image of roof with shingles

Four Interesting Facts About Roof Shingles

Four Interesting Facts About Roof Shingles

Have you ever given much thought to the shingles on your roof before?  Most people think about them when they are choosing the style and color for their roof, and then after that, they are given very little thought until it’s time to replace them again.  Little do most homeowners know there is more than meets the eye to the shingles on their roof. They have a long and varied history and can be used for many more things than just lining your home roof.  The following is just a small peek into the interesting facts about roof shingles.

Roof Shingles Fact #1 – Creation Of The World’s Most Famous Shingles

image of sydney opera house roof and shingles

Construction of the world famous Sydney Opera House started with a competition. It was the 1940’s and Sydney did not have many options for music venues, so the city decided to put together a plan. Their goal was to create a complex that would accommodate the performing arts from various genres.

Once the site had been selected, there needed to be a design. Australia developed an international competition for the design that could include two theaters, and designers could use any method or approach they wanted. Danish architect Jorn Utzon’s design was selected. His design was considered daring and bold but also complicated to try to put together. After countless hours of hard work, Utzon along with a team of people from Hoganas of Sweden created what is now called the Sydney Tile.

These tiles are made from clay and with pieces of crushed stones and cover the roof of the opera house in such a way so that it compliments Sydney’s sky and the color of the water. There are a little over one million Sydney Tile shingles on the roof of the opera house. Utzon was later quoted that these tiles “were a major item in the building. It is important that such a large, white sculpture in the harbor setting catches and mirrors the sky with all its varied lights dawn to dusk, day to day, throughout the year.”

The Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks and is one of the most recognized symbols of the country outside of its animals.  Tourists from all over the world travel there to see the building and its roof and shingles are one of the main design elements that make the building stand out, because of this, these very well could be the most famous shingles in the world.

Roof Shingles Fact #2 – Shingles Have Been Used As A Type Of Currency

image of cash bills

Did you know that at one point in history a certain type of shingle was used as a type of currency? When the Spanish arrived in Chile in the 16th century, they brought with them all their customs and practices. Spain developed colonies all over the Americas and began constructing buildings in the same ways they did back home. As planning for construction developed, the Spanish discovered the Alerce tree.

These beautiful trees are some of the largest throughout South America are known for their massive height and small diameter. The wood in these trees was in high demand since one tree could produce sixty planks that are five meters long. The trees started to become rare, and pieces of the wood known as real de alerce were used as local currency in Chile.

Because of the versatility of the wood, even other countries desired pieces of it. Real de alerce was crucial in a trade with Chile and Peri. It is believed that Spanish settlements in southern Chile were able to thrive because of the abundance of the trees and the high demand. Since 1976, logging Alerce trees is considered illegal in order to preserve the life of the trees.

Roof Shingles Fact #3 – They Come In Hand In Slippery Situations

car stuck in snow

If you have some leftover shingles and live in a colder climate, it can be a good idea to keep a few in your trunk during the winter.  If your car gets stuck in the snow you can plop down a shingle or two under the tire and it can give you enough traction to get your car unstuck. Shingles have multiple ways that they can be used to add traction on slippery surfaces in the winter

This trick can also be used on walkways and paths that are likely to get snowy or icy.  Laying down leftover shingles to walk on will help you have a non-slippery surface for anyone walking on your property.  Think of the shingles as working like an abrasive strip that you can walk on the outside. Using this method along with salt or sand will give you more peace of mind that you won’t slip and fall on your way out to retrieve the mail in the winter.

Roof Shingles Fact #4 – Recycle Old Shingles To Spruce Up Your Home And Garden

image of roof shingles


In the garden:

If you have a home garden or landscape you can use your old shingles to help design and update your garden.  Tile shingles can be used to create unique edging for your garden, they can also be used to create a path or walkway.  If the original color of your tiles are not what you would like in your landscaping, you can easily repaint them as they do well with a variety of paint types.  

Convert or recycle shingles into a driveway:

When you replace your roof, what should you do with the old shingles?  They can be recycled and one way to do is to have them mixed in with driveway pavement.  Using shingles in your driveway pavement can help save on costs, is much better for the environment, and makes for a great long lasting driveway.  You can learn more about using shingles in your driveway here.

The Exciting Facts About Roof Shingles

Roof Shingles are easy to not give much thought when they just sit up there on your roof day and day out until they get old, worn out, or fail and then they easily become top of mind when there is water leaking into your home.  However, they are an important part of architectural history throughout the ages and with new innovation will continue to grow and adapt to the world’s changing demands.

The interesting facts above are just a small sample of what makes shingle so great.  If you have any questions or concerns about your roof or shingles, please give Element Roofing a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help answer your questions.