Let the Roof Protect Our Lives

When building a house, what do you consider as the most important part of the structure? Maybe you would think of walls because, honestly, without walls a building cannot stand. Some of you will think of floor but floor is built automatically when you buy a land. So when a floor is complete and walls are erected, is the structure is complete or wait! We have forgotten about the roof. Of course a building cannot be finished without a roof. We cannot live within the walls without any covering over our heads. Can you imagine working in the kitchen and a bird flies in snatching away the piece of meat you are cooking? I think it is funny to think of any home without a roof.

A roof functions as a protection against all the external calamities like unlimited sunlight, rain drops falling on us while we are having dinner, a cat or dog jumping on us from walls, snowflakes making us cold, birds flying and dropping their gifts, strong winds taking all our stuff with them and so on. From cold Igloos to ancient buildings, it remains an integral part of buildings for our protection. So it must be made of strong and durable materials.

It is my observation that the construction of a roof is very technical procedure which includes layering of different materials like plastic sheets and felt. All these layers are installed to provide resilience and insulation to the dwelling to save us from all the calamities.

It is interesting to note how the functions of roof change in different parts of the world. In our country, we experience excessive sunlight throughout the year but in many countries, sunlight is a blessing from the unlimited cloudy skies. We try to build our roofs to avoid sunlight penetration and heat, mostly by raising the height of buildings and installing insulating devices that will help cool down the effect of sun.

In many regions of the world, almost opposite function is required. For example, when we visit the houses on mountains, I have observed that their roofs are slanted and made of metal. This is because snow and rain falls excessively on the mountain homes, therefore, it is important to slant them to slope the rain and snow off the houses.

While we are considering the importance and functions of roof, it might be interesting to think of which materials can be used to construct them. I have seen houses built of mud and banana leaves in the rural areas. Well banana leaves or any other leaves cannot provide all the required functions, but mud is slightly a better option. Baked bricks, wood and concrete are most commonly used reliable materials in urban and rural houses. Many unique buildings also use glass in their roofs for a playful filtering of light inside the building which enhance the interiors by heavenly touch of light. Metal is also used in rainy and snowy areas but it can be very noisy material to use.

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