When it comes to preserving the authenticity and integrity of historic homes, choosing the right roofing material is paramount. The architectural heritage of such homes is not just in their structure but also in the details of their construction, including the roof. This guide delves into the various roofing options available, offering insights into their historical accuracy, durability, and aesthetic appeal to ensure your historic home retains its timeless charm.

Understanding Historical Roofing Materials

The Timeless Appeal of Asphalt Shingles

Contrary to popular belief, asphalt shingles have a rich history dating back to 1901. Their evolution has made them a versatile option for historic homes, blending modern durability with traditional aesthetics.

The Natural Elegance of Wood Shingles

Wood shingles, crafted from cedar, oak, or pine, offer a natural beauty that complements historic homes. Cedar, being the most popular, adds a layer of rustic charm. However, it’s important to consider local fire codes and the potential for mold and rot, which can affect the longevity and safety of wood shingles.

The Classic Beauty of Clay Tiles

Clay tiles, with their origins in the 1700s, epitomize the Spanish architectural style. Made from Terra Cotta, these tiles are known for their durability, lasting up to 50 years, and their fire-resistant qualities. The main consideration with clay tiles is their weight, which may require additional structural support.

The Durability of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs have been a part of American architecture since the Federal period, offering a unique aesthetic through stamped patterns and a variety of materials including copper, aluminum, zinc, and stainless steel. Metal roofs are appreciated for their longevity and the distinctive sound of rain they produce. However, it’s crucial to be aware of potential issues such as corrosion and the need for regular maintenance.

Choosing the Right Roof for Your Historic Home

When selecting a roofing material for your historic home, consider the architectural style, the original materials used, and the climate in your area. It’s also essential to consult with professionals who specialize in historic renovations, such as Planet Roof located in McMurray, PA, to ensure that your choice not only enhances the beauty of your home but also protects its heritage for years to come.


Choosing the right roof for your historic home involves balancing historical accuracy, aesthetic appeal, and durability. Whether you opt for asphalt shingles, wood shingles, clay tiles, or metal roofs, the key is to respect the home’s original architecture while ensuring it can withstand the test of time. With careful consideration and expert advice, you can preserve the legacy of your historic home for future generations to admire.