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What Are The Origins Of Roofing

By Peter Wendt on August 08, 2011

The origins of roofing go back to the time when humans decided that, unlike their primate cousins, they didn't like to be at the mercy of the weather and needed shelter overhead. The first roofs were probably natural, as early humans sought out caves for shelter.

The First Roofs
The roof rests on the framework of the house or shelter and must be watertight. The first ceiling coverings were made of organic materials like earth, which was sometimes planted with grass to make a sturdy sod. In Medieval Europe, they were made of flat pieces of stone like slate that were tightly covered with wooden shingles. Later, roofs were made of tiles, and of thatch, bundles of reeds or grass. Thatch is still used for roofing material throughout the world. Thatch, however was abandoned by European settlers in America, because the weather was so violent that thatch was subject to being blown away or damaged in ways that allowed it to leak. Split wood boards were substituted, but they also proved no match for the weather, and were soon replaced by shingles.

Other Roof Materials
Since antiquity some roofs have been made of metal in the form of sheets of lead or copper, and in the 19th century zinc coated sheet iron and aluminum were used. The sheets in metal roofs are joined by seams to guard against leaks. Other ones are made of tar and asphalt, or sheets of paper or cloth imbued with tar. These roofs, if well built, are nearly waterproof and are especially good for the flat roofed houses that can be seen in the Pueblo Revival style. They're not only water proof but fire resistant. They can also be made of glass and fiberglas. Asbestos was an excellent roofing material, but has proven so dangerous to health that it's been discontinued as a roofing material in the West.

Types of Roofs

There are a few different types of roofs. Gabled roofs have sloping planes that are supported by triangles at either end that are called gables. Hipped roofs have four sloping surfaces. Other roofs are flat, domed or arched, though the last two are seen largely on public buildings. All of these types have subtypes as well. Many roofs, at least in America, are supported by wooden frames made of heavy rafters, lighter rafters and purlins, or horizontal pieces of timber that support the heavier rafters. Later architects learned to make lighter frames without the use of heavy rafters, though these lighter frames need the support provided by trusses and joists.

New roofs can be made of solar panels which not only protect the house but create electricity and heat air and water for the house. Solar panels can also be fitted into existing roofs.

Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher living in Austin, Texas. He recommends you check out this Austin roofing repair company for expert roof advice website KiddRoof.com.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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