Plain Tile Roofs

Plain Tile Roofs

Welsh slate and clay plain tiles were used on London roofs in the early 20th century. Roofers are very reluctant to reuse old slate. In fact, this is the case no matter how well-preserved it is. However, plain tile roofs are another matter.

Why are we wary to reuse the client’s original slate? It is difficult to remove without splitting. Furthermore, the slate requires an extra two holes punched into the surface. This then leads to the existing holes consequently being too large. Hence, there is a very small chance of knowing the exact amount of recoverable material available. As a matter of fact, any matching second-hand ones bought from a salvage yard tend to be mediocre and very over-priced.

As mentioned, clay plain tile roofs are a very different matter. Namely, many of the tiles are not nailed into position. Instead, they are hung by lugs from the roof batons. Therefore, no damage occurs in their removal.

Plain Tile Roofs – Practicality

Plain Tile Roofs

In addition, clay plain tiles remain suitable for other reasons. For instance, an experienced eye establishes the percentage of recoverable tiles. How? They put a ladder on the property’s guttering and inspect the roof flanks from below. Ultimately, this is because the roofer is looking for frost damage. For the most part, damaged tiles delaminate from the bottom. This results from margins underneath the tiles becoming wet. During winter when rain cascades down the roof, it fans out and spreads 2-3 centimetres. This occurs when it reaches the bottom edge.

The top surface may dry off although the underside remains wet. Over the decades, hard frosts attack the moistened surface. Poor clay quality or inadequate tire firing causes ice to push off the material’s face. As a result, this exposes its delicate centre. Once this happens, the tile is compromised and rapidly disintegrates from the bottom up. Although the tiles may appear intact, a closer inspection allows an estimation of quality and recoverable material to be achieved. Frost damaged tiles appear as a fragile, delaminated shell.

However, we encourage clients to reuse plain clay tiles where possible. The beautiful colours and shapes are largely undamaged. Additionally, these are not seen in the dull, mundane tiles available today.

Clean with a caustic solution and wire brush. Therefore, the plain tile roof looks good as new. Good quality, machine-made details such as Rosemary or Acme are readily available. These are found in most roofing or architectural salvage yards at a reasonable price. A roofer has little difficulty finding replacement tiles after frost damage. That is if he is prepared to go the extra mile. Doing so achieves a roof of character.

For more information, call The Roofing Crew on 07973 429 945.

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