If you drive through Lincoln, the majority of roofs you’ll see will have asphalt shingles on them. However, this isn’t true for all the homes in the area – especially for many of the historic residences.

Depending on the age and style of the home, the roof may be wood (aka, ‘shake’ shingles), metal, clay, or even slate shingles. Some of these older homes have had their original roofing removed and replaced by their more contemporary asphalt counterparts, leaving the houses looking less than ‘authentic’. Roofing can be quite a challenging task when it comes to historic homes.

Between the blistering hot temperatures of summer to the arctic blasts that we get in the winter (and everything in between- rain, hail, wind, snow, and ice) even the highest quality of materials can take a beating! Plus, some roofers have minimal experience with the ‘not so common’ roofing materials , which means you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a professional doing the work. So if you’re looking to replace the roof on your home in an effort to return it to its former glory, or if you’d just like to learn more about the different roofing materials available, then this blog series is for you!

The roof your home currently has may not be the ‘right’ type, especially if you’re doing your best to be historically accurate. Your home’s original roofing material depends on when it was built, the style of the home, and more. Let’s explore what these might be:

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are one of the oldest types of roofing material. Wood shingles are more commonly known as ‘shake’ shingles and come in a pretty amazing variety of styles, materials, and even shapes. Today, there are dozens of different patterns including staggered, fish scale, pointed, and the list goes on. Wood shingles are often crafted from cypress or cedar due to those wood’s incredible ability to withstand the elements. One thing to consider when thinking about installing wood shingles is that they require a different type of wood decking so that they’re able to dry out quickly after a rain. This means that a bit more prep work may need to go into the installation of wood shingles when compared to other types of roofing. When installed properly, shake shingles can last up to 30 years!


When you hear the word ‘slate’, what comes to mind? If the answer is ‘rock’ then you’re correct! Slate roofing has been around for literally thousands of years because of its phenomenal ability to stand the test of time. Slate is a natural material that is waterproof, fireproof, and incredibly durable. Slate roofing also looks amazing, as is evident from the amount of homes that were shingled with the material during the Victorian era. In fact, slate is considered to be the ‘Rolls Royce’ of roofing. Slate comes in a large selection of colors and is so durable that it’s often the nails and fasteners holding the tiles to the roof that that wear out, as opposed to the tiles themselves. However, it’s important to note that slate roofs are not inexpensive, so if it’s the route you’re thinking you want to go, make sure to plan your finances accordingly.


Clay tile roofing, which is often seen in Spanish style and mission style homes, is incredibly durable. In fact, fully functional clay tile roofs can be found throughout the world, some of which date back to the 1600’s. The thickness and size of clay tiles tend to vary by region. However, most are constructed with 1 to 2 holes at the top of the tile, which allows for it to be fastened to the roof with a nail or peg. These types of roofing tiles are fashioned with a lip/edge on the bottom of the tile that hooks to the top of the descending tile, allowing for the nail/peg holes to be covered. Occasionally mortar is utilized for joints in the tiles. When installed properly, clay tiles are quite durable and are very waterproof. In fact, there are few other roofing options that are more durable and longer-lasting than clay tiles. The one real enemy of clay tile roofing is flying objects- clay tiles are somewhat brittle and can crack easily if hit with enough force. This means that areas that receive a lot of hail (or fly baseballs) might be at risk for broken tiles.


Copper was the very first metal roofing used by man and can still be seen on some structures today. When exposed to the elements, copper has a tendency to take on a greenish tinge, but that didn’t stop people from using it! In fact, many ‘copper green’ roofs and architectural elements can still be seen today. In the mid-1800’s, galvanized metal, which is simply iron or steel that has been coated in zinc, came to be a new roofing metal of choice. The technique of galvanization was invented in France in 1836 and a mere 21 years later, it had made it ‘across the pond’ to the United States. The first galvanized roof in America was installed on the U.S. Mint in New Orleans in 1857. Galvanized metal roofing was a much more budget-conscious choice when compared to its copper counterpart. After the method of crafting tin-plated-iron shingles was perfected, the prevalence of tin roofing exploded in the States. Tin tiles can be crafted in a variety of different shapes and styles, and can even be stamped with designs, too. Many tin roofs were painted a dull green in an attempt to simulate the ‘copper look’. If metal roofs are painted on a regular basis they have the ability to last for a very, VERY long time.

If you’re looking to have your roof replaced or repaired, don’t hesitate to give Golden Rule a call. We have many years of experience installing all different types of roofs and are eager to help you achieve the look you’re going for!