<photo> Detail of interior wood feature; Link to National Park Service
Introduction to Standards and Guidelines: Historical Overview
<photo> detail of historic tile roofing

The roof--with its shape; features such as cresting, dormers, cupolas, and chimneys; and the size, color, and patterning of the roofing material--is an important design element of many historic buildings. In addition, a weathertight roof is essential to the longterm preservation of the entire structure. Historic roofing reflects availability of materials, levels of construction technology, weather, and cost. Throughout the country in all periods of history, wood shingles have been used--their size, shape, and detailing differing according to regional craft practices.

European settlers used clay tile for roofing at least as early as the mid-17th century. In some cities, such as New York and Boston, clay tiles were popularly used as a precaution against fire. The Spanish influence in the use of clay tiles is found in the southern, southwestern and western states. In the mid-19th century, tile roofs were often replaced by sheet-metal, which is lighter and easier to maintain.

Evidence of the use of slate for roofing dates from the mid-17th century. Slate has remained popular for its durability, fireproof qualities, and its decorative applications. The use of metals for roofing and roof features dates from the 18th century, and includes the use of sheet metal, corrugated metal, galvanized metal, tin-plate, copper, lead and zinc.

New roofing materials developed in the early 20th century include built-up roll roofing, and concrete, asbestos, and asphalt shingles.



Choosing Treatment

Using the Standards + Guidelines

-Historical Overview-

Exterior Materials
Architectural Metals

Exterior Features
Entrances + Porches

Interior Features
Structural System Spaces/Features/Finishes
Mechanical Systems



Special Requirements
Energy Efficiency
Health + Safety
New Additions




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