When Things Fall Apart

The best way to learn how buildings get put together may be to build them, or to watch them be built. But another pretty good way to learn how things go together is to see them falling apart.

You may not ever notice the piece of clay tile that plugs up the bottom of a curved tile at the edge of the roof – but here, in the center of the photo below, it’s sliding out, so you see it, and this may make you curious.


Some people call these eave closure pieces “birdstops.” Some manufacturers provide such accessory pieces in metal. These, on an old house in Denver, are clay to match the roof tiles. Their purpose is to keep out weather, birds, and little four-legged critters.

Falling apart has an upside – we can learn how things are supposed to be put together.

4 thoughts on “When Things Fall Apart

  1. You also can see that the lower corner of the tile to the right of the one in question is broken off, giving an entry to weather and little four-legged critters, if not birds.

    As my wife would say, these are things only architects would notice–and I mean that as a high compliment.

    • Thanks, Dave. That particular roof has some problems, especially broken corners on tiles, but also some tiles that seem knocked a bit out of place, and things like that. I may knock on their door and tell them. Denver got hammered by hail in June and July of 2015 and most asphalt shingle roofs got replaced after that, so I wonder if some of the damage is from one of those 2 storms.

      • Spanish tile roofs can be beautiful–range of colors, the play of shadow and light–but the tile is brittle, and I can see where they can be damaged in a hailstorm.

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