The prominent, large expanse presented by the roof makes it a significant architectural feature. Originally, most of the houses in Kalamazoo’s historic districts probably had split cedar shingles. When applied they were a light gray to brown and generally weathered to a darker gray. Sometimes they were stained a dark green, or dark gray. The design and color of all roofing materials used on sloped roofs on structures within the historic districts shall maintain the appearance of the original roofing materials and be appropriate to the style and period of the structure.


The uppermost cover of any house or building, irrespective of the materials of which it is built. A roof may be over the entire structure or a part, such as a porch, a wing or a bay window.

Permits and Applications

When starting roof work in a historic district, two applications are necessary:

First, an application for project review through the Historic Preservation Coordinator’s office must be completed. Before starting the project, it is necessary to contact the Historic Preservation Coordinator who will determine if the Historic District Commission must review the application before issuing of a certificate of appropriateness. The Historic Preservation Coordinator is available to meet with the owner and the contractor on the site to discuss details of the specific project before the application is made. If the project meets the STANDARDS as most roof applications do, the coordinator can issue a certificate of appropriateness immediately. If not, the application will be put on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Commission.

Second, an application for a building permit must be made after the certificate of appropriateness has been issued by the coordinator administratively or following commission review. At that point, the coordinator can approve the building permit.

See EMERGENCY REPAIRS on page 7 for special considerations.

Approved Materials

If possible, new roofing should be the same type and style as was originally installed. However, as a practical matter, asphalt shingles that closely resemble the color and design of the traditional roofing materials may be accepted. Generally speaking, architectural dimensional “shake style” or 3 in 1 style asphalt shingles in a dark color will be acceptable. The preferred colors are listed on the page 31. Exceptions to these colors can be allowed by the Historic District Commission based upon the specific application.

Approved materials - list: Slopes greater than 3 in 12: dark colored asphalt 3 in 1 or architectural dimensional “shake style” or standing seam metal where it replaces an original roof of standing seam metal.

Slopes less than 3 in 12: metal, rubber, flame down and roll asphalt roofing. All other materials must be reviewed by the Historic District Commission at its regular monthly meeting. (see page 25) 

All other materials must be reviewed by the Historic District Commission at its regular monthly meeting. (see page 25)

Roof Standards

CELOTEX: Storm King 25 and Standard Strip 20
Autumn Blend, Shadow Black, Bark Brown, Weathered Wood, Ebony Black, Brick Red, Shadow Gray, Desert Wood, Slate Gray, Forest Green
Not Approved: Weathered Gray, Heritage Gray, Mist Green, Woodtone, Polar White, Mist Coral, Colonial Gray

CERTAINTEED: Independence Shangle – Architectural - 40 year
Approved: Hunter Green, Driftwood, Cottage Red, Colonial Slate, Charcoal Black, Weathered Wood, Heather Bland, Burnt Sienna
Not Approved: Georgetown Gray

: Weathered Wood, Colonial Slate, Heather Blend, Hunter Green, Moire Black
Not Approved: Georgetown Gray

ELK: Prestique – Premium Laminated Shingle – 25 Year
: Weathered Wood, Hickory, Barkwood, Sablewood, Forest Green
Not Approved: Shakewood, Antique Slate, Wedgewood, Birchwood

GAF – Sovereign Series: Sentinel, Royal Sovereign, Marquis
: Weathered Gray, Charcoal, Autumn Brown, Regal Bark, Chestnut Brown, Williamsburg Slate, Nickel Gray
Not Approved: White, Silver Lining, Golden Cedar, Green Mist

GAF – Timberline Series: GAF Wood Line, Timberline and Timberline Ultra
Approved: Weathered Wood Bland, Charcoal Blend, Slate Blend, Heather Blend, Burnt Sienna Blend, Pewter Gray Blend
Not Approved: Cedar Blend

Owens-Corning: Oakridge Plus and Oakridge II
Approved: Driftwood, Onyx Black, Brownwood, Estate Gray, Barnwood
Not Approved: Desert Tan

Owens-Corning: Supreme and Classic
Approved: Weathered Wood, Onyx Black, Chateau Green, Autumn Brown, Driftwood, Estate Gray, Brownwood, Bark Brown, Chapel Gray, Teak
Not Approved: Aspen Gray, Shasta White, Canyon Red, Desert Tan

*Exceptions to these colors can be allowed by the Historic District Commission based upon the specific application

Approved Roof Installation

Due to the numerous and varied details of roofing, the Historic District Commission has settled on one common roofing installation that may be approved directly by the Housing Preservation Coordinator. All roofing projects, which do not conform in all relevant details with these standards, must be reviewed by the Historic District Commission for approval.

The details of the existing cornice are important historical elements and must be retained. In a historic district, it is necessary to keep all architectural features including soffit, fascia and moldings, in place. See ILLUSTRATION 11.

