The Three Main Types of Roof Tiles and Their Histories
The popularity of certain types of roof tiles have risen and declined over the past centuries and, in some cases, millennia. Clay, concrete, and slate tiles all have different core properties which will either make them more or less suitable for your house, depending on your requirements.
Here’s all you need to know about the most common types of roof tiles.
Clay Roof Tiles
The first evidence of clay tile use dates back to China in 10,000 B.C. They then spread through Asia to Europe and then to America. Their popularity is down to a couple of their key properties. Firstly, they’re very weather resistant. Having an absorption rate of roughly 6% in most cases, they provide very good protection from rain and snow as well as being fairly lightweight compared to concrete, and especially slate.
The other reason behind its popularity is its aesthetic. Due to their long history, clay tiles have a very traditional look. For instance, it was the roofing of choice for the first European settlers in the Americas in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and this remained because of their aesthetic.
After the Second World War, Britain’s ability to produce clay tiles at the same quality as foreign competition whilst keeping low prices quickly diminished. At a time of international economic recovery combined with domestic expansion, alternatives needed to be found closer to home. To facilitate the huge 1950s housing schemes, concrete tiles steadily rose in demand, having struggled to gain momentum in the 1920s. By the 1960s they had become industry standard.
One key factor behind this popularity is that they’re cheap to manufacture, making them popular with developers. Plus, they’re much more adaptable and able to be created in a variety of shapes and sizes compared to clay tiles. Although they give you a low-maintenance roofing setup and despite them being fire-resistant, they’re a lot heavier than clay tiles and have less aesthetic appeal.
Slate is the least popular option of the three but it has always been a signifier of wealth. When the Romans invaded Britain for the first time in 43 A.D., they put a slate roof on the fort of Segontium which was the largest and most important in Wales. Various important buildings, including Calder Abbey (1134), Conwy Castle (1283), and Dumbarton Castle (1445) also had slate rooves. They had a brief resurgence in Victorian England as the newly-invented steam trains allowed easier transportation but their demand declined steadily by the early 1900s.
As housing trends increasingly turn toward traditional materials, the popularity of slate tiles is slowly on the rise. Their main attraction, apart from signifying wealth, is their durability as they can last a century, sometimes a century and a half. Although they’re much more expensive initially, this is offset by their longevity. They might be a very environmentally friendly material to make roof tiles from but they’re also much heavier than clay and concrete alternatives.
Here at James Dunn Roofing, we want you to be truly comfortable in your home and confident in how it looks. Hence, we can install and maintain clay, concrete, and slate tiles to suit your specific requirements. If you have any further questions about roof tile options, or if you’d like to hear about our other services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 01865 373 614 today!