Residents Replacing Historic Tile Damaged By Storms
DALLAS (CBS 11 News) – Damage estimates by one trade group put last month’s raging Dallas hailstorm among the worst ever recorded here — early $2 billion.
The wreckage has some local homeowners facing an additional as they try to replace damaged roofs.
Folks along parts of Swiss Avenue, in East Dallas, are in historically preserved districts and must replace damaged items with similar products.
Homeowner Sharon Jones told CBS 11 News, “On that fateful day it all came literally crashing down.”
Jones’s roof had held firm for 85 years, now she was left fearing the potential monumental headache of replacing it.
I mean, what’re the odds she could find a century-old tile maker still in business?
Still, “I went out back and picked up a broken tile,” she recalled, “and on the back it says ‘Ludowici Tiles.'”
As in Ludowici Tiles of Lexington, Ohio, A company, as it turns out, that has been in business continuously, in Ohio and Illinois, since 1888.
“We were astounded by that,” Jones said. “We were just astounded by that. Delighted.”
Local Ludowici representative Peter Heinz said replacing the tiles involves more than just looking up a stock number.
“It’s a glazing art to match the tiles for these historical homes.”
According to Heinz, since it’s a glaze and not paint, the hard part is matching the colors. In the case of the Jones home there are three different shades of green.
Once Heinz gets a proper sample it the tile goes off to the lab.
“They can look at the color under a spectrometer and they can determine what they need to do chemically-wise to come up with a glaze to adhere to the tile before it’s fired,” he explained.
Not all the homes on Swiss Avenue are genuinely historic. Former Congressman John Bryant’s house was built in 1978 and made to look the period. Still, his plans for a new roof had pass muster with preservationists.
“Each of us went over with our roofer,” he recalled, “and told them what kind of tile we had and what kind of tile we were going to use to replace it –the broken roof– and they gave us a certificate of approval to do that.”
Bryant’s new slate grey-colored tile is not made by Ludowici, but will be consistent with what was first put on the house.
“Probably not quite as faded,” he said of the new tiles. “It’ll look a little darker, but approximately the same, yeah.”
New or genuinely old, it’s the historic look that counts. “It adds to the historical integrity to the building,” according to Heinz. “It’s architecturally designed to receive that particular tile and you want to preserve the architectural heritage of the building.”
It’ll take a little longer for Ms. Jones to have that authentic look. She’s looking at an additional 6-8 weeks, given the backlog. But that’s okay with her. “We want to get it back to where it was because we love our street.”
Heinz said there are 130 homes damaged in the North Texas hailstorms that have Ludowici Tiles.
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