Roofing materials made from clay and ceramic go far back into history, and appear to have originated in several different places. From Egypt, the practice of manufacturing roofing material from these materials spread throughout the Mediterranean. Tile roofing was also common in the Indus River Valley of present-day Pakistan, and could be found in China and Japan as well.
English roof tiles are an ancient tradition that goes back as far as Norman times. Since the 1200s, English roof tiles have been found primarily on the lavish homes of nobles and aristocrats. It is possible to find English roof tiles in a range of colors and shapes; these look fine on almost any style of home.
French Shingle Tiles
French houses that are most likely to have tile roof shingles are those located in Provence and other rural areas in the southern region of the country. At least one company in France has been manufacturing shingle roof tiles for over 450 years. Like their English counterparts, French shingle tiles can be made in a number of different shapes, sizes and colors, depending on the pigments used during the manufacturing process.
German Shingle Tiles
While Roman culture was a strong influence in Gaul and Britannia – provinces that eventually became France and England – the Romans were unable to expand their empire much further north than the Rhine River. Therefore, when the concept of tile roof shingles finally arrived in the various Teutonic countries that would eventually unite to become modern Germany in the 1870s, they developed into unique forms that bore little resemblance to Mediterranean roofing tiles.
As a reflection of the culture that gave rise to the Bauhaus school of architecture, these roof tiles are utilitarian in design, geometric in shape and have a minimalist appearance. If you have a contemporary design luxury home rather than a traditional one, German tile shingles may be a better choice than English roof tiles.
Tile shingles share the durability of ceramic, but are somewhat less durable than slate roofs. Like slate however, they are fireproof and will last for several decades with only minimal maintenance.