clay tile roof

How Clay Tiles Are Made

Clay roofing tiles are renowned for their beauty, durability, and longevity. They have been around for centuries and used on some of the world’s most famous buildings. This history speaks to their appeal – clay tiles are timeless and look terrific no matter the age of the building.

In recent years, clay tile roofs have enjoyed increasing popularity among homeowners. Many are attracted to the craftsmanship of clay tiles and appreciate that they are a natural product procured from the earth.

In this article, we will discuss how clay tiles are made. We want to show you why clay tiles are a premium product worthy of protecting your home.

How clay tiles are made

Selecting the clay

Selecting the right clay is paramount when preparing clay tiles. Clay is often sourced from quarries with the right mineral content. After it is mined, the clay is sent to a manufacturing facility, where it is checked for quality and purity.

Cleaning the clay

After inspection, the clay must be thoroughly cleaned. The tiles must have a uniform texture and be free of impurities to look and perform their best. Because clay is a natural product taken from the earth, rocks, sticks, and other debris must be removed before the mixing process can begin.

Mixing the clay

Pliable clay is created by mixing mined minerals with water at precise ratios. If the ratio of minerals to water is not correct, the clay can become too wet or dry and must be discarded.

Once the correct mix is created, the clay must be kneaded. Kneading the clay removes air pockets and ensures a uniform density and texture. This process can be performed manually or with the help of industrial equipment.

Shaping the clay

Next, the bulk clay must be shaped into roof tiles. Shaping can be accomplished by hand, extrusion, or pressing.

Traditionally, clay tiles were shaped with wood or metal molds. This labor-intensive process is still used today for specialty or custom tiles. Extrusion is a manufacturing process that produces long clay slabs that are later cut into uniform tiles. Pressing involves the use of hydraulic presses to pack the clay into molds.

Drying the clay

Drying is a critical part of the tile-making process that involves removing excess moisture. Each tile must dry uniformly to avoid abnormalities such as cracks or warping.

Tiles are air-dried or placed in drying chambers where temperature and humidity are regulated. Typically, the drying process takes several days to complete.

Firing the clay

Firing involves placing the tiles in kilns heated to over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This process changes the composition of the clay, making it highly durable and water-resistant. Minor adjustments during firing can change the color and finish of the resulting tiles.

CMR is your clay tile expert

CMR has been installing gorgeous tile roofs for decades. Our roofers have experience working with all styles of clay tiles and can help you find the perfect fit for your home. Contact us today to start planning the tile roof of your dreams.