Terra cotta roof tiles are made from clay that has been fired in a kiln and are known for their characteristic red-brown color. These tiles can be ordered in different shades of red, although the color will change over time as the tiles weather naturally. Sometimes known as Mexican or Spanish roof tiles, they are often used on homes and villas in mild climates. Terra cotta roof tiles come in many shapes and sizes, each creating a different visual effect on the roof of a home.
Plain terra cotta tiles tend to be square or rectangular tiles with dimensions of 10.4 inches by 6.5 inches. The straight lines created by using these plain, flat tiles are visible from the ground. While other types of terra cotta tiles are often seen in Mediterranean style buildings, plain terra cotta tiles are emblematic of a traditional British style, as well. These tiles are either factory-produced or hand-made, the latter chosen for aesthetic reasons since the tiles look more rustic.
Terra cotta peg tiles look the same as plain terra cotta tiles. The difference is that peg tiles have small holes to help roofers lay the tiles. Plain terra cotta tiles are used when a whole roof is being tiled or re-tiled, whereas terra cotta peg tiles are chosen for renovation projects or when only a few tiles need replacing. The peg holes allow roofers to slot the tiles into the space without disrupting the existing tiles. Once these tiles are in place, they blend in with the other terra cotta tiles.
Ornamental terra cotta tiles have some detail at the bottom of each tile which changes the finish and the appearance of the roof. The tiles all have straight edges on both sides and at the top. There are two main variations of ornamental terra cotta tile – those with a point at the bottom and those with a rounded curve. Diamond and point tiles have a point at the bottom, while club and bull nose tiles have a rounded, semi-circle edge.
Cambered terra cotta tiles can be single- or double-camber. Cambered tiles are arched before they are fired in the kiln. Single-camber tiles have one arch, while double-camber tiles have two smaller arches. The arches effectively create a rise and fall in the tiles like waves and give the effect of an undulating roof surface. This effect is more pronounced with double-camber tiles.
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