Historic Preservation Standards: Roof Edge Detail


In a roof tear-off, roofing is removed all the way down to the decking covering the roof rafters. If new decking is installed, it shall extend over the existing molding, crown molding or other fascia trim. The edge of the decking must extend at least 1 inch and no more than 1 and _ inch past the outermost edge of the crown molding or other fascia trim. If crown molding is missing, the decking must extend far enough to allow for its application at a later time. Specifically, this would be the width of the existing or known crown mold plus an additional inch overhang. (See illustration 11 for cornice and decking overhang detail.)

The Historic District Commission must approve all cornice details, which do not meet this specific standard, such as crown molding missing on only part of the house, or the application of appropriate missing crown molding.

The valleys should be single cut or open, not woven. They can also be metal. Fasteners should be to manufacturer’s specifications. In all cases, existing building codes and manufacturers recommendations shall be followed.

Metal Drip Edge and Flashing

When re-roofing, drip edge should match the dark color of the roof.

Metal flashing should be pre-painted and dark to blend in with the roof. Flashing should be tucked under clapboards and stepped into mortar joints on chimneys. All fasteners should be of a material compatible with the metal flashing being used. For example, aluminum nails with aluminum flashing

Approved drip edge material: Dark ‘D’ or ‘T’ style metal drip edge. 


If insulation is put in the attic, it is important to baffle near the overhang and soffit to encourage free flow of air from the soffit out through the ridge or box venting. Allow at least one inch of open space between the top surface of the insulation and the bottom surface of the roof decking. This will reduce the likelihood of damage from condensation and ice damming. A continuous ridge vent, with covering to match the roof is preferred. And where possible, soffit venting is encouraged to have a continuous airflow between each rafter and out through the ridge vent. The vents at the soffits should be louvered away from view (should not be able to look into the louver).

Tip: Where trees hang close to the house, tree trimming is encouraged. Generally, a tree should be trimmed back at least 15-foot from the house. Often that is not possible, but trimming the trees away from the house keeps the roof in better shape

Eaves Troughs

Eaves troughs shall be _ round metal, square metal (also called K-style), or match existing. Half round gutters sold in 4, 5 or 6-inch sizes are the best choice if the eaves are trimmed with a crown molding or some other decorative woodwork. The 4-inch eaves trough should only be used to drain small roof areas, such as a porch roof. Gutters should be installed with straps, not spikes into the crown mould.

Vinyl eaves troughs are not appropriate and will not be approved.

If the grade around the house drains well, eaves troughs may not be necessary. Gutter guards designed to keep leaves out of gutters may be approved. Approved material: Half round metal, K-style metal, match to existing

Approved material: Half round metal, K-style metal, match to existing.



The commission must review skylight installation. Only flat skylights will be considered, not bubble type or rounded. The preferred location will not be visible from the street and shall be located on the rear of the roof or on the roof of a single-story addition

Other Roofing Materials

Wood Shingles: Shall be square or edged (diamond, fish scale, hexagonal, etc) with approximately 5-6” exposed to the weather. If wood shingles are used it is recommended that they be chemically treated for fire resistance in accordance with the Underwriters Laboratory requirements for a fire rated roof. Wide exposure shakes, such as those used for siding on houses, are not acceptable.

Asbestos Cement Shingles: Shall either resemble wood shingles (generally known as American Method asbestos shingles) or shall resemble slate or match originally installed French Method asbestos, Dutch Lap asbestos or Twin Lap asbestos.

Tile Roofing: Shall be either clay or cement tiles in patterns and colors appropriate to the period. Appropriate patterns include French, Gothic, Norman, Williamsburg, Georgian Colonial, Slate designs or Flat shingle tile. Interlocking tiles may be used so long as they are of traditional designs or colors. Spanish or Barrel Mission tile may be used only if the original roof material was similar.

Slate roofing: Shall be acceptable if appropriate to the architectural style.

Metal roofing: For flat or low-pitched decks or standing rib metal on sloping roofs, where terne, copper or other metal roofing has been used previously, shall be acceptable.

T-Lock asphalt shingles: Shall not be acceptable

Art-Lok, diamond interlocking shingles: May be acceptable when in scale to the structure and must be approved by the full commission prior to installation. Must be in approved, dark colors similar to the colors for 3 in 1 shingles


Often when re-roofing, there is a question of a stub or a partially removed chimney. The Historic District Commission must review any alterations to chimneys including demolition.

Metal Cresting

Ornamental cresting often served to prevent birds resting on the roof. Cresting which has been removed may be applied if there is historical documentation to show it is missing or its installation is reviewed and approved by the full commission.

Soil Pipes

Where soil pipes extend through the roof, an appropriate soil pipe boot must be properly installed.