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The Ultimate Roofing Showroom

Clay Roof Tile Showrooms

 Clay Roof Tiles

Beauty, Elegance,  Durability, Fire Safety, Long Life, Peace of Mind, Clay Tiles are an  important  design contribution to the texture and definition of the roof on your new home, re-roof, or project. fax:    604-585-9911 phone:604-585-9955
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See also.... tile editorials

The special advantage of using clay roof tiles is the authenticity and the historical longevity and time proven track record.

Nothing matches the classic look of real clay tiles. Concrete Roof Tiles are only pretending to look like clay tiles, but often can't match the natural colour blends and style of clay tile roofs.

Concrete tile has only been in use in the last century, with high production of this type of tile beginning in about the 1930's. Some of the concrete tile being manufactured in the local region has only survived about 25 to 30 years before requiring replacement. The main reason is that concrete tiles were often produced with only a slurry paint coating, that once worn off left behind a porous materials that broke down quickly in freeze-thaw prone areas such as ours. Although much of the concrete roof tile produced today is a through-colour mix with no paint or slurry coating, and should last longer, it still appears that concrete roof tiles in our rainy area shows much more erosion on the top surface than good quality clay tiles are experiencing. This means that a concrete roof tile will have much more of a decaying, algae-ed, mossed-up roof appearance than clay tiles in our region. This may not affect the serviceable life of the concrete according to concrete tile manufacturers, but an eroding surface can't be good in the long run, and certainly will look very historical and antiqued in a short period of time.

Clay roof tiles come in many forms, and from many areas of the world. They have been produced for a millennium ( centuries and centuries ) and certainly have proven themselves. But not all clay tiles are the same. Some regions of the world produce clay that is too porous, and therefore not freeze-thaw resistant, and not resistant to water permeability. Therefore it is important in our area to select your clay tile carefully. For instance clay tile made in the South-Eastern Europe and Slovakian regions is very porous and needs to be avoided. It works for shade protection in Greece, but will not last long in our area.

However, we have added European Clay Tile products that are exceptional in quality, and have the ultimate in proven performance in similar climate to what we experience. Our TFC Clay tile line is the true statement of quality in roofing for your home. It is elegant, refined, and has centuries of proven performance in severe weather climates like ours.

The TFC Clay tile series, although made in Europe and shipped in on a per roof basis, is actually more affordable than people think. Where people are paying $3.50 to $5.25 per square foot for synthetic look-alike roofing tiles, you can actually have the real deal European Clay tiles delivered (by container) to our facility on the westcoast at a selling price of between $2.75 to 3.75 per square foot. Why not use the real is time proven, they are lighter than concrete roof tile, and they are "permanent" roofing. They fade very little, its like putting dinner ware up on your roof they look so nice after seasons and seasons of performance and weather extremes.

We have selected other clay tile manufacturers as our suppliers, due to their quality materials and proven longevity. These include Gladding McBean, US TILE ( their Pro-Shake Plus series which is extreme weather safe and recommended),  as well as M.C.A. Clay Tile (Marahachi Ceramics of America). They made in Southern California and Japan when and "if" their products are available (MCA has been hard to get tiles from for the last couple of years).

Clay tiles come in number of different styles. Our European tiles include flat tiles that simulate slate both thinner looking, as well as the traditional thicker butt appearance.

A few of the other clay styles include ...

Pro Shake Plus lightweight Clay shake tiles

Slate Structured


Mediterranean Tiles

Spanish Tiles

French Country Tiles

Straight Barrel Mission (two piece) the original

Corona Tapered Mission (two piece), Natural and Flashed Colours;

"One Piece "S" Mission" in Natural, Flashed, and Glazed finishes;

Turret Tile (two piece) for curved roofs in Natural, Flashed, and Glazed finishes;

Oriental Style in Natural Red and Glazed Colours;

One can order the available profiles in Natural Red for simplicity and cost savings. More often the Natural Red colour is "Flashed". Flashing materials used for full surface and center flashed tiles are natural oxides applied before the firing process, fusing it to the tile and making it a permanent colour.

Clay tiles are fired at approximately 1900 degrees permanently creating a fade resistant durable tile. Custom colours can be produced as well, if the multitude of standard colours is not enough to entertain your creative palette. Blended colours are created by using two to four different stock colours of tile. Natural Red is a base colour used on most blends with the exception of a few tile blends. For an individual interplay of colours, custom blends are also available.

The enormous colour selection and range of styles enable you to have greater flexibility to create anything from the most traditional to contemporary roof designs. Because of the clay industry's  automated production processes, a quality tile is available at a competitive price. There is no reason to settle for a substitute when you can have a roof tile that is both beautiful and affordable.

