Timber lends itself to a great variety of roof shapes. The timber structure can fulfil an aesthetic as well as practical function, when left exposed to view.
Sheet metal in the form of copper and lead has also been used for many hundreds of years. Both are expensive but durable, the vast copper roof of Chartres Cathedral, oxidised to a pale green colour, having been in place for hundreds of years. Lead, which is sometimes used for church roofs, was most commonly used as flashing in valleys and around chimneys on domestic roofs, particularly those of slate. Copper was used for the same purpose.
The supporting structure of a roof usually comprises beams that are long and of strong, fairly rigid material such as timber, and since the mid-19th century, cast iron or steel. In countries that use bamboo extensively, the flexibility of the material causes a distinctive curving line to the roof, characteristic of Oriental architecture.
When the warm, moist air from below rises into the cold roof space; condensation begins as the air temperature drops to the 'dew point' or as the warm air comes into contact with any of the cold surfaces in the roof.
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