Roof Repair in Reigate | A Quick History of the Flat Roof

Commonly seen on extensions, garages and even outbuildings, the humble flat roof is also a favourite for commercial properties. It’s quick and easy to install yet remains firm for extended periods without much in the way of maintenance. Skilled in pitched and flat roof repairs alike, our team knows the hard work that goes into each roof and provides the best service possible to customers in the Reigate area.


In this blog post, we take a trip into the past to better understand the origins of the flat roof.

From the Desert…


It’s no surprise that while most roofs in wetter regions were originally sloped, desert dwellings felt no such need to aid in water runoff. Key locations which employed the earliest flat roofs include the Middle East, which is known to this day for its arid climate. Back then, roof repairs involved much more work than needed today.


…to 19th Century Europe


It wasn’t until the 1800s that flat roofs took hold in some parts of Europe, largely due to the industrial revolution. Although many homeowners enjoy these easy-to-lay roofs in Reigate, Surrey and the UK, back then, they were far less common. The earliest rendition of modern flat roofing came in the form of tar (or built-up) material. Application would take a mop, felt, and tar to complete.


Popularised in places like New York, these flat surfaces were easier to fix through professional roof repairs than less advanced versions.


In Commercial Use


From the industrial revolution onwards, flat roofs became the style of choice for warehouses and office blocks. Some of the oldest materials, including lead and metal, remain in use throughout urban areas like Reigate and Surrey. Their popularity came from their low cost, ease of roof repairs and the lack of an unnecessary loft space.


And Even the Old West


It’s amusing to think that in the Old West, shop owners would put up a flat-roofed disguise in front of their pitched stores to capitalise on New York’s ‘big city’ glamour. These days, everyone from terraced homeowners in Reigate to prestige estate owners in Surrey tends to appreciate the traditional look of a pitched roof.


A Bad Time in the 1950s


In post-war Europe and America, flat roofs often included ‘mineral felt’, which is an inferior product to the torch-on felt we have today. 50s flat roofs would frequently let in water, leading to a bad reputation and the need for immediate roof repairs. Unfortunately, some property owners still think of these old practises to this day.


Superior Quality Through Modern Techniques


In 21st Century Surrey and Reigate, you can be sure that all pitched and flat roofing meets a high standard – at least when you call a trusted installer. Techniques and materials have also grown exponentially, giving home and business owners more choice than ever. GRP fibreglass, for example, offers a durable surface that holds out against impacts.


If you need 24/7 roof repairs for an ageing or contemporary roof, speak with the team at D Hunt Roofing Ltd.

Please call 01293 541 849 or 07850 101 250 for flat roofs and roof repair work in the Reigate area. We also repair pitched roofs across Surrey.

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Established in 1998, D Hunt Roofing Ltd is a small, independent company with more than 40 years of combined experience. Based in Crawley, domestic and commercial clients in the surrounding areas of Horsham and Reigate can benefit from the expertise of our fully-trained roofers.

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