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Roofing Specialists

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Home page logo: Ongong slate roof repair. Photo: Jeffrey S. Levine

The Repair, Replacement
& Maintenance of Historic
Slate Roofs

Jeffrey S. Levine

History of Slate Use
Character and Detailing
Where Does Slate Come From?
Deterioration of Slate and Slate Roofs
Repairing Slate Roofs
The Replacement of Deteriorated Roofs


Slate roofs are a critical design feature of many historic buildings that cannot be duplicated using substitute materials. Slate roofs can, and should be, maintained and repaired to effectively extend their serviceable lives. When replacement is necessary, details contributing to the appearance of the roof should be retained. High quality slate is still available from reputable quarries and, while a significant investment, can be a cost effective solution over the long term.

Further Reading

Copper And Brass Research Association. Copper Flashings. 2nd ed. New York: Copper And Brass Research Association, 1925.

Dale, T. Nelson, and others. Slate in The United States, Bulletin 586. Washington, D C.: U S. Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, 1914.

Heim, David. "Roofing With Slate." Fine Homebuilding, No. 20 (April/May 1984): 3843.

Levine, Jeffrey S. "Slate Roofs For Historic Religious Buildings." Inspired. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation, 1987.

____________, "Slate Quarrying and Shingle Manufacture" Fine Homebuilding No. 71 (Jan. 1992): 6468.

McKee, Harley 1. "Slate Roofing." APT Bulletin, Vol. 2, Nos. 1-2 (1970): 7784.

National Slate Association. Slate Roofs. 1925 Reprint. Fair Haven, Vermont: Vermont Structural Slate Co., Inc., 1977.

Pierpont, Robert N. "Slate Roofing." APT Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 2 (1987): 1023.

Sweetser, Sarah M. Preservation Briefs 4: Roofing for Historic Buildings. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, Technical Preservation Services Division, 1975.


1) This article was published by the National Park Service and is available online
2) Jeffrey Levine is an independent roof consultant located in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

The author, Jeffrey S. Levine, is an Architectural Conservator with John Milner Associates, Inc., and gratefully acknowledges the technical review of this publication by the following: Russel Watsky, Watsky Associates; Kenton Lerch, The Structural Slate Company; Matt Millen, Millen Roofing Co.; Alex Echeguren, Echeguren Slate Company; Bill Markcrow, Vermont Structural Slate Company; and Dick Naslund, Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York at Binghamton. In addition, invaluable comments were provided by Sharon Park, Doug Hicks and Michael J. Auer, National Park Service; Suzanne Barucco, Martin Jay Rosenblum, R.A. & Associates; and Fred Walters, John Milner Associates, Inc.

Sharon C. Park, AIA, Senior Historical Architect, Preservation Assistance Division, National Park Service, is credited with directing the development of this publication and with its technical editorship.

Washington, D.C.  September, 1992

Home page logo: Slate roof repair. Photo: Jeffrey S. Levine.

This publication has been prepared pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to develop and make available information concerning historic properties. Technical Preservation Services (TPS), Heritage Preservation Services Division, National Park Service prepares standards, guidelines, and other educational materials on responsible historic preservation treatments to a broad public.

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East Coast Builders - Roofing Specialists

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"Have Slate?... We'll Travel!"

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