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Choosing The Right Roofing For Older Homes

Key Takeaways –

  • Old or heritage homes cannot survive with outdated, damaged, or weak roofs.
  • You can upgrade older homes by installing modern contemporary roofing styles.
  • These styles mix well with older roofing and help preserve the heritage while providing able support to the property.
  • America is home to various architectural styles, many of which are still preserved even to this day.
  • You can also preserve these roofs by following essential maintenance tips.

Older homes have an undeniable charm and aura about them. However, these antiquated properties require significant TLC and maintenance efforts to maintain that presence. Choosing the right roofing is critical to caring for them as their roofing system will eventually require replacement after a few decades.

Homes more than a century old need a robust roof to withstand the elements and preserve a strong foundation. Homeowners should consider multiple factors before deciding on the type of roofing for their older homes; these factors differ from those influencing traditional roof replacement. This article lists some essential factors and shares some important maintenance tips to ensure the roofing system ably supports the old home.

The Right Roofing Style for Older Homes

There are various roofing options forresidences that have seen many years. Here are some that you can consider:

Wood Shingles/Shakes

Wood shingles are made from split logs. They offer a rustic charm, and you can paint or stain them to match your home’s exterior. Wood shingles/shakes require more maintenance than other roofing materials, but they can last up to 30 years with proper care.

Clay Tile

Clay tile roofing is a popular choice for older homes of Mediterranean or Spanish Colonial styles. Clay tiles are durable and offer good insulation, but they are also heavy and require exceptional support. Clay tile roofing can last up to 50 years with proper care.

Concrete Tile

Concrete tiles are more affordable than clay tiles and offer many of the same benefits. Concrete tiles are also durable and offer good insulation, but they are not as heavy as clay tiles. This popular type of roofing can last up to 40 years with proper care.


Slate was a common roofing material in pre-revolution America and is still used in many older homes. Slate roofing is very durable, but it is also cumbersome and requires exceptional support. Slate roofing can last up to 100 years with proper care.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing option for older homes and are the most common roofing material used in America. Asphalt shingles are easy to install and easy on the wallet, but they don’t offer the same durability as other roofing materials. Asphalt shingles can last up to 20 years with proper care.


Metal roofing is becoming more popular but is still not as common as asphalt shingles. It is durable and can last up to 50 years with proper care. Metal roofing is also very reflective, which can help reduce your energy costs in the summer.

Consult historical organizations or professional roofers before shortlisting roof restoration or replacement options for older homes.

Roof Based on Your Home’s Era

Despite its 240 years of history, America is home to various vintage architectural designs and styles. These styles dictate the kind of roofing you require; here are a few old home styles you might encounter:

Georgian (1700 – 1780)

These homes feature a simple, rectangular design and symmetrical windows. The roof is low-pitched and made of wood. Southern Georgian homes usually feature brick, while the ones built in the North were made of clapboard. Wooden shingles suit the roofing demands for Georgian homes, as it is durable and can withstand exposure to elements.

Federal (1780 – 1830)

Homes designed in the federal period were inspired by ancient Roman architecture. These homes are an evolution of the Georgian style and feature more ornate details. A symmetrical facade, shuttered windows, and paneled doors are all features of a Federal architectural design. Metal, slate, and wooden shingles are a natural roofing choice for these homes.

Victorian (1840 – 1900)

Victorian homes are easily recognizable by their gingerbread trim, turreted rooflines, and wrap-around porches. The roof is usually steeply pitched and made of wood. These homes signified the industrial age, and wood shakes or shingles are the right choices for these homes.

Neoclassical (1895 – 1950)

This style was a reaction to the ornate Victorian style and featured more classical details. The roof is usually hipped with dormers, and the facade is balanced and symmetrical. Metal, slate, or wood shingles are suitable roofing materials for these homes.

Also read – Less Obvious Signs of Roofing Damage You Need to Watch Out for

How to Maintain Old Home Roofing

Frequent roof inspections and maintenance are key to prolonging the roof’s lifespan. Check for missing, curled, or cracked shingles and exposed nails. Make sure the flashing around the chimneys and vents is in good condition. Keep the gutters clean to prevent water damage. If you have any doubts about your roof’s condition, call a roofing contractor for an inspection.

Roofing in older home styles can be replicated when it’s time for a replacement. This is especially important for heritage homes. You’ll need to get in touch with a roofing contractor who specializes in roof restoration. They will be able to advise you on the best roofing materials and methods to use.

If your old home’s roof is in good condition, there are some repairing hacks you can do to further prolong its lifespan. These include sealing any cracks or gaps with caulk, adding roof flashing to vulnerable areas, and painting the roof with a weatherproof coating.

If you’re like most Americans, your home is your biggest investment. You want to do everything you can to protect it, and that includes making sure your roof is in good condition. Curvelo Restorations offers premier roofing services for aging properties in Milton. We have the experience and expertise necessary to restore or repair your roof, so it looks as good as new. And we offer a wide range of services to meet all your needs.

We also offer free estimates, so contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your home!