Restoring a Historical Home: Roofing Options to Consider

Posted on: 14 September 2016

One of the joys of bringing a historic home back to life is seeing the exterior bloom into its former glory. The siding, windows, and trim all need careful attention, but one area that homeowners might forget about is the roof. Asphalt roofing is the default for many homes in America, but as it is a relatively new roofing material, it is not correct for an authentic restoration for a period home. Here are some roofing options you should look at instead.

1. Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are one of the oldest roof types. Today, wood shingles are generally made from treated cedar. If you are lucky enough to have some portions of the original roofing materials, you can even have wood shingles made to look exactly like the old ones, but you can still enjoy the benefits that come from new wood shingles. Wood roofs are especially appropriate for old cabins, Dutch colonial homes, Cape Cod–style cottages, farmhouses, and some Craftsman bungalows. 

2. Slate

Slate shingles are one of the most beautiful options available on the market today. Historically, slate roofs were intricate and had beautiful patterns and alternating colors. Slate roofs were hallmarks of fancier homes like Queen Anne Victorians, Folk Victorians, Colonials, Greek Revivals, and Federal-style homes. You can choose natural slate for your replacement roof. If possible, choose stone that is sourced from the same area as your original roof. A local quarry or an imported material would have made a difference in the color and style of the original slate finish. 

3. Composite

Composite slate shingles are made to look like fashioned slate, but they are actually made from a blend of materials that make them durable and customizable, which for a period home can be a real advantage. Common materials used for composite shingles include polymers, wood shavings, pieces of real slate or slate powder, and resin. These can be a great alternative for the green-minded restorer; slate composite shingles can often be made almost entirely of recycled material.

If you are hoping to have your building registered on historic buildings lists in your state, be sure to check that composite shingles are allowed in the restoration process—some historical societies are more strict about matching the authentic material. However, if your old roof is partially intact, composite material can be a blessing for restoration projects—composite makes it easier to match the color and shape of antique shingles and to blend the remodeled areas with the original slate.

As you prepare to restore your historic home, contact a roofing contractor like Emerald Roofing for advice.


Time for a New Roof?

Hi, my name is Mitch. Before retiring a few years ago, I worked in the roofing industry. Over the years, I worked in nearly every capacity, ranging from apprentice to general manager of the company. I know that purchasing a new roof for your home can be expensive and a bit intimidating. My goal is to provide useful advice to help you make informed decisions when it comes to your new roof. I'm going to share information about different roofing materials and why you may want to consider one over another. I'll also share where you can cut costs, and how to choose a reputable roofing company. I hope you find this information valuable.

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