Project Profiles: Historic Preservation

CATHEDRAL OF ST. PAUL, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

Team

ROOFING CONTRACTOR: Midland Engineering Co., South
Bend, Ind.
ARCHITECT: ArchitectureWorks LLP, Birmingham
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Hoar Construction LLC, Birmingham,
MASONRY CONTRACTOR: Ziolkowski Construction Inc., South Bend

The cathedral’s intricate slate tile patterns incorporated three slate colors and square and deep bevel cut tiles.

The cathedral’s intricate slate tile patterns incorporated three slate colors and square and deep bevel cut tiles.

Roof Materials

The Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham required the cathedral’s new roof system be a historically accurate reproduction of the original in materials, design and craftsmanship. The cathedral’s intricate slate tile patterns incorporated three slate colors and square and deep bevel cut tiles. Six large slate crosses and multiple accent patterns, barely visible on the faded original roof, required exacting measurements prior to tear-off and a high level of precision to recreate and maintain over such a large field and on octagonal steeples.

Because of metal thinning brought on by their advanced age, every copper architectural and functional feature in the existing roof system had to be carefully removed and shipped to Midland Engineering’s South Bend facility to be historically replicated in its metal shop. This included seven ornate crosses (up to 17-feet tall), finials, turret caps and more. There were more than four dozen components, for which no original prints existed, as well as over 500 feet each of custom copper cornices and radius gutters with matching straps. More than 20,000 square feet of 16- and 20-ounce copper was utilized for fabrication of architectural elements and flashing.

Midland Engineering was asked to make improvements to the original roof system to improve attic ventilation while maintaining the Gothic Revival period look. To accomplish this, the crew integrated bronze screen (invisible from the ground) into the original copper cornice and eave design to provide improved cold air intake while new louvered copper dormers replaced the original painted roof ventilator.

An updated lightning protection system was incorporated into the new roof design, hidden within many of the new copper crosses and other architectural elements. The system was fabricated in Midland Engineering’s shop to maintain the Gothic Revival look.

The metal shop also clad 10 previously painted windows and mullions in copper, effectively eliminating frequent and costly maintenance. These windows, reachable only by crane at considerable expense, formerly required painting and other maintenance every five to seven years.

About 6,500 square feet of lead-coated copper, which patinas to a limestone color, was utilized to cap all limestone exposed to weather, reducing ongoing maintenance of limestone joints.

Extensive termite damage to structural framing required repair prior to installation of the new roofing system. Upon removal of the original slate roof and completion of the structural repairs, the new roof was dried-in and installation of the new slate roof began. The historically accurate replacements of the original copper architectural features were installed according to schedule.

SLATE SUPPLIER: North Country Slate
COPPER SUPPLIER: Hussey Copper

Roof Report

The Cathedral of St. Paul is the centerpiece of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. Completed in 1893 at a cost of $90,000, the cathedral is widely considered to be a handsome example of the American Neo-Gothic variant of the Gothic Revival style. The cathedral measures 96-feet wide by 140-feet long and encompasses more than 60,000 square feet. It features twin octagonal steeples, rising 183-feet high.

Work schedules on this project were a challenge. The contract required parishioner and clergy access to the church must be maintained 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the eight-month duration of the project. Further, because of the noise inherent in roof construction, work schedules had to be planned around regular church services and events and rescheduled several times a month for funerals and other unscheduled events.

“We could not have been more pleased with the work accomplished by the team from Midland Engineering,” says Very Rev. Kevin M. Bazzel, V.G., J.C.L., rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul. “It is a marvel to us to be able to see the church in its original glory, and all of this thanks to Midland!”

The National Roofing Contractors Association, Rosemont, Ill., awarded Midland Engineering the prestigious Gold Circle Award in 2016. Midland was recognized in the Outstanding Workmanship—Steep-slope Category.

Photo: Rob Culpepper

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Pride in Heritage

My American-born father met my German-born mother while he was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. My parents married, had me and moved to the U.S. to build their family. My dad worked a lot when I was young, so being the firstborn child of an immigrant mother in small-town Iowa often was—for lack of a better term—exhausting. I had to introduce her to everything American, when I was learning myself!

