Each day we walk beneath a series of different roofs; in our homes, at our offices, in supermarkets, and at stores. Often, we forget that they even exist or that roofs and roofing serve a vital function in our lives.
Yet, on a rainy day when we rush for cover, navigating our way from beneath one roof to another to avoid being soaked in the rain, we are reminded that roofs help to shade us from the extreme elements of nature. Similarly, in the middle of a gusty day or worse a tornado, when we seek safe shelter within our homes, we are thankful for the solid roofs over our heads and the protection they provide. These are the times when we think about the best roofing options and the potential best roofing products available in the market. Yet, the range of possibilities we now have for instance with Rhino Roofing Sri Lanka were not always available to us.
The need for shelter and a ‘roof over our heads’ has been an innate need for humans from the very beginning. Early man dwelt in caves during a period in which proper shelter meant the difference between life and death. Archaeological evidence shows that while they lived in caves, they also built temporary shelters in open areas for hunting and gathering.
The first ever recorded evidence of a roof is the use of the skin of a woolly Mammoth in Siberia, as far back as 40,000 BC. Meanwhile, evidence of human architecture has been discovered dating back 25,000 – 30,000 years, when men used local materials such as sticks, leaves, grass and animal skin to construct tent-like structures.
Man’s foray into agriculture led to the beginning of permanent early settlements. Around 8000 BC, basic tent-like structures gradually gave way to ‘round houses’ which formed the earliest ‘towns. These houses were built from bricks – prepared with mud and baked hard in the sun – with rounded edges. The roofs were conical structures erected with branches and mud. By 6500 BC, roofs in some areas were being constructed from brick or stone and gradually the round houses gave way to rectangular houses with straight walls and windows.
Interestingly, the first evidence of tiled roofs was found in China around 3000 BC. Tiles were also used in Greece and Babylon between 3000 – 2000 BC. The Romans brought a version of the Greek tile to Britain in 100 BC, and thatched roofing was first used there by 735 AD, although it had been used in oriental architecture much earlier.
Meanwhile, archeological evidence of clay roof tiling in Sri Lanka’s goes back to third century BC. The first indigenous clay roofing tiles were flat, called pethi ulu or Kandyan tiles, and used extensively in the ancient capitals. In the 1500s, the Portuguese introduced the half circle tile, which became known as Sinhala ulu. This tile was further popularised by the Dutch who colonised parts of the country from 1640 to 1796. It was followed in later years by a variety of modern tile shapes, the most common being rata ulu, a flat variety, and ridged tiles.
While we no longer have to struggle for a reliable roof over our heads, thanks to best roofing pioneers like Rhino Roofing, who offer a range of modern products, it bodes well to remember all those who have struggled through the ages to enable the evolution of the best roofing products that are available to us today.