Tin roofs were common on colonial-era homes, and quite a few homes built in this time period still retain their original roof. Unfortunately, lack of maintenance has caused severe rust damage to many of these beautiful roofs. If you or a family member own a home with an old tin roof, it's worth restoring it instead of replacing it. You'll preserve the historical appeal of your home while protecting the interior of the home from leaks. Here's what you need to know about restoring your old tin roof.
What's the Problem With Old Tin Roofs? Rust.
Tin roofs that were used in home construction are typically made of iron that has been plated with tin or terne, which is an alloy of lead and tin. As you might expect, the iron used in this type of roof is prone to rusting. The tin plating acts as a barrier against rust, but it can wear away. When the iron underneath is exposed, rain and humidity cause it to rapidly rust.
The primary issue with old tin roofs is that they require maintenance – the roof needs to be periodically painted in order to protect the tin plating and prevent it from wearing away. Some tin roofs are over a hundred years old, and many were simply not maintained for long periods of time.
When a tin roof is not maintained and is instead left to rust, the rust begins to spread. Over a long enough period of time, the extensive corrosion can even eat holes in the roof. This is especially common in areas where the roof is thin, such as overhangs. It's also common in areas where water pools on the roof, such as at where the slope of the roof changes or where the roof drains onto the ground.
Restoration of an Old Tin Roof Depends on the Level of Rust Damage
You'll need to call a roofer to assess the structural integrity of your roof and devise a restoration plan based on the extent of the rust damage.
Restoration is easy if there's only surface-level rust and the roof is otherwise in good condition. The rust can be scraped away easily using a wire brush and rust remover. An elastomeric coating will then be applied to the roof, which acts as a leak-proof seal that prevents any more rust from occurring.
If sections of the roof have been severely damaged due to rust, then these sections can be patched. A roofer can either weld a new sheet of tin to the damaged area or secure one to the area using roofing cement. When the elastomeric coating is applied, a roofer can place a fabric mesh in the coating to reinforce weakened areas. The mesh dries with the coating, creating a strong leak-proof seal.
You may be wondering about whether or not your old tin roof can have an elastomeric coating and still look authentic after restoration. After all, roofers didn't have access to these products a hundred years ago! Thankfully, elastomeric coatings are available in the same colors as the linseed oil-based paint used on tin roofs over a century ago. You don't have to worry about losing the historical appeal of your tin roof.
When the entire roof has suffered extensive rust damage and would require numerous patches in order to seal your home from leaks, it's likely time to simply replace it. While patching the roof and using a fabric-reinforced elastomeric coating does create a durable seal against water and rust, it may end up being quicker and easier to tear the roof off and replace it instead of performing extensive repairs on a badly-damaged roof.
When you need to restore your old tin roof, the first step is to call a roofer. You need the expertise of the roofer to determine if the roof is structurally sound enough for restoration or if it needs to be replaced. Contact a company like Darnell Construction for more information.Share
11 July 2018
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