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- while associated primarily with roofs,
they are used throughout buildings to provide floors and walls. They
have been produced in quantity since medieval times using what is essentially the same process as
manufacture. Wherever bricks were made, tiles were too, and generally commanded the best quality
there were early moves to standardise them, they long remained a local product. The flat roofing tile became the
most common, but the earliest tile systems used by the Romans involved a large cambered tile and a narrower semi
cylindrical tile. The large tile was laid concave face uppermost and the smaller tile was laid concave face down to
cover the upward turned edges. The cylindrical tile which often tapers is said to be the result of a man moulding
the clay along the length of his thigh. Half round tiles are still in use laid alternatively face up and face down and
are referred to as "Spanish tiles", "over and unders" or less reverantly, "monks and nuns", they are suitable for low
pitches but are not easily cut. Ordinary roofing tiles 10.5x6.5 inches are often referred to as "plain tiles".
Flat tiles are double lapped ie there are two thicknesses over the roof. Tiles were traditionally secured by pegs on
battens, nibs came into use towards the end of the 19th century.