24/7 Service Available

How To Choose The Right Roof To Maintain And Beautify Historic And Older Homes

Posted on June 2, 2023

How To Choose The Right Roof To Maintain And Beautify Historic And Older Homes

There is a right roof for every home, and that roof is especially important when it comes to historic homes. Maintaining the character of a historic home is key, and choosing the right roof can help you do just that.

Why it matters

Historic homes are, well, historic. They’ve been around for a long time and have a lot of character. When it comes to choosing a roof for a historic home, you need to take that character into account. You don’t want to put a roof on your historic home that will stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the aesthetic. That’s why it’s important to choose a roof that will complement the style of your historic home.

Choosing the right roof

So how do you choose the right roof for your historic home? First, you need to check with your local historic district guidelines. They will have specific requirements for what kind of materials and styles you can use on your home. 

Once you know what those requirements are, you can start narrowing down your options. If you’re not sure what kind of roof to choose, try looking at other historic homes in your area for inspiration. 

Another option is to update what is already there. If your historic home already has a metal roof, for example, you could look into getting a new metal roof that is more in line with the style of your home.

A quick reference for historic roof types

Here are some common roof types for historic homes:

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are recommended for most homes as they are affordable and relatively easy to install

This roofing material is affordable and easy to install. They come in various colors and styles, so you should be able to find something that fits the style of your home. However, from a historical perspective, asphalt was only introduced in the 1900s and did not become widespread until the 1920s. It was popularly used on Bungalow and Craftsman homes. Thus, consider if it’s right for your home.

Untitled design 40

Wood shingles

Cedar shake and wood are popular choices for roofs

Wood shingles are a popular choice for historic homes because they add a lot of character. However, they can be expensive and require more maintenance than other types of roofs. Wood shingles were used on many historic homes, from Georgian and Federal sty;e homes in the Pre-Revolutionary times to the Federal style of the 18th Century and Italianate, Greek, and Gothic homes of the 19th Century.

Untitled design 41


Durable and environmentally friendly slate roofing was popular at one time.

Slate is durable, environmentally friendly, and comes in a variety of colors. Slate roofs became popular in the 18th Century and are fairly expensive. Clay tiles can be a reasonable substitute.



Metal roofs are becoming more popular.

Metal roofs are becoming more popular for historic homes because they are low maintenance and long-lasting. They come in various styles, so you should be able to find one that fits the style of your home. Metal roofing gained popularity in the 19th Century, but more commonly on churches and industrial buildings, not homes. However, some elaborate Gothic-style homes sported these copper and lead roofs.



There is a right roof for every historic home. When choosing a roof, check your local historic district guidelines and find something that fits the style of your home. Asphalt, wood, slate, and metal are all common choices for historic homes. Whichever roof you choose, ensure it’s one you’ll be happy with for years to come! Have questions? Reach out to the pros at Bristlewood Roofing today for more information on repairing or replacing the roof on your historic home.