Roofing Tiles And Their Types

Roofing tiles are an elegant roofing option that has stood the test of times and survived almost in tact in design and form just as it was used by our forefathers. It speaks volumes about endurance of certain designs and innovations. Like the wheel this is one of most important inventions of man that has helped man keep the vagaries of nature at bay. It was fashioned out of locally available materials like abundantly available clay and fired in kilns to make them strong and long-lasting. Even today, at most archaeological digs fragments of tiles are commonly found in various parts of the world.

Today, the roofing tiles industry has evolved and branched out but at the core it retains the same design as the original tiles manufactured thousands of years ago. They are made using a variety of materials not just clay. Concrete, clay, plastic are a few of the materials used. Roof tiles in a variety of shapes and sizes, colors and finishes, designs and textures are made available to discerning customers.

Even though it make seem like there are numerous choices a closer look will reveal the fact that roofing tiles design has evolved from basically the four original roof types that has come to us down the ages. They have withstood all that nature, time and man has thrown at it and come out successfully. Here are the four roof types that you will encounter:

Plain Tiles – Clay tiles, these are the rectangular pieces made from clay with a smooth or sanded surface.

Slate Tiles – These are stone tiles that are quarried from mines and cut in to rectangular thin sections. They can be cut to varying sizes, shapes and thickness as required.

Pantiles – Are clay tiles which have distinctive ‘S’ shaped profile.

Roman Tiles – These are similar to pantiles but have flat cross-section with a small roll.

The above designs have become standardized over the last 50 years and most of newer slates or tiles fall into the above 4 categories. Today’s products are designed keeping mind the need for better performance at lower costs. So, as the modern manufacturing methods emerged makers of tiles moved from traditional materials like clay and moved to alternative materials like concrete which helped make economical plain tiles for the mass market. In the next step the manufactureres used the basic pantile design to come with the double unit concrete tiles. The newer designs are faster and easier to install.

Slate tiles, also a time-tested roofing option. As all things natural it is expensive. The cost of quarrying and fashioning them into desirable sizes is costly and so is the cost of installation. So, alternative materials like concrete and fibre cement were used to make tiles similar to slate but which were much lighter in weight and cheaper to install. Original slate is heavy, thick and difficult to install. There are alternatives to slate in clay too. So, over time a number of options to replace expensive naturally available materials have come up.

The advantage of natural products is that they retain their color and characteristics for their life-time and more, where as the man-made products start fading and losing their artificial induced natural characteristics as time passes. That is one distinctive disadvantage of man-made products. But, the cost savings more than offset for it.

One of the key constraints that manufacturers face is the need to stick to old design of the roofing tiles. They can’t stray from old too far as the people are looking for traditional and local styles to replace their old roofs. That is the reason why makers have to retain most  older elements and add newer design aspects to improve the products efficiency and ease of use.

The consumers of today are a spoilt lot. Stores are filled with dozens of choices both in natural and man-made materials to satisfy the whims and fancies of even the ficklest of customers. Innovation and modern technology have driven the costs down, made the products more efficient, durable, are fire safe, impact resistant, algae and fungus resistant are functional and simpler and easier to install.

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