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8 Historic Roof Styles You Could See In Norfolk

8 Historic Roof Styles You Could See In Norfolk

Since time immemorial, Americans have found ingenious ways to build roofs and protect their homes and businesses from outside weather elements. Norfolk in particular still hosts some of the most iconic roofing styles that graced American history. You will find historic buildings with roofs made of wood shakes, quarried and smelted copper, mined and cleaved slate, as well as fired clay tiles. Here are 8 historic roof styles you could find in Norfolk.

#1: Gable Roofs

Also known as peaked or pitched roofs, gable roofs are among the oldest roofing styles in American history. They are easily recognized by their triangular shape. This roofing style is good at shedding water and snow and provides more space for attic and vaulted ceilings, which enhances ventilation.

The only downside with this historic roofing style is its high susceptibility to strong winds and hurricanes. You can work with a professional roofer to inspect the condition of frames and supports and recommend preventive maintenance solutions.

Common roofing materials for gabled roofs include asphalt shingles, metal, cedar shakes, and concrete or clay tiles. If the roof contains hips and valleys, it could either be shingled or roofed with standing seam or metal shingles to help mitigate roof leaks.

#2: Hip Roofs

A hip roof is designed with slopes on all four sides. All four sides are equal in length and are linked together at the top to form a ridge. They have been used widely in high wind and snowy areas as the slant of the roof allows snow to easily slide off with no standing water.

Proper construction and maintenance are necessary to prevent minor issues from developing into major problems. In Norfolk’s historic hip roofs, you’ll find a wide range of roofing materials such as metal, shingles, and tiles.

#3: Mansard Roofs

A mansard roof, sometimes known as a French roof, is a four-sided roof design with a double slope on every side. These slopes meet at the center, forming a low-pitched roof. More often, the bottom slope is much steeper than the upper one, and the sides can either be curved or flat, depending on the style.

Mansard roofs can create some extra living space, and most historic buildings use this space as a living quarter, known as garret or a full attic. The style lends itself to open or closed dormers for a better aesthetic appeal.

Common materials for mansard roofs include metal (such as ornamental copper or zinc), wood or slate shingles, and asphalt shingles. If you have such a historic roof style, be sure to take good care of low-slope portions of the roof by ensuring proper flashing and waterproofing to maintain its integrity.

#4: Gambrel Roofs

A Gambrel roof looks much like a barn. Gambrels are common in most historic farmhouses, barns, and log cabins. You’ll also find them in Dutch Colonial and Georgian style homes. Just like mansards, Gambrel roofs provide extra living spaces.

These roofs must be periodically inspected and waterproofed to maintain their integrity. You can also add windows to enhance the lighting in the extra space. Common materials for Gambrel roofs include wood, asphalt, or slate shingles. Gambrel roofs made of metal can significantly reduce maintenance needs.

#5: Skillion Roofs

Skillion is another historic roof style designed as a single, sloping roof attached to a taller wall. It can be considered half of a pitched roof or a more angled flat roof. Skillion roofs are mostly used for home additions, sheds, and porches. However, they are also now being used on the entire structure of more modern style homes. The steep pitch of skillion roofs allows water and snow to easily runoff, making them great for high rain and snow regions. The common material used in skillion roofs is standing seams.

#6: Jerkinhead Roofs

A Jerkinhead roof combines the features of gable and hip roofs. These roofs are sometimes referred to as English hip roofs or clipped gable roofs.

Jerkinhead roofs are often more stable than regular gable roofs. They are more resistant to wind and provide more space than traditional hip roofs. Jerkinhead roofs are usually covered in metal, shingles, or tile roofing.

#7: Saltbox Roofs

A saltbox roof is another popular historic roof design in Norfolk. It is asymmetrical in design, with one side appearing as a slightly sloped flat roof and the other side more of a lean-to.

Saltbox houses are a variation of early Cape Cod and Colonial designs. These roofs were adored for their spacious designs and need for less roofing materials. The slope makes it easy for water and snow to run off and the asymmetrical design makes these roofs more durable than simple gable roofs. Saltbox roofs can be made from almost any roofing material.

#8: Pyramid Roofs

A pyramid roof is a special type of hip roof with all four sides coming to a point at the top of the roof. Pyramid roofs were most common for smaller buildings, such as cabins and bungalows. You can also find them in historic auxiliary structures, like pool houses, storage buildings, and garages.

A pyramid roof is impressively resistant to strong winds, making it an excellent architectural choice for high-wing and hurricane-prone areas. Just like hip roofs, pyramid roofs can be made with metal, shingles, or tiles.

Any historic building needs a professional roofer with experience dealing with a wide range of historic roof styles, from early-wood to mid-century metal. If you’re a proud owner of a building that played a historic role in America, consider working with Steven’s Roofing in Norfolk, VA. We are experts in historical roof repair and maintenance. Contact us today to learn how we can help you preserve, restore, or maintain your historic roof.

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