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How to Make Clay Roof Tiles

Updated March 23, 2017

Clay has long been used as a building material. Roof tiles have been made out of clay for years, partly because they can be easily made. When clay tiles have been properly made and hardened, they are waterproof and light and can be painted to any desired colour. Clay roof tiles are an excellent alternative to slate or concrete tiles for anyone who enjoys do-it-yourself projects.

Determine how many tiles you will need and how big you want them to be. A good rule of thumb for clay roof tiles is 6-by-10 inch rectangles. Given those dimensions, calculate how many tiles you will need, adding 5 to 10 to account for breakage.

Purchase white clay. It can be purchased from art supply stores or online (see Resources).

Wedge your clay. This is the process by which you slam the clay down on a hard, flat surface in order to knock air bubbles out of it.

Make your tiles. Roll out the clay so it forms a flat slab that is about a 1/4 inch thick. Then, cut out your tiles. Make sure to add an extra 1/4 inch in all directions when making your tiles, because the drying process will cause them to shrink some.

Bake the tiles in the sun or in a kiln depending on the type of clay you have purchased. With clay that can harden at lower temperatures, leaving them in the sun for 2 to 3 weeks will sufficiently harden them. Otherwise, you can put them in a kiln, which is a special hot pottery oven that will bake and harden them in a few days.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay
  • Trowel or rolling pin
  • Dry area in the sun or a kiln
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About the Author

Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.