Historical Roof Restoration
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Are you planning on repairing or replacing your historical homes existing roof?
Part of owning a historical home, and one of the reasons you love about it, is the architectural character. When it comes time to replace the roof, choosing the wrong roofing material can ruin its charm. Historical roof restoration entails choosing the right material and style that is most appropriate to your home’s era.
Recently, we were entrusted to restore a very historical home, the Lockwood Mansion, of the Vampire Diaries TV show fame. Take a look at the completion video of the Lockwood Mansion roof replacement. And you will see why Prodigy Roofing is the "historical roof" roofing contractor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiKcxqqvY0g
Also, choosing the right professional that is familiar with the necessary materials and techniques is just as important.
Steps to take in a replacing a historical roofing system.
Choosing a roofer with historical home experience.
There are qualifications a roofing company will need to replace and preserve your historical roof. Search for roofing contractors or artisans of the trade and ask them about their experience with historic roof preservation. Not only with the installation, your historical roofer should be very familiar with the type of roofing material on your home. Metal, tile, slate and wood weather in different ways and require different types of support and replacement methods. Ask your contractor for references and photos of their past projects when determining who you will choose to replace your roof.
2) Assessing the extent of the work that needs to be done.
Finding out if your roofing system has any underlying issues that need to be addressed before replacing the roofing materials needs to be part of the process. Contractors often require taking off some of the old roofing, inspect the attic and determine if there is indeed other issues. Because historical roofing materials tend to be delicate, your roofing contractors inspection must make sure the roof doesn’t sustain anymore damage. Make sure they use appropriate measures so as not to walk on the roof, but set up scaffolding when necessary.
3) Researching your homes architectural and historical house plan.
The contractor must do some research on the roof by viewing the house plans, building specifications, photos, articles and files from previous owners. Any documentation on your roof needs to be shared with your roofing contractor. Because the original building plans of your home or required tools have have been outmoded, your roofing contractor will need to resort to contemporary solutions but staying as true to the original design.
4) Documenting the work being done to your historical roof.
Throughout the process of replacing your historical homes roof, the roofers have must record their work for the benefit of generations to come. Documenting every spec, material, or design is imperative to stay as true to the original design as possible.
What type of architectural style fits your historical roof’s home?
Knowing your architectural era of you historic home will help you decide which roofing material is appropriate.
(1600- Early 1700’s)
Saltbox homes are of Colonial style architecture which originated in New England. Saltboxes are frame houses with two stories in front and one in back, having a pitched roof with unequal sides, being short and high in front and long and low in back.
Because of its steep roof, snow accumulation was a concern. Choosing wood shingles and metal are some of the most popular roofing materials.
Dutch Colonial homes is a style of domestic architecture, primarily characterized by gambrel roofs having curved eaves along the length of the house. If you want to remain true to this era, it's best to use wood shingles for your roofing material.
(1700 - 1780)
The Georgian style is highly variable, but marked by symmetry and proportion based on the classical architecture of Greece and Rome, as revived in Renaissance architecture. Georgian homes typically have a symmetrical facade, transom lights, double-hung windows, a paneled door and occasionally a pedimented crown. In the South, they tend to be built with brick, and in the North, with clapboards. Wood shingles are the most appropriate roofing material for this style
(1780 - 1820)
This style shares its name with its era, the Federalist Era. The name Federal style is also used in association with furniture design in the United States of the same time period. The Federal style was inspired by ancient Roman architecture and is characterized by a symmetrical facade, paneled doors, dentil molding and shuttered windows. This style was the first to emerge in the recently formed United States and could be found throughout the country at the time. Metal, slate and wood shingles are all materials found on Federal-style homes.
(1825 - 1860)
Characteristics of Greek Revival homes include pedimented gable ends, pedimented windows and full-width porches or porticos with classical columns. Enamored with the democracy they had adopted from the Greeks, Americans of the time built many structures reminiscent of Greek temples, and Greek Revival homes are a prime example. Slate tiles are considered the best roofing material for these homes.
