Stamped shingle roof restored: originally owned by a Civil War general

The maintenance steps for an embossed or stamped tin shingle roof are similar for almost every instance. Each project seems to require something special, but in these photos, the basic outline of the work is demonstrated.

Clean– The purpose of cleaning is to remove anything loose. A pressure washer works best, a medium strength one works best. Truly strong pressure washers can damage the shingles. Also spray downward, following the direction of the shingles. This last statement sounds simplistic, and it is. Except there is an owner near Harpers Ferry that wishes his roofing outfit he hired knew that tidbit.

  1. Prime– By all means, apply a stronger primer than you think is needed. These shingles have been around for a long time with undocumented history of what has been applied over the years. The primer we use is so strong that if we attempt to apply acrylic when the primer is touch dry, the primer shoots holes through the water-based coating. Of course, we discovered this tidbit the hard way…by experience.
  2. Repairs– After the primer is down, perform any repairs. Trouble spots are easier to identify with a solid color over the roofing surface. Usually chimneys are flashed as well as any protrusions.
  3. Coat– Finish the project with two coats of acrylic or some other respected coating for metal surfaces. The top coats protect the primer from the effects of the sun….and the primer protects the roof from the effects of the sun. In general approximately 10 years is a reasonable length of time for the top coats to last, if the acrylic is high quality. Rule of thumb for recoating: Before the primer breaks and allows rust to appear.

When I say the above are the basic steps, that statement is true. What makes any project interesting is the unique detail or two that seems to accompany every project. In this case, what to do about the porch roof: roof leaking into living room, local historical society insisting on a new roof and little money.

This military lady figured a plan to resolve all three concerns.