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Historic Roof Restoration Materials

The amount of wear and tear that a building experiences over time often leaves certain parts deteriorated beyond repair. As such, properly completing most historic building restorations will require replacing some old building parts with new ones, and making sure the old and the new blend seamlessly. To ensure that the restoration is performed accurately, you need to use very specific replacement materials. This is especially true for the roof, because roofing materials changed a great deal throughout history. Let's take a look at the most commonly used materials for historic buildings, so that you can get you can get a full understanding of each and so that your roof restoration is done right.

Slate Shingles for Roof Restorations

Europeans first started using slate as a building material in the mid-1600s. Since then, its popularity has grown and diminished, depending on the style of the time.

Slate roofing is known for its durability. Its reputation is so great in this regard, that slate roofs have earned the nickname "hundred-year roofs." They are also fireproof, which has been a critical feature throughout history, when fire prevention measures and tools were not as great as they are today.

The biggest drawback of a slate roof is its weight. Slate shingles will weigh down a building, and can lead to a roof collapse if the underlying structure has been affected by leaks. This is one of the reasons that a full roof replacement is often needed for a slate roof restoration.

Wooden Shingles for Roof Restorations

As one of the oldest roofing materials, wood shingles can be found on some of the earliest buildings in history.

Because they are very inexpensive and easy to replace, wooden shingles have been used for buildings in every period in North America. Wood is also one of the lightest roofing materials that exist.

Wood is extremely vulnerable to a variety of external factors, including bacteria, mold, UV rays from sunlight and fire. This makes it very difficult to effectively maintain a roof with wooden shingles. Modern synthetic coatings can help with this, but these eventually wear down, requiring you to regularly re-coat the roof.

Sheet Metal for Roofing Restorations

In North America, sheet metal roofs were originally seen during the 1700s, but did not become popular until the 1800s. The earliest metal roofs were made of copper and lead, more recent historical buildings included iron roofs.

Sheet metal roofing is extremely durable, fireproof and inexpensive. It is lightweight, resulting in low wear and tear on the roof structure. Also, the durability of a metal roof is second only to that of a slate roof.

With exception of copper roofing, metal roofing is susceptible to rusting and corrosion. It can also be dented by normal environmental conditions.

Asphalt Shingles for Roof Restoration

At first, asphalt shingles were used as an inexpensive replacement for wooden shingles. Eventually though, they became a primary building material, especially for residential buildings.

Comparatively, asphalt shingles are extremely inexpensive. This is also the least expensive type of historical roofing material, meaning if your roof restoration is for an asphalt shingle roof, your budget will be less of a concern.

An asphalt shingle roof is not as durable and will have a shorter lifespan. Asphalt shingle roofs are more susceptible to inclement weather conditions which can cause damage to the roofing system.

Make sure that you understand what your historic building is made of

Understanding your restoration building materials will help you get the job done right. For more information on roof restoration materials, contact us today at Heather & Little.

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And if you are looking for a second opinion on your project or have a particularly complex issue that needs a fresh eye, we’re here for that too. Tackling tricky challenges is our specialty and we welcome the opportunity to provide consulting advice, with the same exacting attention to detail we bring to all our commissions.
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