Of Roofs, Horses, Vino, and Sleep

August 28, 2012

Roofs are different from walls.  No kidding?! Yeah, I know, not much of an insight.  However, when framing moves from walls to roof a whole new perspective comes about, for most of the work is in the air…or at least eight feet off the ground.  And hanging out above the ground has mattered to homebuilders and the homes residents for a long time.

Roofs are often multifunctional.  Their basic function is to keep weather out of the home.  But roofs also do well as a place to check out the surrounding countryside.  If you take the time to climb up on the roof of your home you will find a wonderful place to quite down and experience the world from a perspective you cannot get any other way.  Of course, if it is a pitched roof, be careful!  Then again, even if it is not pitched and lies flat as a board, be careful!

Unlike walls, roofs carry a certain amount of danger.  If you, or anyone for that matter, fall off, someone is going to get hurt.  This reality is probably why the earliest building codes don’t talk about walls but they do about roofs.  For instance, you can find an early building code on roofs in the Hebrew Bible, “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof; otherwise you might have bloodguilt on your house, if anyone should fall from it.”(Deut. 22vs8)  Unlike the pitched roof being built in White Swan, in some areas, roofs are additional living space.  Today, as well as ancient Deuteronomic times, roofs also provide space for eating, socializing, and sleeping.  It makes sense on a flat roof to build little wall (parapet) around the edges of the roof to keep people on top…should teenagers horse around a little too much, the neighbor have a little too much vino, or dad rolls around a little too much in his sleep (Imagine falling off your bed if it is a roof!).

So, as the roof goes up we become aware that building codes matter, safety matters, and the creation of a home does lead to a place where our children can horse around, our neighbors can have a glass of vino, and our families can sleep well.

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