(1840 - 1880)
Gothic Revival-style homes feature roofs with steep pitches, decorated cross gables, a porch on the first floor, doors that have arched panels and arched Gothic-style windows. This style originated in England and mimics the style of Medieval houses and churches. It's most commonly found in the countryside. The roofs of Gothic Revival homes primarily featured slate, although decorative wood shingles were also common.
(1840 - 1885)
Italianate-style homes have hip roofs and deep eaves with brackets. The windows feature intricate crowns, and the entryways have paired doors with glass in them. Like the Gothic Revival style, the Italianate style also originated in England and sought to imitate the rustic appearance of Italian countryside homes. We recommend metal roofs for Italianate homes, which are attractive and help prevent drainage issues.
(1855 - 1885)
The Second Empire style closely resembles the Italianate but can be differentiated by its Mansard roofs and dormers. The roofs feature tin tiles or slate that form decorative patterns.
(1860 - 1890)
The Stick Style is thought to be a transition between the Gothic Revival and Queen Anne style, which would begin around 1880. All of these three styles were influenced by Medieval half-timbered structures in England, which were characterized by their projecting gables and steep roofs. Unlike the Gothic Revival style, Stick-style homes feature decorations on the surface of the wall itself instead of just around the cornices, doors and windows. Wood shingles and slate are the roofing materials of choice for this style of house.
(1880 - 1910)
Queen Anne homes, also known as Victorian homes, are asymmetrical and feature roof lines that intersect, bay windows and turrets, a porch on the first floor, decorative trim and patterned shingles. This home style was the first to emerge as a result of the Industrial Age. Slate is the most attractive roofing material for a Victorian-era roof.
(1880 - 1990)
As the name suggests, Shingle-style homes feature wood shingles — and not just on the roof, but on the exterior walls as well. Shingle homes also tend to be asymmetrical and are often built into the hills and rocks of the New England shoreline.
(1880 - 1955)
The Colonial Revival period began shortly after the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876, which historians believe renewed Americans' interest in their architectural past. Colonial Revival homes tend to feature hipped, gambrel or gable roofs. As this style is imitating Colonial-era architecture, wood shingles are the most appropriate roofing material.
(1880 - 1900)
Richardson Romanesque-style homes are characterized by their brick or stone exterior, asymmetrical shape and Syrian or Roman towers and arches. The best roof material for a Richardson Romanesque home depends on the roof style — slate works best for hipped roofs and Mansard roofs, and wood shingles are most suitable for gable roofs.
(1870 - 1910)
Folk Victorian homes are simple house forms that feature intricate bargeboards, trim and spindle work. Thanks to the Industrial Age, elaborate decorative trim became affordable to average Americans, allowing them to decorate their simple cottages with these fancy mass-produced items. Wood shakes or shingles are the most attractive roofing materials for this style of house.
(1895 - 1950)
Neoclassical-style homes feature a symmetrical facade, porches with large columns, Composite or Corinthian capitals and massive pediments. This style closely resembles the Colonial Revival style, as it takes inspiration from an era when classical forms were dominant. If the roof is a side gable, wood shingles or shakes work best, and if it's a hipped roof, slate is recommended.
Choose Prodigy Roofing for your historical homes’ roof replacement.
At Prodigy Roofing, we specialize in preserving and restoring roofs of buildings that are historically, architecturally and culturally significant. It is our mission to restore the beauty of your historic roof and significantly increase its lifespan by using modern materials and techniques. Prodigy Roofing is a Certified CertainTeed Select ShingleMaster Roof Contractor-The Highest Credential Level. Prodigy Roofing is authorized to operate and represent itself as a SELECT ShingleMaster, and can offer the CertainTeed SureStart PLUS warranty extensions. Take a look at some of our historical roof restorations. www.GeorgiaRoofs.com/projects
Call Prodigy Roofing today at 470-496-2913 or visit us at GeorgiaRoofs.com.