Choosing The Right Roof for Your Historic Home In Lancaster County, PA

Choosing the right roof for your historic home is a complex topic, which is why we've put together this comprehensive guide to help you decide what is best for your home.

Choosing The Right Roof for Your Historic Home In Lancaster County, PA

Choosing The Right Roof for Your Historic Home In Lancaster County, PA

If you’re the owner of a historic home, choosing the right roof can be an intimidating process, especially if you don’t employ the services of a roofing contractor in Lancaster County. A roofing company with experience in roofing historic homes will know how to address your unique concerns and make sure that your roof fits in with your home’s historical character.

There are many types of roofs that you can choose from if you want to add something special to your historic home. The type of roof you choose will affect appearance and function. Adding the perfect roof to your historic home can make all the difference in whether it stays on top of the real estate market or remains hidden in the shadows of other similar homes. Read on for tips on choosing the right roof for your historic home. 

Tips on how to choose and install the right roof on historic homes

In order to determine the best roofing material for your home:

Contact a roofer

Contact an expert roofer in Lancaster County, such as a conservator or restoration architect who deals with old houses. Ask them if they know what type of materials were used on your home originally and if they would recommend using those again.

Choose a roof that complements the architectural style of your home

If you have a Colonial or Victorian home, a metal roof would not be appropriate. Similarly, if you have a contemporary home, a slate roof would not be appropriate.

Choose a roof with the same pitch as your existing roof

A single steep pitch is fine for most styles of architecture, but if you have multiple pitches on your home, choose a material that can be installed with multiple pitches too.

Choose products that look authentic to the era in which your house was built

For example, if you have a Greek Revival or Italianate home (built between 1830 and 1860), use slate rather than asphalt shingles — even though asphalt shingles are less expensive, they would not be historically accurate for your home.

Choose a durable material

Asphalt shingles are a popular choice because they're easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and come in many colors and patterns. But keep in mind that they may not be the best choice for your home — they're not as durable as slate or wood shingles, and if you live in an area that gets snow or ice, asphalt shingles can be slippery and dangerous. Also, if you choose asphalt shingles, try to select ones that have a texture or design that mimics the look of wood or slate.

Types of roofs for Historic Homes

There are many types of roofs for older homes, and each has its own unique look that can enhance or detract from the charm of an older property.

Gabled Roofs

The most common style of roof used on older homes is the gabled roof. This type of roof includes two sloping sides with a peak in the middle. The area under the peak is called the gable, which may be covered in siding or ornamental trim that matches the rest of the house. A gabled roof may be simple or complex, depending on whether it has dormers, additional peaks, and decorative trim along the edge.

Hip Roofs

A hip roof is similar to a gabled roof, except that all four sides slope downward to meet at a single point at the top of the house. This type of roof is used for Cape Cod-style houses and many craftsman-style homes in which every side has similar dimensions. A hip roof offers more attic space than a gabled roof because there are no peaks to obstruct headroom.

Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are popular in hot and dry climates because they allow easy access to plumbing vents and chimneys usually located on the roof itself. But since, rainwater tends to pool up on flat roofs rather than drain off quickly.


This type of roof features two sloping sides, each having a different pitch. The lower pitch is much steeper than the upper pitch, and it may be flat or curved. French roof is another name for this type of roof.


The saltbox roof has two sides — one side being longer than the other — and slopes down to meet your home's first floor.


Shed roofs slope in only one direction and can be relatively flat or pitched at various angles. They're usually placed on additions to your home, such as offices or family rooms.

Choosing the best roofing contractors for historic homes in Lancaster County

When it comes to selecting a roofing contractor, you should be cautious. With so many options, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and make a poor decision. Here are some tips to help you find and choose the best roofing contractors for historic homes in Lancaster County:

Perform an online search for roofers near you

Online reviews can tell you a lot about a company’s quality of service, but they can also give you some insight into what other customers are saying about them. Look for complaints on sites like Angie’s List or Yelp. Make sure the company is licensed and insured before hiring them or even considering them as an option.

Get referrals from friends and family

If you know anyone who has previously hired a roofer, ask them what they thought of their work. Ask if there were any problems with their workmanship or if they would recommend them again. You might also want to get referrals from your local Better Business Bureau. If there were any negative experiences, they could be listed here as well.

Ask about experience with historic roofs

The best roofing contractors in Lancaster County will have specific experience with historic roofs. They'll be able to tell you what types of materials they recommend and why, and they'll also be able to give you an idea of expected longevity based on your home's age and construction.

Find out if there are any local or state regulations that apply to your job

Some communities have specific requirements for repairs and improvements to historic structures, so it's important to make sure that your contractor is familiar with those restrictions before work begins.

Knowing the history of your home, both in general and more specifically regarding changes that were made over the years, is important when researching how best to fix and/or replace your roof. With this knowledge, you can better determine if you need a new roof or if repair work will suffice for now. Taking the time for these considerations will help ensure that your historic landmark home is safe and protected for many years to come.