Exploring the Fascinating History and Functionality of Flat Roofs

AAR Flat Green Roof
June 3, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cayden Wemple.  

Flat roofs can be a fun, private place to spend some relaxation time, but they’ve been used over centuries for more than just leisure.  

When you think of modern flat roofs, you might think of them as a perfect space to set up a relaxation area with some chairs and coolers, but flat roofs serve more than just a leisurely purpose, and it dates back to before biblical times.  

Flat roofs can be dated back to the Sumerians in 4,000 B.C.E. The Sumerians were considered the first modern civilization and occupied the territory of modern-day Iraq and Iran. They built religious temples that were widely used and they featured flat roofs. One of these temples was the Ziggurat of Etemenanki and it made it possible for the scribes to observe the solar system from a clearer perspective.  

More civilians started to take note of the architecture of the buildings, and they started to build flat roofs for their residential homes. The roofs started to become multi-faceted and the idea spread from the Sumerians all across the middle east and into Greece. Depending on the culture and topography of the area, the use of the roof would change. 

For example, in Greece, residents’ homes were often dug into cliffs and the roofs became practical places to hide from pirates and other possible raiders. In densely populated areas with narrow streets and buildings that were close together, flat roofs became a place where civilians could perform domestic activities. The influence spread to Spain, Portugal and the rest of Europe where it became popular to have flat roofs as a leisurely space.  

The modern flat roof can be used as a great space to put air conditioning units as well as solar panel racks. One of the other advantages is that the materials for flat residential roofs are often less expensive than more traditional sloped roofs. This includes EPDM rubber and thermoplastics. Of course, you can’t forget about the modern-day luxuries of leisure spaces; Barbeques, gardens, sports watching areas, the possibilities are endless! 

Have a question? AskARoofer.    

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory. 

Original article sources: Lifetime Roofing, Arch Daily

About Cayden

Cayden is a reporter for RoofersCoffeeShop, MetalCoffeeShop and AskARoofer. When he isn’t writing about roofs, he’s usually playing guitar or writing songs for his musical endeavors.

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