Use this 3-part SimpleSpecs specification template to specify shingle restoration. Including the repair and replacement of slate, wood, and metal roofing and sidewall shingles.
Historic buildings are an essential part of our cultural heritage, and preserving them for future generations is a top priority. One of the most critical aspects of historic building preservation is the repair and replacement of the building’s shingles, particularly the roofing and sidewall shingles.
Types of Shingles Used in Historic Buildings
Historic buildings typically used one of three types of shingles: slate, wood, or metal. Each of these materials has unique characteristics that contribute to the overall aesthetic and historical value of the building.
Slate shingles are used in buildings with steeply pitched roofs, as they are heavy and durable. Slate shingles are typically cut into rectangles and installed in overlapping rows, creating a distinctive, uniform look.
Wood shingles were used in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in buildings with a more decorative style. Wood shingles were often cut into decorative shapes and patterns, giving the building a unique, handcrafted look.
Metal shingles, particularly those made of copper, were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Metal shingles are lightweight, durable, and fire-resistant, making them an excellent choice for buildings in areas with a high risk of fire.
Challenges of Shingle Restoration
Restoring historic shingles are a complex and challenging process, requiring a high degree of skill and expertise. One of the biggest challenges is finding replacement shingles that match the original shingles in terms of material, color, size, and shape.
Another challenge is working with the existing structure. Historic buildings have architectural features that must be carefully preserved during the restoration process. For example, a building with a steeply pitched roof may require scaffolding or other specialized equipment to access and repair the shingles.
Since there are relatively few sources of slate shingles, determining specification requirements for matching these is substantially easier than wood shingles due to the wide variety of locally available woods.
Metal shingles were produced in a variety of materials and profiles, some of which are still available and most of which can be custom produced. An on-site analysis of existing shingles is required to accurately determine the requirements for shingles on any given project.
For additional information on this subject, refer to the following Preservation Briefs by the National Park Service, www.nps.gov:
- No. 4 – Roofing for Historic Buildings.
- No. 19- The Repair and Replacement of Historic Wooden Shingle Roofs.
- No. 29 – The Repair, Replacement and Maintenance of Historic Slate Roofs.
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