Château-Inspired Home Relies on Elegant Clay Tile Roof in Maui, Hawaii
by Ali Turner, editorial assistant
The North Shore on the east side of Maui, locally known as the windward side, is home to cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests, and hairpin turns that take you to the top of Haleakala, Maui’s massive shield volcano and beloved national park. When you think of homes lining the magical 64-mile Road to Hana, the scenic highway that twists and turns along the rugged coastline, a French château-style dwelling might not be top of mind. For one Hawaii homeowner, however, her dream roof consisted of sturdy clay tiles, elegant eaves, and even a majestic dragon finial over the entry door.
Architect Paul Walshe of Walshe Associates, Worcester, United Kingdom, was brought on to the project to design the quaint, yet stunning, Maui home. As the author of French Farmhouses and Cottages, Walshe was expertly experienced for the project and was flown to Maui to coordinate the design. The home’s roof has magnificent ornamentations and features that emulate the style of traditional French châteaus, including steep-pitches, broken roof lines, and elaborate decorations. The cottage is built of blue rock, a local Hawaiian stone, and the corners and openings of the home use a dark brick made in the Pacific Northwest.
In order to bring the ambitious project to life, the homeowner relied on Harry Perreira Roofing, Makawao, Hawaii, and Kawelo Construction, Haiku, Hawaii to install the new roof. MCA® Clay Roof Tile products were used, adding not only an exquisite aesthetic, but also reliable durability. Clay tile roofs are heralded for their longevity, as they are resistant to a plethora of potential damage, including insects and fire hazards. MCA Clay Tile is a leader in the clay roof production industry. Their name is synonymous with high-quality, durable products that are functional, cost-effective, and timelessly beautiful. MCA’s Improved-S tiles, in Metallic Silver C23 color, were made in Japan then shipped directly to the island to be used on this home. Glazed roofing tiles are a smart and elegant option for a project such as this. The glaze protects the tile from harsh weather conditions, such as high humidity and the salty ocean breeze.
“On cloudy days the tile looks quite dark, but in full sun the tiles become almost white,” said the homeowner. “It is so amazing.”
MCA’s tile roof was installed over 1×4 treated battens, Polystick® TU Plus self-adhered underlayment from Polyglass®, 1/4” redwood counter battens, and borate-treated clear 2×8 Douglas fir roof decking. Stainless steel fasteners and clips were used to secure the roof system. MCA’s Improved-S tiles are typically installed over 1×2 battens, but due to the local unavailability of that size, 1×4 battens were used to ensure structural assurance of the roof during the island’s high-wind events.
“Although the home is relatively small, there is a lot going on as far as hips, valleys, and flashing details,” said David Vitarelli, owner, Kawelo Construction. “Yoshi Suzuki at MCA was very helpful in assisting us in the selection of the various components to put the roof together. I would not hesitate to recommend them for future projects.”
Aside from being an undisputed paradise, the island of Maui is not immune to its own dramatic weather characteristics. The windward side specifically is known for its high-wind patterns, which can be exasperated by weather events, particularly tropical storms and hurricanes. Eastern Maui is also prone to wetter weather, especially in the winter when the tradewinds bring additional moisture to the island. While this is greatly beneficial to Maui’s impressive waterfalls, it can wreak havoc on a home’s façade and roof system. This exquisite home sits regally on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, so it gets a first-row seat to Maui’s demanding weather.
“MCA’s Improved-S tile can withstand wind loads up to 200 mph, and being on the North shore of Maui, this area is rated for 100 mph winds,” the homeowner said. “These Japanese tiles have the strength of its traditional manufacturing that melds so well with the centuries-old construction of stone and brick.”
“The complicated design of this roof would not have been possible with any other tile than MCA,” said Harrison Perreira, owner, Harry Perriera Roofing LLC. “The strength and durability of MCA Clay Tile products were two of the main reasons for our choice. We have installed many MCA tile roofs on Maui over the span of 40 years, and we have always been impressed by the durability of the product. This roof will last a lifetime.”
Traditional French homes were built with thick walls and small windows in order to stay cool in the summer while also keeping heat inside in the winter. However, these traditional dwellings were not well-equipped to handle the occasional rainy day, which meant that serious downpours could potentially destroy the façade of a home or leak inside the windows. To mitigate this, 18th century French homes began to incorporate an Italian solution to their problem, which was extending the roof line around the house with the use of eaves. These eaves diverted the rainwater so that it fell a safe distance from the walls, keeping the home and inhabitants dry. This roof overhang was supported by rows of curved tiles built out from the wall, known as génoise tiles.
This island home aligned itself with this tradition and installed génoise tiles, which along with the finials, dragon, and hip ornaments, were made at MCA’s headquarters in Corona, California, before being shipped to Maui. The stylish génoise tiles, in adobe black color, vary between 11-1/2”, 15-1/2”, and 19” long on this home.
This unique Maui home has already reaped the benefits of utilizing a clay tile roof. When Tropical Storm Olivia and Hurricane Lane ripped through the Hawaiian Islands in 2018, bringing record-breaking rainfall and extreme winds, this spectacular home saw no issues with its new roof. Tropical storms, hurricanes, humidity, and heat are no match for this home’s expertly crafted clay roof.