Insulating Properties of Terra Cotta

The word "terra cotta" literally translates to "cooked earth" in Latin, which expresses exactly what the material consists of.

Heat Absorption

Terra cotta is used in many aspects of building.
Terra cotta was discovered around 1400 B. C. and has been used through the years for various structures because of its insulating properties. These properties help the terra cotta serve its purposes. .

Terra cotta can absorb the heat from the sun and other sources. This makes it a good material to use on the exterior of a home. Homes, particularly those in hotter areas of the country, can often be found made from terra cotta bricks or roofed with terra cotta shingles. These materials soak up the heat from the son, helping to keep the home cool inside and reducing the cooling bills for the homeowner.

Even Temperature

In addition to building materials, some kitchen containers are also made from terra cotta because of its insulating properties. Canisters and bread crocks in the kitchen are meant to keep their contents dry and cool. Warmth and humidity can destroy bread, flour and sugar that is often kept in these types of containers. When these containers are made from terra cotta, the interior temperature stays consistent. Additionally, terra cotta is also somewhat porous, allowing moisture to escape the container.


Even in areas where the weather gets cold, terra cotta can help. Because terra cotta is a poor conductor of heat and cold, building a home from terra cotta bricks and using terra cotta roofing tiles help keep the heat inside the home and the cold out during the winter months. While this building material is not as common in the colder areas of the United States, it would still have advantages. Heating bills can sometimes be quite high in the coldest areas of the country. Using terra cotta can reduce those bills.


As well as being a good weather insulator, terra cotta also serves well as sound insulation, especially when they are made into hollow panels. The thickness of the material and the area between the panels absorbs the noise from either side of the panel. This makes a quiet environment for home owners. Those who live in noisier areas, such as near a busy highway, train tracks or airport can appreciate the sound insulation properties of a terra cotta home.

About the Author

Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.