The History of Roofing Materials around the World

Our roofs are some of the biggest unsung heroes of our home; we don’t typically think about them unless something is wrong, but when something does go wrong, we notice immediately! But have you ever thought about how people living in ancient times protected their homes?

Roofing contractors in Bucks County PA tend to stick to a few classic materials like fake slate and asphalt tiling; years ago, roofs tended to use whatever material was nearby and available. For example, the earliest homes in Jamaica used thatching made of banana leaves because they were the most prolific material in the Caribbean environment. In Europe, most of the first cottages were patched with hay roofs. As you might suspect, both of these were good for the environment but not great for when it started to rain. Flooding and holes were an issue faced almost constantly, leading to the roof being patched or replaced multiple times a year.

One of the first societies to take a strategic view of roofing materials was the Chinese, who created roofing tiles out of clay as far back as 5,000 years ago. These clay tiles resemble an early version of the tiles we see today; roofers would create a clay tile from the same materials used to create pottery, and glaze over the tile for a shiny and protective surface.

Commercial roofing tiles we see today began being manufactured around the year 1800 in Germany, and in the 1900’s, homes started using concrete tiles created in factories following the industrial revolution.

Today, commercial roofing in Philadelphia takes a much more scientific approach to roofing by using tested practices and sturdier materials to keep your home dry and safe. If you’re having an issue with your roof, don’t hesitate; call the professionals at Philly Roofing!


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