Last week the Kennebec Journal ran an interesting story on the library’s efforts, in Hallowell, Maine, to restore their slate roof. From the article:
The roofers are repairing the slate roof built in 1880 on Second Street — part of a host of renovations the library board hopes to do on the building, which has been listed since 1970 on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jim Goulet, who represents Chelsea on the library’s Board of Trustees and is keeping track of the job, said the work — by The Heritage Co. of East Waterboro, which specializes in doing slate roofs on historic buildings — will continue for three to four more weeks.
“They are taking off much of the old slate and reusing it,” Goulet said. “Those pieces in good condition are set aside to be reused.”
The library board has been raising money to fund repairs. The slate work contract is for $181,466 . . . Linda Gilson, treasurer of the Board of Trustees, said . . . “and we’re pretty fortunate that 130 years went by and we had no (roof) repairs.”
We are so glad they are putting the slate roofing back up. Not only is good from an architectural perspective, but it also helps to keep the skill base alive. What happens to our architectural heritage when everyone forgets how to put up a slate roof or a plaster wall? Will we “McMansionize” everything? Ugh.
Some argue that the old ways just aren’t economical since the library is spending $181,466 on this slate roof. Yet, I would argue they are economical, but over longer time horizons . . . after all they went 130 years without the need for roof repairs!
Try doing that with asphalt shingles. If asphalt shingles have a 30 year life span (big if with the ice and snow) then the roof would have had been replaced 4 times already. Given the large overhead costs of working on such a tall, steep roof I bet the slate is a lot more competitively priced than first imagined. And the costs would go down if more folks used slate again.