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How to Choose the Right Roof
for a Historic Home

Published: 11/02/2021

new roof for historic home

Maintaining a historic home can take a great deal of work. As the property ages, you’ll likely run into problems that prompt you to consider a total replacement of your rooftop. But how do you make an appropriate selection for a historic home? And how do you make sure that the installation preserves your home’s special characteristics?

In this quick guide to choosing the right roof for a historic home, we go over all of the factors you’ll need to keep in mind when planning a restoration project here in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

Official Restrictions

If you live in an officially-recognized historic home, you may be required to meet certain standards when performing renovations. In part, you can be restricted to a select number of material options for your new roof, as well as structural compositions.

Sarasota may give a historic designation to homes aged 50 years or older if they have a distinctive architectural style, have a period-specific aesthetic, or are set within one of the city’s existing historic neighborhoods. It is also possible for homes to receive this designation if they are associated with a historic figure. Homes younger than 50 years are eligible if they come from the Sarasota School of Architecture.

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) holds a different registry, so be sure that you know which one your home belongs to before proceeding, as each have their own set of standards.

Meeting Historic Design Standards

Sarasota’s design guidelines have specific stipulations for roofing. Your options can be limited depending on the style classification of your home.

For example, Mediterranean Revival homes (one of the most popular in the county) feature interlocking barrel tile roofs. Classic Bungalows, as a rule, must have gable-over-gable compositions, often with sheet metal or composition shingle coverings. Colonial Revival homes, which are quite common in Sarasota’s oldest neighborhoods, call for gable rooftops covered with either composition shingles or embossed sheet metal.

Generally, you will likely be required to match your old roofing’s style, color, texture and materials to the greatest possible extent. It’s important to note that Sarasota typically prioritizes preservation, so getting the greenlight for a complete replacement may be difficult if you haven’t already tried to repair to the best of your ability, or cannot prove that a full replacement is necessary. Having a contractor with historic expertise can help you get approval more easily.

Preservation Quality

If you have gotten the go-ahead to replace the roof on your historic home, you will want to ensure that the type you choose offers the best possible protection for the rest of the structure. Prevention of water intrusion is an especially important quality, as possible moisture damage originating from the roof can cause irreversible damage in a historic building.

Depending on your district and the contractors helping with your project, you may be able to get approvals for superior, more weatherproof alternatives to traditional roofing materials. This can happen when the deciding authorities determine whole home preservation to be a greater priority than preserving the exact characteristics of the original rooftop.

historic home new roof

Getting Started

Kicking off your historic roof replacement will first require tracking down any old blueprints and other documents that list the details of your home’s original roofing. In the event that you cannot find any roof documentation, you may need to call out an expert for an inspection. They should be able to identify the original installation, and make an assessment of whether or not full replacement can be justified.

It is absolutely essential to work with a roofing team that has extensive experience performing local historic restorations. They will have all the familiarity needed to navigate the process of abiding by official design guidelines, and guaranteeing that the quality delivered will offer the best protection value for your home.

AKVM has assisted with countless restoration projects throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. We can walk you through your historic renovation with simplicity and ease. To set up your free inspection and quote, contact us today.


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