I had planned to post the answer to the earlier riddle, “What is the first thing that must be demolished before any historic preservation can begin?” on Monday, but I am glad I was sidetracked after the events of last night.
I had also provided a hint, “This ‘thing’ must be removed from the site.”
Last night, there was a public hearing at the Newburyport Historical Commission on a demolition request for 28 Hancock Street. The applicant was very upset when it became clear that a demolition delay was going to be imposed. In a fit of anger, he said, “But the roof is leaking.”
Talk about a red herring.
The answer to the riddle: the roof must be replaced and the materials hauled away.
It is the very first step in successful restoration or even renovation.
Why would you pour expensive building materials, fine molding & floors, nice windows and drywall/plaster into a home in which there is no guarantee that water will not trickle in and destroy the framework and all those other pricey expenses?
Anyone (and he could have just said it out of a fit of emotion) working on ANY house must first secure the roof before doing anything else.
Roofs are the armored guard against the elements. In rare occasions, pricey materials are used like copper edging and fancy ceramic tiles. But even these must be removed and the roof secured before anything else is done. Then perhaps you can consider putting back some historic elements.
But in most cases, don’t hesitate. The purpose of a roof is to be a shield to protect the priceless things below it.
No serious historic preservationist is going to be holding a seminar in saving “historic roof materials”!