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Denver Roofing: Article About The Truth Behind Replacing Historic Roofs

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When people purchase a historic home, they mistakenly believe that they need to replace their home's leaking roof because the shingles are failing. Unfortunately for the home's historic integrity, this is almost always untrue. Experts agree that the roofing shingles or tiles are usually the last thing to fail on a historic roofing structure, so homeowners should consult with their Denver roofing professionals before they replace historic pieces with modern materials.

When a roof is leaking or failing in some other way, it's critical that homeowners and the professionals they've hired do a thorough survey of the roof structure, not just the shingles or tiles. A good contractor will assess what the roof is made of, whether the structure is sound and whether it's in generally good condition. If there is any deterioration, the cause should be identified before anything is removed or replaced. A contractor will look closely at areas that are especially vulnerable to water damage, like the flashing between gables and the roof slopes, the base of chimney stacks and at the ends of rafters.

From there, the structure needs a complete examination. Each timber should be closely looked at for vermin damage, water corrosion, or any sign of weakness or deterioration.

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This alerts the professionals to any timbers that need to be replaced, repaired or strengthened in any way. As with any repair on historic homes, the goal here should be to keep the home's original materials intact while carefully matching the new materials to the old.

Sometimes homeowners not knowing the difference between an aesthetic problem and a legitimate defect is when roofs are needlessly replaced. Unevenness on the roof, for example, isn't a failure if it isn't causing excessive water build up; it's simply adding character to the home. If it's uneven to the point where tiles are lifting and water is getting underneath, that means it's a defect and should be repaired immediately.

During maintenance or inspection, it can be difficult to gain safe access to the roof. In these cases, homeowners should make plans to add access to their roofs. Homes with particularly steep roofs and deep gullies should absolutely have safe access points to inspect, clean and repair any areas before they become major structural issues. Most older houses had access hatches put in when they were first constructed, but they may have been sealed off during renovations. In these instances, homeowners can have new access hatches installed in areas without decorative ceiling structures, like hallways and cupboards.

Before tearing off a historic roof, homeowners should take the time to consult with contractors who are invested in retaining the historical architecture of older homes.

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