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  • Writer's pictureRainy Day Exteriors

The History of Roofing



As your go-to roofing company in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, and Port Orchard, we are proud of the work we do. Roofing is a part of our family, and the history of roofing is something that interests us greatly. Over the centuries, various materials and techniques have been used to roof homes, each reflecting the cultural and technological conditions of the time. From thatched reeds and clay tiles to asphalt shingles and solar panels, the roofing of homes has a rich and fascinating history. Let’s learn more.


The Earliest Roofs


The earliest roofs were made of thatched reeds or grasses and were used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. These roofs were highly effective at insulating homes and keeping the interior dry. Thatching was widely used for roofing in rural areas throughout the centuries, particularly in England where it remained popular until the 19th century.

Clay tiles were also widely used for roofing in ancient times and can be traced to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. The tiles were made by shaping and firing clay into a durable and water-resistant form and were often used in conjunction with wooden beams and rafters to provide additional structural support. The use of clay tiles became widespread throughout Europe during the medieval period and continues to be a popular choice for roofing today, particularly in areas with a Mediterranean climate.


Medieval Times


In medieval Europe, the use of wooden shingles became common in rural areas where timber was readily available. These shingles were usually made from split pieces of wood and were fitted together to form a continuous surface that could be covered with a layer of thatch or other material. The use of wooden shingles declined with the advent of mass production techniques in the 19th century, which made it possible to produce shingles from more durable and weather-resistant materials.


The Industrial Revolution


The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century brought with it new materials and technologies that revolutionized the roofing industry. The widespread use of iron and steel for construction and the development of new roofing materials such as asphalt shingles and corrugated metal panels made it possible to roof homes more efficiently and economically than ever before. Asphalt shingles, in particular, became popular due to their affordability, durability, and ease of installation. They are still one of the most commonly used roofing materials today, particularly in the United States and Canada.


The 20th Century


The 20th century saw the development of new roofing materials, including concrete tiles, fiberglass shingles, and synthetic rubber roofing systems. These materials were designed to provide improved insulation and water resistance and to offer a wider range of design options than traditional roofing materials. The advent of spray foam insulation in the late 20th century made it possible to achieve high levels of insulation and air sealing in homes, which improved energy efficiency and comfort.


In recent years, there has been a growing trend toward the use of green roofing materials and technologies, such as solar panels and living roofs. These systems not only provide a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option for roofing homes, but also offer a range of additional benefits, such as reduced energy costs, improved insulation, and increased wildlife habitat.


Roofing is an incredible industry with a fascinating history that reflects the cultural, technological, and environmental conditions of each era. Whether you choose a traditional or cutting-edge roofing system, Rainy Day Exteriors is here to help you find the right new roof for you. If you are ready to get started, contact us today.



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