Types of clay tile: interlocking, plain, monk tiles and S-shaped. Which ones should you choose?

Some people like the traditional plain tiles, others like the original monk tiles, others like the more modern interlocking tiles. When choosing tiles, however, take into account not only aesthetics, but also the design of the roof, its shape and angle of inclination. We compare various types of tiles. See what to choose when.

Tile installation: correct tile fixing

Monk tile

This is the only type of roof covering which is laid with two types of tiles. They are long and have a trough, tapering shape. The dandelions are laid directly on the battens with the side edges facing upwards and the monks on top of them so that they cover the contact line of two adjacent dandelions. Tiles in successive rows are laid with an overlap of 5 to 8 cm. In the past the monk tiles were laid on mortar, now there are tiles which are fixed to battens with wire or clamps. The installation is facilitated by profiled overlaps on the edges of the tiles. Monk tiles are one of the self-ventilating roofings, so there is no need to leave a ventilation gap underneath. It is the most airtight among ceramic coverings but also the most expensive: due to high wear of tiles and time-consuming labour. It is mainly used for the renovation of historical roofs.

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Plain tile

Next to the monk tiles, it is one of the oldest types of clay roofing tile. The plain tile is a flat and narrow tile. Its lower part, the so-called nosing, has a straight, oval or sharp end. These three basic forms of endings can be found in various variations. The face of a plain tile can be smooth or fluted. Due to its size and shape it is the most “plastic” of all the tiles. It can easily be used to cover windows, called “wolimi okami”, or baskets, without the need for flashing. It is also very suitable for conical roofs. It can be installed in two ways: crowned and scalloped. When covering in crown, two rows of tiles are placed on each lath. The first row is attached directly to the lath, the second row – to the upper edge of the first row. Tiles in particular rows are laid with joints passing each other.

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With the flake roofing, one row of tiles is placed on each batten. Individual rows are laid with joints overlapping. The battens are spaced so far apart that the tiles of the third row overlap the tiles of the first row. In this way there are three layers of tiles at each point of coverage.


Type of clay tile and roof shape

  • Any tile can be chosen for a pitched roof. Thanks to large and regular slope planes there is no significant loss of material. Depending on the style of your house, a monk’s tile or a Romanesque or Rhine interlocking tile will be suitable. Their rich form or arrangement can be the most prestigious element of a simple house.
  • Tiles with traditional cut in black or graphite colouring, e.g. black or anthracite-coloured Marseille pantile, are also a good choice for gable roofs.
  • Hipped roof is a perfect form for a tile – it perfectly showcases the beauty of this covering, there are no problems with matching it to this shape. Most Koramic interlocking tiles are perfect for this type of roofs.
  • Clay tile is an ideal covering for a developed form of a multi-pitch roof. It can bring out the beauty of this shape like no other roofing – plain tiles arranged in a scallop or crown can be used on irregular slopes.

S-shaped tile

This tile’s name (also known as the Dutch-style tile) is connected with its characteristic S-shaped cross-section. It ensures tightness of covering and good water drainage from the roof. The shape of the S-shaped tile also allows for variable coverage lengths. Tolerant catches allow for choosing such spacing of battens and arranging tiles in horizontal strips in order to avoid cutting the elements. Such tiles are called sliding tiles. Tolerance of batten spacing for E-shaped tiles of various manufacturers varies from 2 to 4 cm. They are irreplaceable especially when replacing old roofing. In such cases, the possibility of variable coverage width eliminates the need to puncture old battens and reduces the time and cost of roof repair.

Interlocking tile

Today pantiles are next to plain tiles the most popular ceramic roof covering. A characteristic feature of every interlocking tile are often large, profiled overlaps on the top and side edges. The undersides of the tiles are also profiled. The profiles form locks, which facilitate fitting of the tiles during installation and seal the joints. One of the first types of this tile which gained great popularity is a marseille – a tile with characteristic two grooves. Another most common form of the face of a tile is a wave. There are also interlocking tiles which look like S-shaped tiles, and even monkshaped tiles. Among pantiles there are also sliding pantiles, adapted to different lath spacing.

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