Expert Crew Is Called in for Copper Roof Restoration Project

The dome on the Bradford County Courthouse was restored with copper panels during the first phase of a $3 million renovation project. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

The octagonal dome atop the Bradford County Courthouse has been a fixture on the Towanda, Pennsylvania, skyline for more than 120 years. It now shines brightly after being restored with copper panels as part of a $3 million renovation project.

Built in the Classical and Renaissance revival styles in 1898, the four-story courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987. The dome’s original roof tiles were recently replaced as part of the project, which also included the complete restoration of the structure’s main roof.

The Charles F. Evans Company Inc., the union division of Evans Roofing Company Inc., headquartered in Elmira, New York, has a long history of successfully tackling projects with historical significance. C&D Waterproofing Corp., the general contractor on the project, reached out to the firm for support assessing the roofing portion of the project. The two companies teamed up on the project, with C&D Waterproofing handling the masonry restoration work and Charles F. Evans Company installing the roof systems.

The roofing work consisted of two phases. Phase One, which began in April of 2016, involved replacing the deteriorated terracotta tiles on the dome with soldered flat seam copper panels. Phase Two, which began in April of 2017, involved installing batten seam copper roofing on main structure and new copper flashings, gutters and downspouts.

Safety First

Construction Manager Bill Burge of Charles F. Evans Company was thrilled to be part of this historic project. Before

Originally completed in 1898, the courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987. The building’s main roof was removed and replaced with a copper batten seam roof after work on the dome was completed. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

concentrating on the installation details, he knew the company would focus on the top priority. “Safety is number one,” says Burge. “Safety comes before profits. Safety comes before everything. We always want to make sure we have the right safety plan going into the job, and throughout the job, we are maintaining that plan and working that plan. We want our guys to go home to their families at the end of the day, so that’s key for us.”

Burge worked as a union carpenter for 10 years before joining the company more than seven years ago. He found he had an affinity for sheet metal work. “The craftsmanship and quality goes hand in hand with carpentry,” Burge says. “Everything starts with the carpentry. You have to have your base perfect; otherwise, everything from there on out doesn’t work. Sheet metal is a finished product, typically, especially in our business, so things have to be done right. Things have to be done to the highest standard of quality, because that’s what people see.”

The dome was designed to be a showpiece, and Field Superintendent Brian Babcock and his crew of qualified union sheet metal mechanics knew they would be held to an exacting standard. “The key to this project and every project is our talented mechanics in the field,” Burge says. “Charles F. Evans Company is nothing without this talent—they deserve all of the credit.”

Around the Dome

Phase One began with the removal of the tiles on the dome. “The ceramic tile was laid over open steel purlins,” Burge notes.

Charles F. Evans Roofing Company handled the roofing portion of the project, while C&D Waterproofing Corp. served as the general contractor and performed masonry restoration work. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

“There was open framing with quarter-inch steel angle for the purlins, and each piece if tile was wired on. The removal process was fairly simple. You could actually lift up the bottom of the tile and snap it off.”

The removal work had to be done in sections and dried in every night. “One of the hardest things about this process was we had to install two layers of half-inch plywood over the steel purlins and anchor those down,” says Burge.

The plywood was attached to vertical two-by-fours, which were screwed into the purlins. The plywood was covered with one layer of Warrior 30-pound felt paper, Meadows Red Rosin Paper, and Grace Ultra High Temp underlayment in gutter areas.

The built-in gutter at the base of the dome was torn out and re-framed. The new gutter was wider and deeper according to the recommendation of Levine & Company Inc., the architect on the project. “We did everything to specification as Levine & Company drew it,” says Burge.

Once the cladding was completed on the gutter, the copper panels of the dome were installed. The 20-inch panels were made of 20-ounce, cold rolled copper, supplied by Revere Copper Products. Both the panels and cladding were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s fabrication shop. The copper panels clip to each other and have a hem on four sides that clips

Custom flashing pieces were fabricated and installed where the copper roof panels met the base of the dome. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

to the adjacent panel fastened to the deck. At the top of each panel, a hook clips off to the plywood, and the hook is covered by the panel directly above it.

