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Fall, 2003: Issue #3:

The Slate Roof Bible, 2nd Edition

Order A Copy of the Slate Roof Bible, 3rd Edition Now!

Slate Roof Bible

"I own a Victorian house, built in 1890, which has a slate roof. Some of the slates were broken, some had loosened and slipped a quarter turn, mostly along the eaves, near the bottom of the valleys, some along the rakes and a few in the middle. I had several roofing contractors look at the roof. Most wanted to tear off the slate and replace it with asphalt shingles. Having owned and renovated several buildings and having purchased and read your book "Slate Roof Bible," I was certain my roof was repairable. I had a roofer doing another job replacing asphalt shingles on a house we have for sale. I asked him several times to look at the slate roof. He kept telling me he never worked on slate and didn't know what to do or how to go about it. My being familiar with your book, I was sure with some instruction he could do the job. I already owned all the necessary tools including a ripper, slate hammer, stake, cutter, copper nails, and stainless steel slate hooks. I also had in storage several pieces of slate salvaged from another house. I showed the roofer the illustrations from your book and encouraged him to give it a try. I assured him I would take responsibility for any errors or problems."

He and his helper did most of the work from ladders except for a few places. I warned him about the potential of bees as you advised, and of the temperature of the slates on a hot day (August). Sure enough, there were a lot of bees, but we were prepared for them, and by using a set of binoculars we could see where most of them were from the ground and were sure to avoid them during the busy time, and spray for them at dusk. This worked out well and nobody got stung. The roofer and his helper caught on really fast and did a wonderful job of replacing about 75 slates. The cost was about 1/20 th the cost of doing a tear off and replacing with asphalt. I am pretty certain the slate will last maybe another 100 years if they are properly maintained. Your book was a tremendous asset and reference to have and I certainly recommend it to anyone who has even a mild interest in building, construction, restoration, preservation or anything to do with buildings in general. You have made a tremendous contribution to the preserving of slate roofs, educating people about all facets of slate roofs, and have an absolutely beautiful publication. I just can't say enough good about the book. You have my permission to use my letter any way you wish to share with others or in promoting you products."

"I want to thank you for writing a fantastic book. I bought it a couple of years ago when I was just starting to work for myself. One of my old bosses had taught me a lot about slates and copper (I didn't realize how much at the time), but I was nervous once I went on my own. Your book really helped me in two ways: One, it made me realize that I knew a lot more than I thought I did, as nearly everything my old boss taught me was echoed in your book. Two, it taught me a lot about the history of slates and slate roofing, which I really found fascinating. Plus, some of my customers love hearing about it too. Lastly, I make the section in your book on ladders and safety required reading for new employees."

"I just bought your slate book, and I love it. You really know how to explain the craft."

"I found your email referenced on a web site called "Ask the Pros." I purchased The Slate Roof Bible, and I am reading it now. I like the book; very thorough and enjoyable to read."

"I think I bought your book just in time because I was beginning to be swayed by the number of contractors parading through my home telling me they had to replace my slate roof with nice new asphalt shingles."

"Mr. Jenkins, I purchased your book from Amazon and it has been most helpful to me in dealing with roofers and insurance adjusters."

"I really enjoyed your book. I purchased a home two years ago and of course we have a slate roof in great condition with a few cracked slates here & there."

"I recently bought The Slate Roof Bible and I must congratulate you on a book written out of love of the subject matter! It is an absorbing book, and an empowering one: I have spent 6 months trying to find someone to build dormer windows/install skylights into my roof. I have decided to try it myself [practicing on a shed first!] "

"I recently purchased your "Slate Roof Bible" to learn more about the roof that covers my own home. Funny thing though, I was reading the chapter on Peach Bottom slate (and your difficulty in finding its origin) on a plane flying between New York and my home of Washington, DC. As I looked out the window, we flew right over the Peach Bottom nuclear plant (I grew up in Philadelphia and know where it is). As we passed over, I could almost see the dark bands on the ground where the hard stuff is still buried. The book is a heck of a blend of technical and historic info. I feel compelled to check out everyone's roof now."

"We purchased your book last year and have about memorized it in preparing to install a slate roof on our mountain home in southern California. We have been planning on a staggered application of Vermont unfading green; however, the person who will install it for us indicated that he would be able to do an installation of the "Spanish" type of slate that you have a picture of on pages 46 and 47 in your book. Thanks for putting the book together as a resouce."

"Love your book! I didn't need to be "converted", but I've used it repeatedly to browbeat my colleagues & clients into attempting to work with existing slate (& the 1930's psuedo-slate) roofs instead of demolishing them. It can be a lonely world in the field of preservation (when I do my best work it's invisible...), your book brings a little more light and camaraderie into it. One person advocating is "opinion," somehow when it's published and referenced it becomes harder to ignore. So, thank you for your contribution to the field."


Lancaster Farming: "If you could earn a doctorate in slate roofing, this is probably the only book you'd need."

Boston Sunday Globe: “Jenkins tells his tale with pizazz and rollicking humor, offering anecdote after anecdote about what people do, and do not do, to their slate roofs.”

Fine Homebuilding, July 1998: “The Slate Roof Bible is a fine book, filled with fascinating information about slate: its history, the industry, and the way to work with it properly....I’ve been working with slate for a long time; still, I learned from this book some valuable hints and techniques that I’ve been able to put into practice."

Doylestown Intelligencer Record (Philadelphia): “Five years of meticulous research, thousands of miles traveled to slate quarries all over the world, particularly Wales, has produced The Slate Roof Bible - and a surprise. This book, potentially tedious reading, is instead a delight. Full of history, lore, and useful advice, Jenkins has written a fascinating book, spiced it with humor and warmed it with his own passion for the subject.”

The Permaculture Magazine Information Service (England): "The Slate Roof Bible gives a concise history of the slate industry on both sides of the Atlantic, and the types and colours of slates to be found. Although the author is American, he is descended from Welsh émigérs who left with the collapse of the Welsh slate industry around the turn of the century, and this is reflected in the early chapters. The later chapters cover in some depth the design, installation, and maintenance of slate roofs. Also covered are tools, safe working practices, and important details on chimneys, flashings and gutters. This is well done, with clear illustrations and photos - an excellent example of how to produce a practical guide."

RCI (Roof Consultants Institute) Interface, September, 2001: “With over 30 years experience working with slate roofs, Joseph Jenkins has written a book so comprehensive in both historical and technical information that it is a definite must-have for any roof consultant’s library. Rarely does one read a book expressing such personal enthusiasm and technical knowledge as that written by Mr. Jenkins. He masterfully blends technical and historical information with personal anecdotes in a style of writing that presents a book that is simply enjoyable reading. For those with no experience in slate roofing (or even for those with experience), this book will develop in the reader an appreciation and understanding of roofing slate and slate roofs. Jenkins has provided the roofing community with a definitive, single-source manual for slate roofing. Should a question arise concerning a slate roofing project, this book will undoubtedly provide the answer.”

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