Clay Roof Tile Install Photos
  • Our Process
  • Advantages of Clay
  • Fire-Flashed Blends
  • Our Standards
  • Green Standards / LEED
Our Process

Our Process

For over 135 years Gladding, McBean has taken its vast, rich clay reserves and created infinite design possibilities for our customers worldwide. This time-honored craftsmanship and expertise handed down from generations, combined with modern technology, and has produced exceptional clay products that will last for years to come.

Our long history and reputation is the result of working hand-in-hand with the customer every step of the way, ensuring satisfaction from conception to completion of every project.

We understand construction schedules and the need to meet tight deadlines. For over a century, our reputation has been to meet those deadlines on time, every time.

Terra Cotta University

We greatly encourage contractors, engineers, architects and planners to tour our facility in order to better understand the process of manufacturing terra cotta products.

Our ProcessWe work hand in hand with the Design/Build collaboration team to offer our expertise and knowledge to a group project.

For further terra cotta education, Gladding, McBean also offers seminars that are AIA certified, focusing on the intricate manufacturing process and material and application specifications.

Signatures in Clay

For centuries, terra cotta has been used as a reflection of the personality of an architect more than any other building material. This versatile and highly adaptable medium allowed architects and designers to literally shape the landscape of cities across America.

Terra cotta, meaning “burnt earth,” is an exceptional product providing the flexibility to be molded and shaped to mimic any material or design. Whether reproducing a historic building facade in need of renovation or creating unique elements on a new design, the qualities of terra cotta make any detail a possibility. Its high compression strength allows for high load bearing capacity and its low moisture absorption make it an ideal material to withstand even the toughest climates. Our products have decades of proven performance in areas prone to heavy freeze/thaw elements.

Our Process

Details, Every Step of the Way

Our custom renovation and restoration projects begin with our team of experts analyzing the fragments obtained from the jobsite. In fact, our on-site technical assistance ensures that a member of our team is involved in the project, every step of the way.

Each piece is laser scanned at our state-of-the-art facility, creating a computer-generated image of the object.

This technical advancement allows our team to work with the highest degree of accuracy for exact size and shape reproduction.
Computerized aided set drawings and section details provide accurate information and control to assist in every step of the fabrication and installation process.

The Artisans

Throughout the years, Gladding, McBean artisans have styled and crafted work for some of the most historic and beautiful buildings in the world. The fine workmanship from the modelers at Gladding, McBean can be seen in the complexity and detail of every piece they create. Many of the craftsmen working in the facility today are 4th generation employees, some that have over 40 years experience. Hand sculpting allows each piece to be uniquely tailored to capture and create even the finest of details.

Our Process

Modern Technology

Modern technology in the form of Extrusion and RAM press has helped speed the production process of many of the standard modular shapes. Our standard die shapes catalog offers endless design possibilities. This process allows for a more cost effective way of producing standard units in a time efficient manner, while maintaining the consistency of the materials. Certified testing equipment in our in-house testing laboratory, guarantees our products are ready to withstand decades of the elements before leaving our facility.

Glazing & Firing

If the design of terra cotta allows for endless creative possibilities, so too does the color and textures at your disposal. Rich glaze colors and unique textures are what Gladding, McBean is known for. Whether accurately color matching an existing project or selecting a new texture and color laboratory can match any customers’ needs.

Our mobile color-tracking unit allows our team to accurately analyze colors on the job site. Computer-aided scanning enables each color to be broken down from an intricate color blend. Our large kilns provide a state-of-the-art firing process that maintains product and color consistency throughout your order.

Our Process

Over a Century of Excellence

In July of 1928, San Francisco Examiner columnist Ernest Hopkins wrote “with clay from a hole in the ground in Lincoln, California, the modern city of San Francisco has come.” Our past speaks for itself, and with our rich clay reserves, we will continue to be at the forefront of architectural development for years to come.

Whether it is preserving our nation’s landmarks or helping blaze a trail of design into the future, Gladding, McBean has the experience to provide any project with the utmost attention it deserves.

Gladding, McBean

Advantages of Clay

Go to: Clay Roof Tile | Piazza Floor Tile

Clay Roof Tile Photo

Clay Roof Tile

Durability and strength

Our clay roof tiles are manufactured to withstand harsh climatic conditions and environments. Our tiles are non-combustible, long lasting, virtually maintenance free, impervious to insects and rot and resist the effects of freeze-thaw cycles. Our hard firing kiln process produces a tile with a compressive strength that is much higher than the ASTM minimum standard of 400 lbs. We test our tiles routinely, which ensures a grade 1 rating, the best rating available to clay roof tile producers. Clay roof tiles are generally recognized as having the lowest life cycle cost as they can last for hundreds of years.

