New Metal Roof + Old House? Does this make sense?
Is it time to put a new roof on your old house? Let’s find out if a metal roof can help your home look and perform beautifully into the next lifetime.
When you think of the phrase “old house,” a number of images may come to mind. It may be the old yet still elegant Victorian in the historic part of town. Or it may be the rather simple yet stalwart old farmhouse sitting in the middle of a windswept field. Perhaps your image is of that quaint lakeside cottage with an “Everyone Is A Friend At The Lake” sign over the front door. It also could be that your dream is of a rustic log cabin in the middle of tall pines on the side of a mountain. Whatever images come to mind for you, an “old house” is a romantic image for most of us.
Whether you consider an older home to be a “wonderful project in the works” or a “money pit,” one common theme if you own an older home or dream of owning one is a desire to honor the home’s heritage. Sometimes that is done with historic reproduction products but, in some cases, such things aren’t available or perhaps they just don’t offer the longevity, integrity, and other benefits that homeowners seek today.
Ultimately, in most cases, the goal is to bring the home back to its original grandeur but to also update it wherever possible with products that are sustainable, distinctive, and energy-efficient. You would never, for example, install true 1890’s plumbing, complete with an outhouse, in a home being remodeled today!
Does all of this mean that it can make sense to install a new metal roof on an old house? The short answer is “yes!”
This sort of thing can make a lot of sense. From a historical standpoint, metal roofs date back hundreds of years. Here in the United States, they were not uncommon in colonial times, the idea having been brought over from Europe. While those colonial metal roofs were often simple, hand-formed roofs with vertical seams, the Victorian era saw the development of many “fancier” metal shingle roofs – products that are designed with greater aesthetics. So, yes, from a design standpoint, a metal roof can make every bit of sense for an old house.
Let’s look at some other attributes of metal roofing that lend themselves to older homes:
It’s interesting to see how a metal roof can add beauty to any older home, so we invite you to take a look at a just one old house, and the difference metal roofing options can make.
One Before and a few Afters
This old house is visualized with a variety of Classic Metal Roofing Styles and finishes.
Country Manor Shake in Deep Charcoal ClickLock Standing Seam in Terra Red Oxford Shingle in Slate Rock Gray Rustic Shingle in Vermont Slate
The wide variety of colors and styles of today’s metal roofs can enhance and accentuate any style of older home. Here’s a small gallery to help you visualize a metal roof on a variety of older home styles.
Gallery of New Metal Roofs on Old Houses →
In the June 2018 issue of This Old House Magazine, we’re pleased to have been part of an architect’s solution to the challenges of updating a 1927 cottage in New England.
As homes age, you have to be more concerned about their “bones”. Foundations can deteriorate and crumble, and structural lumber can lose strength and resiliency. Many times, older homes have been beleaguered by multiple layers of heavy roofing including possibly wood shingles, slate, or asbestos. Metal roofing is a great way to “take the weight off.” Whereas traditional roof shingles weigh from 2.75 – 4.25 pounds per square foot, a metal roof will weigh from a half pound to around a pound per square foot depending upon the product. This low weight helps to preserve the life of a home’s foundation and structural lumber. It also offers less cave-in threat in the event of seismic activity or an interior fire.
If you own an older home, chances are that one of the motivating factors to your decision to purchase that home was to not see it fall into disrepair or have to be torn down. Metal roofing goes well with that thought because of its anticipated durability. It can protect and beautify homes for many, many years to come. Additionally, most metal roofs have high recycled content– about 95% for aluminum and 35% for copper and steel. Plus, at the end of a metal roof’s useful life, it is 100% recyclable. Metal roofing is very much the “green” choice.
A common struggle with older homes is trying to make them more energy efficient. It can be a challenge – old windows and doors can be drafty and walls and ceilings can be difficult to insulate. An energy efficient metal roof, designed to reflect the sun’s radiant heat and keep the home naturally cooler in hot weather, can be a great way to reduce summer air conditioning costs or to simply make the home more comfortable in the summer if it is not air-conditioned. With the right metal roof, your roofing decision can be one of your most energy efficient decisions for an older home.
As an older home is remodeled, things are usually done to make it more airtight. Windows and doors are replaced. New sidewall coverings are installed, usually with air barriers. Additionally, many times the areas of the home where moisture is generated (laundry, kitchen, and baths) are not well exhausted. The end result is that the moisture we create while living inside our homes can no longer exit through drafty doors and windows and walls. Instead, it migrates into the attic. Once in the attic, moisture makes insulation less effective and it can also condense on cool surfaces such as nail tips and the underside of the roof deck. As an answer, metal roofs can often be easily vented, letting that moisture out before it condenses and causes problems. A well-vented attic is also often the best answer to problems like winter ice dams and summer heat gain.
Anyone who has an old house knows that a key is the preservation of the home. Sometimes even the slightest intrusion of water or wind or other things can set off a chain of events that results in significant damage to the home. The long-term dependability of metal roofing, complete with detailed flashings and other parts to ensure a watertight roof system, is a great way to preserve the rest of your home by protecting it from the weather.
Find an Old House for Sale
Finally, if you’d like to spend some time in search of your own, or new-to-you old house, we’re sharing a website that offers a place to start that journey and a forum.
Metal Roofing Has You Covered
Whether you have an old house or just love old houses … or even if you’re a “new house” person that would not even consider stepping back into yesteryear with an older home, metal roofing has you covered. At Classic Metal Roofing Systems, we are revolutionizing residential roofing … one beautiful old (or new) home at a time. Please contact us whenever we can be of help with your projects.