Joseph Jenkins climbed on his first stone roof in 1968 in Butler, Pa., at the tender age of 16, under the tutelage of a 63-year-old Ukrainian roofer named Peter Odrey. Mr. Jenkins, himself now 63, has collected a lifetime of experience about slate roofs and published it all in a beautiful hard-cover, full color life work: The Slate Roof Bible, 3rd Edition, subtitled, “Everything you need to know about the world’s finest roof.”
Jenkins started his own slate roof contracting company in western Pennsylvania in 1980, teaching his two sons the trade. Brent Ulisky ( and Orion Jenkins ( now have their own slate roof contracting companies, also in western Pennsylvania. Joe Jenkins now provides slate roof consulting services nationwide, speaks on the topic of slate roofs nationally and internationally, maintains an international retail tool and supply enterprise online (, and publishes the Traditional Roofing Magazine when time allows.
The first edition of the Slate Roof Bible was published in 1997 for the benefit of his sons as a means of recording what Mr. Jenkins had learned in the trade in case he should suddenly fall off a roof and die. At least there would be some documentation of the tools, methods, and trade details he had learned about first-hand. Jenkins didn’t die and his first-edition book was awarded the prestigious Gold Circle Award by the National Roofing Contractors Association in 2001. Jenkins published the 2nd edition of the book in 2003 — a full color book that included information about slate roofs in foreign countries. This book won multiple national awards.
The third edition, which Mr. Jenkins says is the final edition due to the tremendous amount of work involved, is 374 pages, full color, hard cover with dust jacket, and includes almost 900 illustrations relating to almost every facet of the “world’s finest roof.” The 21 chapters cover the history of slate, the regions in the United States where slate originates, and how stone roof shingles are quarried and fabricated. There is a full chapter on safely working on slate roofs, another chapter just on tools, another on installation, and yet another on repairing and restoring slate roofs. Additional chapters include slate roof inscriptions and designs, recycling slate roofs, international slate, flashings, chimneys, valleys, slate siding, and other more obscure topics such as box gutters and snow guards.
Mr. Jenkins envisions his book on the book shelves, coffee tables, or in the pick-up trucks of anyone who owns a slate roof, who works on one, who works in any architectural or construction trade, who admires architecture or historic preservation, or who just likes a good read, beautifully packaged with gorgeous photographs. The $49 book is available discounted at and will soon be available in all of the finest books stores, as well as at Jenkins online store, For more information, contact Joseph Jenkins, Inc. at 814-786-9085, M-F, 9-5 eastern time USA.