A New Cedar Shake Roof for a Very Old Building

Original 1760s rubblestone building

The Friends of Jerusalem Mill (FOJM) in Kingsville, Maryland, contracted with TSW Roofing Solutions to install a new cedar shake roof on an original 1760s rubblestone building. We won the project in a competitive bid process because our approach went beyond the basic specs. Our goal wasn’t only to replace the roof—we wanted to solve current problems and deliver a better result for the future.

The miller’s house, and more

The building sits behind the re-created 1772 gristmill along the banks of the Little Gunpowder Falls. It most likely served originally as the miller’s house. Over the next 190 years or so, it became a joinery, a cooper shop, and a cannery. For at least the first half of the 20th century, it was once again a family dwelling. In the mid 1990s, with an all-volunteer crew and very limited funds, FOJM installed a wood shingle roof to replicate what was most likely to have been the building’s first roof type. The pictures below show that high humidity, tree canopy, and the porous wood surface provided the right conditions for a thick bed of moss to thrive on the roof.

Cedar roofing for a high humidity area

Based on Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau guidelines for areas of high humidity, we recommended 24” treated cedar shakes installed according to the Bureau’s specifications for roof decking, underlayment, and the use of hot dipped zinc coated non-rusting nails as fasteners.

For additional structural support, we secured horizontal braces to the existing roof trusses after tearing off the moss-covered shingles.

The sturdy new roof deck we built is covered with cedar breather. We installed Ice & Water Shield underlayment along the eaves and penetrations, and we laced 18″ 30# felt over the top of each course of shakes.

We also installed a maintenance-free copper ridge cap, new copper drip edge and flashings, and new fascia board.

Preserving the past

Modern materials and processes extend the life and protective integrity of the cedar shake roof on this 18th century building and align well with FOJM’s goal to “forge a better future by preserving the past.”

Click here for more information about Jerusalem Mill Village.

About this blog series

Quality roofing products and workmanship will enhance your home’s comfort, appearance, and value. The TSW Roofing Solutions team wants you to understand your roof system, because we know that informed homeowners make smart choices about contractors and materials.

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