How Roof Slates and Tiles Are Made

Find out more about how your roof materials are made

Your tiles or slates on your roof didn’t just magic out of thin air; they had to be created. It’s easy to take everything around us for granted, so enlighten yourself and find out more about how your roof materials are made!

So What are Roof Tiles?

Tiles are a durable and inexpensive option and tend to either be made of clay or concrete.

Clay Tiles

A recyclable natural resource, clay is first quarried from the land. It’s then taken to the production unit, where it prepared by grinding and milling it. This ensures all the particles are the same size and consistency.

Sand, water or recycled materials are then added to the raw clay, and mixed well. The resulting mixed clay is then shaped, either through extrusion or pressed through singular moulds. Some factories use unique moulds, ensuring their designs are recognised nationwide.

Clay tiles can also be glazed, coloured or have a surface texture added. Different moulds are used for ridges, hips and gable ends.

Drying and Firing Tiles

The drying stage comes next, which consists of stacking the wet tiles on pallets and transporting them to the drier. Depending how wet they are when they go in the drier, they stay there for between four and 48 hours. The aim is to reduce the moisture content to below 2%.

The tiles are then placed in the kiln for firing at temperatures of 1000℃ or above. It’s this last stage that gives the tiles durability, fire-resistance and strength. They then undergo a vigorous quality check before then being packed for dispatch.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles are made in a similar way, but the basic mix consists of cement, sand, fly ash, other aggregates and water. Concrete can be made to emulate a variety of materials and designs. Old concrete tiles can be ground down and added into the mixture as well They tend to be made with three main profiles – flat (no curves), low, (small curves), or high (larger curves).

Slate TIles

Slate tiles have been used for hundreds of years, and start life in the quarry as a fine-grained metamorphic rock. The sheets of slate are mined in their raw state, then a split gun is used to split the sheets. Each sheet has to be inspected for cracks and faults, as only perfect sltae is good enough to be used.

Cutting Tiles

It’s then placed on the cutting table, where it is cut into strips. Water is used to cool the diamond cutting blades, while also clearing the slate of debris. A stone splitter is used to split the slate into thinner sections if required.

The thickness for the slate has to be constant so it is placed through a gauging machine and shaved to the perfect thickness for the slates. The strips are then cut into uniform blocks that form the final slate. Before being finished, small holes are drilled at the top for peg and nail fixings. They can also be custom made to order.

Price Tag

Because of the mining and manufacturing process, slate does come with a higher price tag, but there is no doubt that it is a quality and aesthetically pleasing product that will grace any property. It is also highly durable and lasts more than a lifetime.

So next time you look up at your roof, think about the process that has happened to protect you from the elements – it will make you appreciate your roof even more!

If you need some advice, or to arrange a free, no obligation site visit please get in touch with our expert team today.

Posted on 30 August 2017 in Roof Maintenance, Roof Cleaning, Roofing, News and tagged roofing, flat roof, repair, maintenance, roof maintenance, roofing maintenance, guttering.
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