Preserving Historic Architecture With DECRA Metal Roofing

DECRA Preserving Historic Architecture
February 21, 2021


A new metal roof preserves the antique look of the Hearthstone House while protecting the historic artifacts inside the house. 

There is a treasure of historic artifacts to protect under the Hearthstone House roof since the first power switch was thrown on September 30, 1882, making the mansion the first in the country to use Edison hydroelectric generated power. 

The house still has all the original 19th Century Edison wiring, genuine electroliers of the period (chandeliers with electric lights), and even working antique switches.  

Hearthstone House meticulously preserves the master craftsmanship typical of the Gilded Age, including intricately hand-carved wood doors, paneled wainscoting lining the walls, and extravagant parquet floors made from native Wisconsin hardwoods. 

In early 2019, the historic landmark’s executive director, George Schroder, realized that the patchwork of aging wood shakes and asphalt shingles were rapidly coming to the end of their life cycles. After consulting with the master roofers at JF Lopez Roofing, George concluded that DECRA Shingle XD® was the metal roofing solution to protect the Hearthstone House and preserve its legacy for another century.  

George prioritized the roof upgrade in his top-down restoration plan and the DECRA upgrade came just in time. The JF Lopez crew needed to replace four squares of the underlying decking on the 6,200-square-foot Victorian roof. That’s 400 square feet of deteriorated shakes and shingle failure where the underlying deck was exposed to wind and weather. 

Had the Hearthstone House roofing upgrade project been delayed much longer, weather damage could have been much more extensive and costly to repair had it made its way to the priceless artifacts and original 19th Century interior below. 

$500,000 top-down restoration  

Designed by William Waters, one of North America’s most prominent architects of the 19th Century, the Hearthstone House features a complex array of roof forms. First on the job were the master masons from Quality Restorations. Their challenge was to tackle the complete dismantling and rebuilding of the home’s four massive 137-year-old brick chimneys. 

After the masons had the 25-foot chimney stacks restored to historical DOI (Department of Interior) standards and ready to weather another century, it was time for JF Lopez Roofing to literally step up to the unique challenges of restoring the elaborate Victorian roof.  

Job priorities included: 

  • Original roofing materials and colors had to be replicated precisely to preserve the historic aesthetics of the existing cedar shingle roof. 

  • Maintaining the elaborate roof design elements of the classic Queen Anne Victorian architecture including multiple tiers, dormers, steep slopes and complex geometry. 

  • Absolute weather protection for the delicate 19th Century house’s interior with original Edison electroliers, light switches and the world’s only surviving examples of an original, intact Edison wiring system. 

  • Provide a one-and-done roofing solution to endure decade after decade of Wisconsin’s seasonal weather extremes while eliminating the costs and shutdown disruptions of repeated re-roofing every 10-20 years, as would be the case with conventional asphalt shingles. 

  • Meet Department of Interior requirements for historic landmark preservation with a brand new “old-looking” roof as specified by the executive director of the Hearthstone House. 

  • Upgrade the roof without inflicting any damage to the 137-year-old mansion beneath.  

  • Meet and exceed the restoration team’s original longevity goal of at least 70 years for roof durability 

The priorities for the Hearthstone House roof were longevity, quality, protection and preservation. JF Lopez Roofing recommended DECRA Shingle XD as the superior choice after providing an alternative quote for conventional shingles. The restoration team agreed and tear-off work commenced in the heart of the Wisconsin summer on July 15, 2019.  

The JF Lopez Roofing crew was eager to take on the prestigious restoration job with an eye to the future.  

“Our company is committed to creating a legacy which our grandchildren will be proud of. This project with DECRA is something they can look back on and be proud of for years to come."  Frank Lopez, Co-Owner, JF Lopez Roofing 

You can view JF Lopez Roofing’s video of the project here

Hearthstone House’s director was quick to praise the installation as “a masterful job” by the JF Lopez Roofing team. George remarked that the resulting “new-old” Shingle XD Classic Cobblestone roof is “indistinguishable from our previous cedar shingle roof” and visitors are quite surprised when they learn that the Victorian era roof is actually made of modern high-grade steel. 

Have a question? AskARoofer

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory. 

About DECRA Metal Roofing 

DECRA Metal Roofing has been providing the best defense against the elements for homes, buildings, churches, and institutions for more than 60 years. Multi-layered, high-grade DECRA stone-coated steel results in a durable, resilient roof able to withstand wind, fire, snow, ice and hail. 


There are currently no comments here.

Leave a Reply

Commenting is only accessible to RCS users.

Have an account? Login to leave a comment!

Sign In
AAR - Malarkey - Banner Ad - Shingles That Reduce Air Pollution
AAR - Stormseal - Sidebar Ad - Get Stormseal
DaVinci - Sidebar Ad
AAR - Malarkey - Sidebar Ad - Shingles That Reduce Air Pollution
AAR - MRA - Sidebar Ad - Buyer
AAR - GCP - Sidebar Ad - Leak Prevention Nailed