There is little more distinctive in a building than a glowing red roof made from classic clay tiles. The terracotta hue is an iconic feature of Mediterranean towns and villages, and the decorative tile patterns are often what springs to mind when buyers dream of their perfect Spanish casa.
Unfortunately, in the face of modern technology, finding these tiles – and someone that is happy to lay them – is becoming harder and harder. Traditional production methods created a huge variety in tile shapes and sizes, and what may be charming and characterful to homeowners presents a big challenge to roofers. The inconsistencies made tiles difficult to lay, and even the best roofs were susceptible to leaks and tile-slippage.
As a consequence, if your heart is set on an authentic clay tile for the top of your Mediterranean property, you’re going to need a lot of patience and a flexible budget. The good news? If you don’t mind taking a bit of creative license, there are plenty of alternative options on the market.
Let’s start by looking at the traditional Spanish option. Yes, their beautiful and eclectic mixture of colours and patina make every home they adorn truly unique. If you prefer a more cohesive look, some contractors will mix the materials for you on site for a more controlled variation and to prevent patches or bands of colours appearing.
However, the fiddly process of installing these tiles require a certain amount of expertise. There are still reputable Malaga based roofing contractors who will carry out a traditional tile roof, but
If you are desperate for a red roof, but don’t mind what it looks like close-up, concrete (or concrete composite) tiles will probably be your closest match. They can be manufactured into numerous profiles to match the styles of roofing in your local area (or emulate a different traditional style), and offer greater consistency and reliability compared to the conventional production processes.
You may be surprised at how far metal tile technology has come. One option is to retain the classical look of terracotta by choosing an alternative made from treated steel, specifically crafted to imitate hand-cut clay. These won’t be as heavy as their concrete counterparts, but will still produce a convincing Mediterranean aesthetic.
If you’re feeling a little bolder, you should consider copper tiles. The reddish glow when they’re first installed is nothing short of magnificent, and the patina and colours the tiles develop over time (eventually turning a striking blue-green colour) will make it feel like your home is changing as your family does.
We’re not talking about those behemoth black panels that detract from the traditional character of your home, we’re talking about the exceptionally stylish designs from Tesla. If you need any reassurance that you’re doing your bit to save the planet, these glass tiles are a perfect choice. Installed with an integrated battery so that the energy captured during the day can be available at any time, Tesla’s solar roofs are also indistinguishable from conventional tiles – giving you the best of both worlds.
Flat tiles (both textured and smooth) are already available, but the Tuscan and Slate styles will be ready to purchase from 2018.
If you’re building your home from scratch, the options are limitless. Why not ditch traditional tiles altogether, and opt for a more environmentally-friendly “living roof”?
Living roofs, or eco-roofs are designed to foster vegetation, such as native flowers, succulents and grasses. Different from a roof-terrace, they are not necessarily intended to accommodate people on them, but are generally styled so that they can be visually enjoyed from nearby slopes or higher levels of the property. That’s not to say they can’t be incorporated into an accessible terrace – after all, your roof; your rules!
Hopefully these suggestions have given you a little inspiration and insight into the many alternatives available for traditional Spanish tiles. If you’re still not sure what the best style is for your home, maybe use it as an excuse for a Mediterranean jaunt, to get some first-hand ideas? Have fun!
This article was written by Dakota Murphey.
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