Dating home > Residential Architecture > Sheathing and Roofing Materials

Sheathing and Roofing Materials

Historically, houses in Vermont were typically brick, stone, or wood frame with wood clapboards, brick or masonry veneer, or wood shingles. Roofs were typically of wood shingles, slate or metal standing seam. In the early-to-mid-20th century, asphalt shingle roofing and aluminum and vinyl siding were popular alternatives, and many older structures were refitted with these new materials.

Wood shingles were a common roofing material in early Vermont construction. After the 1850s, slate was an increasingly popular roofing material. The bulk of Vermont's 19th and early 20th century structures boast slate roofs. By the 1870s, metal standing seam, seen below, was another popular alternative for the Vermont roof. Around the 1930s, asphalt shingles were available as a cheaper alternative for roofing. By the 1950s, asphalt shingles was the dominant roofing material for new construction, and many historic slate roofs were being replaced with asphalt.

Standing Seam Roof

Standing Seam Roof: Image courtesy of Elizabeth André

Brick, clapboards, and wood shingles were all common materials in Vermont construction during the 19th and early 20th centuries. By the 1950s, aluminum, and later vinyl, siding was the dominant sheathing material for new construction, and VermontUs historic structures began to lose their original wood clapboards to the new synthetic material. It can be difficult to distinguish clapboards from aluminum or vinyl siding in an historic photo, but there are some small differences that may be detected. Synthetic siding, in the bottom image, usually appears more uniform and less flawed, and often the window moldings and corner boards are removed when it is installed. Houses with wood clapboards, in the top image, still have their window moldings and corner boards, and chips, nicks, and other imperfections in the wood are often visible.

Wood Clapboards

Wood Clapboards: Image courtesy of Elizabeth André

Synthetic Siding

Synthetic Siding: Image courtesy of Elizabeth André

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