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3 Reasons to Reuse Old Clay Roof Tiles


Terracotta tiles are the oldest type of material used in building houses even before the time of Christ. These ceramic tiles can last a lifetime if made of high quality and make a good insulator of heat. Thus, it is not surprising to prevent wasting these tiles and instead, make the most out of them in home renovations, which are prone to poor insulation problems, by reusing or recycling them.

An old dilapidated house in Petaling Jaya, Selango, Malaysia was made of so many intact terracotta tiles that it was called Clay Roof House. It was subjected to renovation under DrTan Lm Architect (DTLM), one of Malaysia’s top architectural design firms.

The Clay Roof House faces west, suggesting that it gathers scorching heat from the sun in the mornings and afternoons. This encouraged DTLM to redesign the old house such that its insulation is improved using its own terracotta tiles.


Cost-saving, High-quality Heat Gain Reduction

“The roof tiles were carefully removed, stored, and reused,” describes DTLM of how the project was accomplished. To protect the house from scorching solar heat, the terracotta tiles were made into a basic brise soleil (French for sun-breaker), which is an architectural structure that deflects light, resulting to a reduction in heat gain and glare within a building.

Aside from brise soleil, the tiles were also used to make a latticework, another architectural feature that reduces heat gain by allowing airflow. It is characterized by a crisscrossed pattern, forming a grid or weave.

Since the terracotta tiles comprising the house were of very high quality, they are expected to last a lifetime, making them a good candidate for reusing in the renovated version of the house, and ultimately, allowing saving materials costs.


Can Be Made Into an Operable Feature, Allowing Passage of Light and Air   


“Vertical steel rods were designed to hold the clay tiles whilst allowing free movement to swivel and turn. This reduces the solar gain through the house’s fenestration of windows and glass doors…” explains DMTL on how they have made the terracotta basic brise soleil operable.

Being operable means that the terracotta brise soleil can be opened or closed to allow and control the entrance of prevailing breeze and sunlight in the house.


















Creates a Beautiful Lighting Effect

According to DMTL, the operable terracotta brise soleil also “lends a soft tremulous lighting effect when viewed with internal lights switched on at night from the outside. In the sun, the terracotta glows a warm orange.”

This lighting effect compliments well with the exposed bricks, concrete, and wood of the renovated Clay Roof House’s interior.


[via Jetson Green and New Atlas]

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