Burge points out that the octagonal structure of the dome helped speed up the installation of the copper panels. “There are eight hips on the dome,” he notes. “Every section of the dome is like a piece of pie, basically, so we were able to start the panels in various locations. We didn’t have to start at one end and go around the dome. We could move around.”

Repairing the statue on the top of the dome was also part of the scope of work. “We soldered copper patches on any damage the statue had,” Burge says. “C&D Waterproofing completely cleaned and buffed the statue and applied a copper coating.”

Across the Roof

After the work on the dome was completed, work began on the main roof. The existing roof was removed down to the existing steel deck. The lower roof also had a built-in, copper-clad gutter that had to be removed and reconstructed. After

Scaffolding systems were constructed for both phases of the project. Shown here is part of the system installed around the lower roof, which featured planks and guardrails at the eave and rake edges. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

the gutter was completed, work on the main roof began. “After we completely cleaned the metal decking, we had to install a layer of Grace Ultra High Temp underlayment,” Burge recalls. “We then installed two-by-four wood sleepers, 2 feet on center.”

Crews installed 1.5 inches of polyiso insulation between the two-by-fours, followed by another 1.5-inch layer of polyiso. Pieces of 5/8-inch plywood were then screwed down to the sleepers. The plywood received 30-pound felt, and the battens were installed 20 inches on center. The seams were completed using a custom-designed mechanical seamer manufactured by Roll Former Corp.

Installation of the 12,000 square feet of copper panels went smoothly, but where panels met the dome, details were tricky. “Everything is pitched, and the dome has eight different sections sitting right in the center of the structure,” Burge explains. “A lot of time and energy went into fabricating and installing custom flashing pieces at the base of the dome.”

The Safety Plan

A scaffolding system was the key to the safety plan for both phases of the project. “For Phase One, we had to remove a portion of the roofing system and put down some plywood on top of the existing roofing in order to build a scaffold to access the dome,” Burge says.

This photo shows the main roof before restoration work began. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

Scaffolding was constructed to the eave edge of the copper dome, allowing the gutter to be removed. Ladders were used to access the dome and personal fall arrest systems were attached into HitchClips from Safety Anchor Fall Equipment, LLC, which served as individual anchor points. “We continued that process as we went up, using ladder jacks,” says Burge. “We continued with that plan, and never deviated.”

After Phase One was completed, the scaffolding was removed, and another scaffolding system was installed around the entire lower roof. Phase Two required planks and pre-engineered guardrails at the eave and rake edges. “Part of process of installing this roof included installing new safety anchors at various locations, and as we finished up, we were able to use those anchors as tie-off points,” Burge points out.

Phase Two is scheduled for completion in early November, and Burge has high praise for everyone involved with the project. “Levine & Co. Inc. is the architecture firm on the project,” he says. “We didn’t deter from any details developed. They drove this thing. We have worked with them on a great many projects in the past, and we have a great comfort level with them.”

Copper panels, cladding and details were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s metal shop. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

The masonry and roofing work had to be well coordinated. “C&D Masonry & Waterproofing progressed ahead of us with items that we needed to be done, and then came back behind us to mortar all of the counter flashings back into the dome,” Burge says. “They were right there with us every step of the way.”

Finding the right combination of workers for this project was crucial, according to Burge. “We had one of our best crews on this project for a reason,” he says. “This project was led by Brian Babcock of Sheet Metal Local 112, and he was essential in putting this whole thing together. He’s been with Charles F. Evans Company for 20 years, and his leadership and focus is the reason this project is going to be successful.”

Ornate sheet metal work is rare these days, but the art is not lost at Charles F. Evans Company. “We’ve been doing this work for 60-plus years,” Burge says. “This knowledge and this workmanship has been handed down generation after generation. We wouldn’t have taken on this project if we didn’t have the confidence in our employees that we do.”

