Here in America’s South, we are blessed with many splendid examples of Carpenter Gothic and Victorian Gingerbread architecture. From the 1830s and into the early part of the 20th century, homes throughout Alabama and South Carolina were festooned with delightful flights of fancy in wood. These Victorian trim pieces transformed average, boxy homes into showpieces, which can still catch the eye today. At Yellowhammer Roofing, the Gardendale roofers who know quality, we have seen some magnificent examples.
What is Fretwork?
Fretwork, scroll sawing, gingerbread, and carpenter Gothic are all ways to describe the fancy patterned wood applied to the edges of gables, eaves, porches, and fascias of older homes. In the era of hand-sawing, these designs were minimal, simple, and sturdy. In the 1860s, the invention of mechanical scroll saws that allowed mass production of elaborate trim work led to an explosion of fretwork on homes throughout the south.
Caring for Existing Gingerbread
If you have an authentic home still dressed in Victorian finery, preserve it! Gingerbread adds both curb appeal and property value. If the wood is in good shape, quality primers and exterior grade paints will preserve it. And, since Victorians enjoyed bold color contrasts, do not be afraid to give your Gardendale home a dramatic facelift.
If the gingerbread wood is damaged, it can often be restored (sometimes by the adventurous homeowner, but more often by specialists in Victorian restoration). Missing pieces, gouges, and chips are usually filled with wood substitutes or custom-cut fresh wood.
For some plain homes, you can consider adding gingerbread as an embellishment. Do not attempt to transform a sprawling ranch or bi-level into a Victorian dream, but some styles lend themselves to added work on the fascias, a scrollwork porch, or gables frosted with fretwork.
Several companies offer cast vinyl facsimiles of fanciful scrollwork. These lightweight pieces attach quickly to your Gardendale home’s eaves or gable ends. Since vinyl does not chip, peel or shrink, the color you order is the color the fretwork will be for the life of your home.
Before starting a project involving the fascia strips, gable ends, or eaves of your Gardendale home, consult Yellowhammer Roofing, the Gardendale roofers who appreciate classic architecture. We can inspect your roof and adjoining trim and can make sure your work on the gingerbread is not in vain. Avoid spending time and money on new fretwork if the roofing above and around it needs repair first.
At Yellowhammer, we provide highly trained, quality professionals to bring you the highest level of expertise for all your roofing needs. For an inspection of your roof and trim board before you start any new decorative trim work, contact Yellowhammer Roofing, your Gardendale roofers.Roof Inspection