Pantiles are ceramic tiles which are designed to interlock. They have classically been used in roofing, and also in paving in some regions of the world. Along with other roofing tiles, these tiles are available from many building supply stores, and such stores can often order them if they do not have them in stock. While they are not used in new construction as frequently as they once were, some people find the aesthetic look of a pantiled home pleasing, so they are still available new and through salvage companies which rescue discarded pantiles.
From the side view, pantiles appear gently S-shaped, and they are designed so that their curved portions overlap. The overlapping edges of the tiles ensure that water, dust, and other materials cannot slip underneath them, which is extremely useful for roofing. They are supplemented with various end pieces designed to fit on the edges and ridge of the roof, creating a smooth edge for water to pour from.
The ceramic used for these tiles vary, primarily on the basis of where the tiles are produced. In all cases, pantiles are designed to be very thick and durable, as fragile materials could break in heavy weather. They may be fired and left plain, or glazed to resist water. Pantiled paving is often left unglazed, allowing water to percolate through the tiles and drain so that people are not splashed by standing water.
Installing these tiles is fairly straightforward, as they are installed like other roofing and paving tiles. Fixing damaged pantiles, on the other hand, can be challenging, as the overlapping design which makes them so useful can make it difficult to remove tiles for repair or replacement without causing damage. As pantiles are not as widely employed in construction as they were classically, people with pantiled roofs and walkways sometimes have trouble finding people who can repair them.
A section of a village called Tunbridge Wells in England is referred to as “The Pantiles.” This district has hosted various shops since the 17th century, and according to legend, it was once paved with pantiles on the order of Queen Anne, who was displeased with the dirt streets. Visitors to Tunbridge Wells often enjoy a stop there, as an effort has been made to keep the district historically accurate, so it feels like stepping back in time. The legendary paving material has, however, been replaced with cobblestones.