Antique reclaimed terra-cotta tiles, bricks and roof tiles

Terra-cotta tiles and bricks, and roof tiles, have always been sourced and reclaimed by BCA Matériaux Anciens right from the start of the business (last century !). The floor tiles are classic French terra-cotta and are sourced across regional France, but also quite locally.

Terracotta tiles

Tile-making was often a « cottage industry », labour intensive, with generations of families extracting suitable clay locally, hand moulding the required sizes, carefully air-drying them to reduce their moisture content sufficiently to be able to fire them in wood-burning kilns. The terracotta vitrification process could be irregular which produced pleasing colour differences, particularly when fired in temporary « field kilns » known in English as « clamps ». The pre-requisite materials had to be available locally, namely suitable clay, suitable fuel, and water. They are products of pre-Industrial Revolution techniques and technology. BCA’s designer consultant David Ackers gained considerable experience in traditional brick and tile making when as a young graduate he worked in R&D for low-cost building materials production techniques applicable to developing nations, working for NGOs in Africa, Asia and South America.

Reclaimed terracotta bricks and roof tiles

Over the centuries the production of these regional artisans adds up, and when quantities of hand-made tiles, bricks and terra-cotta roof tiles become available off demolition or renovation projects we hope to source them, at a cost, for being reclaimed. They come in various sizes, often in the characteristic peachy-beige-orange-salmon blends. Part of our service is to inspect the tiles, to clean off old lime-mortar from edges and undersides, and wash them when necessary, thereby ensuring all the tiles you receive will be usable. This is done at our own workshops. This is an important consideration when perhaps comparing prices and availability elsewhere, in order to compare « like with like » .

Brick and tile makers would vary their production to suit demand, and the shrinkage during drying and firing inevitably caused minor size discrepancies which add to their character and authenticity. However the classic terra-cotta floor tile sizes in approx 10 x 10cm (4 x 4 inches), 12 x 12cm (5 x 5 inches), 16 x 16cm (6 x 6 inches), 22 x 22cm (8 x 8 inches), hexagons, and rectangular Parefeuille are generally available at BCA ANTIQUE MATERIALS, kept in stock cleaned and crated for immediate despatch.

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