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April 6, 2017 - Building & Construction

What to Understand When Dealing with Historic Roofs

When maintaining a historic building, the roof can be one of the most challenging aspects. Find out what to expect with wood, metal, slate and tile historic roofs in particular.

Understand What Historic Roof Materials are Susceptible to:

  • Wood: Wood roofs in particular are likely to erode over time due to rain and UV exposure. Additionally, these types of historic roofs can be susceptible to moss or fungi.
  • Metal: Historic metal roofs are made out of sheet metals, such as lead, copper and iron. These are likely to deteriorate from airborne pollutants and fatigue.
  • Slate: While slate is durable, it can break from ice or ice dams. Additionally, softer slate is more susceptible to erosion and rainwater chemicals.
  • Tile: Tiles weather well but can easily break or crack. Also, if incorrectly fired during manufacturing, they are likely to spall under freeze and thaw cycles.

Understand the Historic Roof is Part of a System

Overtime, roof materials are likely to chip or break and fall off. While it may look like a small issue, the entire roofing system is susceptible to moisture penetration as a result. This is because the roof now lacks the ability to successfully shed water and protect the building’s interior.

Understand the Importance of Flashing

Areas where roofs transition from one material to another can be most susceptible to degradation, especially with historic roofs. For example, dormers, chimneys and skylights require special upkeep with flashing.

It’s likely that historic roofs still have original caulk around the flashing and that it has dried out or is now missing. If that’s the case, then it’s important to remove the remaining caulk and apply new products.

Understand the Historic Roof May Need to be Replaced

Replacing a historic roof is sometimes a hard decision to make, especially given its unique history and character. Sometimes, new materials may need to be used due to building codes or availability. If so, be sure to consult a contractor or architect to ensure proper materials are chosen and correctly installed.

Smart Solutions for Roofing Systems

Bostik formulates smart adhesive and sealant solutions that improve roof longevity overall. In particular, these products aid in roof tile and flashing installation. For more information on how our products can meet the needs of historic roof applications, call 800-7-BOSTIK.

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