Roof tile design has seen minimal innovation in centuries. Thick, heavy roof tiles are simply stacked upon one another and held down by their considerable weight. This in turn dictates strong, heavy and expensive roofing structures to cope with the load. Harvey EcoTile® changes all this with a lightweight mineral composite roof tile.

The way we build in South Africa is in large part due to how a building copes with the burden of an extremely heavy roof. Traditional weighty roofing materials such as concrete, slate and clay tiles dictate considerable capacity in foundations, pillars, beams and roof structure simply to cope with the load of the roof.

What happens if the roof is much lighter? At 1.35kg per tile, a Harvey EcoTile®’s weight is only one third of a comparable concrete tile of 4.5kg. This affects the design in numerous ways.

Roof structure

Roof structures are designed as support for the chosen roofing material. The heavier the load, the more timber required due to narrow spacing of trusses. Compared to concrete and clay roof tiles, a roof structure designed for Harvey EcoTile® requires considerably less timber with resultant cost savings.


It stands to reason that by saving weight on both the roof covering and structure, the burden on a construction’s foundations is lightened. The building can now be designed from the ground up with a new perspective.

Transportation costs

In transportation terms, weight equals cost. Imagine the ability to transport 3 times the quantity of material to site. With the resultant savings on trips, fuel and handling, a Harvey EcoTile® roof adds value and savings to every build’s logistics when compared to traditional roof tiles. Furthermore, breakages up to 10% is a regular occurrence on delivery. As Harvey EcoTile® is virtually unbreakable, there are further savings as breakages are eliminated.

Water/mass benefit

An additional aspect when considering roof weight is water absorption of the materials used. The water absorbed by a roof tile adds further weight to the entire structure, which needs to be compensated for during planning and construction.

Concrete roof tiles can absorb between 6 to 10% of their mass in water. Thus per m2 weight added for a concrete tile of 4.5kg (6% absorption) equals 2.83 kg or litre/m2. In comparison Harvey EcoTile®’s water absorption is less than 0.36%, which translates to a maximum of 0.05kg/m2.

High water absorption culminates in added mass to the wooden structure, walls and foundations. In addition it results in the roof product becoming brittle and cracking. Incidentally, the same applies for salt ingress.

Lightweight design. Heavyweight strength.

Being a lightweight product does not compromise Harvey EcoTile®’s strength credentials. The secret lies the material composition, design of its fixing methodology which results in a roof being a single impregnable unit. An advance engineered product results in an interlocking  system for weather proofing and superior strength. It displays symmetrical lines once installed and means a complete roof will be weather, water and dust proof as all gaps are eliminated.

Take a load off – the future of roof tiles is here.


This article was published in partnership with Media Xpose.

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