Many of downtown Charleston's historic homes feature beautiful clay tile roof shingles, that besides being very attractive, afford a cooling method for the entire house. This fashion dates back to colonial tims, when local clays were kiln-baked inside molded patterns that are distinctive by their undulating surface. This uneven, yet symmetrical surface deflects the sun's rays much more effectively than flat tiles, preventing the absorbing of heat during hot hours of the day. Typically these tiles have a thin patina of tar or pitch to prevent water intrusion, and the rounded surfaces patterns allow for passage of air through the roof top, adding to the cooling effect.

 Some of the most attractive clay tile roof tops can be found along Tradd Street, in the heart of the historic district, which still boasts the largest concentration of pre-Revolutionary houses in America, with more than 50 on this one graceful street alone. 

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