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Roofing History

By: Bidmyreno Admin | Feb 16, 2016

Home Exterior


Advancements in roofing have been made over the years in regards to durability, sustainability, and aesthetics. From the earliest fire-hazardous and short-lived straw roofs to a modern green roof.

Though roofs have always served to protect inhabitants from the outdoors, basic improvements such as slanting a roof and adding eavestroughs for proper water drainage, as well as the use of water resistant shingles make them more efficient in serving this purpose. Roofing construction largely depends on the given climate. In areas prone to  high-winds and storms, extra measures need to be taken to secure a roof to the home, and wood, aluminum and concrete are preferred over and clay and ceramic shingles which will crack if trees fall on them. However, wood is obviously not a fire-resistant material and is another factor to consider when selecting a material. These considerations paired with budget and desired style will determine the selection. Sunroofs, rooftop patios, and solar panels area few modern day features of a roof.

The Ancient Romans had the right idea when building roofs with slating and tiling as these materials are strong and offer effective protection against the weather. Centuries later King John required that all flammable roof-coverings such as those made of reed and thatch be replaced with clay tiles because fire accidents were becoming more common. Today, tiling continues to one method of roofing, either in clay, slate or concrete materials because it makes for a long lasting and durable surface.

From there, different types of roofing developed which still exist today, from flat concrete to aluminum. Then the concept of shingling came to be where shingles were made from asphalt, wood and clay - asphalt being the most common material in North America due to their water proofing component. They will last 20 years, and 10 - 20 longer if covered in copper sheeting. This type of shingle is available in a variety of colors and cheaper than other kinds. A newer design of fiberglass asphalt shingle, called laminated or architectural, uses two distinct layers which are bonded together with asphalt sealant.

Laminate shingles are heavier, more expensive, and arguably more durable than traditional 3-tab shingle designs. Laminated shingles also give a more varied, contoured visual effect to a roof surface.

Wood shingles are thick and strong, typically lasting 25 years, which is similar to many other roofs.

Metal roofs are prominent for durability and are used widely today in buildings because metals like aluminum, copper, and many other strong metals that are incorporated in metal roofs can provide a strong roofing solution.  However they are expensive to install due to the requirement of special tools as well as skills.

Clay takes to the heat well and offer great curb appeal.

Slate is a more quality another material used for tiling, however it is much harder to install requiring extensive structures to support the weight.

Concrete tile roof coverings are gaining popularity in warm climates because they are comparable to slate roofs, yet offer more affordable options.  They have added staying power when it comes to holding up to bad weather. Areas prone to hurricanes and cyclones require a roof that is able to withstand extreme rain and wind. Holding the roof down is best accomplished by installing steel hook brackets placed approximately every 900 mm around the perimeter, bolting the truss to the reinforced concrete block wall.

The underlying structure of a roof is as important as its covering or shingling material.A local roofing expert - like HRS Roofing in Houston can advise you further here, but basically a roofs structure is referred to as the truss, which can be constructed in large quantities separate from the home itself. Components of tie beams and joists secure the roof. At one point, flat roofs as compared to slanted ones were considered a poor idea due to the weight of standing water and snow, and were typically only applied to sheds and other simple buildings.  However, flat roofs are being re-considered as a  lasting roofing solution for commercial and residential buildings.  Ongoing inspections, maintenance and repairs are required for the long lasting life of roof.