Vertical tiling


In roofing terms vertical tiling, also referred to as 'tile hanging' which is the practice of installing roof tiles to vertical walls.

The practice began in Kent, Surrey and Sussex around the end of the 17th Century.  Builders were looking to improve on the inadequate weather protection offered by wattle and daub on first floor walls, particularly in more exposed sites. Bricks would have been the obvious solution, however the timber framed houses of the time could not take the weight imposed by brick cladding on the upper story, so clay plain tiles became the preference.

Clay tile production was on the increase in the UK, which meant that costs had reduced whilst availability had improved.  Around the same time the introduction of the brick tax in 1784 (during the reign of King George III) further fueled the demand for clay tiles as a cladding material.
The brick tax was abolished in 1850, but by that time the practice of vertical tile hanging had spread across the South East and beyond.  Today, vertical tiling can be found across the country where it is regularly used as a means of adding character to buildings, as well as a cost effective method of cladding.  It can also be used to give the roof greater dominance over the walls and offers a variety of detailing possibilities, such as Winchester cutting.
Vertical tilling was originally done using clay plain tiles but since the 1960’s it has also been carried out in concrete plain tiles. Despite the presence of the concrete alternative, vertical tiling is still more commonly performed in clay rather than concrete. This may be down to the fact that vertical tiling means the tiles are closer to the ground and more visible than tiles used on a pitched roof. This would make the richer and more rustic nature of a clay tile a more appreciable benefit. The colour-fast properties of clay would also be more apparent, particularly when used alongside clay bricks that similarly do not lose their colour.
Further information
There is an excellent guide to vertical tiliing, which whilst quite technical, offers expert guidance on some of the more attractive features and details that can be achieved. Please visit the Clay Roof Tile Council for further information.
Maintenance Plan

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