The History of Roofing Materials

Published March 17th, 2023 by Rose Building Contractors, Inc.

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Property owners have great assets and the real estate market is heated, people are competing with each other to raise profits by selling, renting, and buying properties. But it is interesting how it all came to be. 

Life is unimaginable without shelter and a roof over your head today. Weather volatility makes it especially hard for us to live without a ceiling. However, there is a time in history when people did not have homes and roofing materials did not exist.

The History of Roofing in the Ancient World

The first time humans started to create homes for themselves, they used straws, reeds, and grass. Such soft materials did not prove to be very safe from the cold weather, however. 

Ancient Chinese Roofs

The Chinese depended on their rivers to build homes. They used thatched roofing that was supported by wood walls. People in Ancient China were quick to get a hold of stone and brick as they began producing clay tiles. Ceramic roofing tiles first appeared around 1000 BC in China. 

Around 206 BC the Chinese started creating beautiful architecture and building upturned roofs. The used tiles were flat as well as upturned. The flat tiles were used for most of the roofing, as upturned tiles were used on the edges. These roofs did not only serve an aesthetic purpose, but they were practical as they held a lot of rainwater, shielding walls.

Ancient Egyptian Roofs

Some of the first civilizations in history had houses built from mud, wood, and planks. Ancient Egypt still fascinates historians and archaeologists with its architecture of pyramids. Ancient Egyptians had small homes, the roofs of which were made out of mud bricks and wood. 

However, Egyptians did not have much wood to use as roofing materials. This is the reason why they used dried mud bricks to build homes that could resist flooding and rain. 

Ancient Greek and Roman Roofs

Although people lived in simple huts in some parts of the world, the Greeks started using tiles as roofs around 700 BC, because they started using stones as walls and they could hold heavier roofing materials. Greeks made tiles out of heated clay. Romans took a liking to this roofing system and used it for their homes. 

Another popular choice for Greeks and Romans was marble. Ancient Greek temples are some of the most popular sites in the world, it’s common knowledge that after many invasions, Romans started building similar pieces of architecture over time, modeling after Greek architecture. Marble was used to cover the floors and serve as roofing materials in large public buildings, but mostly in temples. 

Furthermore, the system was quickly passed on to Britain as Romans used clay tiles in Britain around 100 AD. However, only wealthy people could afford clay tile roofing. Most people still used turf roofs. 

The History of Roofing in the Medieval World

People started using thatched roofs in the 700s, before the option of using wood shingles as a roofing material became popular at the beginning of the 12th century. 

Because wood roofing became so popular, fires would easily catch on in cities, and the damp weather of Britain made it difficult for people to live under such conditions. Because of these reasons, King John ordered that clay roofs would be used in London in 1212. Slate tiles became a roofing material option in the 1300s. New roofing materials had not been invented since before the 1700s. This is when the reinvention of concrete occurred. In 1824 Portland cement began to be produced. Since cement proved to be the most effective roofing material, it was the most used material in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Roofing Materials Today

Today we have a variety of materials to choose from. Technology is more developed than ever. We have the liberty to create beautiful pieces of architecture using wood, brick, cement, or stone. According to these Los Angeles property managers, home maintenance is easily manageable in our day and age as we have strong roofing systems and many ways to protect them.

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