Slate Publications

Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual
National Slate Association Manual

84 years after the original “Slate Roofs,” NSA is proud to offer this completely new guide to slate roofing. This complete, in–depth manual, consisting of 250 pages of text and detailed drawings, has undergone extensive peer-review by respected members of our industry. Every professional contractor, Consultant and architect who works with slate roofing needs this manual on their bookshelves!

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The Outcomes of the Life of a Geologist: An Autobiography
The Outcomes of the Life of a Geologist

By T. Nelson Dale (1846-1937)

With a donkey, two paniers, a magnifying glass and a stone hammer, T. Nelson Dale set off to record the Geological structure of the Eastern Seaboard. Such an enormous task and primitive means were the norm for early twentieth century geologists, but Dale in particular. He returned months later with an extensive analysis of the region, still used today. This is an autobiography, and Dale reveals himself on the one hand a fearless explorer and passionate researcher. On the other, one with petty academic rivalries and, frankly, some very odd observations on life. His eccentricity is refreshingly transparent, however. He contributed significantly to the slate industry of Pennsylvania and allows the reader a look into the exceptional life of an unusual geologist.

Slate Roof Design and Construction

Bennett, Frank, and Pinion, Alfred, Roof Slating and Tiling.
Dorset, England: Donhead Publishing, 2000, 384 pages.

This 2000 edition by Donhead is a reprint of the 1948 second edition of Bennett and Pinion’s classic work first published in 1935 by Caxton Publishing Company Ltd. Packed with 34 plates and over 200 figures, this publication is an excellent source of information on all aspects of slate and tile roofing in Great Britain . Bennett and Pinion’s work contains a wealth of information on such basic operations as sorting and holing slates and more complex tasks such as installing curved roofs and swept valleys. Use the book to broaden your understanding of slate roofing, but do not expect to directly apply many of the techniques discussed to the installation of slate roofs in the United States . ISBN 1-873394-46-2. Available from Donhead Publishing Ltd., Lower Coombe, Donhead St. Mary, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9LY, England, tel. +44 (0) 1747 828422, Cost £45.00.

The Slate Book

Stearns, Brian; Stearns, Alan; and Meyer, John, . n.p., Stowe, VT, 1998, 208 pages. Information on how to design, specify, install, and repair a slate roof, including such issues as Ice and Water Shield, estimating, ventilation, and installing slate shingles on conical roofs and eyebrow dormers. 205 figures, photographs, tables, and charts. ISBN 0-9661363-0-6. Available from Vermont Slate and Copper Services, Inc., P.O. Box 430, Stowe, VT 05672-0430 . Cost $10.00.

Architectural Sheet Metal Manual, Sixth Edition

Chantilly, Virginia: Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor’s National Association (SMACNA), 2003, 496 pages.

An industry standard. Excellent technical manual on the design and installation of custom-fabricated architectural sheet metal roofs and flashings, including roof drainage system design for scuppers, gutters and downspouts. Features new historical restoration section on skylights, cornices and spires; new moisture and maintenance guide; new mechanical fasteners and soldering chapter, and enhanced metals selection data. Offers new construction techniques and alternative methods of design and installation reflecting climatic conditions and rainfall rates. Also includes wind uplift pressure test reports confirming superior performance of custom-fabricated metal roofing. Applies to commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Available from Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor’s National Association, 4201 Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly, Virginia 20151-1209, 1-703-803-2980 or SMACNA’s Online Publication Store. Cost $315 for the CD-ROM, $262 for the hardcopy, and $163 for the electronic version in PDF format. Discounts available to the trade.

Slate Roofs
1926 Slate Roofing Manual

New York : National Slate Association, 1926, 84 pages.
List Price: $30.00 (Members save $6 on this publication.)

The 1926 timeless classic has been carefully reprinting with a completely new foreword! Slate Roofs is a piece of history yet contains practical solutions still very relevant for today’s roofer. You’ll find explanations and illustrations showing time proven slate roofing techniques, specifications, historical perspective and more. It has been carefully reprinted and a limited number are available for purchase.

