Roman Roof Tiles

How imbrices and tegulae actually fitted together

Roman tiled roofing is often found in large quantities on digs of Roman buildings but it is sometimes difficult to imagine what the terracotta fragments looked like when they were all still in situ covering a roman house.

tegulaWe generally find two shapes of roof tile and we call these tegulae (singular is tegula) and imbrices (singular is imbrex).

Tegulae are flat oblong tiles with raised sides.


Imbrices are half pipes, slightly enlarged at one end.

They fit together so that a tegula always slightly overlaps the one below it and on each side the gaps between the tegulae are covered by the imbraces. This is very similar to tiled roof construction still in use in many parts of the world today.