Clay Roof Tiles

Traditional clay tile roofs were the standard of a long lasting durable, attractive roof. The heavy tiles outlasted many of the houses they were installed on. Clay roof tiles were used in Babylon and Egypt and then introduced to Rome and across Europe. Clay roofs became very popular after the tragic fires in 1666 in London and 1679 in Boston. Fire codes were established in New York and Boston encouraging the use of Clay roofing tiles due to their fireproof qualities.

Clay tiles became popular roofing materials in northern America in the 19th century by industrial production. A clay roof generally lasts 100 years and often several hundred years. Archeologists in Roanoke Island in North Carolina found clay roofing tiles from the 1585 settlement.

Earlier tiles made by hand

Terra Cotta or clay roof tiles come in a variety of forms, flat, shaped and Spanish barrel shaped tiles. The tiles were originally made by hand. The tile maker spread the clay over their thighs or logs to make the barrel shaped tiles. The clay was then either laid in sand to be baked by the sun or layered in piles of clay tiles, burning coal or wood and then covered by the earth. In 1858 a kiln was developed that was fired by coal and would allow gradual rising of the temperature of the clay tiles.

If you choose to put clay tiles on your home, remember to hire a professional roofer with experience in installing clay roof tiles.

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