Beyond simply protecting property, the roof on a historic building also serves as a vital part of the character, significance, and history of that structure.
Damage caused by harsh weather, fallen objects, and simply the passage of time can leave the underlying building prone to structural issues such as water damage and pests. When restoring an historic roof, extra care needs to be taken to protect the integrity and distinction the roof brings to the building.
Cultural, economic, and environmental benefits to historic restoration
Whether it is the old city hall where original settlers once met, or a homestead built at a town’s inception, historical buildings help to tell a community’s story. Protecting the integrity of the building is an investment in the pride and identity of a community. As preservation societies know well, having a building that speaks to the history of a community adds value to that town or city and fosters a sense of community pride. Further, it preserves (or creates) a tourist destination that can fuel a local economy and increase local property values.
According to a study conducted for the New Jersey Historic Trust by Rutgers University (and funded by the National Park Service), every $1 million invested in rehabilitating historic residential properties in NJ generates nearly 75 jobs and $2.5 million in economic activity on the national level. Within the state, the same investment generates 25 jobs and $1.1 million in economic activity. For each dollar of in-state funding matched by outside dollars, the in-state impacts are doubled.
Roofs designed and built using old methods add to the charm and character of the buildings they protect. Historic roof restoration offers financial advantages to nonprofit organizations and municipalities that own or operate the property, or private homeowners residing in historic homes. When the roof of one of these structures is in disrepair, there’s a choice: tear down or restore. While the “easy” way out is to demolish the roof, preservation:
- opens the door to repurposing the building for the public good or for residential use,
- avoids the costs of new construction,
- and reduces landfill waste.
Who should restore a historic roof?
Because of a historic roof’s inherent value, it should only be repaired or restored by roofing experts who understand how to work with older materials and roof designs. The roofer should also have access to specialty roofing materials such as slate, wood, copper, or tile shingles which are often used on historic roofs.
At Slate Roof Professionals, we specialize in historic roof restoration and have worked on beautiful projects, with all types of roofing materials and designs, throughout northern NJ. We have worked extensively with both historic restoration architects and preservation societies to help them achieve their vision. Our team is available to help evaluate the roof and make a determination about restoration vs. replacement. Contact us about your historic restoration project today!