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How Roofing Systems Evolved Over Time

How Roofing Systems Evolved Over Time

Roofing systems have certainly come a long way from simple shelters to the modern roofing options in use today. At Superior Roofing, we would like to share a brief history on the evolution of roofing systems.

How Roofing Systems Evolved Over Time

From Thatch to Clay

The first real roofing systems were developed at the same time people learned to put together walls to build houses. Early houses used available materials, such as thatch, mud and even animal skins, to cover their abodes. These early drafts provided protection from the sun and rain, but weren’t effective against leaks, wind and intrusion from insects and vermin. These roofs also offered little protection from the cold.

Around 3,000 BC, halfway around the world, the Chinese found a way to manufacture tiles by baking clay. This then-new roofing technology was adopted by neighboring countries and soon spread across the world. Greece concurrently developed the same technology, reflected in ancient structures that still stand today. Romans brought tile roofing to England, which at the time predominantly had homes sporting a more sophisticated version of thatched roofs. The Great Fire of London in 1666 ended the use of thatched roofing, requiring all property owners to switch to clay tiles.

The 20th Century

The technology to mass-produce clay roofing tiles became prevalent after the 19th century, along with it came innovations, such as adding pigments. This era also saw the rise of early roof replacement techniques. At around the same time, more affordable alternatives, such as asphalt shingles, were becoming popular. In Germany, green roofs became popular in the 1970s after being in use for decades. The postwar baby boom led to more people buying homes, which led to increased demand for affordable housing. By this time, clay and slate gave way to asphalt shingles as the roofing material of choice, given its relatively low manufacturing cost and decades-long lifespan.

Modern Roofing

Today, clay and asphalt shingles are still much in use, coexisting with later options like metal and membrane roofing. Asphalt shingles remain the top choice for most homeowners, and with GAF® introducing products like architectural roofing shingles in addition to traditional three-tab shingles, this gives homeowners a wide variety of options. This includes features like impact and wind resistance and the ability to reflect sunlight to keep the attic cool and reduce air conditioning requirements.

Superior Roofing is a GAF Master Elite® contractor who provides the best roofing services, including roof repair and installation. Call us today at (334) 298-5253. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a free estimate. We serve Phenix City, AL and nearby areas.