The durability of grade 1 Clay tile are designed to stand up against even the harshest elements: including earthquakes, heavy rain, strong wind, fire, and freeze-thaw conditions. TFC Clay series, the US Tile Pro-Shake Plus,  and the Gladding McBean tiles are Grade 1 conforming to ASTM C1167 industry standards. The minimum slope is 3/12 pitch and up. Virtually impervious to fire, these tiles are rated Class "A" ASTM E108 Test (UL790) Approved.

The least expensive clay tile is the "One Piece "S" Mission" roof tile (there is a limitation as to who can produce this profile using grade one clay at this time). Having only 75 pieces per square, this tile is a tremendous labour saving product. The applicator does not have to strap the roof. Rather the roof is first solid sheeted by the builder, then the roofer comes along and lays in his underlayment or self adhered membrane, along with the hip, ridge, and gable boards, prior to directly attaching the tiles through the roof underlayment / membrane. Chalk the the lines on the underlayment, add sheet metal flashing where required, and start laying tiles. The builder saves on both 1x4's and 1x2's.

It is best if the roofer is the last tradesman on the roof, and the main tiles are not layed-in until after the stuccoers, bricklayers, and siding trades are done making their mess. Simply install the roof to wall junction flashings ahead of the tile installation, load the roof tile to pre-load the structure for weight, and let the properly installed underlayments and flashings keep your structure dry until you are ready to lay the tiles. If the local inspectors allow it, the builder should be able to keep all the other trades proceeding with their work inside and outside, prior to the final laying and mortaring of the tiles.

The more authentic "Two Piece" tiles including Corona Tapered Mission, Straight Barrel Mission, and Turret Tile will require additional lumber for the roofer to prepare the roof for tile installation. The labour is greater, the installation will take longer, but the finished roof-scape is well worth the trouble. The above lay in instructions apply, except that 2x4 lumber has to installed over the underlayment system on about 12" centres so that the upper barrel top tile has a fastening substrate. I recommend that this lumber be pressure treated or covered in with roofing membrane.

For great cross venting of these cavities, we also suggest instead using a "TrimLine" tile batten (corrugated breathable non-rotting plastic) as the base for each barrel top support which would then be a toe-nailed 2x3 instead of 2x4 lumber. The advantage is the extra roof deck venting, breathability, and decay resistant base on roofs in our west-coast rainy climate.

The two piece tiles are elegant tiles worthy of any architects roof design, especially for Tuscany, Mediterranean, Florida, South-West, and Californian themes. For extra historical look, the applicator can add additional texture by randomly "boosting" tiles. These boosters are created in 10%, 20% or up to 30% of the tile top barrel units by adding mortar below some of the tiles, or mortaring in an extra top cap in certain positions. The mortar is often standard raw concrete grey but can also be coloured to match or coordinate with the tile.

An alternative to cement mortar on tile roofs is Flexim, a synthetic polymer that is ready to install in pre-made coordinating colours, It lasts better, it sticks better, but it does cost more in material. It should however save in labour costs, and avoids the heavy messy job of mortaring in the caps after the tiles are  installed.

Another alternative to mortar of the hips and ridges, which is necessary to weather-block many details of the roof, especially the hips and ridges, is membranes made from SBS rubber, or butyl that we call ridge sealing tapes. An example of this is TRA Ridge Seal.

Most roofers use standard eave closure birdstops to prevent bird and insect nests growing out of the voids of this high profile tile. Many birdstop eave closures also provide breathable venting, and moisture release.


Whenever Clay Tile is being specified, it can be expected to be more expensive than concrete roof tiles as an installed system. But over time this investment will pay off in spades as clay tile is a far more durable material than concrete.

If one is comparing Spanish look high profile concrete roof tiles installed, with Mediterranean Clay tiles installed, the difference in the installed cost is not as great. Flat concrete roof tiles are certainly cheaper installed than higher profile tiles as the detailing is easier, but the design is no where as dramatic with flat tiles.

If you want a roof that looks almost as good in 15 years as when you first are installing it, especially in the Pacific Northwest and BC regions, then Clay is the product to go with. Concrete roof tiles will show lots of erosion on the surface of the tiles after ten or fifteen years laid on the roof in our rainy areas. Plus this eroded surface becomes a great place to foster the growth of algae and moss on the roof surface.

With concrete expect fading, surface weathering and degradation, as well as green algae growth and later moss growth. With concrete the durability one expects from the product generally doesn't match the reality, especially in rainy regions.

But with Grade One clay tiles you can expect very little fading, very little surface degradation, and the long term durability one was expecting from their roofing tiles should match the expectation.



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