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Colorado’s Historic Residential Roofs

Colorado is full of historic homes all across the fruited plains. Perhaps you have seen neighborhoods where modern and historic homes intermingle? The interesting part is that there are dozens and dozens of architectural structures, and when it comes to historic homes there are over twenty five styles. Whether you own a historical home, are thinking of purchasing one, or are just curious about them in general, you may be wondering what the upkeep might look like?

Historic Colorado Roofs

Every aspect of a historic home is important, but the roof over your head is one of the most important components. When it comes to the upkeep of a historic roof and preserving the historic look you may have some research to do. Better yet, ask a professional to help!

Do you need a completely new roof or just a repair? 

The right thing to do is to ask a professional to come assess your roof. If you are not experienced then the last thing you want to do is try and get on an old roof and start poking around. You may end up causing more damage or even hurting yourself.

Are the same roofing materials that are on your historic home still available today?

When it comes to the material, you are likely to find the same material or something that will add to your home and make it look even better. To be sure, get a professional to help you find the best answer to this question.

What are the requirements for your historic district when it comes to preserving the look?

The best way to find out what the requirements are would be to go to your city or county’s website and look up any guidelines on this matter.

These are just a few of the questions that should be asked. Now let’s dive into some different types of historic homes.

Different Historic Style Homes in Colorado

English-Norman Cottage

English norman Cottage ColoradoThe English or Norman Cottage is a modest, very simplified version of residential architecture.  It is a one-story structure generally composed of brick, stucco or occasionally stone. The most distinguishing feature is the steeply pitched roof and steeply pitched projecting front entrance. Popular during the 1920s and 1930s, these small one-story homes were considered an alternative to the Bungalow.

Now, when it comes to a roof repair or a completely new roof you have to ask yourself if you want to keep the original look or spice it up a little. The best two options for a home like this are a standard Asphalt Shingle or a Davinci Tile.

Asphalt Shingle:

The asphalt shingle is the type of material that would allow you to keep the same look.This material has been used for roofs since the early 1900s. When installed correctly you can expect to get about 20 years out of it. On top of that, it is inexpensive and as such, is one of the most popular materials.

Davinci Tile:

With the Davinci Tile you will add more of an elegant touch to your historic home. This material was manufactured in Europe in the mid-1800s and manufactured in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. Davinci Tile will last for many decades if properly installed and it can hold up in all sorts of climates.


Italianate house ColoradoLike many Victorian-era styles, Italianate emphasized vertical proportions and richly decorative detailing. Designers and builders used the style on residential, commercial and industrial structures throughout Colorado from about 1870 up until the turn of the century.

Italianate is characterized by a low pitched hip roof, wide overhangs, bracketed cornice, a variety of fenestration, molded window surrounds and occasionally a cupola or balustraded balcony. Simple Italianate structures have a hip roof, bracketed eaves, and molded window surrounds. More elaborate or high style examples may feature arcaded porches, quoins, towers and ornate detailing.

For this type of residential structure, the two most common types of roofing material are either an Asphalt Shingle or Stone Coated Steel.

Asphalt Shingle:

Although we talked about this shingle in the above home structure, there can be more to add. The Asphalt Shingle is waterproof and recyclable. The two main types of asphalt shingles are organic and fiberglass.

Stone Coated Steel:

While stone coated steel roofing has been around since the 1960s, the products being installed today feature upgraded materials and manufacturing processes developed in the last 20 years. This material will give your historic home a fresh, yet edgy look. With a life span ranging from 40–70 years, your investment here is well worth it.

Jacobean / Elizabethan

Elizabethan / Jacobian Home ColoradoThe Jacobean / Elizabethan style is characterized by a steeply pitched roof with intersecting gables or dormers, round arched entrance, and decorative brickwork. Generally, residential structures were built between 1920 and 1940 and are of brick, stone or stucco. Two or more stories in height, buildings of this style also feature casement windows, occasionally divided by heavy mullions, and facade chimneys with diagonally set stacks or flues. Half-timbering is used occasionally but is limited to the gable ends. Jacobean / Elizabethan buildings are generally constructed of one external material.

When it comes to the roof repair or replacement you are best off going with either tile or slate. Slate roofing will help keep the historic look while tile will add a different type of character to it.


Natural roofing slate was formed 400 million to 550 million years ago and has a lifespan of between 75 and 200 years if it is hard and 50 to 125 years if it is soft! Slate is not the cheapest material out there, but it is one of the most durable products. It is fireproof and comes in multiple colors to easily match with the historic feel of your home.


It has a history dating back to the Neolithic Age – roughly 10,000 B.C. – when clay tile was first used for roofing in China and then a short time later, in the Middle East. In areas of Europe, Asia, South America and Australia, tile roofs often have a lifespan of 100+ years when they’re installed correctly. Tiles have been on historic roofs of many kinds and for this particular style it will add some flair.

Whether you have a historic home like the ones above or not, know that there is a solution to your old roof. Whether you want to keep the historic look or throw in some razzle dazzle, here at Kapella Roofing we’re ready to help make your vision a reality. From the initial roof assessment, through permitting and code compliance, and finally to material selection and installation, we’re your one stop shop for historical roof replacements. Call us today and allow a professional to help make your dream home come alive starting at the top!

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