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This Old Roof: How To Hire A Roofing Company For A Historic Roof

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Your roof is important to your home's structural integrity. But it also contributes to your home's beauty. This is especially true for older and historic homes. When thinking about roof repairs, you want to protect the overall look and integrity of your historic home.

Most modern homes have asphalt shingles, tile, or sheet metal roofs. Underneath that is a membrane made of synthetic materials. However, historic homes have roofs made of slate, tin, wood shingles, copper, tile, and many other materials. Not only was there a broader range of materials, but they were made differently than modern versions.

Most historic roofing materials were hand-made from local materials. Wood shingles, for example, were hand split and smoothed from local heartwood. Slate was also hand split, and different quarries offered slate of different colors. Modern, machine-made materials will simply look different than the rest of your historical roof.

In addition to the difference in materials, historic roofs often have other particular needs. A slate roof was typically installed in patterns that aren't common in modern roofing. And the types of nails and flashing need to be correctly matched to the different types of roofs. There are many different things to consider when repairing or replacing a historic roof.

Getting the Right Roofer

Because repairing and restoring a historical roof is much more involved than repairing a modern roof, you'll need to choose your roofer carefully. Dealing with slate, stamped tin, and other materials generally requires many more years of experience.

As with all contractors, your roofer should be fully licensed and insured. Their insurance should cover both workman's compensation and liability. This will protect you from financial responsibility if there's an accident.

Ask your roofer about their experience. How long have they been working with historical roofs? What kind of specialized training do they have in restoration? Do they have a portfolio of past restorations? Can you call any of their previous customers? 

Ask about your particular roof. If you have a slate roof, ask if they've worked with slate. If you have a wood shingle roof, or a pressed tin roof, ask about those as well. Can they source matching materials? Are they familiar with how those materials are made and installed?

While you should also ask these questions with any roof, they are especially important with historic roofs. There is so much variety in historic materials and methods, it takes many years of experience to understand them fully. A roofer with twenty years of experience working mainly with slate roofs may struggle working on a roof of pressed tin. In addition, getting a roofer experienced in your particular roof type means they will have the professional connections to source materials that best match your current roof. 

This may seem like a lot of extra work, but that extra effort can save you lots of money and time in future repairs. A good roofing contractor like one from Valley Roofing will protect the beauty and integrity of your whole home.


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