Roofing came from an instinct need of protecting oneself from the weather and other elements. Throughout the history of mankind, roofing has evolved and developed, from the use of twigs and straws to metals and tiles.
These techniques came as newer types of clay roofing tiles were developed and introduced. This was a significant step forward to the designs of the roofs that wwe know today.
From the 19th century up to the present day, we have seen various roofing materials that are favored by certain regions in the US. While the Midwest has always preferred wood, the Southwest otherwise has used mostly tiles. The use of metal and tile is much more common in the southern US.
It was the Romans who introduced to the “red tiled roofs” in Middle Europe due to their durability. And many of the ancient buildings in Rome (and elsewhere in Italy) with red tile roofs are still strong today.
This was largely due to the increase in demand for clay roofing tiles.
This is another type of a ceramic roof tile, which is popular in the US (especially in the south/southwestern regions). Its one-barrel design creates attractive patterns of “ripples” across the roof.
This is due to the plentiful supply of raw materials. Way back then, roof-making was considered an craft, but it nevertheless considered laborious. It required thorough experience in the process of roof-making, as well as expansive knowledge of the suitable roofing materials.
Wood shingles were popular until 1911, when the National Board of Fire Underwriters appealed to eliminate them. Asphalt shingles, which were made to imitate wood shingles, were also introduced around that time. They were favored over wood shingles as the former is highly fire-resistant.
The earliest recorded roofing was the woolly skin of a mammoth, found in Sibera way back 40,000 years ago (before Christ).
Despite the later introduction and favor towards other roof tiles like slate, metal, and clay tile as they are more resistant to fire, wood shingles were never ditched. Even 20th century architectural styles, like the Colonial Revival, still used wood shingles.
As technology advanced, so did the development of other roofing materials. The glass fiber-based felt added much more tensile strength. It was also thinner and much more lightweight.
After 1900, anyone could purchase basically the similar roofing layered with granulated stone from suppliers such as Sears, Roebuck and Company — the all-too common roll roofing that is usually seen in garages, barns and other industrial structures.
The use of clay roofing tiles first began in China as early as 10,000 BC.
And you can see the evidence if you happen to have visited in many European cities, most of which feature old homes with clay roof tiles still intact. In the present day, the durability of building materials have become more important to the homeowner who can recognize and appreciate the high quality and sturdiness of clay-based roofing.
This characteristic of clay roof tiles as being highly resistant to fire was finally recognized in 1212 when King John of England issued building codes for London to eliminate the use of roofing materials that could easily catch fire.
The roofs were made of woven fabric covered with some tar-like substance such as pine tar, and sand. Later years saw the improvements such as infusing fabric with asphalt and a combination of other materials such as sand, talc, or powdered limestone.