Over the years, DECRA Roofing Systems has made advancements in production, styles, color, and installation methods, but the product’s origins will forever remain an ingenious solution that has benefited people around the world for over 50 years.
DECRA Roofing Systems has a captivating history dating back to World War II. Frequent bombings on British soil by the German Luftwaffe produced an urgent need to reconstruct many buildings quickly and easily out of makeshift materials. The most common material used were sheets of corrugated metal.
While the corrugated metal provided a quick remedy to reconstruct damaged buildings, evening bombing raids continued to be menacing. The Luftwaffe dropped flairs to help illuminate the bombing runs. Since the new buildings were made of a shiny reflective metal, they became easy targets because they illuminated the bombsite. The problem was compounded during the war years, because the use of oil-based paint to protect and camouflage buildings was impossible to obtain outside military applications.
The British government had to find a company to develop an alternative protective coating material. The new substance had to be applied to both new and existing steel and corrugated iron structures and provide camouflage. Industrial chemists from the Decraspray Company of Kent , England alleviated the problem by developing an emulsion coating from coal products. The coating branded chemical emulsion claimed to be "acid-proof and chemical-fumenproof, with a very high resistance to water vapour."
Throughout the war this coating protected valuable food storage depots that were critical to achieving victory. In the years following the war, various attempts were made to remove the functional coating, which had served its purpose, in favor of more stylish alternatives. However, the coating had bonded with the steel so well that removal was virtually impossible. With evidence that the underlying metal had been well preserved, many re-evaluated its potential for continued commercial use. During the post-war years, the protective coating was used on many public buildings, and industrial building contractors were demanding that new iron sheeting be treated with DECRA coating.