Cover Image
close this bookAppropriate Building Materials: a Catalogue of Potential Solutions (SKAT, 1988, 430 p.)
close this folderExamples of roof materials
View the documentEarth reel roofs
View the documentSoil brick roof
View the documentClay tile roofs
View the documentGypsum-sisal conoid
View the documentPrecast concrete channel roof
View the documentFerrocement roofs
View the documentCorrugated fibre concrete roofing sheets
View the documentFibre and micro concrete tiles
View the documentDurable thatch with stiff-stem grasses
View the documentBamboo roof structure
View the documentPole timber roof structures
View the documentBamboo and wood shingles
View the documentCorrugated metal sheet roofiing

Earth reel roofs


Special properties

Heavy, high thermal capacity roof

Economical aspects

Low cost



Skills required

Experience in earth construction

Equipment required

Standard construction equipment

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain

Depends on finishing coat

Resistance to insects


Climatic stability

Hot dry or highland climates

Stage of experience



· This roof construction system is suitable for sloping and flat roofs.

· Its density and heat retaining capacity make it well suited for hot dry or highland regions, where days are hot and nights are cool.

· The main component is a reel, made by rolling long vegetable fibrous material (generally straw) and a wet clayey soil around a wooden spindle (3 - 5 cm 0, 80 - 100 cm long).

· The reels are laid between the timber purlins when still moist and pressed against each other, the space between them being filled with a fibre-soil mix.

· After drying, the cracks are filled with a mud slurry, on top of which a 2 cm layer of soil, stabilized with finely chopped fibres and lime is applied.

· Finally, the roof is covered with a bitumen roofing felt and a layer of sand or fine gravel.

· On account of the large proportion of vegetable fibres and timber, the risk of termite attack is great.

Further information: Bibl. 02.19, 23.24.

Preparation of Earth Reels and Construction of Roof (Drawings: Vorhauer, Bibl. 23.24)