Watch how handmade clay plain roof tiles are made and see history in the making at https://www.marleyeternit.co.uk/handmade
Marley Eternit clay plain tiles are built upon heritage and expertise spanning over 150 years. Market leaders for clay plain roof tiles, Marley Eternit produces the widest and most diverse range of clay plain tiles in the UK. Marley Eternit manufactures handmade clay plain tiles from locally sourced Etruria Marl, generally considered to be the finest clay for both strength and durability.
The process begins in the clay pit where the clay formed over 120 million years ago is excavated from nearby quarries. The natural clay is delivered to site, crushed and conveyed to the clay preparation area where the clay is broken down by high speed rollers to remove any impurities. The refined clay is then extruded under pressure to form a ribbon of clay which is cut into rectangular tile sized pieces of clay called batts. The clay batts, which are still in their green or unfired status, are then taken to the handmakers.
Canterbury handmade clay plain tiles are manufactured by a team of skilled handmakers using a specially designed wooden or steel mould.The other essential ingredients include the raw clay itself and a variety of selected sands to achieve the desired colours and textures.
The manufacturing process starts with the handmaker sprinkling some sand into the bottom of the mould to help give the tiles their individual colour and sanded texture. He places a clay batt into the centre of the mould and ‘knocks’ the raw clay by handusing a wooden mallet to achieve the desired shape and thickness. The excess clay is wired off and any discarded clay is recycled back into the process. A punch create the nail holes and nibs, andalso stamps the back of the tile with the identification mark and the batch number.
Finally,the handmaker removes any clay from the nail holes before placing the tiles on a metal drying tray. The tiles are transported to the drying chambers where they are dried for up to 36 hours to slowly remove any moisture. The tiles are then sent for firing in tunnel kilns for approximately 12 hours, the temperature of the kiln reaches up to 1135 degrees celsius, which ensures the are highly durable and frost resistant. The firing process, combined with the natural colour of the clay and the different sands, gives the tiles their distinctive colours.
After firing, the tiles are transported to the sorting bays where they are checked for quality in size, shape and colour and loaded onto wooden crates. The handmade tiles are then shrink wrapped and ready to be shipped to customers to be used on roofs throughout the UK and all over the world.
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