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Roofing Tips, Tricks and Ideas

New Roof Replacement on Historic Homes

Published by Pickard Roofing at

You don’t have to travel far from the Pickard Roofing headquarters in Durham, North Carolina to find communities and neighborhoods filled with vibrant, restored historic buildings. Each historic property has its own character and beauty. Selection of roofing materials can be tricky on a historic home. Roofing projects will require expert knowledge of existing materials; as well as the options for material availability, substitution, and/or similar products. What's more, today many roofing contractors lack the requisite skills and experience. When it comes time to replace your historic roof, here is some information that will help guide you.

Know Your Resources

Although preserving and maintaining a historic home can be challenging, you do have support in the community. Familiarize yourself with some of these local resources.


Preservation Durham

Committed to the preservation of Durham's beautiful historic homes and buildings, Preservation Durham organizes tours, connects homeowners to resources and provides information about tax credits that can make homeownership more realistic for everyday folks. Preservation Durham helps homeowners like you find a support network of other people in the area who also feel passionately about the preservation of historic beauty.


North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office

Similar to Preservation Durham but larger-scale and less local, the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office also connects homeowners to resources, and provides support to people who own historic properties. The North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office website also contains a link to the National Register of Historic Places. If you are a homeowner with a historic home and you need to repair your roof, check the registry for your home address. If registered, there may be state or county restrictions on structure improvements that could significantly impact your home improvement.


Historic Home Roof Replacement

Replacement of a roof on a historic home must be respectful of the historic character of the home. Specifically, the materials used must be appropriate for the time period and home type. Historic homes have roofs made from materials like slate, clay, metal and wood. The contractor you hire must be comfortable installing and working with these materials.



Historic roofs have unique challenges, especially if the home is on the National Register of Historic Places.



Aesthetically, the new roof must look like it belongs on the home. Guidelines help homeowners and contractors ensure the aesthetic features of the new roof are consistent with the historic aesthetics of the home.



Historic homes were not built like they are today. While the home may have been built in a way that was acceptable at the time, modern building practices have an emphasis on safety that older buildings did not.

Sometimes installation of a new roof requires the home to be reinforced or brought to code to ensure the structure is safe. Working with a contractor who is familiar with local building codes and who is familiar with historic building practices can help ensure that your new roof will be permitted and safe, and at the same time, will retain its historic character.


Ventilation Issues

Old homes can expel air well, but are not as good at air intake. In addition, changes in building codes don't always allow for the same sources of ventilation that used to be acceptable in older buildings. When a new roof is installed, sometimes a tighter building envelope is the result. This can cause problems with condensation, humidity, mold and mildew in the home. Contractors experienced with historic buildings and homes will know when to add new sources of ventilation to ensure that the home remains breathable.


Replacement Roofs Require an Expert

They say, they just don't build them like they used to, and it's true. In today's modern world, what once was commonplace is now unique, and worth preserving. Old buildings lend character to our cities, and remind our citizens of their origins. If you own a historic home or building, work with a contractor who has an appreciation for old, beautiful buildings. Check to ensure that your contractor has experience in the maintenance and restoration of old homes before signing a contract.


Get a Roofing Evaluation


At Pickard Roofing, we think Design. Craft. Renew. We are experienced in all types of roofing systems- and provide the right roofing design and selective craftsmanship for renewing our customer’s assets. We invite sustainable building customers to give us a call for your free evaluation. For over 90 years Pickard Roofing Company has installed countless metal, tile, slate, TPO, EPDM, and all types of shingle roofing in the Triangle. Our services include residential, commercial, custom architectural metal fabrication, and historical renovation.