Monday, 3 February 2014

How Roofs Began

Hello my fellow learners, today we are going to talk about the history of roofs. Ok I can see the eyes rolling and the yawns starting already. But stop a moment, we all take for granted the roof over our heads, but can anyone really say how they first began, and what they were made out of? Yes I thought not.

Ok let’s begin. Did you know that the first known roofs were made from earth and plants, these were known as Sod roofs, and some examples still exist even today. While they provided good insulation, they were not unfortunately waterproof, pests like rats and mice were known bed companions due to this type of roof.

As per usual the Chinese led the race by creating the first known clay roof over 5.000 years ago. Greece and Babylon were a close second using earthenware tiles, and the bloodthirsty Romans stole the Greeks idea on clay tiles incorporating them into many English structures.

Approximately 735AD thatched roofs starting popping up, and can still be seen today, but need specialized roofers to maintain them. Around 300 hundred years later wood shingles were created. But stop, let’s go back to thatched roofs for a moment, in the 12th century the then reigning King John issued an edict abolishing these roofs due to potential fire hazards, and replacing them with clay tiles.

In the 19th century mass production of these clay tiles began, these revolutionary tiles led the race for nearly 100 years. However, concrete began to replace them, with the advancement of technology, pigments were introduced mimicking their older counterpart’s clay.

In the 1970’s people started to be more aware of their environment, as a result of this Germany created the first ever green roof system. Around the same time a little known material called Asphalt started to appear. This material rapidly became popular due to its inexpensive manufacture.

Even with our vast leaps in technology, roofing materials over the last 200 years have basically stayed the same, with our eggheads just tweaking them to make them more effective. However, glass, polymer etc have started to appear. And who knows in the future what will be covering our heads. 

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