Historical Roofing Styles and What We Can Learn from Them

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Learning from the Past

At Central Florida Equity Builders (CFE Builders), we believe in blending tradition with innovation. The roofing styles of the past are not just historical artifacts; they hold lessons and techniques that continue to influence modern construction. 

In this detailed exploration, we delve into various traditional roofing styles, their origins, characteristics, and what contemporary builders can learn from them

Thatched Roofing: Harnessing Natural Materials

Thatched roofs, made from dried vegetation such as straw, reed, or palm, are one of humanity’s earliest roofing solutions, prominent in rural Europe, parts of Asia, and Africa. These materials provided excellent insulation, were cost-effective, and used local resources efficiently. In today’s push towards sustainability, thatched roofing reminds us of the value of using biodegradable materials that blend seamlessly with their environment, offering excellent thermal properties and a lower carbon footprint.

Clay Tiles: Enduring through Millennia

Clay tiles date back to Neolithic China and have been a staple in ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Roman architectures. Known for their remarkable durability and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, clay tiles are effective in hot climates due to their thermal properties. Modern-day use of clay tiles emphasizes their longevity (often lasting over a century), fire resistance, and ability to provide a traditional aesthetic to buildings. They demonstrate the enduring relevance of using earth-based materials in roofing.

Slate Roofs: The Epitome of Elegance and Longevity

Slate has been used as a roofing material in Europe since the Roman times but saw its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its low water absorption, resistance to frost damage and fire, and longevity (with some roofs lasting over 200 years) make it a premium roofing choice. Slate roofing’s refined appearance and longevity appeal to those looking for an investment in timeless elegance. It teaches modern builders about the importance of material quality and the aesthetic value it adds to high-end construction.

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Wooden Shingles: The Art of Woodcraft

Wooden shingles, particularly popular in colonial America and parts of Scandinavia, utilize locally sourced timber like cedar, oak, or redwood. These materials were chosen for their natural resistance to rot and insects. 

Today, wooden shingles are treated with modern preservatives and fire retardants, enhancing their durability without compromising their natural aesthetic. They are a testament to the importance of local craftsmanship and the aesthetic versatility of wood in accommodating various architectural styles.

Green Roofs: Linking Ancient Innovation and Modern Technology

Tracing back to the hanging gardens of Babylon and ancient Icelandic homes, green roofs have been used for centuries for their insulation and protective qualities. 

In contemporary architecture, they are valued for their ability to combat urban heat, enhance building insulation, and support local ecosystems. 

Modern green roofs can be intensive or extensive, indicating the depth of the planting medium and type of vegetation used, showcasing how ancient practices can be adapted to modern environmental challenges.

Stone Roofs: Symbol of Durability and Defense

In regions rich in slate and stone, such as parts of Italy, the UK, and India, stone roofs were common. These roofs were virtually impervious to fire, extremely durable against the elements, and provided substantial protection from invaders. Modern stone tiles, often made from slate, limestone, or sandstone, continue to offer high-end durability and a distinctive, robust appearance that can significantly enhance a building’s value and aesthetic appeal.

Metal Roofing: A Transition from Functional to Fashionable

Initially used for its practical benefits in regions prone to heavy snowfall, metal roofing has evolved significantly. Historical metals like lead, copper, and tin have given way to modern aluminum and coated steel, which offer lightweight, durable, and recyclable solutions. Metal roofs are now appreciated not only for their functionality but also for their versatility in design and color, energy efficiency, and ease of installation.

Bringing it All Home

At CFE Builders, we look to the past to inspire and inform our future projects. 

Understanding these historical roofing styles helps us appreciate the wisdom of earlier builders and adapt their best practices to enhance modern roofing. 

Whether you are looking to maintain a historical property or build a new home with a traditional aesthetic, our team is equipped with the knowledge and skills to choose the best materials and styles to meet your needs.

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At CFE Builders, we've got the experience and the skillset to work on just about any type of roof. Whether it's Single-Family, Multi-Family, or Commercial, we've got you covered with everything from initial inspection to full roof replacement. Stop looking for a roofer near me today and give us a call!
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New Construction

Sometimes you need to start from the ground up, and build something brand new. Whether you need an addition or remodel for your home, or want to build your dream house, you've come to the right place. We do Multi-Family and Commercial new construction projects quite often, so if you need something a bit bigger built we've got you covered there as well.
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What Our Customers Say

Central Florida Equity Builders


We had a very old roof that needed to be replaced and I was dreading the whole process but we had a great experience with CFE builders. They were professional and easy to work with. Plus our roof now looks great!
-Kendyl Campbell.
Center Florida Equity Builders replaced my roof. They did an outstanding job. Very professional, detail oriented, responsive and timely. Very happy with my choice to have them replace my roof.
-Matthew Kahle

Central Florida Equity Builders



Very friendly. Easy to work with. Great customers service. Started and finished job quickly. Clean up was excellent. Highly recommend. Had the best price.

-William Y.

Kept a tight schedule after the hurricane. They scheduled us and when the day came, they did the entire job in one day. Thanks I would recommend to all.

-James E.
Areas Serviced
  • Alamonte Springs, FL
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  • Casselberry, FL
  • Clermont, FL
  • Kissimmee, FL
  • Lake Mary, FL
  • Longwood, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Oviedo, FL
  • Titusville, FL
  • Winter Park, FL
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We service all of Central Florida, so if you don’t see your city here, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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