Historical Roof Restoration

Historical Roof Restoration – Antebellum Roofworks is well known and experienced for its expertise in historical roof, gutter and architectural sheet metal restorations. We combine tradition, pride and craftsmanship to handle the complex intricacies’ often found in historical projects. Since 1995 we have made historical projects our passion by combining today’s continuing education, training and products knowledge with yesterday’s craftsmanship and attention to detail. We work closely and professionally with the building owner, general contractors, architects and historical governing boards to ensure each restoration objective is met. This dedication and professional working relationship results in the roof, gutters and or architectural/ornamental sheet metal aspect of your historical property being restored to the historical era and waterproofing purpose in which it was original constructed.

Antebellum Roofworks has developed and earned a well earned reputation for quality product knowledge and installation in their slate, tile, wood shake and architectural/ornamental metal work on churches, historic buildings, governmental, educational and other institutional buildings. We are highly regarded for the unique craftsmanship and equipment resources found in our custom sheet metal department. The state of the art equipment resources are matched with our traditionally trained craftsman to deliver the custom fabrications and installations required in historical restoration projects. When our custom sheet metal department is matched with our low and steep slope roofing divisions we provide a total building envelope approach to meeting the roofing, gutter and custom sheet metal needs of building owners, design teams and historical associations. This dedicated approach gives you watertight peace of mind and a systems approach that allows the old to become new without sacrificing the structures historical character.

When you choose a contractor for any historical restoration project you want to choose one that has the experience, resources and reputation to meet your projects unique needs, conditions and details. Because Antebellum Roofworks is a full service roofing (steep and low slope), gutter and custom sheet metal contractor you can rest assured that we are able to tackle any task from the inspection, design and bid stages through to the installation and completion stage. We can preform intricate repairs to your existing system or match your old roof system with a new one. We can handle unique and complex installation and product details to meet your restoration objectives. We respect the historical significance and water tight intentions of your property and understand that a historical restoration roof project can be a complete building envelope process.

To better understand a historical roof, gutter or custom sheet metal project one should familiarize themselves with Historically Authentic Roof Systems, Historic Craftsmanship, and the Historic Roof Restoration Process. You must also know the local, state or federal governing bodies that protect your historic property and the guidelines that direct the restorations repair and/or replacement.

Historic Roof Systems:

The goal of historical roof restorations is to ‘retain” the roof or to “replace” with a roof system that matches the original roof system. There are some restrictions to this goal as some local building codes place restrictions on some roofing system such as wood shingles and shakes for example because of fire hazards. Our team of historical roof restoration specialist conduct careful research into the original design elements, architectural details and roof construction techniques while inspecting your projects existing conditions and details in order to accurately recommend an authentic roof system that reflects the historical character of your project. Historic Roofing materials are as follows:

    Clay tile has been used for roofing in America as early as the mid-17th century. Like today many styles were available and reflected the immigration and cultural diversity of the local area. For example tile roofs in Pennsylvania reflect a German influence while tile roofs in Jamestown, VA reflect an English influence. By the mid-19th century, tile roofs were often replaced with sheet-metal roofs because they were lighter, less expensive and easier to install and maintain. By the turn of the 20thcentury, the Romanesque Revival and Mission style buildings created a new demand for clay tile roofing materials.
  2. SLATE:
    Another roofing material and practice early settlers brought to America from Europe was slate roofing. Evidence of slate roofing has been found among the ruins of Jamestown. Cost and time required to obtain material usually imported from Wales initially limited the use of slate roofing. Although sources of native slate along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Virginia were known to exist the difficulties placed on inland transportation at the time increased cost and limited availability. When used slate still most often was imported from Wales until the mid-19th century when transportation development made American slate more economical and accessible. Back then as today slate was chosen because of its durability, fireproof qualities and aesthetic potential. Slate roofing can be found on Gothis and Mansard tyle architecture as wll as many Tudor revival style buildings.
    Wood shingles and Shakes have been popular throughout the United States and in all periods of our building history. Size and shape as well as the detailing of the roofing material differed according to regional and cultural practices. Different preferences were developed regionally to match the local species of wood used. White Pine was used most commonly in New England, red cedar or redwood out West and cypress and oak in the South. Protective coatings comprised of a mixture of brick dust and fish oil or red oxide paint and linseed oil were used to increase the durability of these products. Urban areas were fire hazards were a concern began to shift to more fire resistant materials but rural areas continued their use of wood roofing products well into the 19th century. With the development of the wood shingle at the turn of the 20th century the Colonial revival and Bungalow style of architecture assured wood roofing place as a common and fashionable domestic roofing material.
  4. METAL:
    Metal roofing as we know it today is mostly a 19th century phenomenon. Before this time the only materials used for roofing were lead and copper. Both lead and copper are malleable and have been traditionally used in areas of the roof where the pitch and shape of roof made traditional roofing materials like slate. Wood Shakes and tile inappropriate. Standing Seam copper roofs covered some of the most notable early American roofs while flat seamed copper has been traditionally used on domes and cupelos. Copper sheets were imported from England until the end of the 18th century when facilities for rolling sheet metal were first developed in America. The method for corrugating iron was originally patented in England in 1829. This allowed the sheets to be used over a greater span reducing installation time and labor. Galvanizing base metal was developed in France in 1837. By the 1850’s Galvanized roofing was widely used and in 1857 the first metal roof in the South was installed at the US Mint in New Orleans thereby fireproofing the structure with its 20ga iron roof over iron trusses. Tin plated iron commonly known as tin roofing was widely used in Canada during the 18th century but its introduction into the United States did not come until later. Thomas Jefferson was an early advocate of tin roofing and installed the product at Monticello ca. 1770-1802. Once rolling mills were established the low cost, light weight and low maintenance of tin plate made it the roofing material of choice and the most common roofing material used. Tin shingles were developed with intricate embossed patterns were popular throughout the country in the late 19th century and were usually maintained by keeping them well painted. Terne plate often confused with tin plate was developed later. Terne plate is iron dipped in an alloy of lead and tin. Historic and modern docuementation often confuses the two materials so much that its hard to determine how often “terne” roofing was actually used.

Historic Roof Restoration Process:




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