Large Building with GazeboRoof shape, pitch, and materials are associated with certain architectural styles and are important character-defining features of historic buildings. However, few historic buildings retain their historic roof materials.  Changes in fire codes and prohibitive costs and unavailability of certain historic materials have resulted in the replacement of original roof materials.  

Residential wood shingle roofs have largely been replaced with composition shingle materials. Most slate roofs, which were never in widespread use, also have been replaced with composition shingle or metal roofing.  Metal plate roofing was popular in the 19th century and may survive on some roofs in Palestine. Most roofs in Palestine are now composition shingle, asphalt shingle, wood or slate. Chimneys built of brick or stone are another important feature of historic buildings and are most visible at the roofline.  The materials and detailing of original chimneys help define the character and style of historic buildings. 

Commercial roofs are generally not visible from the street, usually being hidden by the parapet wall. Some types of roofing are costly to replace or have become unavailable. When considering changing roof type, it is helpful and necessary to contact the HPO or HLC to help find an appropriate roof material within a reasonable budget.

Please remember: Changing roof design, shape, materials or features requires a Certificate of Appropriateness. Since roofing is a substantial investment, please be sure to gain approval before work begins.

Preserves History

  • Preserving and maintaining historic roof materials.
  • Keeping historic roof pitch, shape, and original elements such as cresting, dormers, finials, etc.
  • Repairing and maintaining chimneys.
  • Investing in a quality roof to help ensure the building will stay in good repair.
  • Matching the roof with the style and function of the building.
  • Replacing a non-historically compatible roof with a historic one based upon historic photographs.

Damages History 

  • Changing form, shape, elements, or details of a historic roof.
  • Changing roof materials. Although many types of metal roofs have recently become an accepted residential roofing material, during the historic period, many profiles of sheet metal were originally associated with agricultural buildings. 
  • Using shingles with a different profile than was historically available.