TSW Roofing Solutions, Inc., Roofing Contractors, Forest Hill, MD
A New Cedar Shake Roof for a Very Old Building

A New Cedar Shake Roof for a Very Old Building

1760s rubblestone house with a storied past

The Friends of Jerusalem Mill (FOJM) hired the TSW Roofing Solutions and Historic Slate team to replace the cedar shake roof of an original 1760s rubblestone building. We won the project in a competitive bid process partly because our approach went beyond the basic specs. We didn’t just want to replace the roof—we wanted to solve current problems and deliver a better result for the future. The building sits behind the re-created 1772 gristmill along the banks of the Little Gunpowder Falls, where 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.

Historic preservation with new technology

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 the building’s first roof type. As you can see from the pictures, the area’s high humidity and the porous wood surface provided the right conditions for a thick bed of moss to thrive on the roof.

Cedar shake roof
New roof needed!


Cedar shake roof
Tearing off the old roof


Based on Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau guidelines for areas of high humidity, we recommended 24” treated cedar shakes installed with hot dipped zinc coated nails. For additional structural support, we secured horizontal braces to the existing roof trusses. We installed a cedar breather, we put an Ice and 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.

cedar shake roof
View of the new roof from the back


Cedar shake roof
View of the new roof from the front


We believe that using modern technology to extend the life of the cedar shake roof aligns well with FOJM’s goal to “forge a better future by preserving the past.” #cedarshakeroof #historicroof #copperroof

More pictures of the project are available on our Facebook page.

Find more information about Jerusalem Mill Village.