Boral terracotta shingle roof tiles were specified by the architect to transform an old sandstone cottage in the Sydney foreshore suburb of Hunter’s Hill from its original, nearly derelict state into a stunning home.

Practically abandoned for 15 years, the cottage featured a heavily deteriorated shingle cedar roof, exposed sarking and damaged timber beam supports; internally it needed a new ceiling, walls, bathroom, kitchen and doors.

Architect Sam Tadros of Manor House Design Australia Pty Ltd sought to retain the historic design value of the home, given the fact that such homes were rare and not built anymore with this level of detail and character. He was focused on maintaining the design scheme of the external perimeter and existing structural elements, most importantly the sandstone walls.

Tadros observed that the roof was the most important and largest architectural feature of this design; since the home was in a sunken position when viewed from the road, the exposed roof scape was one of the first features that one would notice when approaching the house.

After going through a number of roofing options including slate, ceramic, concrete and terracotta tiles as well as metal, he finally decided on terracotta based on its aesthetics that complemented the sandstone. He chose Boral terracotta shingle roof tiles in the dark toned Eclipse shade to complement the yellow sandstone.

Tadros explains that terracotta is a good choice from an aesthetic perspective; being a natural material, terracotta always has some variation in shape and colour to add texture and depth, avoiding the look of one big flat roof section. This textured look is difficult to achieve with ceramic and metal roof tiles, which have a very solid, manufactured and consistent look. The proportion of the tiles, being smaller than sheet metal or large slabs of slate, also worked perfectly with the size of the sandstone blocks.

Additionally, he sought flexibility in his roofing choice as he wanted to retain the original copper downpipes and gutters; the terracotta choice allowed him to integrate the tiles with the copper fittings. Though additional timber beams were required to support the extra weight of the terracotta tiles, this roofing choice still fell within the budget and proved a cost-effective option.

According to Mark Dell, national sales and marketing manager of Boral Roofing & Masonry East, terracotta tiles transform nature’s most basic elements of earth and fire into a product that has the ability to reduce energy consumption, and is low maintenance and fire resistant.

One of the most popular forms of roofing today, terracotta roof tiles are durable and easy to maintain, and remain attractive throughout their lifetime. Made from natural clay with a choice of glazed, semi-glazed or unglazed finishes, terracotta tiles are kiln-fired for enduring colour performance. Available in various styles to suit most architectural designs, terracotta roof tiles are equally at home in cutting-edge contemporary homes as they are in more classical dwellings.