Lessons Learned Through A Renovation In Charleston SC
A renovation project in downtown Charleston can provide a mini-lesson in historical building techniques. We come across this frequently, as we did in a recent renovation project on the East side of Charleston. Demolition of the existing roof reveals a timeline of the city's development amidst the layers of decaying roofing material. Whether the new roof was needed as a result of old-age or disaster, it was often installed directly over the previous roof and reflected what the homeowner's budget would have allowed or what was perceived as a technological improvement at the time.
Built in the early 1830's, the original Charleston roof on this home was crafted of "wood shake" shingles reflecting the material that was commonly used at the time in this modest neighborhood. The use of wood shake roofs were banned for a time during the 19th century due to concern for how quickly it burned and easily spread fire from rooftop to rooftop.
It's easy to see why the switch to metal roofs became popular for their durability and flame retardant capabilities and why the next two layers of roofing both appear to be metal, similar in styles but reflecting the evolution of technology and structure. Early metal roofs were made from a tin-lead alloy called "Tin Plate". This metal was strong and affordable but required continued maintenance and repeated painting. Later metal roofs would evolve to tin, stainless steel or aluminum.
When doing renovation projects abroad we use materials that are suitable to that region, i.e. tile for our projects in France or slate roofing for our projects in the U.K. Historic, downtown Charleston is also rich with roofs covered in the durable grey, blue or plum colored Welsh Slate. Originally imported into the Southern United States from the famous slate quarries of Portmadog, Bangor and Portmeirion in North Wales, this slate was popular before local quarries began opening up on the US North East Coast in the 1850’s.
We have a strong commitment to historical integrity anytime we begin a renovation project in Charleston, and learning a house's history is always where we begin.
Note: The experts at LS Renovations are ready to help you with your next renovation project in Charleston, SC. We invite you to have a look at our recent renovation projects and learn more about what our team can do for you!
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