Many properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Virginia Beach, Virginia, including the Ferry Plantation House and the Keeling House. Moreover, many lesser known structures in Virginia Beach that are 100 years old or older have slate roofs.
Slate is a homogenous rock that was formed through a metamorphic process that started some 570 million years ago. Consequentially, slate roofs are highly durable, and can last for centuries. However, according to an article published on the website of RCI, Incorporated (which is an international association that represents consultants, architects, and engineers), while it is easy to understand the benefits of installing slate roofing, there is a downside to this durability. Many contractors that conduct inspections and repairs on historic slate roofing lack the skills and knowledge to do the job properly.
In order to avoid damaging historic slate roofing, it is best for property owners to hire roofing contractors in Virginia Beach,
like The Roofing and Remodeling Company, as these contractors specialize in rehabilitating historic buildings. Reputable contractors are familiar with historic methods and materials, and work hard to preserve the integrity of historic buildings during the restoration process. The following excerpt from the RCI, Incorporated article provides more information:
No matter how poorly repaired and maintained a slate roof is, if the slate is still good, the roof can be restored. The bad repairs can be removed, the tar patches erased, the mismatching slates replaced, and the roof returned to its former glory – if the slate is still good.
It is incumbent upon any professional roof consultant who claims an expertise in slate roofing to be familiar with all the types of slate and the characteristics of each, including their expected longevity. Roof slate, stated simply, is stone. It is quarried up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States as well as around the world, yielding many different types, colors, and characteristics. Roofing slate can last roughly 55 years to perhaps 400 years, depending on the type, thickness, method of attachment, slope, and other factors.
Skilled roofing contractors in Hampton Roads say that since historic slate roofs contain unique details and craftsmanship, they should be repaired rather than replaced whenever possible. Many historic buildings roofed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries utilized slate, and due to the 60-125 year lifespan of the average historic slate roof, many of these roofing systems are nearing or have experienced the end of their serviceable life. Instead of improper roofing repairs and replacements, sensitive interventions that preserve the original material as well as the building’s historic character remain the best recourse.
(Article Information and Image from THE PECULIARITIES OF HISTORIC SLATE ROOFS WITH EXAMPLES OF WRONGFUL CONDEMNATIONS; RCI, Incorporated)