An Architect’s Guide To: Roof Tiles and Shingles

Lift the lid on refined roof tiles and chic shingles.

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From how to specify asphalt shingles to how to create an experimental snake skin effect with zinc or ceramic tiles, we’ve spent this week investigating how architects can build better and innovate with some of the world’s most ubiquitous roofing materials. Here’s your definitive guide to roof tiles and shingles!

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Left: the Low House by McKim, Mead & White via WTTW; right: Martin Lancaster House by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects via freshome

What’s the Deal With Roof Tiles and Shingles?

Shingles and roof tiles perform basically the same function — both shingles and roof tiles are mainly used to shed water off a building — but roof tiles have been around for centuries and are still usually preferred in high-end design. Tiles are usually made out of more durable materials, like stone, and generally last longer than shingles, which are typically wood or fiberglass. But, little shingle, don’t frown! You are a wondrous thing.” Check out the full story here.

Installing asphalt shingles; via Modernize

How to Specify: Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a very common type of roofing material due to their low cost and ease of installation. They consist of a fiberglass or organic core of wood and paper fibers that are sandwiched between asphalt and ceramic granules. When ordering asphalt shingles, your most important considerations will be aesthetic: choosing the shape, texture and color that best matches the rest of your project. That said, you’ll also need to provide some information on the structural characteristics of your building to determine how much weight the roof can support.” Check out the full story here.

Image via Tesla

Behind the Design: How Solar Roof Tiles Really Work

“News has radiated around the roofing industry in recent weeks thanks to Tesla’s introduction of its new solar roof shingles, which are coming into pilot production right now. Elon Musk’s plan to provide homeowners with a new-and-improved version of resilient, miniature solar panels is a monumental step for proponents of sustainable housing — and overall for the future of green building in the United States. Musk’s goal is to sell the preeminent product as an ultra-attractive roof replacement method. With over five million roofs annually swapped out in this country alone, solar cell roof tiles have the potential to make a big impact.” Check out the full story here.


© doomo

© doomo

Cascading Timber: 8 Beautiful Structures Clad in Cedar Shingles

“Cedar has a lot of advantages over other woods — it’s durable and has a natural resistance to decay and insect damage — and it naturally comes in a variety of hues, from salmon pink to a rich reddish brown. Common across New England, Scandinavia and Canada, the wood is a great local and sustainable cladding material. If you are looking for some design inspiration or you are curious about what cedar shingles can do, take a look at this collection.” Check out the full story here.

Case Studies

Architectural Details: MAD Architects’ Shingled Kindergarten

“Leave it to MAD Architects to design a kindergarten where every single element is dedicated to the adventure of play. From outer shingles to internal skeleton, Clover House isn’t the average children’s educational facility, it’s a space intended to embed itself into a child’s imagination. Set in Okazaki, Japan, the shell of Clover House was dropped in on top of an existing 1,130-square-foot row house that was typical of the mass-produced homes built during the postwar period. MAD Architects knocked out the walls of the compact house, kept its internal timber framing and fit an undulating white-shingled mass over top of it — making it a standout 3-D structure amid a sea of plain residential buildings.” Check out the full story here.

How to Give Your Project the “Snake Skin” Effect

“While most would not jump at the opportunity of purchasing a cliffside plot that rests at a 42-degree incline, most homes do not turn out as daring and cavernous as this one. Described by the architects as a “Gaudíesque contemporary cave,” Casa Del Acantilado features a curved double shell made from reinforced concrete, which defines and encloses the interior living spaces. Seven centimeters thick, the dramatic shell was moulded around a formwork of metal mesh and finished with gypsum plaster and handmade zinc tiles — a system that costs less than steel or timber roofing. Each scale-like zinc tile turns up slightly at one corner, naturally catching and bouncing the light.” Check out the full story here.

Architectural Details: An English Garden Studio Wrapped in Shingles, Steel and Stone

“The unexpected charm found in the quaint countryside of England is unparalleled. Open pastures and elegantly old-fashioned buildings intrinsically offer respite from the everyday business of contemporary society. Even outdated and neglected structures carry a certain beauty with them in such an environment. Ashworth Parkes Architects (APA), a Cambridge-based studio, added attractive rustic architecture to the agricultural setting of Warmington with Country Garden Studios. Composed of a series of timber-shingled, steel and stone buildings, the project focuses on the relationship between texture and typology.” Check out the full story here.

Search for Roof Tiles and Shingle Manufacturers

Having a nightmare specifying the ideal roof tiles and shingles for your latest project? Save time, money and your sanity by searching on Architizer’s community marketplace for building-products. Click here for more information.

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