For example, I had to explain extracurricular activities (there isn’t volleyball in Germany) and social events (prom was a doozy). I also learned quickly—thanks to endless teasing—to keep what made me “different” as much of a secret as possible from my friends. I hid the clothes my European grandparents sent because my classmates just weren’t wearing the same styles. I begged my mother to cook “American” foods—burgers and pizza only—when friends came for sleepovers. I never spoke about traditions my mother carried on in our household. Meanwhile, I always wondered why my peers—many of whom were of German descent themselves—didn’t have a clue about any of the customs my family practiced.

Americans aren’t always good at appreciating and preserving their heritage, even when it comes to buildings. Building the most innovative, technologically modern structure almost always took precedence over preservation. The Great Recession seems to have changed that mindset by forcing building owners/facility managers to upgrade existing buildings rather than build new. In this issue of Roofing, we celebrate the historic buildings that tell the story of bygone eras and the existing buildings that have shaped our nation into what it is today. The issue’s articles underscore how contemporary roofing materials can help preserve these structures’ roofs (see “Tech Point”, for example) and artistry that made a particular roof the focal point of its community (see the other “Tech Point”).

I’m happy to say as an adult I embrace my heritage and all the things my mother taught me. In fact, I’m bringing German influences into my own home. My husband Bart is half German, but, before he met me, he knew nothing about Germany. During our honeymoon, we spent some time in Germany, and, today, you can often find Bart using the few German words I’ve taught him in normal conversation (especially with my mother). In fact, he has embraced the culture so much that when he and his business partner discussed how to celebrate Oktoberfest at the bar they own, Bart suggested my mom prepare an authentic German meal for the bar’s patrons. The young me would’ve been mortified by this idea, but these days I’m proud to share a bit of Germany with my friends and neighbors (who predominately are of German heritage themselves). And I’m grateful my husband feels the same.

Contemporary Materials Are Used to Preserve a Historically Significant 1889 House

In my capacity as a historic preservation contractor and consultant, I am often afforded the opportunity to become involved in exciting and challenging projects. Recently, my firm was awarded the contract to restore the clay tile roof turrets at Boston’s Longy School of Music’s Zabriskie House. Now part of Bard College, Longy School’s Zabriskie House is actually the historic Edwin H. Abbot House with a sympathetically designed addition built in the 1980s. The deteriorated condition of the original house’s turrets, as well as lead-coated copper gutter linings and masonry dormers, had attracted the attention of the Cambridge Historic Commission, and a commitment to the proper restoration of these systems was struck between the commission, building owner and a private donor.

The hipped roof turret on the building’s primary façade was in need of serious attention.

The hipped roof turret on the building’s primary façade was in need of serious attention.

BUILDING HISTORY

Before I can specify historically appropriate treatments, I need to don my consultant’s cap and dig into the history of a building to best understand its evolution. Developing the background story will typically answer questions and fill in the blanks when examining traditional building systems. An 1890 newspaper clipping held by the Cambridge Historic Commission re- ports that “[t]he stately home of Mr. Abbot, with its walled-in grounds, on the site of the old Arsenal, promises to be the most costly private dwelling in the city.” An examination of records held by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and from the Library of Congress’ Historic American Buildings Survey reveals that the firm of Longfellow, Alden & Harlow designed the Richardsonian Romanesque portion of the building and that Norcross Brothers Contractors and Builders was the builder of record.

Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow Jr. (of Longfellow, Alden & Harlow) was the nephew of the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and an important figure in U.S. architectural history. After graduating from Harvard University in 1876, he studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, after which he worked as a senior draftsman in Henry Hobson Richardson’s office. After Richardson’s death in 1886, Longfellow partnered with Frank Ellis Alden and Alfred Branch Harlow to found the firm of Longfellow, Alden & Harlow. With offices in Boston and Pittsburgh, the firm designed many important buildings, including the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh and the City Hall in Cambridge.

