Turkish imports ‘not frost resistant’

Batches of faulty imported roof tiles could crack in winter weather, threatening upmarket housing developments.

There is particular concern over clay tiles from Turkey that have come in over the past year and are sold under the Ashbury brand by Midland Slate & Tile Company (MS&T). It is understood that about 6 million tiles are imported from Turkey each year, compared with 120 million made in the UK.

A draft letter from the Clay Roof Tile Council (CRTC) says three out of five randomly selected batches of Ashbury tiles failed industry standard CERAM tests for frost resistance last year. The letter says “such tiles cannot be regarded as frost resistant”.

The letter, which has not yet been circulated, warns that the tiles threaten to damage the reputation of the UK roof tile industry. It says: “The likelihood is that these tiles will fail in the first few years of service.”

Growing fears over the effects of the soaking, freezing and thawing cycle that tiles must resist has led to calls for tougher testing standards. Roof tiles are now expected to pass a “frost test” of 100 cycles but some UK industry experts believe clay tiles ought to be able to pass 400 cycles before they are considered suitable. The imported tiles failed to pass the 100 cycle test.

The likelihood is that these tiles will fail in the first few years of service clay roof tile council letter

Clay roof tiles have traditionally been used on premium housing developments in the South-east, although they are becoming increasingly popular in top-of-the-range houses elsewhere in the country.

They account for just under 10% of the market for roofing materials and are made in the UK by companies such as Lafarge, Keymer and Dreadnought Tiles.

A spokesperson for the Clay Roof Tile Council said: “We are not in a position to make any public statement regarding frost damage to clay tiles.”

A source close to MS&T said the company had done its own tests through CERAM which proved “extremely positive”.