Ceramic Roofs – An alternative roofing material for some

This is a great site and this is just some of the discussion

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/2414_0/alternative-building/alternative-roofs

Posts: 79
November 01, 2009, 12:12:24 AM

Hi

I’d like it if we could talk about other types of alternative roofing, other than living roofs. Living roofs are NOT suitable to a large part of the world, including mine.  What I would like to talk about are ceramic tile roofs.

There are more than one type of ceramic tile roofs. Most people in the US think of the Medeterraininan style of curved tiles. But I would like to find info on the flat roof tiles used in areas of Northern France–type of clay used, installation, roofing bracing/trussing to support the weight (tile roofs are pretty heavy in comparison to most modern roofing materials). And can anyone tell me if a ceramic tile roof like this can be used as part of a rain cachement system?

Why ceramic tile? I’m a ceramic artist, I live in a state where earthernware clay is plentiful, and where a living roof would curl up and die, then become a fire hazard.

Leigh

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Joel Hollingsworth
Posts: 1724

zone 10: Oakland, CA

November 01, 2009, 03:06:29 AM

I am actually most familiar with the California style of tejas. And of course, there are also some amazing styles from Asia.

I think a ceramic roof is probably the best sort of roof for a rain collection system.  As long as none of your glazes are particularly toxic, it will work great.

It sounds like ceramic is perfect for you, but I suspect that purslane or a similar plant (spreading succulent) might work as a green roof in most hot, dry climates.

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Leah Sattler
Administrator
Posts: 2603

oklahoma

November 01, 2009, 07:44:49 AM

ceramic seems like a great alternative. around here it would probably succumb to hailstorms though. somewhere I thought I read that there needs to be extra reinforcement of the structure to support the increased weight load.
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bdswagger
Posts: 79
November 01, 2009, 05:39:21 PM

I’m in Oklahoma too.

Succulants wont work hetre, because we do get rain, in buckets, but only at certain times of the year–spring being the main rainy season, with fall a secondary rainy season. They would drown out. The problem in the rest of the year, when you get no precep at all from the end of May until mid-September. Lots of humidity but no rain. As well as high winds, and grass fires.

Sure, you use food-safe glazes on the tiles, same as if you’er making functional pottery.

Hail could be a problem, breaking tiles, but hail is a problem with just about any kind of roofing material. If your using highfire tiles, rather than earthernware, they might hold up better. I’m thinking about the mideaval church in Northern France that has a ceramic flat tile roof that is over 300 years old, surely that has been through more than a few severe storms, besides all the wars.

This piece of crap is screwing up and not working right. Every time I type a letter in, it bounces around so I dont know if its working or not.

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bdswagger
Posts: 79
November 01, 2009, 05:46:45 PM

Okay, lets try this again. Apparently, the program doesn’t want to post very many lines per post. &%@#* if I know why.

Okay, yeah, the roof would need extra bracing, thats one of the things its vertually impossible to find out about. Anything to do with ceramic tile roofs, period, is impossible to learn about. Its like the alternative building community has a real blind spot where roofs are concerned. The only acceptable roof is a living roof, and I for one think that is a really short-sighted attitude. Concidering that there are numerous types of ceramic tile roofs around the world, in vernaculare archetecture, we really need to take a more serious look at this kind of roofing.
Leigh

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paul wheaton
Administrator
Posts: 5662

missoula, montana

November 06, 2009, 12:38:00 PM

bdswagger, please take a look at this thread:  http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/2199_0/tinkering-with-this-site/problems-typing-stuff-in
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tc20852
Posts: 24
November 20, 2009, 06:44:19 PM

Its Great to have an artist thinking about this. You could have all sorts of fun designing new types of roofing tile.

Where I grew up all the houses used red clay “pantile”. This tile has a S-shaped cross section, in effect each tile curls up over its neighbor to shelter the joint from weather. I am sure there are lots of alternative shapes that would still function. Have you thought about making different shaped tiles that could work together on the same structure?? you could get all sorts of new textures designed into the roof. Umm…this has got me thinking.

You might have something well worth patenting.

The main thing to think about, as far as the structure goes, is weight. A tile roof is far more heavier than the asphalt shingle you see in USA. Not only does the roof timbers have to be stronger, the walls also have to withstand the extra compression *and* the force tending to push the walls outwards.

Hence you find houses in the UK will have tile roofs and brick or stone walls. Stick built can still be found, but only for chickens! really!

I noticed in Japan that tile was used a lot, but they quite often used a glaze as well. Often a dark blue. Don’t really know why. Some of the older structures were very impressive. Massive pole barn type of construction with curving, overhanging rooves.

Keep us informed on your progress….and give us some pictures!

Thomas

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Joel Hollingsworth
Posts: 1724

zone 10: Oakland, CA

November 23, 2009, 02:22:01 PM

Not only does the roof timbers have to be stronger, the walls also have to withstand the extra compression *and* the force tending to push the walls outwards.

Have you ever seen Gaudí’s model of the Sagrada Familia?  It’s an amazing case of art as engineering.

The model is upside down, built of thin cords and bags of shot.  The bags of shot are filled to proportionally represent the weights of the various structural members and sheathing materials, and since the cords all follow lines of tension, the angles in the model naturally tend to those that keep all members of the finished building in compression.

It’s the sort of thing a computer model would be used for today, but I really like the elegance of the old-fashioned way.

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Go there to add your voice to the discussion. More tomorrow.

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