Roofs create the skyline of Lakewood. The variety of roof shapes and materials, chimneys, and features such as dormers and towers add to the distinctive character of the city. The seasons can be rough on a roof, with downpours of rain, falling leaves and branches, ice build-up, and high winds.
Shed the Water.
Water is a house’s worst enemy. Even a small steady leak can eventually result in major damage. Make sure that water on the roof is traveling into the gutters and downspouts, and then into the storm sewer connections. If the water is drained onto the ground, make sure the splash blocks and soil slope away from the foundation. A major cause of water leaking into basements is misdirected rain water.
Originally, the roofs of Lakewood were wooden shingles, slates, clay tiles, or concrete tiles. These original materials have often been replaced by more modern materials, such as asphalt and fiberglass shingles. If a house has an original slate or tile roof, maintain it. A roofer skilled in using these materials can make minor repairs. For major repairs, a skilled roofer can carefully remove the original roofing materials, make repairs, and reinstall the roofing. Both old and new tile and slate are still available through salvage yards or suppliers and manufacturers. Some of the newer materials that imitate slate and tile can create a satisfactory appearance for a lower cost. Remember that, although slate and tile are more expensive, they last much longer than asphalt or fiberglass shingles. Finally, new skylights should be installed on the rear side of roofs, where they are not visible from the street.
In addition to making a cozy fire possible and venting the gases from heating systems and hot water tanks, chimneys are important exterior features. Even if a chimney is no longer being used, it should be kept intact. Whether a chimney needs minor repairs or needs to be completely rebuilt, make sure a mason understands that the work should match the original. Take photographs of the chimney before work starts. Mortar joints should match the original in color, size, shape, and material. Existing bricks and stones should be reused whenever possible. Decorative brick or stone patterns should be duplicated. New chimneys should be built of masonry. Today’s popular construction method of wrapping a chimney in vinyl siding is not appropriate for Lakewood houses.
Keep decorative roof features, such as brackets under the eaves, moldings along roof edges, and exposed rafter ends. Retain the original dormer details, such as siding, window trim, and windows, which often have unusual window pane patterns. Missing or deteriorated items should be replaced with parts that match the original in shape, size, and color.
Gutters and Downspouts.
Keep gutters and downspouts in good working order. Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts in spring and fall. Clogged gutters cause damage by forcing water under roofing and behind siding. Clogs also cause gutters to overflow, saturating the foundation and increasing the potential for basement water leakage. When it’s time for replacement, old-fashioned style gutters in a half-round shape and round downspouts are available. Gutter straps should be installed on top of the roofing material. Straps should be installed under the roof material, or the gutter should be attached to the fascia board with gutter spikes. Some Lakewood houses still have “box gutters,” which are gutters built into the moldings at the top of the walls. Other houses still have their original copper gutters and downspouts. Keep these two special types of gutters in good condition. Regular maintenance will be less expensive than new replacements. In addition, don’t paint copper gutters and downspouts. The green patina is part of the charm of an old house.
The Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board was established to serve in an advisory capacity for the purpose of educating, informing and making recommendations to City officials, departments, boards and commissions, and the community on matters relating to historic preservation
The Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board may be contacted through the City of Lakewood Department of Planning and Development (216/529-6630). Information in this publication may be reprinted. Please credit the Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board, Lakewood, Ohio.