Tile Roof

Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay or slate. Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used and some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. A large number of shapes (or “profiles”) of roof tiles have evolved. These include:

  • Flat tiles – the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. An example of this is the clay-made “beaver-tail” tile (German Biberschwanz), common in Southern Germany. The profile of flat tiles is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells.
  • Imbrex and tegula, an ancient Roman pattern of curved and flat tiles that make rain channels on a roof.
  • Roman tiles – flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Pantiles – with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. An example of this is the “double Roman” tile, dating from the late 19th century in England and USA.
  • Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a curved surface, often a log or one’s thigh, and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles.

Roof tiles are ‘hung’ from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below.

There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.