As long as mankind has needed shelter, roofing has been around. Sleeping outside in the elements is not something anybody wants, so coverage has long been a necessity. Caves initially provided shelter for the first humans but because of the dark and damp environment they created, alternatives were sought. Plus, you sometimes ended up sharing the cave with the local wildlife. Mammoth skins were discovered as a source of roofing as far back as 40,000 BC, and this officially marked the beginning of roofing history.
The History of Roofing
Natural materials like sod or animal hide served as ideal options for roofing materials. Natural materials have been used for roofing for much longer than the tiles (which are used today) have been used. China was the first place to develop and use glass tile roofing close to 5,000 years ago and today much of the country’s architecture still employs that same style of roofing and materials. While more modern materials have taken over in terms of popularity, glass tiles are still used for special buildings such as palaces and temples. While China was developing glass tiles, the Greeks were using flat ceramic tiles for roofing. Similar tiles or shingles were created by the Romans and were then brought to England in 100 BC and were used for centuries. These ceramic tiles were most commonly used in roofing for wealthier areas across Europe.
Since the creation of straw huts, thatched roofing has been a key part of architectural and roofing design. Ancient nomadic tribes used bundles of wood for roofing when it became difficult to find animal hides. The concept of straw thatching became popular and because if its effectiveness, it was used through the coming ages on many structures. Thatched roofing has always been and continues to be a low-cost option. Over the last 200 years, more modern materials have been developed and are used for roofing projects. As we move forward, the move is towards eco-friendly materials as the environment and energy conservation are of increasing importance. Roofing today is for so much more than just protection and designs incorporate ways to save money at the same time as ensuring the building is aesthetically pleasing.
Considering that the roofing profession started with stretched animal hides over poles and stones, major advances have been made in the roofing industry. As we move towards the future, more innovative and technologically-advanced methods and materials will be discovered, taking roofing to the next level.