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Why panel houses in the USSR were covered with small tiles: you might not have guessed

Yulia PoteriankoNews
The gloomy appearance of Soviet panel skyscrapers arose for several reasons. Source: Created with the help of AI

Soviet architecture stands out visually not only for its gray colors and brutal forms. Panel houses of the Soviet era can also be recognized by the characteristic small format tiles that cover the entire height.

OBOZ.UA figured out where this trend in architecture came from. And what was the meaning of it.

Any techniques that were used in mass construction in the USSR were explained either by safety considerations or economy. And this tile was no exception. In 1971, it was introduced into building standards and disappeared from use only after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The main reason for the appearance of such tiles was protective. "Panels" were built from concrete slabs, and concrete is a rather porous material that can be penetrated by organic pollutants and water, which can eventually lead to the development of mold, stains on the surface of the material, and the gradual destruction of concrete. The coating allows you to protect the house from such effects.

In addition, ceramic tiles reflect some of the heat in summer, so the air inside the house remains slightly cooler. It also does not fade in the sun and is easily cleaned by precipitation - rain and snow. As a result, the house looks more neat.

In addition, it is a fairly inexpensive material. It is also much cheaper and faster to install tiles than to insulate and paint the facade. To do this, you need to use different materials and put them in several layers. Here, you just put the tiles on the glue and you're done.

But wasn't it more convenient to cover concrete panels with large format tiles? Of course, it was more convenient. However, this creates a considerable danger. From time to time, such a coating falls off the facade and falls - either into the yard where children play, or onto the sidewalk, or onto the roadway. A large and heavy piece of ceramic can cause serious injuries and even kill a person. Therefore, the designers decided to decorate the houses with smaller and, accordingly, lighter coating elements.

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