Regional Styles Chapter 2:1 Virginia

Regional Styles Chapter 2:1 Virginia

Historic roofer and Seaming apprentice, Brydie Wines inspects a built-in gutter at Monticello
Inventive detailing on a hand-seamed roof, circa 1920: Richmond, VA

Virginia was not the first place in the colonies to employ metal roofing, but it may have been the place where it was most popular in the 19th century.  It was also more refined, having guild characteristics such as seamed valleys, hips, and ridges, and using inventive layout techniques to avoid redundant seams. There is also a fair amount of experimentation, and failure.  

Anyone familiar with Thomas Jefferson’s work at Monticello will have encountered his musings on roofing.  He experiments with many attempts hiring colonial labor to create waterproof parapet gutters, and troughs.  These assemblies fail repeatedly.  He had created a european-styled architecture complete with deep roof gutters, and expected craftspeople with only folk knowledge of pitched roofing to apply the same technology to his bold design.  It is a blunder experienced by the entire country in that time frame, as romantic revival architecture catches on, and more complicated rooflines are in demand, the industry responds with what it knows here in the states, which is soldered single-lock plates applied to any detail that can’t be resolved with the only know seam, which is the hip/valley fold.  These are the design parameters we use today when applying new “historic” roofing to most of these  structures.

A traditional folded ridge, preservation work: 2015. An exact copy of the ridges seen in 19th century roofs from Virginia.

Regional Styles Chapter 2:2 Maine Single lock