Historic restoration projects are becoming an increasingly bigger chunk of the company’s portfolio, notes Burge. “We do a lot of work with older universities and businesses that have these types of buildings,” he says. “A lot of buildings need this type of work, and it’s a trade not everyone else has. This is a craft that takes years to master. We harness that, we build from within, and we bring in young guys and teach them how to do it the right way. We have a great mix of people ages 23 up to 60, and it’s learned, it’s taught, and it’s preached.”

Burge is hopeful the new roof will last at least as long as its predecessor. “This is the one thing that makes Charles F. Evans Company special to me: the fact that what we do from an architectural sheet metal standpoint, from a slate, copper, tile roof standpoint—these roofs will last 100, 150 years, and it is artwork,” he says. “The fact that you’re a part of something that’s been around since the turn of the last century—to me it doesn’t get any better than that.”

TEAM

Architect: Levine & Company Inc., Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Levineco.net
Construction Manager: C&D Waterproofing Corp., Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, CDwaterproofingcorp.com
Roofing Contractor: Charles F. Evans Roofing Co. Inc., Elmira, New York, Evans-roofing.com

MATERIALS

Copper Supplier: Revere Copper Products, Reverecopper.com
Synthetic Underlayment: Grace Ultra High Temp, GCP Applied Technologies, GCPat.com
Mechanical Seamer: Roll Former Corp., Rollformercorp.com
Anchor Points: HitchClip, Safety Anchor Fall Equipment, LLC, Hitchclip.com

Summer Safety Tips for Roofing Workers

Summer, the prime season for inspections and reroofing projects, is here. Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every Florida roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, there are important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect.

Summer Safety Tips

1. Early To Rise
No one can control the weather, know how hot the day is going to get or predict with 100 percent accuracy when it will start to rain in the afternoon. However, contractors can control their day by getting an early morning start to avoid as much of the sun’s summer rays and afternoon rain as possible. Getting the bulk of the work done before the hottest point of the day is Roofing 101—and the key to surviving in summer heat.

2. Hydration Is Key
As reported by The New York Times, “Last year (2014) was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began.” The trend is continuing, with the warmest winter since 1880, according to the National Climatic Data Center. What does this mean for the summer of 2015? It probably means that a meteorology degree won’t be needed to predict the long heat wave that is undoubtedly in the forecast for this summer.

The best tip for surviving the extreme summer heat is staying hydrated. The human body is made up of 60 percent water, which is why the body is dependent on water to function. Water intake helps digest food, take nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body, and lubricate joints while cushioning organs.

Standing on the roof, directly in the path of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, causes the body to sweat. And while sweating regulates body temperature, excessive sweating without replenishment can lead to dehydration, fainting and many other serious ailments. Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after every roofing project should be the plan of action for all contractors working in the heat.

3. Keep It Cool
Standing on top of a roof, there is usually no shade to protect a roofer from the sun’s rays. Taking an ample amount of breaks in the shade, or air conditioning if available, while working through the hot sun is an important part in staying hydrated throughout the day.

4. Dress Appropriately
Appropriate clothes are the body’s first line of defense against the sun. Shirts designed to keep you cool, such Dri-Fit or ClimaCool, are a great way to beat the heat in the summer. These fabrics are breathable and wick moisture from the body.

Don’t forget about the importance of a good pair of shoes. Finding shoes that have a great resistance to wear-and-tear and have a slip-resistant sole are two important features for roofing footwear attire.

Finally, sunscreen is a roofer’s best short-term defense against burns and long-term safeguard when it comes to preventing skin cancer. To aid in a roofer’s fight against dehydration and other ailments caused by the sun, a layer of sunscreen should cover all body parts not shielded by clothing—it is the final piece to every roofer’s summer uniform.

5. Rain, Rain, Go Away
Rain is a huge hindrance for roofers. Slipping and falling is just one reason why sites like BankRate.com and BusinessInsider.com rank roofing as one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. So although the heat is dangerous, working in the rain is also very risky.

Wet shingles are heavier to carry onto a roof, felt is more likely to bubble up or rip, and the dangers of tripping and falling are real. And while it may be tempting to try and save an hour or two, the risk is not worth the reward. Avoid all of these potential hazards and do not roof in the rain.

