Historic Roof Restoration and Repair
If you are the owner or operator of a historic building, you understand the difficulty and expense involved in the daily upkeep and maintenance of your building, not to mention the difficulties that arrive when a major repair is needed. Historic restoration of older buildings is difficult not only because of the age of various structures and components of the building, nor solely because of price of the restoration projects or materials, but also because of the level of skill and craftsmanship necessary to undertake and successfully complete a historic roof restoration.
A successful historic restoration contractor must not only be very skilled at their craft, but must be able to complete a historical analysis of the building to determine what original methods and materials were used to create the structure. For example, to correctly complete a historic roof restoration, your contractor needs to investigate where the roofing material was sourced from, how it was processed, what cuts and dies were used to create the individual panels, and how the original roofers secured the panels to the existing structure.
One of the most important reasons to work with an a roofing contractor experienced in historic restoration is the level of harm that can arise from an improperly secured roof. A weather-tight roof is vitally important in any home or building, but is even more important in an older, historic building.
An improperly secured roof can allow moisture and even large amounts of water into the building, soaking and weakening the historic roofing structure and support beams.
Failure of these components can lead to catastrophic damage, including partial roof collapse, failure of major load-bearing beams, or even water damage to historically significant and priceless furniture, paintings, and other valuable objects in the interior of the building.
In addition to the damage that an improperly secured roof can cause, an improperly performed historic restoration can ruin the aesthetic look of historic buildings. Commonly used historic materials such as slate, Spanish tile, and wood shingles must be properly sourced, treated, and installed in order to maintain a building’s appearance. A contractor who does not specialize in historic restoration is likely to undervalue the importance of a historical analysis and will miss key features such as die consistency, wood cut angles, or a materials aging process.
- Significance of the Roof
- Historic Roofing Materials in America
- Locating the Problem
- Repair or Replace
- Historical Research
- Replacing the Historic Roofing Material
- Alternative Materials
- Temporary Stabilization
- Summary and References
- Reading List
Common Roofing Problems Faced By Historic Buildings
One of the most common problems found with historic roofs is organic decay, particularly in roofs with wood shingles. Wood shingles are subject to common hazards such as water damage, termite damage, holes or punctures, and general erosion. In addition, shingles and clay tiles are often chipped or broken during particularly rough weather.
In addition, the original support structures of historic buildings degrade over time. Furthermore, many buildings were improperly sealed during their initial construction, leading to problems with the elements years later.