Two Considerations for Choosing a New Roofing Material for a Gothic Revival Home

Gothic Revival homes are ornate yet romantic structures that have at least one pointed Gothic-style window and a great deal of decorative woodwork. The roof is usually a steep gable or a cross-gable, if the home is larger and has wings. The ornamentation on the house is so distinct that choosing the right roofing material can make or break the visual look of the home. But there are also a few practical considerations to keep in mind when selecting a new roofing material for this type of roof.

Here are a couple of the Gothic Revival–specific considerations to keep in mind while meeting with residential-roofing contractors.

Waterproofing the Cross Gable

Waterproofing is always a concern during a roofing project regardless of the roof shape because your roofers want to make sure no water gets underneath the shingles. Water can damage the structure of the roof, start leaking into your home, and cause expensive damage inside. While your roofer will always work to make sure that proper waterproofing is applied, the process can be a tad trickier with a cross-gable roof.

A cross gable has one main roof that's a full-sized gable roof with two steep sides sloping up to the peak or ridge. But there is also a smaller gable on an adjoining wing that has one end terminating at the main gable roof. This point where the two roofs connect together can be an additional waterproofing concern due to the sharp angles, which are harder to waterproof.

While your roofer could fix this problem using metal roofing across both roofs as the main material, metal roofing doesn't provide a great stylistic match for a Gothic Revival home. A better choice is metal flashing, which are small strips of metal roofing that can be installed around the points needing waterproofing backup. Your main roofing material can then be installed over the metal roofing so that the protection is still there but not visible.

Potential Wind Damage on the Gable or Cross Gable

The steep pitches of gable roofs can increase the speed of any wind hitting the house. In most cases, this amplification is only a problem if you use a lightweight roofing material like asphalt. The speeding wind can loosen or rip off the asphalt and leave you with repair bills.

If your Gothic Revival home has one gable roof, the potential wind damage might be lessened if there are windbreaks such as trees, homes, or other structures that minimize the amount of wind that hits your roof straight on. But cross-gable roofs are a bit harder to protect with windbreaks since the sides face different directions. If you have windbreaks on all sides of your house, you might still be able to get away with using asphalt roofing. Otherwise, you will want to go with a heavier roofing material.