Historic Roofing: Useful Information Guide
Roof Online Staff
Historic Roofing Documents on Roof Online
1. Coal Tar Pitch Roofing: Barrett’s Handbook on Roofing and Waterproofing for Architects, Engineers, and Builders – Barrett Manufacturing Co. – (published in 1896, 48 pages).
2. Copper Roofing: Copper Flashings – A Handbook of Data on the Use of Copper As a Flashing Material with Standard Details of Construction and Specifications for Sheet-Copper Work – Copper and Brass Research Association – (published in 1925, 66 pages).
3. Copper Roofing: Copper Roofings – A Manual – Information for Architects and Roofing Contractors – Copper and Brass Research Association – (published in 1925, 25 pages).
4. Slate Roofing: Slate Roofs – National Slate Association – (published in 1926, 83 pages).
5. Slate Roofing: The Story of Slate – Charles H. Davis – Davis Slate & Manufacturing Company – (published in 1923, 4 pages).
Useful Links for Information on Historic Roofing
1. General: “Roofing for Historic Buildings” by Sarah M. Sweetser is a great starting point for anyone responsible for the care, maintenance, or repair of a building with an historic roof which must be preserved. This article is on the US National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Services site.
2. General: The Roofing Handbook for Historic Buildings is a fantastic resource produced by the Historic Preservation Education Foundation in 1999. This book can be viewed online as a 465-page PDF document.
3. Asphalt Shingles: For a brief history of early asphalt shingles, see “Roofing 101 – The Basics of Asphalt Used in Roofing” on the Asphalt Magazine website.
4. Clay Tile: Not a bad read, even if the article is old: “A Brief History of Roofing Tile Manufacture and Use“, from the website of the National Building Arts Center.
6. Metal Roofing: “Metals in America’s Historic Buildings – Uses and Preservation Treatments“ provides extensive coverage of the subject – 174 pages – and is well-researched. Available on the website of the National Park Service. Covers metals from aluminum to zinc.
7. Terra-Cotta: “The Preservation of Historic Glazed Architectural Terra-Cotta” is a good introduction to architectural terra-cotta, and also covers maintenance and repair techniques. Available on the US National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Services site.
8. Tile Roofing: Historic and Obsolete Roofing Tile – Preserving the History of Roofing Tiles* by Vincent H. Hobson and Melvin Mann. Described as “(t)he only reference book ever compiled addressing the identification of old, historic and obsolete roofing tiles.”
9. Wood Shingles: If you have a few minutes, take a look at this video where traditional tools are used to produce wood shakes. It’s a pleasure to watch: “Making Roof Shingles With Hand Tools“.
10. Wood Shingles: “Fabricating and Installing Side-Lap Roof Shingles in Eastern Pennsylvania” by James Houston and John N. Fugelso, from 2008, is a terrific article, hugely informative. Available on the website of the Association for Preservation Technology International.