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Unique, handmade clay roof tiles hit the DFW market


It all started with a house. Specifically, Mike Power’s own home that he built with his wife on Lake Texoma. He has a penchant for unique building materials. When the couple built their first house in Dallas, in 2005, Power found paving stones from a 15th-century Polish monastery that he used to make their driveway. And, having been in the residential mortgage industry for the last 30 years, Power appreciates home design, describing himself as a “frustrated architect.”

For the lakefront property, Power spent hours sourcing materials online, eventually coming across beautiful handmade Mexican roof tiles. He traced the tiles to their U.S. source, an importer who had been bringing them stateside for the last 40 years to use in thousands of high-end homes across the Southwest.

After gaining the importer’s blessing, Power brought the tiles to DFW for the first time through his company, Old World Roof Tile.

“They offer a different look. They’re for people who want a more genuine, unique effect for their homes,” he says. The handmade tiles are similar in cost to their machine-made counterparts, and they function the same, so the difference is purely aesthetic.

“Each tile is unique because someone actually put their hands on it,” Power explains.

“For example, the leading edge is not perfectly straight and the tops aren’t perfectly smooth. That’s what gives them their charm.”

Power flew to Mexico to see the process firsthand. Workers dig up the clay from the ground to make the tiles. The raw earth goes through several machines to get it ready for use. Men and women use buckets of water, sand and clay to make each tile by hand in a mold. Each person makes three tiles per minute, which equates to roughly 1,500 tiles each day. “It’s amazing to see them in action,” Power says. “When I saw the product, I fell in love with it. I wanted it on our own house.”

The tiles get their hue from their placement in the kiln. Roofs can be either a solid color or a blend of colors, making infinite possibilities. Power stocks nine colors at the Dobson Roofing showroom in Garland, Texas. He keeps seven mock-ups in the showroom to demonstrate to clients what a blend in darker and lighter combinations looks like versus a solid-colored roof.

“No two roofs will look exactly the same,” Power says. “For our roof, we chose a 70 percent Rustica color and 30 percent Barcelona color.” He invites clients to bring their designers along with them, or if clients are flying solo, he’s on hand to lend his design-savvy eye. “It’s a different animal than the machine-made stuff,” Power says.

Power is already getting enthusiastic feedback from local builders in DFW. He says, “They’ve been saying to me, ‘Oh, wow, where’d you get that?’” He plans to expand the company across Texas, with Florida and Nevada on the horizon.

With his enthusiasm for the product, there’s no doubt Power is the best person to expand its reach to new markets. “I like authentic stuff—1967 Corvettes, for example. Originality is kind of my thing,” he says. “If you like the good stuff, this is that stuff.”

Alaena Hostetter is a Dallas-based journalist who writes about her favorite things: art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.

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