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2Tiles roofs have been around for centuries. They were invented over 12,000 years ago halfway around the world, and throughout history they have slowly made their way west through Greek and Roman civilizations until finally reaching America in the 1500s. They are especially associated with warmer climates and are often found on top of Southwestern homes because of their “adobe look” and their ability to withstand hot temperatures while still protecting your home’s structure. Although they are typically connected to a Spanish-style atmosphere, clay roofs can actually be found anywhere in the nation due to modern innovations that make them durable in any climate.

Durability
Since these tiles are constructed from fired clay, they can be fairly fragile. Unlike traditional wooden shingles, they can crack and fracture if they are not maintained properly. Many of these tiles cannot withstand heavy weights, such as falling tree branches, so they will need to be inspected often by the homeowner, especially after big storms. And since they are delicate, you can’t just walk up on the roof and look around since your weight may cause additional damage. The best way to inspect for damaged tiles is from the ground-level with binoculars.

Though they do come with certain limitations, clay roofs are actually stronger than you may think. With the exception of direct contact incidents, they have a very long life expectancy. Due to the firing process, clay roofing actually is fortified against the elements. Their color never fades in the sun or rain. They reflect solar heat, which makes your home cooler in the summer, plus they save on energy costs.

They are wind-resistant because of their sturdy, aerodynamic installation and design. Since they are already heated to a certain degree in their creation, they are also fire-resistant. And though they are porous, they don’t retain any more water than traditional shingles. Plus, if you live in particularly wet areas (near the ocean or in wintry climates) many clay roofs can be made especially resistant against the thaw-freeze cycles or the salt-air of your region.

Different Style
When you think of clay roofing tiles, the image that immediately comes to mind is interlocking pieces of terra cotta on the top of somebody’s house. Though this is often a frequent design, there are actually many different options when it comes to the look of your roof:

Pan: These tiles are half-rounded, and at first glance look like tiny, clay planters that have been cut in half. Actually, these tiles are S-shaped and are arranged in a face-up, face-down pattern, creating a rippled affect to your roof.
Flat: Closely resembling traditional shingles, these clay tiles lay flat and overlap each other, making for a conventional design with a unique ceramic twist.
Glaze: They don’t have to just be “clay-colored.” Terracotta is not the only shade available because of newer glazing techniques which can make the tiles any color you want. This glazing also creates a seal to the clay, creating additional protection against absorption.

A Couple of Tips
Though clay roofing tiles are very adaptable in terms of protection and style, there are some things you will need to do in order to take care of these specialty shingles. Like any roofing, when you detect a broken, cracked, or loose tile, make sure to quickly replace it. It is recommended that you allow a professional to take care of these matters since these tiles require specific care. Make sure you hire a roofing contractor who specializes in clay tiles and knows how to replace, repair, and install these particular “shingles” for optimum protection and beauty.

Also, when shopping for this type of roofing, make sure you keep an eye out for “black coring.” Clay has to be fired all the way through to ensure structural integrity. So if you find a dealer trying to sell you products that are blackened in the middle, it means that these tiles are literally “half-baked” and may not be structurally sound. Make sure you shop around first to compare prices, find quality materials, and locate certified professionals. Once you have made the right choices, a properly installed clay roof will not only look beautiful and protect your home, it will also dramatically increase your overall property value.

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