When Alan Swift saw the Rosemary Clay Craftsman Victorian tile from Redland his first thought was: “I’ve got a job for that tile. The colour’s perfect.” And that job was an upmarket detached house with four double bedrooms in Wigmore, near Gillingham, that Swift Roofing, Alan’s company, was building together with its sister company, Heritage Designer Homes (HDH).
For 12 years HDH have been developing infill sites in the area and building aspirational homes that are distinctive and yet fit into the overall character of the surrounding area. “We try not to make our houses look too modern – we don’t do a standard build as we are always looking for that ‘wow’ factor,” explains Alan, who would otherwise have used reclaimed hand-made clay tiles.
These, he says, create their own challenges: mixing and matching up to four slightly different coloured tiles to make the roof a feature and adapting mismatched fittings to the job in hand.
“With a new tile you get the right fittings to match and a uniform colour, so it’s easier to sort out. You also get a guarantee, which you don’t get with a second-hand tile, and you have the peace of mind of fitting something you know is new and has never been used before,” Alan says. “In fact I said I wanted the tile before I’d even asked the price.”
The project in Wigmore was particularly sensitive, he explains, because it was in a valley so the roof was very visible from many angles and so was even more of a key feature in its appearance and appeal.
“The key point to choosing the tile was that we wanted it to look stunning – and we think we got the effect right.” Plainly so: the house was sold on the same day it went on the market.
The Victorian is the third tile in the Rosemary Clay Craftsman range offered by Redland – the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of pitched roof systems – and has a darker and grittier texture than either of the other two tiles. All three tiles in the range – Victorian, Hawkhurst and Albury – have a weathered look and give traditional roofs a greater depth of texture and character.
The tiles are versatile and can be laid on a variety of roof configurations, as there is a full range of compatible fittings and accessories.
Designed to combine the look and feel of an aged handmade tile with 21st century performance, the Rosemary Clay Craftsman range has textured surfaces, irregular distortions to the front edge and varying hanging lengths. Yet, unlike a reclaimed tile, the Rosemary Clay Craftsman has been rigorously tested by Redland’s engineers in the Group’s wind tunnel and subjected to driving winds and high rains. These show that the tiles meet all the requirements of BS 5534: 2014 Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling – providing Redland fixing recommendations are followed. Visit www.redland.co.uk/craftsman for more details.
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