Safety in the Sunshine

Make the most of the summer weather, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Get an early start, stay hydrated, take plenty of breaks, dress appropriately and be careful in the rain. It’s every contractor’s guide to conquering summer.

PHOTO: HitchClip

A General Contractor Develops a Permanent Fall-protection Anchor Roofing Workers Will Use

The HitchClip’s main function is to provide roofing workers with fall protection.

The HitchClip’s main function is to provide roofing workers with fall protection.

Scott Fontaine was a general contractor for 30 years. Every day he was finding solutions to problems on job sites, one of which was convincing crews to wear safety equipment. He decided to put his problem-solving skills to work and created equipment that he could field test on the job. It was this entrepreneurial spirit that developed the HitchClip, a versatile and permanent residential fall-protection anchor.

Made from durable and lightweight powder-coated aluminum, the HitchClip is quick and easy to install (with six screws or six nails). Because it may be permanently installed, the HitchClip not only adds value to any home, but also helps reduce costs for contractors by allowing them to save money on temporary or one-use anchor options.

The HitchClip, which is now available for purchase from Qualcraft Industries, a division of Guardian Fall Protection, comes in black, gray or brown, and its sleek design allows it to easily blend in with nearly any roof. Its patented “key-hole” connection point allows it to be used as a standard fall-protection anchor and in combination with numerous attachment accessories, such as Qualcraft’s Bunk Jack, Roof Jack, Guardrails, Workbench, Platform Stage, Solar Panel Rack Bracket and more.

So far, the reaction in the marketplace has been enthusiastic. “The HitchClip system is widely used by contractors and homeowners alike,” Fontaine explains. “The simplicity and ease of use are a big factor, as well as the wide range of components that the system can utilize. There is no system quite like it.”

The HitchClip can help create a secure workbench on a residential roof.

The HitchClip can help create a secure workbench on a residential roof.

Inventors, though, can sometimes have a romanticized view of the product they’ve spent so much time developing. However, Justin Quick from Roofline Supply & Delivery, Eugene, Ore., says this is not the case with the HitchClip. “Roofers that I have sold HitchClip to love them,” Quick notes. “I like that they are an inexpensive add-on to an order that your customer will come back for over and over again.”

Learn More

Visit www.qualcraft.com.
Call (800) 231-5647.
Watch a HitchClip video.

“Roofers’ Choice” was determined by the product that received the most reader
inquiries from the May/June issue’s “Materials & Gadgets” section.

Anchor for Fall Protection and Accessory Attachment

Qualcraft Industries’ HitchClip

Qualcraft Industries’ HitchClip

Qualcraft Industries’ HitchClip functions as a permanently installed anchor point. Made from durable and lightweight powder coated aluminum, the HitchClip requires six screws or six nails for installation. Available in black, gray or brown, the product’s sleek design blends in with nearly any roof. Its patented “key-hole” connection point allows it to be used as a standard fall-protection anchor and with numerous attachment accessories, such as Qualcraft’s Bunk Jack, Roof Jack, Guardrails, Workbench and more.

Residential Fall-protection Anchor Is Permanent

Qualcraft Industries' HitchClip

Qualcraft Industries’ HitchClip

Qualcraft Industries, a division of Guardian Fall Protection, has released a versatile residential fall-protection anchor: the HitchClip. Made from durable and lightweight powder-coated aluminum, the HitchClip is quick and easy to install (with six screws or six nails), and functions as a permanent anchor point. Because it may be permanently installed, the HitchClip not only adds value to any home, but also helps reduce costs for contractors by allowing them to save money on temporary or one-use anchor options.

The HitchClip, which is now fully available to purchase, comes in black, gray or brown, and its sleek design allows it to easily blend in with nearly any roof. Its patented “key-hole” connection point allows it to be used as a standard fall-protection anchor and also in combination with numerous attachment accessories, such as Qualcraft’s Bunk Jack, Roof Jack, Guardrails, Workbench, Platform Stage, Solar Panel Rack Bracket, and many more.