Identifying characteristics of a heritage build

Heritage build - plaster restoration
Heritage build - plaster restoration

Identifying characteristics of a heritage build

Heritage buildings are a piece of our history. They tell the story of who we were and what our dreams inspired. That’s why Roof Tile Management is committed to maintaining the cultural value of Canada’s most beloved and prominent heritage structures.

Identifying Characteristics of a Heritage Build

Heritage buildings are a part of our past and our future. When restored properly, these buildings can remain a cherished part of our lives for years to come.

But not every old building is a heritage building. Even when newly-built, many old structures were never destined to be considered “heritage”. You may wonder, then, what makes a heritage building?

What makes a heritage building?

The easiest answer is a local, provincial or even global heritage designation. The United Nations body, UNESCO, has designated a number of locations, both ancient and modern, as protected heritage sites. These include the ancient Colosseum in Rome, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Sydney Opera House and, closer to home, the historic district of Old Quebec City.

Although separated in construction by centuries, each of these heritage landmarks possesses a distinctive look that inspires a sense of period and culture. They are unique buildings in distinctive settings. They are celebrated landmarks for their cities and can have a huge impact on the image of that location.

Most heritage buildings are not on as grand as scale – many are smaller residential or commercial sites that exhibit an exceptional character and style that makes them iconic landmarks in their neighbourhoods.

When restoring these buildings, care must be taken to preserve their unique look and feel for future generations. While some materials and construction processes may be lost to time, a professional restorer will take care to maintain the building’s appearance and structural integrity.

And these are not cookie-cutter residential builds; each building is entirely unique in shape, size and construction; the goal of the restorer is to use materials that will remain faithful to the original build.

Start at the top – Heritage Roofing

Rooftops are often the first thing you notice about a heritage building. Each rooftop is distinctive; the size, shape and slope of the roof create the building silhouette, while the roofing materials contribute texture and pattern.

When you think of grand Canadian buildings like the Ontario Legislature Building in Toronto or Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, you may picture their towering metal roofs. You may also think of copper, that unique roofing material that changes colour from burnished red to soft green over time.

Skilled fabricators at Roof Tile Management work with every type of metal, including sheet metal, copper, lead coated copper, lead, zinc, stainless steel, pre-finished steel, and aluminum. In our dedicated fabrication shop, we use modern and heritage equipment, and sometimes even handmade equipment, to replicate original pieces that need replacement or repair.

However, there are many more materials than metal for roofing. Heritage buildings boast a variety of roofing material like clay or ceramic tiles, or cedar and slate shingles. Because the rooftops on historical buildings are often distinctly-shaped, restorers may need to hand-cut and shape tiles, wood or stone to fit around corners and chimneys when performing roof restorations.

Striking exteriors – Heritage Masonry

Heritage buildings can also be recognizable from their striking exteriors. Whether it’s clad in wood, stone, brick and mortar, or boasts formal ornamental elements, each building has a unique look distinctive of it’s period or architectural style.

Expert restorers like RTM must know how to carefully clean, reproduce and/or rebuild exterior brick and cast stone. This often involves mixing the right mortar to preserve the building’s aesthetics, while preserving the structural integrity of the heritage site.

In addition to heritage masonry, Roof Tile Management also offers window restoration. This includes the replacement of single pane to thermal pane glass, while maintaining the same profile and overall design. Our ability to enhance existing structures such as windows is what sets our team apart from competitors. In addition, our main objective is consistent with all of our projects: recreate the existing profile while restoring its visual attributes.

From the outside in – Interior Heritage Restorations

Those lucky enough to live, work or visit inside a heritage building will likely experience everything from ornate custom plaster mouldings to beautiful hand-carved wood casings, flooring, wooden doors and frames. Designed to inspire and delight, these touches add to the sense of grand style seen from the outside, often with a more homey, comfortable or even functional feel.

RTM’s team of accomplished carpenters and plasterers are trained to reproduce the heritage profiles of interior elements by identifying the right materials, and carefully hand-replicating their appearance. Our highly-skilled workforce is experienced in plaster restoration, custom fabrication, plaster repair and conservation.

Roof Tile Management is committed to its mission in heritage building restoration. Since 1986, we have restored the interior and exterior of many iconic Canadian buildings, including the House of Commons Chamber in Ottawa, and the Elgin & Winter Gardens Theatre in Toronto. We’re proud to have a team of seasoned professionals passionate about maintaining a piece of history. 

Contact Roof Tile Management to learn more today!

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