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  • Writer's pictureHarry Aloysius

Discover the Timeless Elegance of Clay Roof Tiles in Kerala

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Step into the enchanting world of Kerala, where tradition and beauty intertwine to create a mesmerising landscape. Nestled amidst the lush greenery and picturesque backwaters lies a hidden gem - the timeless elegance of clay roof tiles. These exquisite treasures, crafted by skilled artisans, have stood the test of time and continue to grace the rooftops of Kerala's traditional homes. From the vibrant red hues that add a touch of warmth to the earthy tones that blend seamlessly with the surroundings, clay roof tiles have become synonymous with the architectural beauty of this region. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic appeal of homes, but they also offer remarkable durability and protection against the elements. Join us on a journey to discover the allure of clay roof tiles in Kerala, where tradition meets elegance and nature embraces artistry.

The History and Tradition of Clay Roof Tiles in Kerala

Clay roof tiles have a rich history in Kerala, dating back centuries. This traditional roofing material has been used in the region for its durability, thermal insulation, and aesthetic appeal. The art of crafting clay roof tiles has been passed down through generations, with skilled artisans using age-old techniques to shape and fire the clay to perfection. The clay used for these tiles is sourced locally, ensuring a connection to the land and a sustainable approach to construction. The unique shapes and designs of the tiles are a reflection of Kerala's cultural heritage, with intricate patterns and motifs adorning the rooftops of traditional homes. These tiles not only protect from the elements but also tell a story of craftsmanship and tradition.

Advantages of Clay Roof Tiles

Clay roof tiles offer a multitude of advantages that make them a popular choice among homeowners in Kerala. Firstly, clay is a natural material that is abundant in the region, making it an Eco-friendly choice for roofing. The thermal properties of clay help to regulate the temperature inside the house, keeping it cool during hot summers and warm during chilly winters. Clay roof tiles are also highly durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain and strong winds. Unlike other roofing materials, clay tiles are resistant to fire, pests, and rot, ensuring longevity and peace of mind for homeowners. Additionally, clay roof tiles require minimal maintenance, making them a cost-effective and hassle-free option.

Different Types of Clay Roof Tiles Available in Kerala

Kerala offers a wide range of clay roof tiles, each with its own unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal. The most common type of clay roof tile in Kerala is the traditional Mangalore tile, known for its distinctive S-shaped design. These tiles are made by hand and fired in traditional kilns, resulting in a rustic and charming look. Another popular option is the flat clay tile, which offers a more modern and streamlined appearance. These tiles are typically larger in size and provide a sleek and contemporary look to the roof. In addition to these traditional options, Kerala also offers a variety of customised clay roof tiles, allowing homeowners to add their own personal touch to their roof.

The Process of Manufacturing Clay Roof Tiles

The process of manufacturing clay roof tiles is a labor-intensive and meticulous one. It starts with the sourcing of high-quality clay, which is then mixed with water and other natural additives to create a workable clay mixture. This mixture is then shaped into tiles using molds or by hand. The tiles are left to dry naturally for a period of time, allowing them to harden. Once dry, the tiles are fired in kilns at high temperatures to ensure durability and strength. This firing process also gives the tiles their characteristic color and finish. After firing, the tiles are ready to be installed on the roof, completing the transformation of a house into a beautiful work of art.

Installing Clay Roof Tiles - Tips and Considerations

Installing clay roof tiles requires careful planning and expertise to ensure a long-lasting and secure roof. It is recommended to hire professional roofers who have experience working with clay tiles. The first step in the installation process is to prepare the roof by removing any existing roofing materials and ensuring a clean and solid surface. The tiles are then laid out in a staggered pattern, starting from the bottom and working upwards. Each tile is secured in place using nails or clips, ensuring a tight fit and proper alignment. Proper underpayment and flashing are also essential to prevent leaks and water damage. It is important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines and consult with professionals to ensure a successful installation.

Maintenance and Care for Clay Roof Tiles

Clay roof tiles are known for their durability and low maintenance requirements. However, regular maintenance is still necessary to keep them in optimal condition. It is recommended to inspect the roof tiles at least once a year for any signs of damage or wear. Any debris or moss should be removed gently to prevent damage to the tiles. If any tiles are cracked or broken, they should be replaced immediately to avoid further damage. It is also important to keep the gutters clean and free from debris to ensure proper drainage and prevent water damage. With proper care and maintenance, clay roof tiles can last for decades, providing beauty and protection to your home.

The Aesthetic Appeal of Clay Roof Tiles in Kerala Architecture

The use of clay roof tiles in Kerala architecture adds a touch of timeless elegance to the landscape. The vibrant red hues of the tiles create a striking contrast against the lush greenery and blue backwaters, adding warmth and character to the surroundings. The intricate designs and patterns on the tiles reflect Kerala's rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship. Whether it's a traditional home or a modern villa, clay roof tiles blend seamlessly with the architectural style of Kerala, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal. The natural and earthy tones of the tiles create a sense of harmony with nature, making them a perfect choice for those seeking a connection to the environment.

Case Studies Showcasing Beautiful Clay Roof Tile Designs in Kerala

To truly appreciate the beauty and versatility of clay roof tiles in Kerala, let's take a look at some case studies showcasing stunning designs. In one case, a traditional Kerala-style home features a combination of Mangalore tiles and flat clay tiles, creating a unique and eye-catching roof design. The S-shaped Mangalore tiles are used on the main roof, while the flat clay tiles are used on the verandas and other architectural elements. This combination adds depth and visual interest to the roof, showcasing the versatility of clay tiles. In another case, a modern villa embraces the simplicity and elegance of flat clay tiles, creating a sleek and contemporary look. The clean lines and smooth finish of the tiles complement the minimalist design of the villa, creating a harmonious balance between tradition and modernity. These case studies demonstrate the endless possibilities and creative potential of clay roof tiles in Kerala architecture.

Where to Buy Clay Roof Tiles in Kerala

If you're captivated by the timeless elegance of clay roof tiles and wish to incorporate them into your own home, there are several places in Kerala where you can buy these exquisite treasures. Local tile manufacturers and suppliers offer a wide range of clay roof tiles, allowing you to choose the style, color, and design that best suits your needs. It is recommended to visit their showrooms or websites to explore the options available and get expert advice on selecting the right tiles for your roof. Some well-known places to buy clay roof tiles in Kerala include Thrissur, Kannur, and Thiruvananthapuram. Additionally, online platforms and e-commerce websites also offer a convenient way to browse and purchase clay roof tiles from the comfort of your home.


In the enchanting world of Kerala, the timeless elegance of clay roof tiles continues to captivate homeowners and architects alike. From its rich history and tradition to its remarkable durability and aesthetic appeal, clay roof tiles have become an integral part of Kerala's architectural beauty. Whether you're looking to restore a traditional home or create a modern masterpiece, clay roof tiles offer a wide range of options to suit your style and taste. The allure of clay roof tiles lies not only in their visual beauty but also in their ability to connect us to the land and embrace the artistry of skilled artisans. So, step into the timeless elegance of clay roof tiles and discover the magic they bring to Kerala's architectural landscape.

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