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What are the advantages of modern day clay roof tiles for Kerala homes?


Typically considered to be part of Spanish and Italian architectural styles, clay roof tiles are today one of the most admired roofing materials available, especially for coastal areas such as Kerala. Use of modern day clay roof tiles like Koramic clay roof tiles from Wienerberger (which has been making clay building materials for over a century), is recommended not only for aesthetic splendor but essentially for the practical advantages clay tiles offer over other materials like concrete, rubber and even metal. Whether you wish to have constructed a house in the traditional nalukettu style, or in a modern fashion, clay tiles will not only add to the charm of your house but also reduce your running expenditure on electricity and maintenance as well as your carbon footprint.

For fully appreciating the advantages and unique features of modern day clay tiles like Koramic, it is necessary to understand how these tiles are made and their advantages over the alternatives available today.

The Creation

Clay tiles, as the name suggests, are produced by baking molded clay. Once the basic shape of a tile is molded from raw clay, it is heated in a kiln and the density of the clay tile is determined by the length of time and temperature at which it is heated. Because clay tiles are molded under extreme heat, they are resistant to damage or destruction from fire. Clay tiles are often white, yellow, orange or brown in color. However, they can be colored or styled according to one’s preference by spraying enamel over the tile once it has been colored before baking it in the kiln. The extreme heat of the kiln permanently bonds the color and enamel to the tile, ensuring the color does not peel or fade away over time.

As a result, clay tiles are available in numerous colors and styles to suit the preference of the home owner. That being said, the most popular style of clay tile for roofing is the terra cotta style which is reminiscent of pre-weathered European roof tops.

The Context

Roofing is as critical as any other component that goes into making a house, perhaps even more than most components. Essentially then, what material you use to construct the roof assumes great importance. The decision with regard to roofing material is important and starts at the design stage itself. For villas and houses in Kerala, being a costal state, sloping roofs suit the natural occurrences much more than flat roof tops. Once design has been decided, you need to look at the natural and environmental factors such as propensity to rain, corrosion due to winds from the sea bearing salts as well as temperature zone in which the house is to be built.

Clay tiles are most apt for roofing solutions in coastal areas not only due to their many advantages but also because clay as a substance offers nonpareil versatility. For example, clay tiles for a sloping roof offer excellent water proofing in regions where it rains quite often, it is corrosion resistant and has far superior longevity that other materials.

The Advantages

Modern day clay roof tiles offer great value for money as well as specific advantages over the alternative roofing materials. At a glance, the advantages are: Durability

  • They can be made in different forms and shapes and even color to suit one’s requirements;
  • They require very little to no maintenance at all;
  • In case of damage, for whatever reason, the damaged tile can simple be replaced as opposed to expensive repair work;
  • Clay tiles are water-proof, fire-proof, rust-proof and weather-proof, making it one of the most durable construction material known to man;
  • They don’t weather and their color does not fade away. Koramic roof tiles even offer a 30 year warranty on the color.

Boujniba Longevity

  • Koramic roof tiles won’t rust, fade, warp, disfigure or corrode;
  • Life expectancy of clay tiles is at least a 100 years.

Minimal Environmental Impact

  • The raw materials used to manufacture these tiles are non-toxic naturally occurring clay;
  • The water that runs off a tiled roof is potable and so aids in rain water harvesting;
  • Even the process of manufacture of clay roof tiles has no harmful impact on the environment as there are no harmful effluents, waste by-products or emissions.


  • Clay tiles offer natural insulation thereby reducing the expense on electricity for heating or cooling as the case may be;
  • Due to clay tiles being extremely durable, maintenance costs are range from zero to very little.

Visually Stunning

  • In addition to the utilitarian advantages clay tiles offer, they also look wonderful and have a distinctive European appeal. Due to their longevity and durability, your home will retain its aesthetic appeal for a long period of time. Also, because clay tiles can be made in different shapes and sizes, one does not need to worry about their home looking like one of many clay tiled roofs.

Why Choose Clay Over Concrete?

As we can see, clay offers a basket of advantages both in terms of utility and aesthetics. However, a complete assessment requires comparison with the alternate roofing materials available, most popular of which is concrete.

  • Weight: Concrete is almost 40% heavier than clay, and therefore requires reinforcing structures, impacting the internal living space in a home. In coastal areas like Kerala specially, where wind speeds from the sea is higher, concrete roofs are susceptible to cracks and require extensive structural repairs. Clay roofs on the other hand have no such qualms.
  • Water Resistance: Clay is more water resistant than concrete, i.e. concrete has approximately 13% water absorption, whereas clay has less than half that. This assumes great significance in coastal areas, where due to their greater water absorbing capacity, concrete roofs develop stains and mildew. The absorption will also increase the weight more, which can compromise the roof supporting structure.
  • Color Longevity: As mentioned earlier, due to their propensity to develop stains, concrete roofs have a far lesser life span than clay tiles.
  • Maintenance: Heavier weight, mildew and water damage entails far more maintenance for concrete roofs than those made of clay tiles. Additionally, if clay tiles are glazed, the issues of mildew and water absorption are non-existent, making clay tiles virtually maintenance free.
  • Durability: Concrete tiles last for anywhere between 30-50 years, as compared to clay tiles with a life span of 100 years.

Clay Roof Tiles – A Clear Choice For Kerala Homes

Needless to say, clay roof tiles are the clear choice for Kerala homes. Not only do clay tiles add to the beauty of a home, but its benefits far outnumber and overshadow any other roofing material available today. Additionally, since clay tiles are manufactured in an eco-friendly manner from eco-friendly materials, you can enjoy your new home even more with the knowledge that you consciously reduced your carbon footprint.


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