Norcross Brothers Contractors and Builders was a prominent 19th century American construction company, especially noted for its work, mostly in stone, for the architectural firms of Henry Hobson Richardson and McKim, Mead & White. Much of the value of the Norcross Brothers to architectural firms derived from Orlando Norcross’ engineering skill. Although largely self- taught, he had developed the skills needed to solve the vast engineering problems brought to him by his clients. For example, the size of the dome at the Rhode Island Capitol was expanded very late in the design process, perhaps even after construction had begun, so that it would be larger than the one just completed by Cass Gilbert for the Minnesota Capitol. Norcross was able to execute the new design.

BUILDING STYLE

The Edwin Abbot House is an interesting interpretation of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Whereas the great majority of such buildings feature rusticated, pink Milford granite in an ashlar pattern, trimmed with East Longmeadow brownstone, Longfellow created a unique spin for Mr. Abbot. Although the building is trimmed with brownstone, the field of the walls features coursed Weymouth granite of slightly varying heights. The motif of orange, brown and golden hues of the stone is continued in the brick wall surrounding the property.

Scaffolding was erected that would make the otherwise dangerous, heavy nature of the work safe and manageable.

Scaffolding was erected that would make the otherwise dangerous, heavy nature of the work safe and manageable.

The roof is covered in a flat, square orange-red clay tile. Richardsonian Romanesque buildings are almost exclusively roofed in clay tile; Monson black slate; Granville, N.Y., red slate; or some combination thereof. It should be noted that because their need for stone was outpacing the supply, Norcross Brothers eventually acquired its own quarries in Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

The roof framing system of steel and terra-cotta blocks is relatively rare but makes perfect sense when considered in context with the latest flooring technologies of the era. A network of steel beams was bolted together to form the rafters, hips and ridges of the frame. Across each is welded rows of double angle irons (or inverted T beams). Within these channels, in beds of Portland cement, the terra-cotta block was laid. The tile was then fastened directly to the blocks with steel nails. Because of the ferrous nature of the fasteners, the normal passage of moisture vapor caused the nails to rust and expand slightly, anchoring them securely in place. Whether this element of the design was intentional or simply fortunate happenstance, the result made for a long-lasting roof.

What doesn’t last forever in traditional slate and clay tile roofing systems is the sheet-metal flashing assemblies. Over the years, there must have been numerous failures, which led to the decision to remove the clay tiles from the broad fields of the roof and replace them with red asphalt shingles in the 1980s. Confronted with the dilemma of securing the shingles to the terra-cotta substrate, a decision was made to sheathe the roof with plywood. Holes were punched through the blocks and toggles used to fasten the plywood to the roof. In an area where the asphalt shingles were removed, more than 50 percent of the plywood exhibited varying degrees of rot caused by the normal passage of vapor from the interior spaces.

Fortunately, the turrets had survived the renovations from 30 years before. A conical turret in the rear and an eight-sided hip-roofed turret on the north side needed only repairs which, while extensive, did not require addressing issues with the substrate. The 16-sided turret on the primary façade of the building was in poor condition. Over the years, prior “repairs” included the use of non-matching tiles, red roofing cement, tar, caulk and even red slate. A scaffold was erected to allow safe, unfettered access to the entire turret and the process of removing the tile began. Care was taken to conserve as many tiles as possible for use in repairing the previously described turrets.

As the clay-tile roof covering was removed, the materials of the substrate were revealed and conditions were assessed.

As the clay-tile roof covering was removed, the materials of the substrate were revealed and conditions were assessed.

The substrate was examined closely and, save for thousands of tiny craters created by the original nails, found to be sound. A new system had to be devised that could be attached to the terra-cotta blocks and allow for the replacement tiles to be securely fastened, as well as resist the damaging forces of escaping moisture vapor. Cement board, comprised of 90 percent Portland cement and ground sand, was fastened to the blocks with ceramic-coated masonry screws. The entire turret was then covered with a self-adhering membrane. The replacement tiles were carefully matched and sourced from a salvage deal- er in Illinois and secured with stain- less-steel fasteners. The flat tiles, no longer manufactured new, are referred to as “Cambridge” tiles for their prevalence on the roofs of great homes and institutional buildings in and around Cambridge.

