority of homeowners, builders and architects will opt for clay roof tiles over other materials; such as concrete roof tiles for example.

Many Mediterranean countries, as well as the UK, favour clay tiles for their roofs, and they are widely regarded as a stylish and aesthetically pleasing choice, with the most environmentally friendly credentials of any roof tiles.

While there are many advantages to clay roof tiles, such as longevity and easy installation, there are also some disadvantages. Below we discuss both the pros and cons so that our customers can make an informed and appropriate choice.

The advantages of clay roof tiles

Clay, in roofing terms, is a better material compared to others such as concrete, and it offers a better build quality overall as it's stronger and more durable. These factors give clay roof tiles a longer lifespan.

Although no tiles are available on the UK market without meeeting British Standard regulations, clay roof tiles can endure harsher weather for longer than concrete roof tiles - an important consideration in light of changing weather patterns due to climate change.

Machine made roof tiles from About Roofing Supplies

There are broadly 3 types of clay plain tiles: Hand-made; Hand-crafted; Machine-made, as well as clay interlocking roof tiles (which are machine made but in different shapes and sizes)

  • Hand made clay roof tiles: Hand-made tiles are manufactured by hand by an artisan craftsman. With the use of moulds, the tile shape and size will differ slightly which in turn makes every tile unique. (you may also find a handprint of the artisan imprinted on the back of the tiles). The tiles are then decorated with the desired finish, sanded or granules, and then kilned. As the process is carried by hand, the intergrity of the tile is checked and any tile that do meet quality standards are destroyed and remade. Of course this painstaking process comes at a premium price.

Buy Hand Made Clay plain roof tiles

  • Hand crafted clay roof tiles: The Hand crafted tile production process is a mix of the machine made and hand made process. The inital process of manufacturing is carried out ob an auotmated production line, where the tile is shaped and colour accordingly. Before the tiles goes through the final stage of the process (baking in a kiln), the tile is hand finished and individually checked.

Buy Handcrafted clay plain roof tiles

  • Machine made clay roof tiles: The machine made process (as you can probably guess) is carried out completely by machine. At the end of the process, the tiles are quality checked. These tiles are more uniform then the other 2 types and offers a modern, contemporary look without compromising the material used.

Buy Machine Made clay plain roof tiles

Clay tiles have been in production for over 150 years, meaning there are many current and legacy brands and ranges of tiles, as well as a wide selection of colour/finishes from each manufacturer.

Unlike concrete tiles or slates, clay tiles can give your roof character as every clay tile is unique, and they allow you to have a characterful, rustic looking roof and unlike concrete tiles and/or slates, the appearance of clay tiles improves as they age and weather.

The disadvantages of clay roof tiles

For all of its qualities, the clay material is heavier then other materials. This can limit what building or structure type these can be laid on. The last thing anyone needs is their building integrity to be at risk and have to strip and re-lay roof tiles, therefore its wise to double check that the structure of your roof can bear the weight of clay roof tiles.

Clay tiles require a bit more care when fixing compared to their concrete counterparts, especially hand-made and hand-crafted tiles. As these tiles are not uniform, fixing the tiles can sometimes be more challenging, and as a consequence more time and care should be taken, just to make sure they are secured on your roof. 

Clay roof tiles are slightly more expensive than other roof tile materials. However this is a reflection that the material itself is of a better quality and will last longer then concrete tiles, and of the way in which they are manufactured. This is why you would usually see hand-made clay tiles as the most expensive of the three types.

There is no denying that clay tiles will cost more then standard concrete tiles, but they will look more aeshetically pleasing and will offer you all the other benefits, such as a longer service life.

Tudor clay roof tiles available from About Roofing Supplies

Which clay roof tiles are the best?

Customers often ask us if one brand or manufacturer of clay roof tiles is better than any other and the answer is 'no'!

All roof tiles are manufactured to exacting national and international standards and are extensively tested. There are significant differences in the colours, aesthetics and pricing of roof tiles, however in terms of performance none can be considered better than their competitors, and clay roof tiles from Sandtoft, Tudor Roof Tiles, Keymer Heritage roof tiles, Marley and Redland should all be viewed as of equal - excellent - quality.

Pricing & Availability

From reading the above, you should have a clear idea of whether clay roof tiles are right for your roofing project. About Roofing supplies a fantastic selection of top-quality clay roof tiles to our customers.

To discuss pricing and the availability of clay roof tiles, please call us on 01737 763008 or email us here.

Where can I find clay roof tiles near me?

You can view and order clay roof tiles in any of our branches listed below or we can deliver nationwide:

Dorking, Surrey branch

Redhill, Surrey branch

Esher, Surrey branch

East Grinstead, West Sussex branch