The History of Roof Tiles

One of the main places where fire hazards start was at the roof (according to an investigation in 1958), because homes their insulation made out of very flammable materials such as wood. Roof coverings were typically fibreglass and bitumen shingles, people do bonfires, fireworks (invented in medieval China in the 7th century to scare away evil spirits), and back in the ‘50s, there were hardly any research on the dangerous of smoking so, almost everyone smoked! So when a roof catches on fire, you might as well think of finding another house to live in. The History of roof tiles revealed this to us.

Roofs are extremely important to us. We take them for granted until we went out of the house and found ourselves under heavy rain or the scorching heat of sunlight. Studying the history of roof tiles may be boring but if one of the humans living in the world didn’t start studying the history of roof tiles we would not have figured out that the best type of roof is to make its apex pitched so instead of slowly eroding our slabs of roof by being a puddle above our heads, rainwater will slide off effortlessly.

The earliest known roofing material in the history of roof tiles was the woolly skin of a giant mammoth, which was noted during 40, 000 BC in Siberia. As humans evolved and become more knowledgeable, different materials were used for roofs; the most familiar being slating and tiling which was introduced by the Romans in 100 BC. Fired roof tiles are found as early as the 3rd millennium BC in the Early Helladic House of the tiles in Lerna, Greece. Debris found at the site contained thousands of terracotta tiles having fallen from the roof. In the Mycenaean period, roofs tiles are documented for Gla and Midea. The earliest finds of roof tiles specifically in archaic Greece are documented from a very restricted area around Corinth, where fired tiles began to replace thatched roofs (which made slating and tiling famous in 735 AD, along with wooden shingles another 300 years after that) at two temples of Apollo and Poseidon between 700 and 650 BC. Spreading rapidly, roof tiles were within fifty years in evidence for a large number of sites around the Eastern Mediterranean, including Mainland Greece, Western Asia Minor, and Southern and Central Italy. Slating and Tiling were further made famous by the thatched roof.

Woolly Mammoth Roof

Woolly Mammoth Roof

However, from the history of roof tiles, it wasn’t until the 12th century when roofing technology kicked off. It was at this time that King John of England issued a new law in London that forced London citizens to replace their thatch and reed-roof coverings with clay roof tiles as a measure of preventing the spread of fires; this was known as the roofing declaration law. It is believed that at this time, the mass production of roofing tiles began.

Early roof tiles showed an S-shape, with the pan and cover tile forming one piece. They were rather bulky affairs, weighing around 30 kg (66 lb) apiece. Being more expensive and labour-intensive to produce than thatch, their introduction has been explained by their greatly enhanced fire resistance, which gave desired protection to the costly temples.

The spread of the roof tile technique has to be viewed in connection with the simultaneous rise of monumental architecture in ancient Greece. Only the newly appearing stone walls, which were replacing the earlier mudbrick and wood walls, were strong enough to support the weight of a tiled roof. As a side-effect, it has been assumed that the new stone and tile construction also ushered in the end of ‘Chinese roof’ (Knickdach) construction in Greek architecture, as they made the need for an extended roof as rain protection for the mudbrick walls obsolete.
Production of dutch roof tiles started in the 14th century when city rulers required the use of fireproof materials. At the time, most houses were made of wood and had thatch roofing, which would often cause fires to quickly spread. To satisfy demand, many small roof tile makers began to produce roof tiles by hand. Many of these small factories were built near rivers where there was a ready source of clay and cheap transport.

Years later in 1805, dreadnought clay roof tiles were produced and were considered a revolution in industrial roofing in the history of roof tiles; roofs at this time had little insulation but a cleverly designed slope ensured that rainwater and debris were drained. It was a century later that the more modern concrete roofing tiles that we are accustomed to were first utilised.

Roofing remains one of man’s most practical and innovative creations; it is also influential in cultural architecture around the world. Whilst some buildings continue with historical roofing materials, the majority of structures use new modern technology to accommodate modern building techniques and styles.
By studying the history of roof tiles, we have figured out the best roof tile designs not only for the preservement and investigations of various cultures from civilization to civilization, but also for the improvement of our safety.

Searching through the internet about roof is just going to bombard you with so many details. I wrote an article that says all you really need to know about roof tiles plus tips on how to take care of roof tiles.

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