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Behind The Scenes Of Repairing Your Historic Roof

Behind The Scenes Of Repairing Your Historic Roof

Roof repair is a complicated task even under ordinary circumstances. When it comes to repairing a historical roof, you need special skills and expertise to ensure the character of the building is maintained.

Always work with a roofing contractor who is specialized in handling historic roofing techniques and materials. In this blog, we focus on how to repair historic roofs and highlight the differences between repairing a regular roof and a historic roof.

Common Roofing Materials for Historic Homes

Historic homes are roofed by different materials, including slate, tile, metal (copper), asphalt shingles, and wood shakes. Here is a quick overview of these materials and why they make great roofing systems even in older homes.

  • Slate and Stone Finishes – Slate is known to last longer than any other roofing material before needing repair. When a number of slates begin to fail, your roofer can strip the whole roof in order to make sound and worthwhile repairs.
  • Tiles – Traditional clay tiles are still used in many historic homes. Clay roof repair entails renewing timber batters when the decking is significantly damaged and replacing dislodged tiles.
  • Metal Roof – Metal roofs are also common in historic homes, with lead and copper leading the pack. Today, you can choose standing seam metal roofing systems to match the architecture of your historic home.
  • Asphalt Shingles – Asphalt shingles came into existence in 1901 and gained popularity in the 1920s. Although the earliest shingles are no longer manufactured, you can find a wide range of shingle styles to suit any historic building.
  • Wood Shingles/Shakes – Perhaps the most common historic roofing material is wood shingles or shakes. Today, you can find wood shakes/shingles in a wide variety of styles to match your building style.

Repairing Vs. Replacing a Historic Roof

With historic roofs, preventive maintenance is often the key to longevity. When you schedule periodic inspections and maintenance, your roofer can discover leaks and other damages early and make the necessary repairs before the problems worsen.

However, if the roofing materials are significantly damaged, or if the roof deck and the underlayment are rotten, it may make more sense to replace the entire roof. Only a professional inspection will reveal the true picture of the overall condition of your roof and help you make an informed decision on whether to repair or replace your historic roof.

Why Repairing a Historic Roof is Important

The primary reason for repairing a historic roof is to protect the roof as well as the building structure from weather damage. Secondly, prompt repairs will ensure your historic home retains its architectural integrity for longer.

Throughout the repair process, your roofer should document their work for future generations. This helps to preserve the heritage and leave a road map for future repairs.

How Repairing a Historic Roof Differs From a Standard Roof

The repair process for historic roofs can be a challenge. In some cases, the original roofing materials are no longer available, which calls for proper substitutes to be located. Working with a specialized historic roofer will ensure these substitutes closely match the original materials.

Combining incompatible roofing metals often result in corrosion or damage. Moreover, repairs need to be made at a time when the weather is mild to ensure the fragile roofing materials are not damaged. If the building is a tourist attraction or a functioning business, your roofer may need to schedule the work during the slow season to minimize impact on business operations.

Why Biannual Roofing Inspections are Important

The restoration process for historical roofs is painstaking. Whether the old roofing system is experiencing natural wear and tear or suffered storm damage, getting matching roofing materials is always a daunting task.

You want to be up to date with regular assessments to help catch issues early before they call for costly repairs or replacement. By scheduling professional roof inspections twice every year and after major storms, your roofer can identify potential problem areas and take care of any damage as they happen.

Work with a Specialized Historic Roofer!

If you own a historic building, you need to keep up to date with regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Always work with a reputable roofing contractor with proven experience in restoring historic roofs.

At Stevens Roofing, we have years of experience repairing historic roofs in Norfolk, VA, and surrounding areas. We install, repair, and replace different roofing systems, including tile, metal, slate, wood shakes/shingles, and asphalt shingles. Feel free to view our portfolio of work online, or contact us today for more information about our previous historic roofing projects.

What You Should Know About Historic Preservation

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