History of Roofs

As long as man has been around there have been a need for shelter and protection from the elements. Throughout history roofs have been made from available resources.  Cavemen covered their structures with sod roofs covered with earth and plants.  These early shelters provided good insulation unfortunately they were not vermin or waterproof.

Research has shown the first known glazed clay roof tile was used in China 5,000 years ago. Greece and Babylon used flat earthenware roof tiles between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. The Romans brought variations of the Greek clay tiles to England as early as 100 BC.

Around 735 AD thatched roofs were developed and used.  Wood shingles were introduced 300 years later. In an effort to prevent spreading fires, the 12th century King John issued a law in London that citizens were to replace their thatch and reed roof coverings with clay tiles.

Industrial production of clay roofing tiles began in the 19th century.  One hundred years later concrete roof tiles were first used, when first introduced in the early 1900’s the practice was to add a pigment to resemble clay roofing tiles.

In the early 1970’s Germany began developing and marketing the first green roof systems. Asphalt also became available in the 19th century.  It quickly became a popular product due to the ability to mass produce it at a reasonable cost.

Most of the changes in roofing materials have developed in the last 200 years. Although people generally still use the most available materials for the region. Wood and metal are used in the southern part of North America, slate in the northeast, wood in the Midwest and tile in the southwestern part of North America.

Now we are seeing technological advances in glass, polymer and smog absorbing tiles.  Who knows what will be common roof coverings in our near future. With a trend in energy savings we will undoubtedly see a emergence in earth friendly roof top materials.



Roofing Quote

Get a free quote from a roof contractor in your neighborhood in seconds! We never share your information and only seek to put you in touch with the best local roofer in your area.