How Zinc Shingles Can Help Your Historic Restoration

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How Zinc Shingles Can Help Your Historic Restoration


Picture this: you have purchased a historic building, be it a home or place of business, and you are excited about restoring it to its original state. Which materials will you use to help replicate the historic feel, and which materials will work best for your climate? When it comes to the roof, zinc shingles are always a great option for several reasons.

The Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva

Way back in 1911 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, those with a special passion for horticulture erected Horticultural Hall. In those days, people used the building to host community flower and vegetable shows, to hold meetings, and even to host special community events that brought people together from across the country – even long before the automobile was a household staple.

Horticultural Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places, and thanks to the time and care put into the building by its current owners – the stockholders themselves – it looks very much like it did when it was first erected.

Original Roof vs. Today’s Roof

When Horticultural Hall was built, the original roof consisted of cedar shake, which was very prominent at the time. Later, in the 1940s, this roof was covered with asbestos shingles.

Unfortunately, up until 2009, nothing further was done with the roof. This led to mold, mildew, and disrepair – not to mention the dangers of the asbestos itself. The board and the stock holders discussed a variety of options for replacement, including everything from brand-new cedar shake to slate and even metal pan roofing.

Ultimately, because the board wanted Horticultural Hall to maintain its beauty and appeal, and because the owners wanted to install a roof that would not only provide outstanding curb appeal, but also longevity, they chose zinc. Zinc is very strong, holds up well in fluctuating temperatures (including freeze and thaw cycles), and comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. The board chose diamond-pattern roof shingles to mimic the asbestos shingles that had been in place since the 1940s.  Installation of the new roof was done by one of the most knowledgeable & dependable exterior contracting firms in the Chicagoland area, Custom Installations.

Benefits of the New Zinc Roof

Of course, the curb appeal provided by the new roof and the removal of the asbestos shingles were beneficial to those who wanted to see Horticultural Hall restored to its original beauty, but the zinc roof provided some other benefits to the Hall, as well. For example, zinc is incredibly lightweight, so the contractors were able to add a layer of insulation in the great hall area which allows the building to stay warmer in the winter months and cooler during the summer. What’s more, the energy bills decreased significantly after the repairs, much to the relief of the owners. Finally, the matte gray finish of the diamond-shaped zinc shingles is aesthetically pleasing.

If you are considering restoring a historic building and you are not sure which roofing materials to choose, zinc is a great option that can take the place of numerous materials. It comes in a variety of textures, shapes, sizes, and even colors, allowing home and property owners to restore these buildings and bring them more up-to-date without sacrificing the original aesthetic appeal.

Read More about the Horticultural Hall Zinc Shingles Project here, and contact Custom Installations for your next exterior project.

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