Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday in April. To mark this occasion, we thought we would take a look at the history of roofs and discover how they have adapted since the Queen was born!
In the 1920’s – 1940’s flat roofs were extremely popular, as they offered extra floor space, however they came with many problems. Although these roofs were durable they often suffered with lichen and moss growth which prevented water flowing off, causing frost damage. Many flat roofs were changed to pitched ones within the next couple of years. During this time, housing estates were being built extremely quickly, the roofs in these houses were often built with hipped ends and clay plain tiles, installation was very minimal in the 1920’s – 1940’s too. Roofs were very heavy, as they were built with substantial timbers with additional struts and collars to support the purlins.
1945 saw the end of WW2 and this resulted in many houses needing to be rebuilt, which had to happen pretty quickly! Pitched and chalet-style roofs were the most popular during this time; chalet-style roofs meant lofts were extremely small. A new technique was introduced during the 1950’s from the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA). This saw the development of concrete tiles used as under-lay with felt and cast iron or asbestos guttering.
During 1960-1979 we saw a huge change to housing; more homes were built in the UK than at any other time, as well as the introduction of Building Regulations in 1965. Due to the housing crisis, the majority of the homes built were in tower blocks, not leaving much scope for the development of roofs. New towns such as Milton Keynes was also built within these two decades, the roofs for these houses usually had prefabricated roof trusses, concrete tiles with felt and plastic guttering, they also contained some insulation.
In the 1980’s inflation was at an all-time high due to economic success. However, in the 1990’s this all changed and many families saw their homes being repossessed. However, for roofing technology the 1990’s was a positive decade. In 1992, the NHBC Standards were published which saw safety standards improve dramatically. For roofs, this meant insulation was used throughout; this was usually about 100mm thick. Trussed rafters were almost universal and roofs were ventilated at the eaves.
Unlike the 1920’s, the present day doesn’t focus on fashionable housing, instead the focus is on reducing carbon emissions. This means roofing technology has dramatically improved; deep roof insulation is now compulsory for all homes, the trusses are braced and restrained and there’s vapour permeable roof underlays and eaves ventilation. Find out more about our Eco-Roof here.
What do you think roofs will be like in the next 90 years?