Design Flexibility

Gladding McBean clay roof tiles combine every element for the perfect roof. Beauty of color, form, and texture are features that are found in our clay roof tiles and cannot be duplicated by concrete tiles. Our collection is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors.

Thermal Insulation

Tile acts as an insulator, helping to keep homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer. In addition to natural solar reflectance properties, clay roof tiles often have enhanced air circulation compared to other roofing materials because ambient air can circulate below as well as above the tile.

Fire Resistance

Terra cotta roof tiles are a non-combustible material and a proven performer in the face of fire, providing protection against burning embers and wind blown sparks.

Wind Resistance

When installed properly the weight of clay roof tiles will offer more resistance to wind suction than lighter weight materials.

Low Maintenance

Once tiles are installed there is little or no maintenance under normal usage. Should a section of the roof ever be damaged, there is the added advantage of individual tile replacement.

No Fade

Our Terra cotta roof tiles are 100% clay formed from blends of natural clays and shale’s that are kiln fired to lock in their color and are therefore unaffected by exposure to the elements. This special process ensures the color richness is throughout each tile, unlike many manufactures that spray the color only on the surface of the tile.

Sea Salt Protection

Our hard firing kiln process provides a dense tile that has a proven history for durability in coastal areas. This produces a tile that conforms to ASTM C1167 Grade 1 and is the highest rating for resistance to frost action and water absorption.

Piazza Floor Tile Photo

Piazza Floor Tile

Durability and strength

Gladding McBean clay floor tiles are manufactured to withstand harsh climatic conditions and environments. Our floor tiles are non-combustible, long lasting, frost proof and virtually maintenance free. Our tile complies too section 09300 of The Paving Specification for Vehicular Traffic for use in areas that will be subjected to vehicular traffic.

Coefficient of Friction: C-1028 .89 Dry .84 Wet
Bond Strength: C-482 82 psi
Compressive Strength: C-902 10,273
Breaking Strength: C-648 1514 lbs.

Design Flexibility

Beauty of color, form, and texture are features that are found in our clay floor tiles and cannot be replicated by concrete. Our collection is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. All these elements combined together offer the design flexibility to create several interesting patterns essential in creating a striking focal point for any area, indoors or out.

Smooth or Tumbled

No Fade

Our Terra cotta floor tiles are formed from blends of natural clays and shales that are kiln fired to lock in their color. This special process ensures the color richness is throughout each tile and will not fade by exposure to the elements.

Smooth Or Tumbled

What sets these special finishes apart? Piazza smooth has a clean finish that enhances the rich fire flashed colors and natural character of this floor tile. From a basic to a more sophisticated look, Piazza Smooth is noticeably elegant, yet maintains a distinctive flair for the spaces in which you live and work.

Piazza Antico has a light to highly distressed finish giving this tumbled floor tile a rustic appearance. The tumbled process softens the fire flashed colors, enhancing the rugged distressed look, making any space feel natural, warm and inviting.

Fire-Flashed Blends

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Fire Flash Blends

Clay Roof Tile

Rich fire flashed colors and unique textures similar to the picturesque tile roofs of the Latin countries are what Gladding McBean roof tiles are famous for since the early 1900’s. We are one of the only clay producers that fire-blend in the traditional way allowing each tile to be unique in color. This natural flashing process affects each tile differently depending on its location in the kiln. The natural fire-blend eliminates discordant notes of artificiality.

As a result of our unique process we produce extraordinary natural blends of soft warm natural hues that compliment the landscape as well as the building they crown. Our color collection ranges from light to dark reds, soft gold’s, warm browns and deep purples that come together to form color harmony ultimately creating roofs that are truly works of art.

“If the dust of summer dims their brilliance, the first rain will restore them in all their glory; if the succeeding generation finds moss and lichen establishing themselves, it will but lend an added charm.” Quoted from a 1919 Gladding McBean Sales Catalogue.

The random flash of each tile is unique to Gladding McBean and those that simply spray apply surface colors in an effort to simulate the fire flashed process cannot duplicate that look. If natural color harmony and long lasting non-fading color is high on your list of priorities, Gladding McBean is the obvious choice. There is no roof like a Gladding McBean roof.

