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Since the Neolithic period, the strong, durable clay tile has been a part of architectural and cultural history. The roofing material has seen its fair share of popularity in different countries over time but it is now one of the most premium roofing materials on the market today.

Clay Tile History

The earliest record of clay being used as a roofing material can be found in China as far back as the Neolithic Age. But thanks to The Silk Road and other forms of trade, the use of clay tiles slowly made its way to the Middle East and eventually Europe. According to archaeologist David Graeber, the oldest discovered terra-cotta roofing tiles were found in the Temple of Hera’s Olympia ruins. It is believed that the tile dates back to 1000 BCE.

Cities like Paris, Rome, Prague, Madrid, and other cities across Europe are characterized by their red terracotta rooftops. These tiles define the landscapes of these cities. Far-reaching stories have been written about their beauty, artists have sung and danced across them, and lovers have sat together on them, gazing with dreamy eyes at the night sky.

But Europe isn’t the only place that embraced the roof tiles. Remnants and ruins of historic clay tiles can be found scattered across the world. People everywhere recognized its strength and durability. They were also cheap to manufacture as many communities situated along riverbeds used clay and mud and baked them in the sun to form the roof tiles. And because they last pretty much forever, you can visit these old towns and still see the buildings’ original roof tiles.

Arriving In The New World

When the Dutch, Spanish, and French set off for the New World and set up their colonies, they donned their homes in beautiful clay roofing systems. These rooftops quickly became popular amongst the settlers, which led to the creation of a manufacturing plant along the upper Hudson River valley. Spanish missionaries in California favored the clay tile and incorporated it in all their architecture. In New Orleans, the French made use of the tile to add their French aesthetic to the city. Tile and clay shards have even been found in the early Jamestown and St. Augustine settlements.


Clay tiles are used today to create all kinds of aesthetics. Some use it to imitate European luxury villas, others use it to add some color and vibrance to their home, but most use the tile because of its strength, durability, and longevity. For whatever reason, there is a roofing tile out there for just about everyone.

Looking to add some personality to your home, then give A-Tex Roofing & Remodeling a call today so that we can get started on your new tile roof.

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