Due to a summer storm, we are putting a new roof on our home. It was really interesting to talk with the insurance adjuster that came out. He was very surprised that our asbestos-concrete shingles were in near perfect condition. Unfortunately, the hail broke a few of our shingles and these are non-replaceable. I had to look for an alternate roofing material that I felt matched our home’s aesthetic and was the most historical accurate.
While I didn’t have a great picture of our original roof (before the 1940s remodel), I did have this picture of the “sister” house to our home to work from. Love those Yankee gutters and patternwork!
Here is a list of some of the options available to those doing similar research.
Photo: Lawrence Journal World
Slate is particularly popular on the east coast. Slate has been found in ruins of 17th century buildings in Jamestown. Due to difficulties in transportation and availability, slate was an expensive product. Not until development of the rail system did slate really become an economical option. Not just beautiful, but also fireproof and durable, slate was a popular option even into the early 1900s.
Today it is an expensive (and heavy) option. The Watkins Community Museum in Lawrence, KS, pictured above, has a rare red slate roof. This red slate is available at only one quarry in the world.
First Church in Kansas, Big Springs, KS
Asbestos was used in asphalt roofing shingles to act as a reinforcement for the shingle and add fireproofing. Although i twas banned in the 1970’s, some roofing products may have contained asbestos until the early 1980’s. Our roof was a composition of cement and asbestos and basically looked like squares of concrete. Other asbestos shingles looked more like today’s traditional shingles. While there are some reserves of these shingles for historic preservation restoration jobs, you won’t find a bulk of these for much else.
Big Springs, KS
Parmenter Hall, Baker Univerity
Wooden roofs were very common in this neck of the woods. While wood is a bit of a fire hazard in an urban setting, a lot of old farm houses had wood roofs in the Midwest.
Folk Victorian, Baldwin City, KS
Of course, Shingle Style is the most obvious use of the material. Bungalows, Queen Anne and Folk Victorians often included shingle not only on roofs but on gables and walls. Our Cottage of Stone began life as a shingle-covered beauty, before the 1940s remodel. Our builder, Joe Spurgeon, was extremely found of Cabot shingles, according to early news clippings I have found.
Modern treated wood shingles are more brittle and are thicker than historic shingles. A modern option here might be Fancy Shake from DaVinci. They have a polymer shake available in many colors that looks very close to wood shake if that is the look you are going for.
The most common and economical material is asphalt. Asphalt shingles, particularly ones marketed by manufactures as architectural or luxury, often mimic slate, shakes (wood) or tiles. During my research, I found a CertainTeed product called Carriage House that had a nice scalloped look to it. While I am in no way endorsing this product, it is a viable option for someone who wants more than just strip shingles. If you go this route, you might also consider trying to incorporate patterns with different shapes and colors.
Did you know many states have a program for recycling asphalt shingles?
After speaking with the insurance adjuster, I feel in love with a diamond-shaped polymer shingle that, we found out, was discontinued. Therefore, I had to research other options.
DaVinci had a few products that I was interested in. The slate tiles caught my attention, particularly the multi-width and Bellaforte products. While they didn’t have the diamond shape I wanted, they did have some interesting patterns. They had a rainbow of colors and a cool option to create your own palette. I narrowed my favorite to Multi-Width in Castle Gray. I will update with photos of our house once we get that new roof!
There are many manufactures of modern slate alternatives, so if this is your look, you might check out Eco Star, Lamarite by TamKo (some of which have been discontinued so use caution), and Symphony by CertainTeed.