CONTEMPORARY UPDATES

Although I typically advocate for the retainage of all historic fabric when preserving and restoring traditional building systems, there are exceptions. In the case of the Abbot House roof, we encountered “modern” technologies that pointed us toward contemporary means and methods. Rusting steel nails in the terra-cotta block were brilliant for initial installation but seemed ill conceived for a second-go-round. Instead, using non-ferrous fasteners and a new substrate that is impervious to moisture infiltration will guarantee the turret’s new service life for the next 125 years or more.

ROOF MATERIALS

Self-adhering Membrane: Grace Ice & Water Shield
Masonry Anchors: Tapcon
Cement Board: James Hardie
Stainless-steel Roofing Nails: Grip Rite
Replacement Tiles: Renaissance Roofing Inc.

PHOTOS: Ward Hamilton

Built-in Gutters Should Be Carefully Inspected, Restored and Maintained

Sheet-metal gutter linings, whether made of copper, lead or both, are relatively involved and require the services of a highly skilled artisan craftsman.

Sheet-metal gutter linings, whether made of copper, lead or both, are relatively involved and require the services of a highly skilled artisan craftsman.

Built-in gutters may be the most complicated system in the building envelope, yet they are also the most elusive when you start searching for information about them. Sometimes called Yankee gutters, box gutters or even Philadelphia gutters, it’s no wonder they remain a mystery to many. Built-in gutter systems are actually built into the cornice structure and drain through internal or external leaders. They are not readily visible from the ground, further lending to the mystery of their design and function. Because they are integrated into the structure, built-in gutter linings that fail will cause extensive damage to the cornice and sometimes also the interior of the structure.

In “Traditional Rainwater Conductor Systems of the 18th and 19th Centuries,” Karen Dodge of the U.S. National Park Service, Washington, D.C., states built-in gutters were first adopted in North America during the 18th century in high-style Georgian and Federal-style buildings, usually institutional or commercial, where refined architectural qualities were desired. Although built-in gutters are highly functional, they also serve an aesthetic purpose. As structures were erected in the classical order with elaborate cornices and entablature, it became necessary to collect and channel rainwater without detracting from the architectural character of the building. Built-in gutters served this function well, hidden from sight and shedding water to the exterior.

Built-in gutters, today, are typically constructed in the same manner as they have been since the 18th century. They are wooden boxes with bottoms sloped toward the outlets where water is drained to leaders, or conductor pipes, that channel the water away from the building. The first gutters in this style were actually troughs or box gutters, carved out of wood and rubbed with linseed oil or painted to protect the wood. Corners and seams were bonded with lead wedges. Needless to say, maintenance was critical to their success or failure. Later, the advent of sheet lead allowed for broader gutters, as linings covered the wooden troughs. By the end of the century, copper became available in the U.S. and a popular choice for gutter linings because of its durability and the functional nature of the material in a sheet-metal application.

INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE

The most common sign of water penetration is peeling paint and decay in the wood soffit under the gutter. Other signs are dark stains and mildew or deterioration of masonry. Water infiltration may be visible in attic spaces or areas beneath the gutters where plaster and other interior finishes evidence water damage. The sooner a leak or area vulnerable to failure is addressed, the smaller the scope and cost of repairs. Cleaning out leaves and debris from gutters as often as necessary is essential for durability and proper performance.

Careful inspection by a competent roofer is critical to the longevity and success of the system. He or she will look for defects, such as localized damage caused by fallen limbs or other debris, cracks from expansion and contraction at joints or folds, or pinholes from corrosion. Roofing tar and other bituminous compounds should never be used to patch, repair or coat gutter linings. It makes the condition of the gutter indeterminable, corrodes metal linings, will crack and fail quickly, and cannot be removed without destroying the lining. Ice damming is not uncommon in the winter but should not be removed with sharp tools for obvious reasons.

When tin or terne-coated steel gutter linings fail, water intrusion will occur and cause wood rot. Eventually, architectural details will be lost and replacement will be necessary.

When tin or terne-coated steel gutter linings fail, water intrusion will occur and cause wood rot. Eventually, architectural details will be lost and replacement will be necessary.

RESTORATION

Restoration of long-neglected built-in gutter systems that leak and have caused decay in the cornice and roof structure is often complicated and can be costly. But once the work is completed, a regularly maintained, well-detailed system can last 60 to 100 years or more, depending on the life of the metal lining. A preservation architect or consultant should inspect the building, propose treatment options, develop working drawings and specifications, and supervise bidding and construction. Temporary protection and permanent repairs should be performed by a roofer experienced in this specialty on historic buildings.

