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

Restoring Natural Slate Roof Takes Expert Craftsmanship

Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

When it came time to replace the roof on Howard W. Jones Hall, Youngstown State University wanted to closely re-create the original graduated natural slate roof. Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

Even slate roofs have to be replaced sometime.

Howard W. Jones Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the campus of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. The limestone structure with its twin towers is an iconic structure, and when the original slate roof finally deteriorated, the university wanted to keep the stately look of natural slate on the building’s exterior.

Charles F. Evans Company Inc. of Elmira, N.Y., was awarded the Jones Hall restoration job in early 2017 and named 37-year veteran Ken Dennison as the project manager. “We seem to excel in doing difficult projects, including specialty systems of slate, tile, and architectural sheet metal,” Dennison says. “We emphasize quality workmanship and uncompromising customer satisfaction. We also emphasize safety, and currently we are the only roofing contractor to be an approved OSHA VPP mobile Mobile Workforce STAR contractor.”

The university wanted to replicate the existing 6,500-square-foot graduated slate roof with random widths, and slate roofing tiles in the same color and size range were chosen. The scope of work included repairing the existing masonry and installing copper gutters, valleys and flashings.

Going Old School

The first step was removing the old slates, which proved a tough task. “We had to remove them almost one by one,” recalls Dennison.

Copper details were custom fabricated for counterflashing and step flashing.

Copper details were custom fabricated for counterflashing and step flashing. Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

The existing wood plank deck was in very good shape, and Carlisle Water & Ice Protection self-adhering underlayment was installed at the eaves, valleys and rakes. It was also applied around all of the details. Then two layers of 30-pound felt were tacked into place with plastic-capped nails.

Natural hand-split roofing slate was delivered pre-cut and pre-punched by Evergreen Slate Co., located in upstate New York. The slates were mixed to ensure proper color distribution and arranged in piles for installation on the site. Once the underlayment was in place, the slate was installed just as it might have been a century ago. “We used copper nails,” Dennison notes. “Everything was nailed by hand—two nails per slate.”

The installation called for a 3-inch head lap. “With random slate, you don’t need to put any vertical lines in, because nothing is going to line up vertically,” Dennison explains. “Every side lap has to be at least 3 inches, but there is no set pattern for the widths—we just mix them up. That’s why they use the term ‘random.’”

Handcrafted copper details completed the distinctive, traditional look. Flat-seam copper panels from Revere Copper were installed in the valleys, using clips to allow for expansion and contraction. Copper counterflashing and step flashing were also custom fabricated. “We bend it to fit whatever we might need,” notes Dennison. “We have a talented sheet metal shop at our office where we fabricate the big stuff, but we also cut and shape panels on site.”

Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

A detailed safety plan was set up for the building, which was open and active during the entire installation process. Scaffolds with decking were erected at the eaves, and temporary tunnels were engineered to protect pedestrians at the entryways.

The rake edges did not have scaffolding, so a safety perimeter was set up 6 feet from the roof edge. Workers outside the line had use a personal fall arrest system, which was secured to anchors screwed into the rafters. “All of our mechanics are extensively trained, and each year everyone goes through additional training sessions,” Dennison says. “We all know what we’re supposed to do. We have a very stringent plan on project safety.”

Slate itself can pose its own set of safety concerns. “Slate can be heavy and sharp,” Dennison says. “It’s rock. You have to be very careful, but the guys that do it love it. A lot of roofs these days are totally hidden. On a slate project, at the end of the day you can step back, see what you’ve done, and be proud your work.”

Charles F. Evans is just putting the finishing touches on the roof at Jones Hall. “When we’re done with a project and the customer is happy, that’s the best satisfaction you can get,” Dennison says. “When the client is happy and you look back and see a beautiful product that you know you had a hand in—that’s what I like about it. A slate roof is really a work of art that will stand the test of time.”

TEAM

Architect: eS Architecture and Development, Dublin, Ohio, esarchitecture.com
Roofing Contractor: Charles F. Evans Company Inc., Elmira, N.Y., Evans-roofing.com
Slate Supplier: Evergreen Slate Co. Inc., Grandville, N.Y., Evergreenslate.com
Copper Supplier: Revere Copper Products, Rome, N.Y., Reverecopper.com

Project Profiles: Historic Renovation

Maine State House Dome Restoration, Augusta, Maine

Team

COPPERSMITH: The Heritage Co., Waterboro, Maine
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Consigli Construction Co. Inc., Portland, Maine
ARCHITECT: LEO A DALY, Minneapolis
ENGINEER: Becker Structural Engineers, Portland

To remain proportional with the larger building, a new, higher copper-covered dome was built to replace the original cupola.

To remain proportional with the larger building, a new, higher copper-covered dome was built to replace the original cupola.

Roof Materials

Working 200 feet in the air on elaborate staging, carpenters, coppersmiths, engineers and other construction workers replaced more than 7,000 square feet of copper on the dome. The existing unique, curved copper components were carefully removed and saved to serve as models for the new components.

A full sheet-metal shop, consisting of an 8-foot brake, 52-inch jump shear and benches, was set up onsite at the 63-foot elevation mark, along with five cases of 20-ounce copper (about 12,880 pounds). Each copper component was carefully measured, cut and bent onsite, and then installed.

The compound curving components were made in The Heritage Co.’s “home” shop, using a shrinker/stretcher machine and an English wheel. Then, the copper was handformed over custom-made wood forms. Care was taken to exactly match the size and configuration of the existing components, as well as the seam layouts that were prevalent in the original copper work

Approximately 15 to 18 percent of the copper was waste because of the curved nature of many of the components. The waste was made into copper clip stock for the roof installation or recycled.

COPPER MANUFACTURER: Revere Copper Products Inc.
COPPER SUPPLIER: Beacon Sales Co.

Roof Report

The Maine State House was originally designed by renowned architect Charles Bulfinch in 1832. The dome was added in 1910 as part of a major remodeling and expansion project that ultimately created the building’s current appearance based on designs by G. Henri Desmond.

The original façade was preserved during remodeling, though the length of the building was doubled to 300 feet by extending the north and south wings. To remain proportional with the larger building, a new, higher copper-covered dome was built to replace the original cupola. The new dome rises to a height of 185 feet and is topped by a gold-clad copper statue, called “Lady Wisdom”, designed by W. Clark Noble.

Over time, weather damage and holes caused by hail strikes on the top of the dome caused leaks in the building. The seams between the copper sheets also caused problems for the underlying steel and concrete structure of the dome. The work included the installation of expansion joints, repairs to prevent water infiltration and restoration of the cupola (located between the top of the dome and Lady Wisdom), using a highly durable paint system. Lighting upgrades, copper repairs and the restoration of the gilded Lady Wisdom statue located atop the dome were also part of the project.

The dome’s structural system and framing were analyzed by Becker Structural Engineering one year in advance of dome construction, so Consigli Construction could create a 3-D model for staging to eliminate interior shoring.

Overall, this project restored one of Maine’s most significant historic landmark buildings, returning its signature copper dome and gilded Lady Wisdom sculpture to their original intended conditions.

PHOTO: Consigli Construction Co. Inc.

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