From the earliest roofing structures, through a long journey of roofing progress and development, and arriving at the modern sustainable roofing practices in the current roofing industry we use today, the history of roofing has been a fascinating and powerful story.

The History of Roofing

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The history of roofing has been a long and fascinating journey. How we arrived at the current roofing industry involved many steps and discoveries throughout human history, starting with the earliest roofing structures, leading to roofing progress and development in more recent centuries, and finally coming to modern sustainable roofing practices that drive the current roofing industry to this day. Take a look back in time at the evolution of roofing styles, the trends, and the roofing history that brought us this far.

The Earliest Roofing Structures

Since the dawn of man, there have been roofs. Albeit, they were primitive and likely made of sod, but roofs nonetheless. One constant has remained throughout the centuries: the roofing type of the moment depended on available resources. From earth and plants to straw and clay, roofing was necessary for both shelter and protection from rain and other weather. Early shelters made of sod, for instance, were insulative yet didn’t keep out the pests or water seepage very well. Different roofing materials were used and experimented to find out which worked best. People found early on that multiple layers of different materials provided the best waterproof barriers, such as layering mud or clay and straw or sticks over one another several times.

Inuit cultures built houses out of snow, which provided temporary shelter and sufficient insulation to live at extremely low temperatures. Rather than having a separate roof structure, these homes were constructed with a parabolic dome structure which supported itself by becoming more compressed over time. Though they had less sophisticated building materials, the structural design of the home made snow into a fairly reliable roof and home system.

The earliest roofing structures provided basic protection from the elements, primarily sunlight and wind, and sometimes rain and snow. Though they usually lacked perfect weatherproof sealing or insulation, this first step in roofing has started a journey of roofing that brought us a long ways to continue improving roofing progress and development into the modern sustainable roofing practices we use today.

Roofing Progress and Development

Clay roofs first made their debut in China more than 5,000 years ago, while there is evidence that Rome saw the first clay tiles back in 100 BC. Thatched roofs became popular in 700 AD, with wood shingles coming not too long after that. There was one problem, though, with thatched roofs: they caught fire easily. That’s why King John in 12th century London prohibited thatched roofs and demanded clay tiles instead. Roofing progress and development had grown from not only protecting people from the common outdoor elements and temperatures to also providing a measure of safety against the dangers of natural and unnatural disasters involving fire or other hazards, and eventually, lightning. The use of electricity in homes made protection against lightning even more important, as a bolt of lightning could potentially break many costly things in a home.

Not until the 19th century did mass production of clay roofing materials begin in earnest. Concrete tiles came about 100 years later, with a bit of coloring added in to complement the homes that they topped. The late 1800s also saw the widespread use of asphalt shingles, which are still the most popular choice today due to their cost efficiency, ease of installation and ready availability. Today, about 70 percent of U.S. roofs feature asphalt shingles, according to the History of Roofing. The last two centuries have seen the most dramatic changes in roofing materials and practices, but what homeowners use in different regions can vary depending on what’s most abundant and affordable.

Modern Sustainable Roofing Practices

Green roofing has really emerged in the last two decades as a sustainable approach to the industry, with high tech advances in glass, polymer and smog-absorbing tiles becoming popular. White roofing and solar panels are gaining in popularity as more and more homeowners attempt to harness the power of nature to decrease their home heating and cooling costs. This swing towards increased energy savings will bear witness to more eco-friendly roofing options in the years to come.

Stapleton Roofing honors the history of roofing and the fundamental objectives of roofing important to homeowners and business owners, and we strive to build upon this timeless history to provide you with top-quality roofing that rises to the top in the current roofing industry. Let us handle your roofing solutions, whether they be roof replacement, roof repair, roof maintenance, a roof upgrade, a roof inspection, or even just a roofing consultation. Need roof repair or replacement on your home? Call Stapleton Roofing today (602) 755-6250 or visit

Stapleton Roofing is committed to excellence in roofing. Our team has seen generations of quality roofing projects completed, satisfied customers throughout Arizona, and a lasting relationship with the community we have served for so many years. Clients know they can trust the experts at Stapleton Roofing with any project, whether it be roof repair, roof replacement, roof maintenance, roof installation and construction, roof inspection, roof consultation and recommendation, or any other home improvement task we tackle. They turn to us knowing we have the discipline to complete each project on time, the mastery to attain excellence, the expertise to provide great insight, the accessibility to top-quality products, and the relational credibility to build respectful, friendly, reliable partnerships with them.

If you or someone you know is ready to experience service from the team that has raised the bar in roofing industry excellence, reach out to us. Serving customers in Arizona with all their roofing solutions is our specialty, and we are ready to meet you wherever you at with your roof or home. If you have questions, we’re here to answer them, and if you have a need, we are here to hear it and fulfill that need with our roofing services. If you are ready to begin a great partnership, don’t hesitate! Call Stapleton Roofing today!