Slate, shake, asphalt, clay tile, metal, composite–roof materials and roof systems are perhaps the most important part of any building. They shelter the interior from rain and snow and even protect the exterior walls. Where historic buildings are concerned, roofs and roofing are perhaps even more important than on other structures, as the building walls and the interior features and furnishings may be of unique intrinsic historic and architectural value.
In 1999, the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, the National Park Service, and other partners hosted the Roofing Conference and Exposition for Historic Buildings in Philadelphia. With over thirty presentations and a product and services exposition the conference brought together professional historic preservationists, contractors, architects, administrators, and others interested in conserving historic buildings.
A conference handbook containing selected papers, roofing and preservation guidance, and reproductions of historic documents was published and is available for download online.