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Austin Roofing: Article About Finding A Contractor For Historic Homes

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Many contractors are more than capable of working on a plethora of repairs or replacements in modern homes, but the same can't be said when it comes to historic homes. The roof on a historic home often features different fixtures and materials not found in modern homes. Unique shapes and structure give a historic home its distinct character. When a historic home needs some work on the roof, it's important to find the right Austin roofing contractor to ensure the job doesn't replace key materials that detract from the home's appearance and structural integrity.

A contractor experienced with historic homes will abide by a series of roofing practices that will guarantee the roof is kept as original as possible. When it's time to replace the roof, there are a few things the contractor can do to preserve the home's appearance while ensuring its functionality. While it might be painful to watch centuries old shingles fall to the ground, the new roof will last longer if the old shingles are removed. Putting new shingles over the old ones will put excessive weight on the home's structure, as well as allowing water to pool between the two sets of shingles.

Certain features will detract from the home's character, but flashing is an exception. Metal flashing is far superior to caulk or tar, and it also adheres to the building.

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Properly designed and installed metal flashing will far outlast the life of the shingles, while tar and caulk will have to be replaced frequently, especially in climates with intense heat or lots of moisture.

Historic roofs, regardless of the materials used, usually have open W valleys to help water flow smoothly down the roof and to prevent drainage issues. Many inexperienced contractors will install the shingles into the valley, which wears out very quickly. Instead, they should put open metal valleys where the pitches meet to prevent frequent repairs and installations.

Because of the steep slopes found on older roofs, it's important that the contractor installs ice and water shield material. These should be put at least two feet away from the sidewalls and in every valley. This will prevent ice dams from forming during temperature fluctuations in the winter. There should also be metal drip edges on every roof surface. This will prevent water from building up and sitting on the roof for extended periods of time.

Many homeowners don't give much thought to roof restoration or replacement on historic homes, but a new, modern roof will certainly detract from the building's historic aesthetic. A knowledgeable contractor will know how to update the roof without detracting from the home's historic appearance.

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