Last week, on 17 May, clay roof tile manufacturers, Imerys Toiture opened the doors of its factory in Phalempin in Northern France to welcome 60 distributors, contractors and merchants from the UK pitched roofing industry along with other clients and influencers from across Europe.
Visitors were treated to some excellent hospitality, guided factory tours and helicopter flights to view the site from the air and the surrounding beautiful Normandy countryside.
Phalempin produces some of Imerys’ most popular clay roof tiles, such as their 17 x 27, 16 x 24 and Chartwell plain tiles, including fittings and accessories to match. With a workforce of just 30 people, more than 45,000 tonnes of clay plain tiles and 2000 tonnes of accessories are produced annually at Phalempin, the majority of which are exported to the UK.
The company has seen steady growth in the UK market, particularly in the last few years of the three decades it has been exporting to the UK. As a producer of clay roof tiles, it has seen none of the supply problems besetting other UK suppliers and maintained its supply without interruptions.
Phalempin’s success is due in part to the factories’ proximity to the UK market, but also the quality and popularity of the wide range of colours available is often cited.
The quality of tiles and accessories is certified with ISO 9001 and 14001 and all products achieve the highest frost resistance rating; 150 freeze/thaw cycles, when tested in accordance with European Standard EN 539-2: Test for frost resistance – a prerequisite for clay tiles produced for use in the UK. All Phalempin clay tiles fully comply with the requirements of BS EN 1304: the European Standard for clay roof tiles and can be expected to last in excess of 100 years.
The 17 x 27 Phalempin Plain tile is available in 8 distinctive colours, of which Amber, Weathered, Rustic Red, Volcano and Val de Seine may be used individually or can mixed on site to create unique blends. The exception is Millennium Blend, which is blended from several subtle finishes and is supplied pre-mixed. Being clay, the colours and surface textures will last for the lifetime of the tiles.
The Phalempin Plain tile range is one of the few double lapped plain tiles on the UK market that can be used on roof pitches as low as 30 degrees. Although the British Standard for Slating and Tiling: BS 5534, recommends a minimum roof pitch of 35 degrees for double lapped plain tiles, the method of manufacture enables unique, anti-capillary channels to be incorporated onto the Phalempin tiles’ upper surface, ensuring enhanced performance. Wind-driven rain testing carried out independently by BRE has enabled certification of the tiles for use at 30 degrees.
There is an impressive range of fittings and accessories available with Phalempin plain tiles, including, of course, the usual tile-and-half tiles for use at verges and side abutments, as well for cuts at hips and valleys. Short course tiles are available for under-eaves courses, top courses at ridge and top abutment and there is a choice of half round or hogsback-profile ridge and hip tiles together with matching clay ridge end caps. Half round and hogsback ridge tiles, hip tiles and associated fittings can be installed using dry fix systems or mortar bedded with mechanical fixings.
Traditional bonnet hip tiles are available for hips and an arris hip tile is also available to suit 35 degree pitched roofs. Alternatively, for designers and roofers wishing to create an ‘arris’ appearance for other roof pitches, tile-and-half tiles can be cut in each tile course to mitre the hip corner and weathered using lead or lead replacement material soakers.
Universal valley tiles are available for roof pitches from 35 to 50 degrees. Open lead or glass fibre (GRP) valleys can also be installed. For those wishing to create a very traditional plain tile appearance, Phalempin plain tiles are perfect for swept or laced valley details.
Phalempin clay plain tiles are also ideal for vertical tiling and come with the necessary fittings to create the perfect vertical wall finish. Roof space ventilation can be achieved using soffit or over-fascia ventilation in conjunction with dry fix ridge systems. Where additional roof space ventilation, mechanical extraction or soil vent pipe terminals are required, tile and ridge ventilators are available in colours and finishes to match the tiles and ridges. Imerys also has a new integrated photovoltaic system, which is fully compatible with Phalempin plain tiles.
Imerys Toiture Phalempin factory viewed from the air during a helicopter flight