Roofing has been around almost as long as mankind, which makes sense because mankind would have needed shelter. Sleeping out in the rain or snow is not desired by anybody, so coverage has long been a necessity. Caves initially provided shelter but because of the dark and damp environment they created, alternatives were sought. Not to mention the fact that sometimes, you ended up sharing the cave with wildlife. As far back as 40,000 BC, mammoth skins were discovered that had been used as roofing material, which marked the beginning of the history of roofing.
The History of Roofing
Natural materials like sod or animal hides made ideal options for roofing materials. In fact natural materials have been used for roofing longer than the more recent trend of tiles. China was the first place to see glass tile roofing almost 5,000 years ago and today many of the architecture still employs that same style of roofing. While more modern materials have taken over in terms of popularity, glass tiles are still used for special buildings such as palaces and temples. At the same time that glass tiles were developed and used, Greece was using flat ceramic tiles. Similar tiles or shingles were created by the Romans and brought to England in 100 BC and for close to 800 years, these tiles were commonly used in roofing for wealthier areas across Europe.
Since the creation of straw huts, thatched roofing has been a key part of architectural design. Ancient nomadic tribes would use bundles of wood for roofing when animal hides became hard to come by. The concept became popular and thanks to its effectiveness, was used through the coming ages on many buildings including stone structures. Thatched roofing remained a low-cost option, even into modern times. Over the last 200 years, more modern materials have been developed and are used for roofing projects. As we move forward, materials continue to get eco-friendlier as the environment and energy conservation gain in popularity and importance. Roofing today has advanced past being just for protection and designs incorporate ways to save money at the same time as be aesthetically pleasing.
Considering that the roofing profession started with stretched animal hides over poles and stones, major advances have been made.
Essentially, the concept of a roof remains the same. Protection from the elements is the main goal of roofing and materials are found and developed accordingly, depending on available resources. As we move towards the future, more innovative and technologically advanced methods and materials will be discovered, taking roofing into the next century.