There is a surprising amount of history behind the origin and development of the roof and roof tiles all over the world. Firstly, the roofing landscape in Britain is completely different from anywhere else in Europe because of its rich and interesting heritage.
Roof tiling is typified by the widespread use of concrete tiles, which are present on about 60% of all pitched roofs. Slates (both natural and artificial) represent over 20% of the total, and clay tiles around 10%. Despite this, parts of the country that are valued for their architectural heritage generally show a marked preference for slate or clay tiles rather than concrete.
In mainland Europe there is a complete contrast in material use. In countries such Germany, Holland, Belgium and France clay is most common. To explain why things have developed this way, we must look back at the history of roof tiling and how it has changed over time.
From the early days to more recently, buildings have been roofed with whatever material was easily available. For example, areas where slate was quarried, buildings would be likely to have slate tiles. In places like Wales, the South West, the North West and Scotland slate is still very common.
In more central areas such as the Cotswolds and the Pennines the local material was heavy stone slate, and this can also still be found commonly on roofs in those areas. In all other areas, before clay tiles came into widespread use, thatch was the only alternative because it was too expensive to supply heavy stones or slates using horse-drawn transport over distances of much more than 10 or 12 miles.
The first people to start using tiles in England were the Romans. But after the departure of the Romans, tile usage slowly died down until it reappeared in the 12th Century. Thatched housing was very popular, until the 1600’s. The great fire of London in 1666 led to the London Building Act of 1667, which enforced a new range of building regulations, including the ban of thatched roofs.
Other than the clay slate, Natural slate was very popular. In the 19th Century natural slate was becoming more widespread due to the improvement railways. Instead of being used only on expensive housing, slate was being used on mass housing areas, which was down to the decrease of transport costs. The evidence is shown today in most inner cities.
These developments were mostly happening on inland Europe. But during the wars, tiles flooded in from other countries, in particular Belgium. The names of 'Courtrai tile' and the 'Marseille’ shape were becoming well know in British roofing and soon thousands of estates were covered in such tiles.
In 1926, the General Strike in Britain had a significant impact on concrete tiles. Before this time, clay tiles were more predominant, and were made through firing in kilns which were fuelled by coal. One effect of the General Strike was that it made coal unavailable, as the coal miners were on strike. As a consequence of this, concrete tiles became more popular.
From the 1970’s there was a slow but steady recovery in clay tiles and slates but it wasn’t until recently that the dominance of concrete tiles was challenged for the first time. In the early part of this century, major investments in modern and efficient new clay tile factories led to the introduction of innovative new products that made clay tiles more varied and more affordable, especially compared to concrete.
This has led to a clay tile resurgence that has coincided with a boom in slate, as new and cheaper slate imports arrived from overseas. These developments have combined to create the beginning of a reawakening of natural roofing materials in the UK.
However, in spite of this, concrete tiles are still more popular than clay due to the fact that they are less expensive to produce, and their manufacturing process produces less carbon dioxide emissions.
Here are some more facts you might not have know about tile roofs:
- A properly installed tile roof can withstand the elements like rain, hurricane force high winds or hail, which provides years of worry-free performance.
- When you consider that a concrete tile roof will last for the life of the structure, the full life-cycle cost of the roof is quite affordable when compared to other roofing materials.
- According to a 2007 study from the National Association of Home Builders, concrete clay and copper tiled roofing materials will last a lifetime.
Whether you are staying in your home for years to come or plan to sell your home in the near future, a concrete tile roof will help increase the home’s value. Now you know how tiles have developed over time, you can understand their important in today’s construction industry.
Bio: This post was written by Myredlandroof; the experts in roofing. For more information about new roof tiles, visit the site today.