Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Pantile roofs



Pantiles were used to roof a significant number of traditional buildings in Scotland from the 1600s onwards – usually in areas where the weather is less severe. A well-maintained pantile roof will remain sound for many decades.

The double roll (S-shaped) fired clay pantiles are laid in their rows so that the downturn of one tile overlaps the upturn of the next. The peaks and troughs direct rainwater into the centre of the tile and channel it down the roof slope.

Regular inspections of a pantile roof will help to ensure that it continues to shed water effectively. Picking up problems early makes maintenance easier – and keeps repair costs down.

Loose and broken tiles are one of the most common causes of problems with pantile roofs. Failure of ‘parging’ can cause tiles to become loose. Tiles may get porous with age and break apart. Wind uplift, moss growth and cement mortar can also damage tiles. Decayed battens and fixings may leave tiles out of line.

Patching of the pantile roof will be necessary to keep it watertight if loose or broken tiles are found.

If second-hand or new replacement pantiles are needed for maintenance and repairs, these must closely match the originals. Tiles of a different profile shape won’t fit together properly, letting rainwater into the roof structure.

You should reuse original pantiles wherever possible – both to save money and to preserve the building’s character. Pantiles manufactured today are machine-made, so have a much more uniform look.

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