“We encourage restoration of historic built-in gutter systems,” says Michael Devonshire, a building conservator and principal at Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, New York. “The use of modern building materials as an adjunct to traditional materials boosts longevity.” Devonshire states the typical steps involved with a built-in gutter restoration involve:

  • Removing the gutter lining and 2 feet of the roof covering above the curbing of the gutter.
  • Repairs to rotted or otherwise deteriorated frame work. Where rafter ends or lookouts are rotted, install sisters (new rafter ends adjacent to old ones) or scarf in new wood and sisters.
  • Replacing the old wooden gutter bottom with a sustainable wood material, such as cedar or kilndried- after-treatment (KDAT) plywood. KDAT is treated for resistance to decay, minimal expansion and contraction, and increased longevity.
  • Installing the gutter lining: an elastomeric ice-and-water shield on the bottom (not always required); building felt; a slip-sheet of rosin paper; and copper on top (16 or 20 ounce, depending on the dimensions of the gutter).
  • Installing the roof covering on the roof deck above the gutter. This includes 2 feet of elastomeric ice-and-water shield (or copper flashing) beneath.
  • Repairing or replacing cornice mouldings, brackets and other architectural woodwork.

PHOTOS: WARD HAMILTON

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Book Showcases 100 Years of Wagner Roofing’s Craftsmanship

Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry.

Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry.

For a century, many of the metropolitan Washington, D.C., region’s most distinguished roofs have had one thing in common—the handiwork of Hyattsville, Md.-based Wagner Roofing. Commemorating 100 years since Wagner Roofing was founded in Otto Wagner’s basement, Chuck and Sheila Wagner have written Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry. Published by Hamilton Books and with a foreword by Knight Kiplinger, the book is available from Amazon.com, Rowman.com and select retailers.

Surveying Wagner Roofing’s project portfolio, Preserving Washington History: 100 Years of Wagner Artistry traces the firm’s evolution into capital region experts in historic preservation and installers of slate, architectural metal and copper roofing, as well as façade restorers. The book celebrates the firm’s heritage through photographs of iconic area buildings, often from rarely seen vantages.

Oak Hill Cemetery Renwick Chapel, circa 1850, is the only known example of James Renwick Jr.’s Gothic Revival ecclesiastical design in Washington, D.C. Wagner Roofing replaced the purple Vermont slate roof and the copper built-in gutter and downspouts.

Oak Hill Cemetery Renwick Chapel, circa 1850, is the only known example of James Renwick Jr.’s Gothic Revival ecclesiastical design in Washington, D.C. Wagner Roofing replaced the purple Vermont slate roof and the copper built-in gutter and downspouts.

Wagner Roofing’s touch has graced more than 500 sites, including the Washington National Cathedral, Smithsonian Castle, U.S. Naval Academy’s Mahan Hall, 6th & I Historic Synagogue, President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Old Post Office Pavilion. Throughout Wagner Roofing’s work is a commitment to quality, customer service and artisanship, an ethos shared by the three
generations of Wagners in the trade.

A copper cornice restoration was performed on the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in 2013-14.

A copper cornice restoration was performed on the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in 2013-14.

“I owe much to the family members who came before me,” writes Chuck Wagner in the book’s dedication. “They dedicated themselves to providing for their families and those who worked for them during difficult and trying times. It has been a challenge walking in the footsteps of such men, but they left a legacy of excellence in workmanship and service which continues today.”

PHOTOS: Wagner Roofing

Asphalt Roofing Products Provide a Historic Mansion with Modern Performance Without Sacrificing its Classic Curb Appeal

Historic renovations can pose many challenges to roofing contractors. But when done correctly, a renovation on a classic home maintains the structure’s unique style, provides modern performance and even helps to preserve the rich history of an area. This kind of challenge was presented to Highland, Md.-based Certified Inc. when the roofing company was called upon to install a new roof on a historic mansion in Laurel, Md. By choosing the right roofing materials and utilizing proper techniques, the contractor was able to successfully preserve the home’s Victorian appearance and character using today’s safer, more affordable and reliable products, while also meeting the requirements of the local Historic District Commission.

