Monday, 11 July 2016

Roof tiles

This is the Marsh Hall roof -

I've no idea how many square inches it covers and I haven't even bothered to work it out.   I've been debating with myself as to what sort of tile I want.

I knew it wouldn't have a painted finish because the body of the building will be painted.   I also considered the mdf strips but that would mean painting them.    Real slate was out of the question because of the weight and besides, I'd already used them on The Tenement

Richard Stacey's Versi slates were an option and I'd heard good things about them but they would look too uniform on my building.  

I also thought about Peter Clark's tiles.   These are painted card, with cutting lines marked on the back.   I'd used these tiles on my Apples Tea Rooms  and I was very pleased with the effect.  So pleased in fact that I used them again on Netherton.    There was a batch left over that I could have added to but as I wont be at Miniatura until October when I could compare like with like, and the fact that I had already used that particular style - I wanted something different.

Inspiration presented itself during my visit to the York Fair.   Floor tiles!   I saw this on a build being displayed at the show.    

When I first started this hobby with Hambleton Hall I didn't have the great roof debate over which tiles would be best (probably because I didn't know any better, I wasn't on any forums or in contact with any other miniaturists).    I searched the internet and came across some self-adhesive tiles on ebay.   The very thing and so many packs later, job done.

It has since occurred to me of course that these tiles are probably floor tiles cut to size but it works!

Dilemma resolved.   One pack of "slate" self-adhesive floor tiles from the DIY shop later and I'm half-way through tiling the Marsh Hall roof.

For anyone who may be considering this roofing method or who might think, like me, "I never thought of that" this is how I'm doing it.   I've taken a chance by relying on the "self-adhesive" part of the tile.   I did this with Hambleton Hall and unfortunately they had a habit of sliding off but this property was housed in the Conservatory and the heat didn't do the adhesive any favours.   I therefore had to go over it all again and glue the tiles down.   Hopefully (and I'm taking a chance) this wont happen with Marsh Hall as it's not near any heat source.   I'll let you know!

Firstly, arm yourself with two dishes - one for cut tiles and one for backing paper and off-cuts (basically a mini bin);  a metal rule;   sharp knife (the blades will need to be replaced quite frequently);   a pair of scissors and a very sharp pencil.

Take your tile

Mark cutting lines on the back - I measured out my tiles 1" wide by 3/4" (2.54cms x 1.09cms).

Using the very sharp knife, score/cut through the horizontal lines.   I found it easier to use scissors for the vertical marks and store all the bits in your dish.

Starting at the bottom left, and with one full tile, go for it but hang on to all the little offcuts as they'll come in handy when filling in around dormer windows and the like.

In order to keep the line level I didn't pencil mark the roof (which incidentally isn't fixed yet).   I just measured from the tile line I was working on to the top of the roof edge.

Being self-adhesive and having a backing works out quite useful when marking up a smaller tile.   Simply turn it over, mark what's required and cut with scissors.

I've tried very hard to keep all edges neat but sometimes it's not possible, especially at the dormer windows and under the eaves.   This is not an issue as these edges will be covered with lead flashing.

So, after spending the best part of two days "up on the roof", here's my progress so far

Apologies to the seasoned miniaturists who have tiled many roofs.  I just thought there may be one or two newbies out there who may find the above useful (and cost effective!)


  1. Hi Irene
    I love the tiles you ended up using, I can imagine the stress you went through whilst making your decision. I also like the detail on the dormer Windows.
    You are really making great progress on this house.
    Best wishes

  2. I like the result very much! Good choice!

  3. Great idea Irene thank you very much for the tip. Your roof looks fantastic.
    Hugs Maria

  4. Oh, thanks for such a great idea! I live a long way away from miniature shows so have never been to one for inspiration or anything else. The internet is my go to place, particularly blogland. Bloggers are such lovely sharing people! Your roof looks brilliant!

  5. It looks good Irene, and relatively quick. I wouldn't have thought of using those tiles.

  6. Innovative Irene!! That's what I call you. You always come up with wonderful ways to achieve a realistic finish on whatever you're working at. The roof is brilliant!
    All the best

  7. Hi Irene! This is a wonderful tutorial on roof tiles! Over here we have slate tiles on some of the Victorian houses.... but I have never tried to "replicate" those slates! Maybe I will try this for the roof of Hardwick Hall when I get to it! Your roof is looking great!

  8. Love them - just brilliant - right price, right amount of work and most of all looks just right!! Well done that woman. Marilyn