A history of roofing construction

With quality roofing materials and professional help so readily available, most of us take our roofing systems for granted until they need repairing. Many are unaware of the major developments within the roofing industry which have transformed roofing systems through the ages. This article will discuss how roofing construction has progressed over the years, and how we can learn a great deal about civilization through its roofing history.


From ceramic tiles, slate and lead to natural resources such as leaves, wood and mud, roofing styles were typically based around the local materials available. Over the last 200 years, the roofing industry has seen major advancements in technology, resources and application methods. Not only has this improved roofing designs, it has also taught us a great deal about the resources available at different periods throughout history, showing how much technology has changed.

While most growth has happened within the last two centuries, the history of roofing construction actually started much earlier than this.

The Greeks and Romans were the first to test out different styles of roofing, with the Romans introducing slating and tiling to Great Britain in 100 BC. Thatch roofs were later popularised around the year 735 AD, as they provided the ideal solution for areas where only natural materials were accessible. While a thatch roof is one of the most beautiful roofing systems, there are several flaws to their design, including:

  • Highly flammable
  • Degradable
  • High maintenance

In a bid to prevent the spread of fires, a law was passed in the 12th century by King John whereby all London residents had to replace their thatch and reed roofs with clay tiles to improve fire safety. It is believed that this marked the start of mass produced roofing tiles.

Initially, clay was only used in areas where it was naturally found, such as near rivers and lakes; for example, clay from around the River Thames was the main material used to rebuild roofs throughout London following the Great Fire of 1966. By the 19th century, greater wealth and improved transportation brought with it the industrial production of clay roofing, making it one of the most commonly used roof tiling materials.

While roofing styles are still based around those of local materials in certain countries, there is far more accessibility these days to a wider variety of materials, meaning there are no limitations on the types of roofing that can be used.


As with many businesses, it can be difficult to anticipate how the future of the roofing industry is going to pan out. That said, it’s clear to see that the history of roofing has progressed considerably over the centuries, and it will continue to evolve in future years.

If you are searching for a premier roofing contractor operating throughout London, look no further than Morgan Asphalte. We provide an extensive range of roofing types, including:

  • Slate roofing
  • Tiled roofing
  • Liquid roofing
  • Felt roofing
  • Asphalt roofing

Additionally, we offer thorough roofing insulation and repairs services, as well as guttering, fascias and soffits to meet your exact requirements. Trading for over 45 years, you can enjoy the complete peace of mind which comes with being in the hands of roofing experts. To learn more about how your property can benefit from our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.

Posted on 05 November 2015 in Roof Insulation.

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