Historic Homes: Goodfriend’s Guide to Choosing the Right Roof

If you own a historical home, you know that the maintenance challenges are well worth the privilege of owning a beautiful space that has stood the test of time. Although most old homes require renovations throughout their lifespan in order to preserve their integrity and functionality, you still want to maintain the original design and architecture.  

Re-roofing your home can be a particularly challenging process. You must ensure that the new roofing system is not too heavy for your historic home’s structure to hold up. So, what is the best material to use and what should you do for the best roofing results?

These questions may sound simple, but if you have a historical home in need of a substantial roof fix-up, your Goodfriends weigh in on how to pick the appropriate material for the job.

Find a Historic Home Roofing Expert

While there may be numerous roofing experts near you, not all of them necessarily have the expertise of roofing an older home. Most roofers work with modern roofing structures and may not have the proper expertise to help you with your historic home.

Goodfriend Roofing has worked on historical home projects and has the experience and qualifications to safely repair or replace your roof. Call today to get started on your roofing project.

Conduct a Roof Inspection

A roof inspection will uncover the number of repairs required for your roof as well as any potential structural challenges. With this information, you will be able to decide whether you need minor repairs or an entire roof replacement.  

There is a chance you will not need to replace the entire roof, but instead, will just have to fix leaks and molding issues. A structural inspection will ensure your home can support the new roof’s weight in the case that you do need a full replacement.  

Remember: only trust a licensed pro with your roof inspection. We know how to avoid damage to your roof and avoid safety hazards. A roofing company will inspect your roof with the proper tools and processes while keeping in mind that old roofing material tends to be weak and needs to be handled with extra care.

Older roofing material tends to be weak and in need of special care, so never inspect your historical home’s roof without a professional.

Apply Temporary Patches

After a professional has determined the extent of damage on your roof, the roofer may need to conduct extensive research on the specifics of your roof. Historical homes normally require more creative solutions and may require specific licensing/permitting.

We’ll prepare to provide all necessary documents needed to replace your roof as soon as possible. To prevent your home from experiencing further damage while we wait for the roof to be replaced, we may put temporary patches as well, but you can trust your goodfriends to treat your roof right.  

Historical Home Roofing Materials

The material best-suited for your roof depends on an array of factors. Listed below are the options you may have available for your historic home.  

Clay Tile

Clay tiling was used extensively during the colonial era, particularly in areas influenced by Spanish colonialism. They come molded in a variety of styles including flat, round, convex, or Spanish.

Clay tiles eventually evolved and were replaced by wooden shingles, making it difficult to find exact replacements for these styles in color or design. A more modern roofing tile may be a good alternative if you intend on maintaining the clay tile look.

Wood Shingles

As mentioned, wood shingles eventually replaced clay tiles. The use of wood shingles extended into the 19th century. Due to complications of manufacturing, proper installation technique, and type of wood, it can be very challenging to find an adequate replacement for wooden shingles, requiring extensive research.

Since wood deteriorates quickly, it must be treated with a protective coating such as paint or linseed oil for longevity.  


In the late 1700s, slate became a popular roofing material and have maintained their popularity ever since. Since they are durable and can be made with quality, they are a great choice for those with longevity in mind. The initial cost is high, but this pays off with the average lifespan of a slate roof being over 100 years.

Slate comes in a variety of colors and styles, so it can complement the architecture of a variety of antiquated homes.  

Metal Roof

Historically, only lead and copper were available to homeowners, which was often quite expensive. In the 18th century however, tin metal roofs became popular.  

Older metal roofs can now be replaced with modern metal roofing materials, such as aluminum, tin, and steel. Since they are highly durable, eco-friendly, and reflect the sun, they are very popular among homeowners.

Protect Your Historical Haven

Replacing your historic home’s roofing system can be an extensive process that requires professional advice and in-depth research.  

When needing a roof replacement, the material used for your roof may be unavailable to purchase in today’s industry, or the structure of your house may not be suited for modern roofing materials. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced team, you can have the beautiful roof that your home deserves. Call Goodfriend Roofing today for a team you can trust!  

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