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New Lives in the Valley (1850-1920)
New Lives in the Valley

By Gwilym R. Roberts

Gwilym Roberts led a very successful academic life as Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Farmington, Maine. Both his father and two Welsh immigrant grandfathers were slate workers from Brownville, Maine, and this heritage became the subject of his book, New Lives in the Valley. The Valley is, of course, the Slate Valley, running for twenty miles along the Vermont/New York state line. The subject of his book, the steady flow of immigrants that discovered and supplied labor for the slate quarries of the Valley. It is the story of America, demonstrated clearly in the microcosm of the quarrying industry. Slate Barons rise and fall; angry workers strike; competing ethnic groups clash and finally assimilate into the burgeoning American culture. Beyond the quarries, Roberts includes the social and political development of the region. A sound historical account, but written to enjoy.

The Slate Roof Bible, Second Edition

Jenkins, Joseph, Grove City, Pennsylvania: Joseph Jenkins, Inc. Publications, 2003, 316 pages.Writers Notes #1 Reference Book Award Winner; Foreword Magazine Architectural Book of the Year Finalist

The first edition of this book was the winner of the 2001 National Roofing Contractors Association Gold Circle Award for excellence in the roofing industry. The new, second edition is greatly expanded, updated, and revised, in full color, with seven new chapters including International Slate, International Slating Styles, Roof Inscriptions and Designs, Recycling Slate Roofs, Chimneys, Valleys, and a general chapter that includes tile roofs, asbestos roofs and soldered seam copper roofs. Many new step-by-step “how-to” line drawings have been added to this edition, too, including how to fabricate a lead sewer vent pipe flashing, how to flash a variety of chimneys, how to replace valleys on both slate and tile roofs, and a whole lot more! ISBN 09644258-15. Available from Joseph Jenkins, Inc., 143 Forest Lane, Grove City, PA 16127, toll free 1-866-641-7141,, or Chelsea Green Publishing toll free at 1-800-639-4099. Cost $40.00 plus shipping and handling.

The NRCA Steep-Slope Roofing Manual, Fifth Edition

Rosemont, Illinois: National Roofing Contractors Association, 2001, 286 pages.

General information on new slate roof installation, including a good section on underlayments. Detail drawings illustrate basic flashing techniques. Available from the National Roofing Contractors Association, 10255 Higgins Road, Suit 600, Rosemont, Illinois, 60018-5607, 1-847-299-9070,, item no. 0408, cost $75 for members, $105 for non-members; free shipping for online orders totaling $100 or more.

Copper & Common Sense, Sheet Copper Design Principles and Construction Techniques, Eighth Edition

Revere Copper Products, Inc., Rome, NY, 1982 À revised 2000, 103 pages. $65.00

An industry standard and an important reference. Excellent information on the mechanical properties of copper, installation procedures, detail drawings, and specifications for durable sheet metal work. Available from Revere Copper Products, Inc., One Revere Park, Rome, New York 13440-5561, 1-800-448-1776.

Buying and Maintaining a Home with a Slate Roof
Buying and Maintaining a home with a slate roof

By David Robinson

David Robinson has been in the residential slate business for more than twenty years. He understands the pitfalls and benefits of buying a home with a slate roof. In this book he provides a wealth of information, clearly explained, to assist homeowners. Jack-leg contractors are exposed, the beauty and longevity of slate roofs are extolled. A quick and easy read that puts the homeowner in charge!

The Repair, Replacement, and Maintenance of Historic Slate Roofs

Preservation Briefs 29. Levine, Jeffrey S., Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992, 16 pages.

Part of a series of Briefs on various preservation related topics. Includes information of the history of slate use in the United States, historic styles, quarrying and manufacture, mechanisms of deterioration, as well as repair, maintenance, and replacement. Illustrated. ISSN: 0885-7016. Available online at or as part of a set (Briefs 24-34) from the Government Printing Office, toll free 1-866-512-1800, GPO Stock No. 024-005-01147-1, cost $15.00.

Slate in the United States

Bulletin 586, Dale, T. Nelson, et al. Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, Washington, D.C. : Government Printing Office, 1914, 205 pages.

Good general source of information on the geology and quarrying of slate. Out of print, but in the collection of many university libraries.

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