Monday, 8 May 2017

Roman tiles.



Our house is covered with old hand-made wonky Roman (or canal) tiles.

We had the roof re-done a few years back, using modern interlocking tiles for the underneath, and the old tiles back on top. The roof looks no different now from when it was first built 300 years ago. It wouldn't surprise me if most of the old tiles date from that time too.

The only real problem with Roman tiles is that they can slip. They aren't nailed or hooked onto anything; they just sit there hoping for the best. However, wind and rain does occasionally make them move down-hill and they need to be pushed up again with a long stick. I check mine just once a year, and the whole process of re-positioning takes about 10 minutes. Failure to do this makes it look as if one's roof is about to collapse (and in many cases it probably is).

My once a year time came a couple of days ago, and whilst pushing one or two back into place (usually right up at the ridge) I came across one that was completely broken. This isn't a major problem, as one simply removes the broken one and pushes another into place. No nails to remove; you just swap one for another.

Such roofs need to be of less than a certain angle; a 45 degree, or more, roof would have them sliding off to music. I'm not sure, but I would estimate a roof angle of about 30 degrees would be the maximum for these tiles.

They may not be the most efficient roof tiles, but they look 'right' on an old house. Nothing looks worse than inappropriate tiles on an old building. They shock; I could show you some horrors!



26 comments:

  1. I knew that tiles are not 'nailed' to place but I didn't know this sliding process-iteresting to imagine how old your tiles are and still going strong. If this is a photo of your roof then your tiles are beautiful still!
    Greeting Maria x

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's our roof; photographed yesterday.

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  2. Don't forget that the spares are really good at protecting new plants in the potager when placed upright together.

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    1. I used to use them for my young Tomato plants, but now I've gone all modern, and use ugly plastic pots instead.

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  3. The hues of burnt orange in the roof tiles is lovely.

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    Replies
    1. Years of weathering, lichens, etc.

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  4. I agree with Gabrielle; I like the chimney also.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't tried to disguise it's age.

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  5. There are pan-tiles you can buy called 'Paul's Patents'. They look the same as other pan-tiles but you can dance on them without them breaking.

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    Replies
    1. Our ones are very delicate; no hokey-kokey on our roof.

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  6. I too had single pan tiles on our roof in darkest Somerset. Each of them had large tang on the top inner edge that was placed over each roof batten and by that means the tiles only slipped if the tang broke off. There are single and double pan tiles and both types were held in place by tangs.

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    Replies
    1. Our tiles have nothing to hold them on, they're just a tapered rounded slab of clay.

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  7. They are beautiful, Cro. I know you take great pride in your home which takes a lot of work and the result is just lovely.

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    Replies
    1. I do like old houses to look like old houses. Just yesterday I noticed another ancient house that has inappropriate tiles and is having all the exterior stonework pointed. Like so many it'll end-up looking like a modern house (which is what they want).

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  8. I love them Cro - they look nicely weathered.

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    Replies
    1. Lots of different lichens on them.

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  9. You're not still climbing on the roof surely? The hospital wards and mortuaries are full of grey haired guys who think they're still 30. Be circumspect out there! I said circumspect.

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    Replies
    1. A chap I know landed on his bonce in a concrete yard. Fortunately before climbing up to tinker about on the roof he'd had a few bevvies to he was quite relaxed and only need 6 weeks in hospital. Fractured skull and other injuries. I'm being serious. I wonder about what you do sometimes.

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    2. I don't like heights too much, but what else can one do? If I called my roofer just to change one tile, he'd charge me €200.

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  10. They look lovely but two layers of tiles must make for a very heavy roof ???

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    Replies
    1. Very solid timbers Helsie. They need to be!

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  11. The tiles and the chimney look beautiful with their patterns and the overall old time feel. My parents' first home was built in the 80s... And the new one is from 2007-08. Yours at 300+ years is quite a bit of history!

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    Replies
    1. It was built in the era of Louis XIV.

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  12. Just lovely! Canada is a baby in comparison and doesn't have hundreds of years of history like that!

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