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Standing the test of time


Richard Bishop of Wienerberger looks at how roof tile innovation is emulating classic design using modern materials to enable self- builders to find the ideal option for their project


I


t’s no secret that slate and clay have dominated roofing trends through the ages – they’re natural materials that can stand


the test of time and offer an aesthetically pleasing finish. So what can those looking to develop an


iconic build – be it utilising slate or opting for a clay pantile – do to ensure their roofing design compliments the architecture, without inflating material costs and labour overheads? Thanks to pioneering innovations and substantial invest- ment in product development, architects and self-builders now have a wealth of products to choose from that not only offer the same aes- thetic quality as traditional materials such as slate, but are also easier to install, and much more cost efficient. Clay tiles with a riven surface and dressed


edges can offer an authentic, natural slate appearance. Take for example Rivius, a tile made from natural alluvial clay with a tough ceramic finish, which has the look of slate, is natural like slate and yet can be installed for half the price. These types of tiles can give that pre- mium finish often associated with slate and com- bine it with the range of benefits that come with using clay. In short, they can achieve the aes- thetic of a classic construction, without having to compromise on cost. But it’s not just these tiles that lead the way


when it comes to innovating traditional roofing. Plain tiles have been a part of our heritage and roofscape for hundreds of years, going as far as their size being set in law by King Edward IV in 1477. An Act of Parliament set plain tile dimensions at 10.5 inches long by 6.5 inches wide, and this is still the standard today. Apart from subtle variations such as single and double camber, the plain tile has remained unchanged for centuries. There have been many modern updates on


the traditional plain tile. In introducing ‘new gen- eration’ product ranges, manufacturers are able to offer roof tiles that give the look of a tradi- tional clay roof while using innovative technol- ogy to modernise and improve roof tile perform- ance – such as using interlocking mechanisms. This means that both high quality and beautifully designed roof tiles can be specified exactly to suit individual projects. Today, roof tiles have the versatility to comple-


ment very creative and versatile building designs. Through a wide selection of profiles and colours, across a portfolio of materials from clay and slate


42 selfbuilder & homemaker www.sbhonline.co.uk


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Self-builders have access to tiles in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and finishes, adding character to any home


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to concrete, self-builders have access to tiles in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and finishes, adding character to any home. However, roofing is about so much more than


just tile performance or how durable or water- proof it is. From an aesthetic perspective, there’s so much choice today when it comes to the extra details. Feature tiles or finials – a touch of class from the past – can create a distinctive quality finish for both modern and traditional


roofs. For period and/or listed buildings, a her- itage approach is essential, but such features are often used to good effect on contemporary projects too. Ensuring a considered aesthetic fin- ish to your roof is guaranteed to increase the


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