Beautiful and generally durable terra cotta clay tiles have historically provided a long-lasting roofing system that resists fire, rot, impact, and wind damage. They are also eco-friendly.
Terracotta roofing tiles were traditionally made from locally sourced clay molded into a tile shape and fired in an oven or kiln. The firing process turned the clay into a slightly porous, though waterproof material used to protect homes from wind, rain, and other elements. Clay terracotta tiles are generally made in two different shapes: rounded pan-shaped tiles or flat tiles. Builders mostly used rounded tiles in areas with frequent rain. The rounded tiles were placed in an overlapping fashion to stop rainwater from leaking through the roof. Flat terracotta tiles were also overlapped, though they tended to be used more in drier areas.
Clay terracotta tiles are incredibly durable. When properly installed, they can easily last for 100 years or more. The only maintenance required is periodic cleaning with a pressure washer to remove any moss or other debris accumulated over time. Some clay tiles come sealed with a polyurethane coating to increase moisture resistance and avoid organic material buildup. Also, terracotta tiles are an excellent option for homes located in coastal areas where salty air can damage metal and asphalt shingle roofs. Their excessive weight can withstand hurricane-strength winds. The kiln-fired clay is practically immune to the constant battering of sea spray.Download PDF