Historic roofing

Choosing The Right Roof For A Historic Or Older Home

When it comes to maintaining and updating a historic or older home, the roof is one of the most critical decisions to make in terms of protecting your investment and ensuring that the home’s aesthetics are preserved. In selecting the right roof, it is important to balance the dual objectives of protecting the home and preserving the historic look of the home. This article will discuss some factors to consider when purchasing a new roof and will detail the best roofing materials for your unique home.

Historical accuracy

Part of the appeal of buying a historic home is the authenticity of the structure. For most owners, it is important to preserve historical accuracy and ensure that the home continues to look much like it did in the past. Design continuity can be achieved by consulting historical records, photographs, and local archives. These documents should give you a good idea of the style of roof that would suit your home best.

Local regulations

Before you select your new roof, it is critical that you consult local building regulations and preservation guidelines. If you happen to live in a historic district, you may not have much latitude when it comes to selecting your new roof. In certain situations, local regulations will require that you use a specific roofing material or style. If you fail to follow the regulations and guidelines, you may face fines or even have to remove your new roof and replace it with a roof that satisfies the regulations.

Cost, durability, and longevity

If you are not constrained by local regulations, it is important to research all roofing materials to decide which satisfies your needs in terms of historical accuracy, cost, durability, and longevity. In many cases, the roofing material that costs the most upfront is also the most durable and long-lived. As a result, the roof with the highest upfront cost often saves you money in the long run. For example, certain roofing materials can perform well for a century or more, resulting in substantial savings compared to less expensive materials that wear out in 15-25 years.

Don’t forget about proper maintenance

Just like a historic home, your new roof requires regular maintenance to function properly. Yearly maintenance and checkups after each storm will extend the lifespan of your roof substantially.

The right roofing material for your historic home

There are several roofing material options to consider when selecting a new roof for your historic home. The following are some of the best options:


Slate roofing is often historically accurate and is amongst the most durable and long-lived roofing materials available. Slate roofs can perform well for up to a century or more. Additionally, slate has a natural, refined, and elegant appearance that looks amazing on older homes.

Wood shingles

Wood shingles are frequently the most historically accurate roofing option when replacing the roof on a historic home. That’s because wood shingles have been used for centuries in American construction. Some of the most popular shingle options are made of cypress, redwood, or cedar.

Clay or terra cotta tile

In certain parts of the country, clay and terra cotta tile roofs are the perfect choice for historic homeowners. Spanish and Mediterranean-style homes are common in warmer climates. In the past, most of these homes were constructed with tile roofs. Luckily, tile roofs are durable, long-lived, energy efficient, and an elegant complement to the style of many older homes.

CMR is a historic and speciality roofing expert

CMR has installed countless roofs on historic buildings, both residential and commercial. Our roofing experts can help you pick the perfect roof and properly install your new roof so that it continues to protect your home for years to come. Contact us today to start planning your new roof.