Formerly known as the Phelps mansion, this Victorian-style house was built in 1888.

Formerly known as the Phelps mansion, this Victorian-style house was built in 1888.

A STORIED PAST

Formerly known as the Phelps mansion, this Victorian-style house was built in 1888. The mansion was the home of Edward Phelps, who served as the first mayor of Laurel. Throughout his seven terms in office, Phelps modernized the rural community by overseeing the addition of electric street lights; brick-paved roads; a telephone system; and a railroad that connected Laurel to Washington, D.C.

Jim Lessig, Certified’s project manager, was immediately drawn to the project when it was referred to him by a previous customer. “I was very interested in the project due to the historic nature and elaborate architecture of the home,” he says. “It wasn’t the largest project of the year for us, but definitely the most interesting and intricate.”

The Phelps mansion is located in the Historic District of Laurel, an area that is part of the original town. In the 1970s, a Historic District Commission was established to ensure the preservation of homes and businesses and keep the area’s small-town charm. When it came time to install a new roof on the mansion in June 2013, the homeowners worked with the commission to receive approval on building materials and roofing techniques based on a set of guidelines drafted by the organization.

Sunny Pritchard, coordinator for the Historic District Commission, describes the mansion as a magnificent old home that “sits on a sweeping piece of land and looks grand and proud with its high roof lines, gables and big open porches.” To Pritchard and the rest of the commission, it was imperative that the roof retained the home’s noble, Victorian look.

AN INTRICATE ROOF

Certified was faced with a historic challenge: How could it imitate the look of the home’s original slate roof while providing the safety and durability of today’s products? The answer came in the form of asphalt shingles, which were selected for the renovation and were approved by the historic commission.

The roofing contractor chose asphalt shingles because they were able to mimic the historic look of the original slate tiles while providing modern performance and reliability.

The roofing contractor chose asphalt shingles because they were able to mimic the historic look of the original slate tiles while providing modern performance and reliability.

“We chose to use asphalt shingles because they were able to mimic the historic look of the original slate tiles while providing modern performance and reliability,” Lessig notes. “The commission approved the shingle because in their view it gave an authentic slate look that maintained the house’s turnof- the century appearance.”

The chosen shingles are individually colored using precision color technology which allows a roof to maintain the color, contrast and authentic look of natural slate. Natural slate is expensive and takes a specialized labor force to install because the process is an art form. Natural slate can also be a heavy product and breakage can occur when you install it. Asphalt shingles provided a great value for the project, while mimicking the look and tone of slate from the curb.

Contractors used a combination of low- and steep-slope materials on the roof, and added built-in copper gutters to really make it stand out. The end result was a roof that is beautiful and durable. The home retains its ability to transport passersby back into a time of horse-drawn carriages, top hats and hoop skirts.

A CELEBRATED PRESENT

Since the installation, the Phelps mansion’s new roof has gained national attention. In February, the historic home received one of the asphalt roofing industry’s top honors—the Quality Asphalt Roofing Case-Study Awards (QARC) Bronze Award. The annual QARC awards program is run by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), Washington, D.C., and recognizes roofing projects that demonstrate the beauty, durability, reliability and affordability of asphalt-based roofing products.

the historic home received one of the asphalt roofing industry’s top honors—the Quality Asphalt Roofing Case-Study Awards (QARC) Bronze Award.

The historic home received one of the asphalt roofing industry’s top honors—the Quality Asphalt Roofing Case-Study Awards (QARC) Bronze Award.

The Bronze Award recognized the contractor’s choice of an asphalt roofing product that was easy to work with and provided a safe working environment while successfully replicating the 19th century look and feel of the home.

Because of Certified’s excellent work and the unique products used for the project, this historic mansion will continue to represent the image of the original Laurel district and help preserve the area’s history for many more years to come.

“I would have loved to be one of the preserved boards in this house so I could have recorded the happenings throughout the years,” Pritchard notes. “That is what old homes have, a history of happenings, and if you let the roofs and boards decay and rot and eventually fall down, all of that history goes with it. We want to preserve both—the boards and the history.”

