Choosing to Restore or Replace
When a roof has reached the end of its useful life, it needs to be replaced. However, for homeowners who possess historic buildings, there are harder decisions to make.
Above all, do you replace with a modern asphalt roof, or strive to retain the original charm with classic shingles or wood shake?
In some cases, historical landmarks or buildings located within historic areas can be monitored by commissions. Often they require the same roofing materials or historically authentic reproductions. If you’re unsure what the best options are, then we’ll explain the pros and cons.
Wood shake roofing or wood shingles are very beautiful and rustic looking. In fact, many historic homes have wooden shingles or tongue-and-groove wood planking. It makes sense, because when these homes were built, wood was the most available natural resource.
There’s something so natural about a wooden roof. You can’t replicate the historical element of wood with any alternative. That’s why so many historic homeowners try the best that they can to restore wooden roofs. Although wood has a reputation to not hold up as well as other materials, they can be quite durable when properly maintained.
Though wooden roofing can be very easy to repair and replace, the complex design usually requires a professional. Careful installation is crucial. When not installed properly, gaps in wooden roofing can lead to rotting, splitting, and other serious damage.
Slate “Hundred Year Roofs”
Known as the “hundred year roof,” slate tiles are extremely sturdy and durable. They offer a unique look, while still providing covering that will keep your home safe.
Firstly, slate roofs are known for their looks. They provide a classic feel, while still having durability and longevity. They tend to be very low-maintenance, and can greatly increase the overall value of your home.
Despite the strength of its material, the flashings of slate roofs tend to wear out sooner. Therefore, it’s important to never step on a slate roof without consulting a professional first. Another disadvantage is its heavy weight. Not every home is strong enough to support the weight of a slate roof. Also, when not maintained properly, a slate roof may not have the longevity of its constructive competitors. So much for one-hundred years!
In the 19th Century, metal roofing was very popular for home construction. Made of materials like copper, tin, zinc, lead and iron, these were a great upgrade from earlier types of roofing. Not to mention, metal provides a safe alternative that can’t be set on fire or chewed away by animals!
Metal is durable, giving your roof longevity throughout years of Western New York winters. It can withstand harsh winds and heavy snow. And, unlike wood and traditional shingles, metal won’t provide growing grounds for moss and fungus.
The biggest downfall of metal roofing is the cost. The initial investment for a metal roof can bring sticker shock to the average homeowner. Some people are also adverse to the noise factor… You can surely hear a rainstorm on a metal roof! However, if you don’t mind that noise and you’ve got the money to invest, a metal roof provides excellent shelter and protection.
Modern Architectural Shingle Roofs
Not sure if restoration is in your time frame or budget? Luckily, it’s easy today to get the look of traditional products with modern durability. In fact, a modern roof can be even sturdier, without compromising the look and feel of a historic home.
All asphalt shingles are not the same. In brief, their strength and durability depends on what they’re made of. Though it can be overwhelming to compare, homeowners have an array of options to choose from when working with asphalt shingles. Average 3-tab shingles tend to be lightweight and cost less than many alternatives.
The main con of a modern roof is, well, it’s modern! If it turns out that modern roofing will work best, then make sure you check with local ordinances for rules on historic home maintenance. What’s more, if it turns out that you choose asphalt shingles, make sure to install shingles that aren’t too flimsy. That way, they will withstand WNY’s winter weather.
The Right Choice
We hope that this guide helped you sort out your roofing options. Having a historical home is a responsibility, and it’s important to weight out your options when performing major repairs. Just remember that Weather Resistors is your historic home restoration expert!
Still not sure which roofing system is best for you? Think you know what you need, but don’t know where to start? Contact us today!