“Gladding McBean & Company feel an intense pride in their tile roofs, in the close personal friendship of architects, designers and owners, and believe that they have made a real contribution to American Architecture. Their tile roofs have successfully withstood the rigors of the climate from the Pacific to the Atlantic. They are in use in may states and in the Hawaiian Islands, and in each locality the first roof has been a seed from which others grew, until from a Californian it has become an American product.” Quoted from a 1919 Gladding McBean Sales Catalogue.

Fire Flash Blends

Piazza Floor Tile

Rich fire flashed colors and unique finishes are what Gladding McBean floor tiles are known for. Our floor tile provides blends of soft warm natural hues that compliment our roof tile collection. Our tile collection ranges from light to dark reds, soft gold’s, warm browns and deep purples that come alive during the fire flashing process. This process ensures the color richness is throughout each tile.





Fire Flash Blends

Our Strict Standards

Gladding McBean Clay roof tiles are manufactured using carefully selected clays and shales from our company-owned rich clay reserve located in Lincoln, California. The terra cotta clay is then shaped, dried, and kiln-fired, resulting in a strong roofing material of exceptional quality.

Because of our high-quality clays and time-honored production methods, we are able to produce a tile that looks as if it were hand made, reminiscent of a bygone era. In terms of strength and durability, our hard-firing kiln process allows us to produce roof tiles that conform to ASTM 1167, Grade 1--the best rating available to clay roof tile producers.

Due to our adherence to this strict quality standard, we are able to offer a 75-year transferable warranty on our entire collection of roof tiles. While some producers may have similar warranties, we are proud to say that we are among a very exclusive group of producers that has actually had tiles installed longer than their warranty period.

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Green Standards Green Standards

Gladding, McBean Company is committed to being environmental stewards by adopting responsible practices throughout its operation to minimize our environmental impact and to reduce and reuse waste, efficiently manage and control our water and energy use, so we can provide innovative products based on sustainable design.

No other building material can match the sustainability advantages of clay. And that's particularly true for Gladding, McBean products. Here's why:

Natural Materials Efficiently Sourced: The plant maintains a highly effective Environmental Management System in place to control effluent, emissions and resource extraction. Our products are made of clay and water. 98% of the raw materials are located within 2 miles of the Gladding, McBean production facility.

Efficiency of Production and Energy Consumption: Gladding, McBean uses computer-controlled firing technology to minimize our carbon footprint. Heat energy is recycled wherever possible in the production process to reduce energy consumption. Also, no process waste water is created in the production of our vitrified clay products. Recently, new raw material sources have been added to the recipe that densify the final product at a lower heat input thus, reducing fuel consumption during the firing process without adversely affecting product durability.

Efficient Materials Management through Recycling: Product is recycled back into the raw material stream. As a result, no product is ever wasted. Gladding, McBean products are inert and innocuous: they do not harm the environment.

Durability and Lifetime Carbon Impact: The high strength and long life cycle of vitrified clay lowers both its life-cycle cost and its lifetime carbon impact. It doesn't pollute or degrade, stays color fast, will not fade and requires little or no

Culture of Environmental Sensitivity and Social Responsibility: Our goal is to make all our employees more environmentally sensitive and to develop that culture within the organization. And as we employ mostly from the local rural communities our hope is that they will take this knowledge and culture with them and into their communities to be
promoted in an ethical and sustainable manner.


LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

LEED is flexible enough to apply to all building types – commercial as well as residential. It works throughout the building lifecycle – design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fitout, and significant retrofit. And LEED for Neighborhood Development extends the benefits of LEED beyond the building footprint into the neighborhood it serves.

Doing Our Part

Gladding McBean Clay Roof Tiles can contribute toward the U.S. Green Building Counsel’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program in the following areas:

Sustainable Sites
     Credit 7.2.  Heat Island Effect, Roof. 

Option 1.  Use roofing materials having a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) equal to or greater than 29 for roofs with a slope greater than 2:12 to cover a minimum of 75% of the roof surface.
Qualifying.  GMcB has many colors with an SRI rating of 29 or higher.

Material & Resources
     Credit 4.1, and 4.2. Material Recycled Content.

Use Materials with post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content.
Qualifying.  GMcB Clay Roof Tiles contain 25% Pre-Consumer recycled content.

     Credit 5.1, and 5.2. Regional Materials

Use Materials that are extracted, harvested or recovered, as well as manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.
Qualifying.  Manufacturing location:  Lincoln, CA
Extraction location:  2-11 miles from manufacturing location

500 mile radius map

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