Why are roofs made the way they are? Oh why?

Ever wonder why roofs are almost always shaped as triangular prisms? When conventional wisdom would suggest that flat rooftops seem simpler to build, and definitely more ‘useful’.

Turns out conventional wisdom is wrong. The sloping effect of the prism is helpful when it rains, snows, or when you are not a fan of clearing fallen leaves and debris from the roof, which may accumulate in the case of a flat-top. Moreover, triangular roofs are preferred as they are more stable and require less material to construct than a rectangular prism. But who would want to bother with choosing and replacing roof shingles every time?


Certainly where it doesn’t rain or snow often, flat rooftops are the way to go. They do have wider applications, especially if you don’t like maintaining your lawns, or are generally cramped for space. Digressing a bit here, the beauty of roof art lies in how they come in different shapes and sizes round the world. Europe and the West largely opted for the prism based design, but flat roofs are common throughout Asia. Many times used alongside a sloping half prism. And then there’s the customary oriental surprise- pretty- looking roofs that sag like a tent, conical, domed, umbrella-shaped and even an inverted umbrella. Since Asians host more guests anyway, that brings us back to using flat roofs for barbecue cookouts and more space for the guests to sleep. Flat roofs are a must if you are an Arab wanting open-air hookah right at home. If you are from the third world, there is plenty of cool fresh air on top even when there is no electricity. Without flat tops, we would be losing several cultural sports plus abridged versions of popular ones- cricket, football, etc.

Do you know flat roofs with raised ends were historically used to store rain water in arid regions? Further, they require even lesser material to build than triangular prisms, so installation costs are low. The key is the clever use of PVC- fiberglass insulation and proper drainage to make sure the roof lasts long.

With flat rooftops, the possibilities are endless. One may even keep pets there. So if you like gazing at the stars, a quick smoke, flying a kite, cherish late night conversations at the rooftop, your son owns a telescope, or just to achieve a certain visual appearance, go for a flat roof. Easy to access. Easy life.

Dear Old Dad’s a Roofer

A roofer is a person who repairs roofs. Personally, I think to have this kind of job requires a great deal of courage. I am immensely afraid of heights. I mean people have all kinds of fears. My type of fear is related to heights and altitudes. Even if I am one story above the ground my heart starts pounding and I begin to feel dizzy. Being a roofer all his life, he must be pretty disappointed in me. He is extremely dedicated to his work and then there is me. But I can’t make anyone understand that it is all natural. I did not hate my dad’s job until now. People can be really cruel sometimes.


My dad is so obsessed with the adventures he has to encounter daily in his life and he talks about it with everyone all the time. For a roofer, he gets paid really high. He made a career out of his passion. And his passion was to roam around between heights of buildings, to actually fly through them. Luckily he made it. And naturally, he wanted see his only child which is me, to love heights like he does. He wanted to talk with me about the beauty of the roofs which unfortunately I am completely blind to see. And literally, if my heart is asked about it I don’t want to talk with anyone about heights and roofs, because I feel claustrophobic.

Anyways, this one day my evil aunt had come up to dinner at our home with her family. Now, let’s talk about how is she evil. She gossips and creates controversies, ends friendships and actually loves this all. That’s how evil she is. So we all were talking about the careers we wanted to go for. And for a little lightness to the conversation, I told her about how was unable to do a trivial task one day because it somehow involved heights. All my cousins laughed it away. But her evilness worked, and she somehow made this sound like an insult to my father. Everyone knew that I didn’t mean it that way, but she convinced them all. I tried to clear my father that I loved his job as a roofer and I found it so interesting. But, he lost all his trust in me, well at least for that day. He got so hurt.

I should admit it now openly that I hate his job as roofer. Not because of anything in the past, but because of that day. I hate it. My intentions were the opposite of what it seemed. I hate the cleaning part, I hate paints, I hate everything that is related to roofs in general.

One of my Defining Childhood Experiences: How I fell off a roof

We all have accidents that we can never forget at least once in our life. Not because they changed our lives or they were terrible, but because they were super embarrassing. I mean, probably because the luck gave up on us that day. I was one of the cool kid of the town. I had a whole cloud of attitude over me. Not because I wanted attention, not at all. I didn’t want to run after other kids to be my friends. I wanted them to run after me. I was always into science and adventure. So, that attracted many kids towards me.

Large family home in a rural area.
Large family home in a rural area.

Once I got a little too over excited and planned an experiment that I had to on the roof of my house. I understand I over did it. I gathered all my friends after I devised my whole experiment and got them excited over it. They all were looking forward to it and I thought I’d be the most popular kid then. Now I am about to write down what my actual plan was, and you should keep this in mind that I was only 8!

I had seen it in Tom and Jerry at that time that Tom had gone onto a roof of his house in the run of catching jerry. But jerry climbed down through the pipe to the ground. And, Tom couldn’t miss him this time. He was utterly offended and mad at Jerry. So, he took an umbrella, opened it wide and jumped off the roof and landed safely. I thought this was huge. I mean if an 8 year old thinks about it, it was possible. So I jotted down all the stuff I needed for safe landing. The umbrella, the shoes, I collected them all. And, then I advertised my plan like at the every corner of the town where a child existed. I even asked my dad to help me build some posters about it. Of course, I didn’t tell him the actual plan. He would have been disappointed in me like always. I marketed my experiment like it was something huge.

So all of them gathered, that one unfortunate day. All eyes were on the roof what I’ll be doing and performing soon that ‘would blow your minds’ as I wrote on my invitation message. So, I came to the roof with my umbrella and I bent down a little, making my position. My mom and dad instantly knew about the horrors that were about to come. They ran into the house to stop me. I got super excited when my friends started hooting my name. And by no time, I was in the air. Gravity was so mad at me for neglecting its existence, that it was unusually strong that day. And by the time, my mom dad came to the roof, I had already made a crash landing. All of my dreams of being superstar crashed with it. At first, the crowd was fearful that I might be dead. But that wasn’t much of a height. And I survived sadly. When I came back to home, after the hospital and my wounds were better the real struggle began. The embarrassment still remains and I really hate my roof now.

So that was my super embarrassing story, but I lived through it.