Sustainable Products & Technologies 
Aid in Restoration of Historic Buildings

Synthetic products provide economical alternatives to vintage slate and shake roofing materials

  By Alison Diegel for Carlisle SynTec  

Historic preservation in the United States has gradually evolved, from the initial campaign to restore Mount Vernon in 1853, into a movement that encompasses every community. The focus has grown exponentially in recent decades, driven partly by an increasing interest in maintaining our historical culture and partly by economics. Historic preservation efforts not only enable communities to maintain their original cultural and aesthetic appeal, but also revitalize a community's life and economy – creating jobs, enticing more people to visit and relocate, and encouraging a communal atmosphere.

New technological advances and innovative products enable communities to preserve the architectural style and character of their historical buildings without jeopardizing the integrity of the original structure. For example, many older buildings were built with slate or cedar shake roofs as the first line of defense against the elements. When those roofs reach the end of their life cycle, replacing the roof with new slate or shake may require changes to the structure or reinforcement of the building so that it can support the additional weight.

Instead of installing new natural slate or shake on the roof, building owners can now choose synthetic slate and shake roofing tiles such as EcoStar® Majestic Slate™ or Seneca Cedar Shake Tiles™. They are typically half the weight of natural slate and don't require additional structural support. Because of their light weight, they are usually installed in about half the time required for a traditional slate or shake roof.

Synthetic restoration products, such as EcoStar tiles, can often save money by cutting installation costs and enhancing the long-term durability and sustainability of a building.This is a vital point for communities that are deciding whether to restore a historic building or tear down and rebuild, as cost is a major factor in this decision.

Manufactured with 80% post-industrial recycled materials, EcoStar tiles are entirely recyclable at the end of their service life. Because of their recycled content, EcoStar tiles provide enhanced strength and durability, protecting the building against some of the worst weather conditions, including hail and ice. EcoStar tiles also carry a Class A or C fire resistance rating, ensuring that a building is protected for a long time to come.

Accepted by numerous historical societies, EcoStar's Majestic Slate Traditional and Designer Series tiles have been installed in a number of important historical renovation projects throughout the U.S., including Williamsburg, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. Most recently, EcoStar tiles were approved by the Vieux Carre Commission, the nation's second-oldest historical society, for use in New Orleans' historic French Quarter.

Given the advancement in technology, many new options are available for an owner wishing to renovate with a more reliable, low-maintenance product than was available during the original construction. Investing in durable, sustainable products that provide long-term performance will not only increase return on investment but will also enhance the environmental consciousness and aesthetic character of your community, creating a revitalization that is both historical and economical.

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