A roof covering that is composed of individual elements that overlaps one another is called roof shingles. The word “shingle”, etymologically speaking, is a corruption of a German word “schindle”, which roughly translate to “roofing slate”. “Shingles”, particularly outside the US, is a term that was originally and historically used to refer to roofing tiles made of wood only. Within the US, the term today applies to any roofing tiles of any materials. Speaking of which, shingles can be made out of wood, asphalt, fiber cement, plastic, metal, flagstone, or slate. Typically, each shingle is flat and rectangular in shape and is laid one atop the other from the roof edge to the top.
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