What You Should Know About Historic Preservation
Replacing a roof is always a big job. However, when historic architecture is involved, you start to run into some unexpected complications. This is why it’s important to work with a contractor with plenty of experience in historic preservation roofing.
One of the great things about the Norfolk, VA area is we have an abundance of historic homes. There are houses dating back a hundred or even two hundred years. When one of those roofs needs to be repaired or replaced, knowledge of historic preservation is essential.
What Goes Into Historic Preservation Roofing
An inexperienced roofer can run into a lot of problems when they try to tackle a historic structure. For starters, older roofs tend to be made of different materials than modern roofs. It’s important to use the same materials, or at least modern materials which resemble them.
Historic preservation roofing also means dealing with unique and often complicated roof designs which you don’t often see on modern homes. Experts in historic preservation roofing need extreme attention to detail, and a specialized skill set including:
- Identifying and working with historic building materials such as clay tile, slate roofing and wooden shingles. Roofers may also need to work with metals which are seldom used in modern roofing, such as copper, cast iron and lead.
- Doing research to learn more about the history of the roof, including locating historic records to uncover what the original roof looked like, and what modifications have been made over the years.
Why Historic Preservation Matters
There’s more to historic preservation roofing than making sure old buildings stay looking old—although it is part of it. It’s important to honor the historic character of a home, not just because of the home itself, but because of the people who have lived there. After all, we’re all living out history in our homes every day whether we realize it or not.
Historic preservation roofing is most often associated with historic structures like churches, government buildings, libraries and museums, but a building doesn’t have to be on the National Register of Historic Places to be significant. Private homes can have great historic value too, especially to those who live in them. You might especially need to consider historic preservation roofing if you live in:
- A home built in the early 20th century or earlier
- An older home with unique or unusual roof features or materials
- A home located in a historic district
In many areas, there are a lot of laws and ordinances which govern making improvements to historic structures, including homes. If you live in an area where houses are required to retain their historic character, a big part of historic preservation roofing is making sure all the rules are followed.
Choosing the Right Contractor
If you live in a historic home and need to have your roof repaired or replaced, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of choosing a qualified contractor with a lot of experience working on historic homes. The key word there is “experience.” At Stevens Roofing Corp, we’ve learned about historic roofing not through research or trial-and-error, but by actually being there.
We’re a 3rd generation company with over seven decades of roofing experience, and we’ve been family owned since we were first founded in 1946. We often find ourselves working on historic roofs which were new when we were first getting into the business. In many cases, these are roofs we’ve worked on before and have formed a business relationship with the homeowners.
The skills we employ to restore and preserve historic roofs are difficult to acquire. These skills have been passed down through our company—our family—for generations, from craftsmen who learned them firsthand. Of course, whether you choose to work with Stevens Roofing or another company, it’s important you choose a contractor with:
- Local experience. Choosing a local company ensures you’re working with professionals who understand local historic preservation laws and respect the character of your neighborhood.
- Fair prices. The cheapest roofer is seldom the best, but a good local company will offer competitive prices for your area.
- Insurance and safety training. Be sure your roofing contractor has the right insurance, and trains all their roofers about the particular safety challenges of historic preservation.
- Great references. Don’t hesitate to ask for reviews and testimonials!
Contact us today to learn more about working with Stevens Roofing Corp for all your historic preservation roofing needs in the Norfolk, VA area. Our team has the kind of intimate knowledge of historic roofing which only comes from many decades serving our local community.