Heritage buildings play an important role in the culture and history of a community. They provide the younger generations with a glimpse into how their ancestors lived and thrived in the past.
Australia is home to many heritage sites and structure and they tell the story of the origins of its people. They are a portal to the past and they are treasures that should be valued and taken care of.
Heritage buildings, because of their age, need special considerations when it comes to their restoration and repair. How you carry out a repair or restoration of your heritage building is important in preserving the form, cultural value, and aesthetic of the structure.
Restoration of historical roofs, one of the most common types of restoration, must be done only by professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable. The roof of any structure is exposed to the extreme weather elements such as the harsh heat of the sun during the summer, strong winds, hail, heavy rainfall and even lightning. It is no wonder, then, that the roof is usually the first part of any building that needs restoring or replacement.
What makes a roof restoration necessary?
The roof is the building’s first defense against the weather. A working and functional roof prevents water from entering the structure and damaging the interior and foundation of the building. It is extremely important to also ensure that your gutters and downpipes are in good working condition to minimise the risk of leaks or damp.
If you want to ensure that the heritage building is well-protected and secured, secure the roof first. A damaged roof can result in further water damage in the interiors and the structure of the building.
The process of restoring the roof of a heritage building to its former glory involves delicate but thorough cleaning the roof, reparation of any damage, and repainting. Any roof restoration is a complex process, but it becomes even more challenging with heritage sites.
Historical roofs hold special memories, charm, and character. They are not just a covering, they represent a culture, a way of living that is not necessarily of this time. Restoring a heritage roof may not be simple, but it is possible with the right team. If done right, you can restore a heritage roof while maintaining its original and authentic beauty.
How do I assess the roof of my Heritage listed building?
Before any repair or restoration can be done, the historical roof must first be assessed. What are the visible damages on the roof? Are there watermarks on the walls or the ceiling? Where is the water coming in from? Here are some things that your contractor should check, based on the building material of the roof:
- Slate/ Terracotta/ Concrete – check for porous tiles, cracked or broken tiles
- Asbestos/ Fibrous Cement – check for cracked or broken tiles
- Steel – check for raised or loose fixings, rust stains on fixings, deformed surfaces and edges
- Timber Shingles – look for mould growth, slipped or badly deformed shingles, split shingles
The contractor should also check the following parts:
- Membrane – check for surface blisters, physical damage, cracks, lifting joints.
- Flashings and Capping – check for slipped or missing tiles, broken mortar bedding, slipped or deformed capping.
- Drainage – check for cracks in gutters and joints, missing brackets in the gutters and the downpipes.
- Eaves – check for holes from pipes, blocked ventilation holes, valley and gutter failure.
Choose an experienced restorer
When it comes to hiring the right person to assess the roofing of a heritage building, choose an expert who has vast experience with historical roofing. The restoration company or specialist may have to remove some tiles to also check the attic. The assessment of the roof itself will need an expert to ensure that the roof will not sustain more damage. You cannot also easily walk over historical roofs so you must use tools that will ensure a safe and non-invasive check-up.
Investigation of the Roofing’s history
Before restoration can start, the contractor will do the necessary research on the roof of the heritage building. They will have to review the original plans and specifications for the building and research old photos of the building. This will give them a concrete idea of how the roof looked when it was new.
The roof specialist will then research the original materials used on the roof. If there is no modern equivalent to the original materials used, the roofing contractor will use modern materials to replace the old and damaged roof. However, for the visible parts of the roof, it should be faithful as much as possible to the original.
How do I restore my heritage listed roof?
Repairing and restoring a historical roof can be a major challenge. One of the biggest challenges that restorers face is when the original materials used are no longer available in the market. Instead, the right substitute for these materials must be used. These substitutes must look exactly like the original materials and they must also be compatible with the rest of the materials used in the roof.
Your roofing contractor must document the changes that they made to the original plans for future reference. This can make the maintenance and future roof repairs easier.
The contractor must work closely with the owner of the building and some local historians to be able to do a successful roof restoration job.
How long does a roof restoration job last?
If done right, a roof restoration job should last 10 to 15 years. Of course, proper maintenance must be done to ensure that the small damages will not cause more costly problems. It will take diligence and discipline on the part of the owner to maximise the results of the roof restoration.
Call Amazing Roof Restorations for your Newcastle roofing needs
Amazing Roof Restorations is made up of a team of roofing experts dedicated to ensuring that you have a functional and beautiful roof over your head. We provide you with reliable service, backed by our vast and extensive experience in the roofing industry. From modern homes to heritage buildings, we will ensure that your roof is in perfect form and shape. Contact us now for a free consultation or to find out more information about your heritage building’s roof.