How Do I Preserve My Historic Home’s Roofing?

white painted house with green palm trees in the front

Do you live in a historic neighborhood? It’s possible your home is protected by laws to preserve your historic home. This includes roofing materials that may need repair or replacing. Because of the unusual nature of your home’s building materials, a special contractor is likely required to do the work.


The great news is that historic home roofing materials when properly installed and maintained can actually do the same work as modern materials, if not better. Also, in many classic home’s architecture, the roof is an important element in maintaining the building’s historic character.


The preservation of historic roofing is not only a good idea for history’s sake, but also often required by local ordinances. It’s also true with properties being protected by government agencies such as the National Park Service. Historic roofing materials include clay tiles, slate roofing, wood shingles, and metals such as corrugated sheet iron and copper. Some older homes even use asphalt shingles similar to those used today.


The good news is most of these historic roofing materials are still readily available today. There are a few exceptions that can still be manufactured to exact specifications if the need exists. The problem can be in figuring out exactly what the state of your home’s roof is on the surface. You need to avoid a potentially damaging visual inspection of the roof system.


To avoid this, a home roof inspection with infrared imaging is important to consider. A thermal imaging inspection allows for non-destructive, non-invasive discovery of potential air and water leaks. It also provides important documentation, which is necessary when work is done on any historic property.


Once you know what work needs to be done on your historic home’s roof system, be sure to hire a contractor who specializes in historical restoration. Especially when working with slate roofs and tile roofs that require special care, don’t just hire any ordinary handyman to work on them.


There are many architectural and design considerations when working on historic roof projects. Even if the roofing material is fairly easy to get, staying as close to the original look and function can be a challenge. It all has to be carefully planned out and documented. There are contractors that offer these specialized services, so be sure to seek them out first.

Historic homes have survived the years because they were built well in the beginning. But, with time, every home needs repair. Hopefully, your historic home roofing will only need minimal work done. Still, even a common roofing problem on a historic roof must be dealt with properly. Antique roofing systems can work just as effectively as modern ones, as long as they are cared for properly.