Amenity Roofing & Siding

Choosing a Roof to Complement Your Historic Home

Choosing a roof

When considering replacing the roof of your historic home, you want to choose a roof that will maintain its original charm. Getting all the details right is vital to preserving the stylish architecture that your home is known for. Although your home is known for its look, structural integrity is equally important. After all, the roof protects everything beneath it. Here is a guideline for choosing a roof for your historic home.

Review the History

Before beginning a large project like a roof replacement or repair on your historic home, review the history of your home. Try to find information like when the roof was last replaced. This will help you decide whether to opt for a repair or a total replacement. Additionally, any information you can find about the home can help determine the best route for your situation. 

Choose the Right Roofers for the Job

Roofers are everywhere. However, all roofers are not created equal. Choosing a roof replacement company that has the knowledge and expertise to complete the job will determine how seamless your process will be. Your roofer will be able to give you information on your roof and have a reputation for their thoroughness. Choosing a roof company with experience in restoration gives you the best chance to complete this process as efficiently as possible. 

Document Everything

Documentation is essential for every homeowner. It is even more critical in the case of historical homes. Because the home interests go beyond the homeowner, the more information that can be given, the better. 

The first stage of documentation is performing an assessment. In this stage, your chosen roofing contractor will thoroughly inspect your roof and determine the extent of the damage. Assessments can be used to determine the root cause of the initial damage as well as find the underlying cause. Details of the assessment should be detailed and done with care.

After the inspection is done, your roofing contractor will do their own research on the property. The research with include tasks such as the following:

  • Checking in with historians and architects 
  • Reviewing building plans, specifications
  • Searching for photos, articles, and files from previous owners

Finally, during your roofing project, your roofing contractor will carefully document the process for your records. This is also beneficial for the future owners of the property. 

Common Historical Roofing Materials

If the style of your historic home is heavily focused on the style, you can find out more by reaching out to local historians and artisans. In the meantime, here are some roofing materials that are commonly used on historic homes. 

Wood Shingles/ Shakes 

From the earliest days, wood shingles were the most common historical roofing material. This classic material is a common choice in northeastern states like Illinois, where historic homes generally have oak or pine wood shingles. Wood shingles were heavily used in Dutch Colonial, Victorian, or Craftman-style homes. 


In colonial America, pre-revolution, slate was an available option for home roofing materials. Although it was rare at first, homeowners quickly found benefits in the material as it was less expensive than wood shingles and was protective against fires. In the early 20th century, slate roofing became popular after colored slate tiles were introduced a few years earlier. Slate roofs were very popular in Gothic, Medieval, and Victorian homes. Slate roofing has many color options. Therefore, it was very popular for homes that wanted to show off their character.  

Choosing a Roof Based on Your Home’s Era

Knowing the architectural era of your home can be beneficial in choosing the correct material for your roofing project. Here are a few tips for selecting the right material for your historical roofing project.

Identify the Style of Your Home 

The style of your historic home is likely dependent on the era that it was built. Some styles that are often found in historic homes include the following:

  • Victorian Homes- These homes are known for their unique features, such as their turrets, dormers, and rounded domes. It is common for Victorian homes to have slate or wooden shingles 
  • Medieval and Gothic Homes – This design stands out because of the distinctive gables. Especially the pointed gable over the entrance and arched panels. It is also common for medieval and gothic homes to have slate and wood shingle roofs. 
  • Federal – The federal style was popular from 1780-1820. Metal, slate, and wood shingles were common roofing materials for federal homes. Federal roofs stand out because of the symmetry, paneled doors, and shuttered windows. 

Identify Your Roofing Materials

Identifying the roofing material that is currently used will be helpful in replacing them for your roofing project. Some roofing materials can look similar because the color options and materials may look the same as others. Identifying your roofing material is essential, as many historical societies do not recommend using alternative materials.  

If you are unsure of your roofing material, look back on old documentation to find photos, blueprints, and specifications. Some historic roofing materials are no longer manufactured. Therefore, you may need to choose an alternative that offers a similar look. 

Choose Amenity Roofing for All Your Roofing Services

Finding the right roofing company to complete your roofing project is the key to a stress-free renovation. If it is time to repair or replace your roof, call the experts at Amenity Roofing. With years of experience in providing exceptional results, no project is too big or too small. If your historical roof is showing signs of damage, give us a call. We will provide a thorough inspection and provide the best roof replacement or repair. We will do our best to find or duplicate your roofing materials. We’re committed to helping you find the perfect materials for your home at the best prices. No matter what vision you have, we can help make it happen. Our expert contractors perform repairs and replacements right the first time to ensure it lasts a lifetime. Call Amenity Roofing today or contact us to get an estimate for your new roof.


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