How to Choose the Right Roof for Your Historic Home

May 3, 2019

When it’s time to replace a roof, most homeowners are able to choose the type of roofing material they want in a variety of colors. But there are some homes across the country that are required to adhere to a certain list of rules. That is, historic homes.

Those that live in a historically mandated home must upkeep their home in a certain way. That means that a local historical organization exercises jurisdiction over the exterior of their homes. There may also be homeowners who live in historic homes that are not officially mandated to follow any guidelines, but they still want their home to adhere to its original design.

What to Consider When Replacing Historic Roofing

The purpose of a roof is to help protect the rest of the home; problems arise in the home when a roof is old or damaged. When replacing historic roofing, the top priorities include preserving the structure for a longer period of time, properly representing the true historic character of the home, and trying to display as much of the original detail as possible.

You’ll want to consider what alternative materials are out there if your home’s original materials are no longer available. Once you have your roof replaced, it’s also crucial to learn the best way to maintain your new roof so that your home can stay preserved.

Matching the Right Roofing Materials

Historic roofs are often a key element of architectural design and character to its respective time period. That’s why, if you want to keep the historical integrity of a home intact, it’s important to find the right historic roofing materials that will fulfill the original design. This can be costly and, sometimes, the original materials may also not be available. A few common alternatives include:

  • Asphalt shingles to replace tile roofs
  • Modern metal to replace metal galvanized with zinc or plated with tin
  • Concrete tiles to replace clay tiles
  • Synthetic slate to replace real slate

Complying with Historic Roofing Guidelines

If you live in a historically registered home and want to replace your roof, the first place you should visit is your city’s historical commission. Such historical organizations often require a proposal for any construction or alteration to any registered historical building, including roofing and flashing work. They will have the right resources to help you plan any type of exterior renovation to your home. You may also want to bring on an architect with experience in historic roofing to help you with your proposal.

Next, you’ll want someone who can properly install your roof while preserving your home’s historical value. Find someone who works well with the historic roofing materials you’ll be needing. Again, your local historical commission will likely have resources available to ensure the preservation of your home’s historic integrity.

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