with roofing Brief
Exterior features are especially prone
to alteration due to weathering and lack of maintenance. Even
in the best preserved structures, the exterior often consists
of replaced or repaired roofing parts. Roof coverings typically
last no more than fifty years.
- Are several generation of roof coverings
still in place?
- Can the layers be identified?
If earlier coverings were removed, the
sheathing boards frequently provide clues to the type of covering
as well as missing roof features. Dormers, cupolas, finials,
cresting, weathervanes, gutters, lightning rods, skylights,
balustrades, parapets and platforms come and go as taste, function
and maintenance dictate.
The roof pitch itself can be a clue to
stylistic dating and is unlikely to change unless the entire
roof has been rebuilt.
Chimneys might hold clues to original
roof pitch, flashings, and roof feature attachments. Is it possible
to look down a chimney and count the number of flues? This practice
has occasionally turned up a missing fireplace.
In many parts of the country, nineteenth-century
roof coverings evolved from wooden shingles or slate shingles,
to metal shingles, to sheet metal, and still later in the twentieth
century, to asphaltic or asbestos shingles. Clay tiles can be
found covering roofs in seventeenth and eighteenth-century settlements
of the east coast as well as western and southwestern Spanish
settlements from the same period. Beyond the mid-nineteenth
century, and into the twentieth, the range and choice of roof
coverings greatly expanded.