The past decade has seen an increasing use of hollow terracotta tile as a building material for the walls of the small house. It has many advantages which have made its popularity increase, such as its larger and lighter construction unit, reducing the labor of setting, its cellular wall features, and its availability. There is much information published by the manufacturers describing the correct construction, but always, of course, with an eye to advertising the material.
However, there has been much conflicting testimony made concerning the practicability of hollow-tile construction, and some of the disadvantages should be noted. As a rule, they have proved to be strong enough to support the weight of the structure imposed upon them, but in the Southwest, where tornado winds are prevalent, these walls have been criticised because of their lack of stability and their porosity. Hollow-tile walls have been thrown down while those constructed of brick have stood, and driving rain-storms frequently make the inside of the walls wet.
The stability can be increased by filling them with concrete, but the allowable strength cannot be considered to have been raised. Tests have shown that this filling does not increase the strength, because of the difference in the elasticity of the two materials.