Hot air


Recently I’ve been struck by how cool it is in the doggy kennel despite the lack of roof insulating and plenty of gaps for warm air ingress. Feeling the underside of the tiles on a hot day and not burning my hand reveals some magic at work with those rickety old tiles. The underside of the new tiles on our porch are another story however. This needed investigation. Non architecture geeks yawn and look away now.

Test 1: new tiles on porch, ambient temperature 35ºC, early afternoon with sun almost directly above. Tile temperature: top surface 52ºC;  underneath 46ºC.

Test 2: old tiles on barn, ambient temperature 36ºC, 30 minutes after first test. Tile temperature: top surface 51ºC;  underneath 36ºC.

The old tiles are 10ºC cooler! This is remarkable even if the figures are thrown slightly by the barn having three solid sides and the porch only two. The thermometer placed directly under the tile with no air space should have countered that anyway.

Modern tiles of course are stronger, lock together and are probably less likely to blow away in a storm. Progress is great, but sometimes old is better. The old crescent-shaped tiles overlap each other to create a double skin and because they don’t fit together so well, allow cooling air movement, even in 36ºC. I’m also guessing that a convex curve as opposed to a flat surface only ever has one hottest part as and the rest of the surface is turning away from the sun.

I’ve truly entered Geekdom, but I’m out and I’m proud.

Modern tiles in foreground, oh so neat and oh so hot.



Cool classics. Despite appearances, this roof does not leak.



In other breaking news, we have a new toilet in the annex bathroom! It’s so modern and functional with features like flushing. Now when visitors arrive, we don’t have to issue them with a bucket and stick as a flushing aid when we welcome them to Portugal.

Also, we have street signs! No sign to tell you which village you’re in, but it’s a start. Unfortunately the names don’t all match what everyone has been calling them for the last 50 years. One of our neighbours was discussing with the friendly sign installers how they came up with the names. “Why would you call it that? Every village in Portugal has a Rua Principal. And this is the lane to the chapel so it’s Traversa da Capella.” The neighbour ended up just shrugging his shoulders and with a smile said “ah, the president”. This was a very interesting “confrontation”. People often fight over a name or a flag or a symbol. I got the feeling the shoulder shrugging was, Lisbon or the town council can do what they like and so will we.




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