ROOF MATERIALS
Highland Slate shingles: CertainTeed Corp.

Learn More about Asphalt Shingles
To learn about the color process and how asphalt shingles are made, check out this video from the Washington, D.C.-based Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.

Learn about ARMA and the QARC awards program.

PHOTOS: EMERY PHOTOGRAPHY

Projects: Historic Preservation

KANSAS STATEHOUSE COPPER DOME & ROOF REPLACEMENT, TOPEKA, KAN.

KANSAS STATEHOUSE COPPER DOME & ROOF REPLACEMENT

KANSAS STATEHOUSE COPPER DOME & ROOF REPLACEMENT

TEAM

SHEET-METAL CONTRACTOR (DOME): Baker Roofing Co., Raleigh, N.C.
SHEET-METAL CONTRACTOR (ROOF): MG McGrath Inc., Maplewood, Minn.
SPECIALTY FABRICATION (DOME): Ornametals LLC, Decatur, Ala.
ARCHITECT: Treanor Architects P.A., Topeka
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: J.E. Dunn Construction Co., Topeka

ROOF MATERIALS

The $22 million copper roof and dome replacement, completed in late December 2013, occurred over previously restored, occupied spaces and utilized approximately 127,000 pounds of copper. The east and west wing roofs are covered with 24,700 square feet of 20-ounce copper batten-seam roofing. The central, north and south wing roofs are finished with a hybrid horizontal and standing-seam roof constructed of 20-ounce copper to replicate the historic roof.

ROOF REPORT

The Kansas Statehouse’s copper dome, contrasted by the limestone structure, has captured the attention of citizens and visitors alike for more than 100 years. Built in three distinct phases during a 37-year period, the Kansas Statehouse reflects the changes in construction between the 1860s and the turn of the 20th century.

Planning for the statehouse’s restoration began in 1999 with an overall evaluation of the building and schematic design. For the legislature to continuously occupy the building, the construction was broken into six major phases and 29 separate bid packages. As part of the statehouse preservation and restoration, Treanor Architects completed a study on the existing roof and dome systems between 2007-10 and concluded the entire copper cladding needed to be replaced. Because of its longevity, copper proved to be the best long-term value for the project when other cost factors, such as access, associated repairs and maintenance, were taken into consideration.

TO COMPLY with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, the replacement copper design had to replicate the historic construction as closely as possible. However, areas identified as leak-prone or lacking in provision for thermal expansion were targeted for changes to better protect the building in the future. The design included repairs for substrate damaged by infiltration and alterations to the substrate to accommodate copper detail changes. The original copper installations lacked underlayment. To minimize changes in the manner that the roof envelope behaves, breathable underlayment was used to the greatest extent possible.

Approximately 127,000 pounds of copper were recycled and portions of the copper were salvaged for reuse in the Kansas Statehouse’s new visitor center. MG McGrath performed the fabrication and installation of 65,250 square feet of sheet metal on the roof. Low-slope areas of the central roof, which were originally clad with standing seam, were re-clad with 20-ounce soldered flat-seam copper to provide a more watertight roof. To meet the aggressive schedule, roofs were sequenced to allow for tear off and substrate repairs to occur while sheet-metal installation crews worked on another roof.

DETERIORATED SUBSTRATE required repairing structural framing and the wood and masonry decks. Work on the 21,300 square foot dome was performed by Baker Roofing with custom fabrication of the ornamental trim and windows performed by Ornametals. A 365-foot-tall, free-standing tower crane was used to deliver materials and equipment. Crews worked in a spiraling pattern from the bottom of the dome up to sequence tear-off, substrate repairs and sheet-metal installation.

Standing-seam 20-ounce copper cladding was used for radius components at the base and top of the dome. The distinctive horizontal seamed panels used in the original construction were replicated in 20-ounce copper, and templates were created for each panel to account for differences in the compound curvature and spacing of the attachment points. In total, the dome required 230 linear feet of built-in monumental gutter constructed from 32-ounce copper and 752 linear feet of 24-ounce copper rib moulding.

PHOTOS: ARCHITECTURAL FOTOGRAPHICS/TREANOR ARCHITECTS

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