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Fall, 2003: Issue #3:


Historic and Obsolete Roofing Tile

Preserving the History of Roofing Tiles

Historic and Obsolete Roofing Tile
2001 by Vincent H. Hobson, in association with Melvin Mann
Remai Publishing Company, Inc., Evergreen, Colorado USA
254 pages, indexed, with glossary and bibliography; ISBN 0965544117 (paperback) $69.95 US; $104.44 Canada

It has become increasingly difficult over the years to find definitive published resource material that is useful in the restoration and repair of older slate and tile roofs. Although the Slate Roof Bible has filled that gap with regard to slate roofs, there has been little, if anything, in print regarding tile roofs. Vincent Hobson has filled a huge information gap with his 2001 book, Historic and Obsolete Roofing Tile, a full-color book with well over 700 color photographs. Hobson's book provides anyone interested in clay tile roofs with the self-described "only guide to identifying old roofing tiles." Hobson delves into the history of clay roofing tiles, which dates back 12,000 years, adorns the book with numerous old documents and illustrations, then takes the reader on a journey that identifies hundreds of historic and obsolete tile types, each carefully photographed against a scale.

The Tile Reference Guide also lists average number of pieces per square as well as average weight per square for each type of tile. Add to this a trouble-shooting chapter with photos of hail damaged tiles, a bibliography, and a glossary, and you have undoubtedly the most comprehensive antique roof tile identification book in existence. Since the primary purpose of the book is the identification of tile, it does not cover techniques or methods of installation or repair. However, the proper repair and restoration of older tile roofs is dependent upon a supply of matching replacement tiles. This book is an important tool enabling the restoration contractor, building owner, architect, or roofer to correctly identify obscure types of older roofing tiles.

Hobson also maintains an historic and antique tile supply business called Custom Tile Roofing, Inc. where a 400,000 piece tile inventory is maintained [2875 West Hampden Avenue, Englewood, Colorado 80110; ph: 303-761-3831; FAX 303-761-3839]. Between this book and the tile inventories that Hobson coordinates, there is no longer any excuse for tile roof restoration to be done with non-matching tiles.

Additional sources of both new and salvaged roofing tiles are listed at Information about how to repair tile roofs is included in the new Slate Roof Bible, 3rd edition.

Order Hobson's book from: Remai Publishing Company, Inc., P.O. Box 1837, Evergreen, Colorado 80437. Order online at

Click here for information about Tile Roof Repair

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