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Metal: Metal roofing in America is principally a 19th-century phenomenon.Before then the only metals commonly used were lead and copper.Furthermore, there is an urgency involved in repairing a leaky roof since such repair costs will quickly become prohibitive.

It defines the style and contributes to the building's aesthetics.

The hipped roofs of Georgian architecture, the turrets of Queen Anne, the Mansard roofs, and the graceful slopes of the Shingle Style and Bungalow designs are examples of the use of roofing as a major design feature.

Slate was popular for its durability, fireproof qualities, and aesthetic potential.

Because slate was available in different colors (red, green, purple, and blue-gray), it was an effective material for decorative patterns on many 19th century roofs (Gothic and Mansard styles).

But because of the cost and the time required to obtain the material, which was mostly imported from Wales, the use of slate was initially limited.

Even in Philadelphia (the second largest city in the English-speaking world at the time of the Revolution) slates were so rare that "The Slate Roof House" distinctly referred to William Penn's home built late in the 1600s.

Slate: Another practice settlers brought to the New World was slate roofing.

Evidence of roofing slates have been found also among the ruins of mid-17th century Jamestown.

Before any repair work is performed, the historic value of the materials used on the roof should be understood.

Then a complete internal and external inspection of the roof should be planned to determine all the causes of failure and to identify the alternatives for repair or replacement of the roofing.

To order hard copies of the Briefs, see Printed Publications.

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