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

Metal Roofing Resembles Shake, Slate and More

Quality Edge has launched Matterhorn Metal Roofing, which is made from steel and available in four profiles: Shake, Slate, Tile and Standing Seam.

Quality Edge has launched Matterhorn Metal Roofing, which is made from steel and available in four profiles: Shake, Slate, Tile and Standing Seam.

Quality Edge has launched Matterhorn Metal Roofing, which is made from steel and available in four profiles: Shake, Slate, Tile and Standing Seam. A two-year development process resulted in carefully crafted splits, cracks and grains that mimic each profile’s natural counterpart. The shake profile features 21 individual shake designs to enhance the natural overall effect. In addition, Matterhorn’s patented fourpoint fastening system conceals the overlapping metal panels on slate and shake. All profiles have been tested to withstand hurricane-force winds up to 130 mph.

Stone-coated Metal Is Lightweight

Allmet Roofing by Headwaters is a premium stone-coated metal roofing system that delivers the rugged durability and strength of metal roofing with the handsome look of wood shake, genuine slate, Spanish tile and shingle roofing.

Allmet Roofing by Headwaters is a premium stone-coated metal roofing system that delivers the rugged durability and strength of metal roofing with the handsome look of wood shake, genuine slate, Spanish tile and shingle roofing.

Allmet Roofing by Headwaters is a premium stone-coated metal roofing system that delivers the rugged durability and strength of metal roofing with the handsome look of wood shake, genuine slate, Spanish tile and shingle roofing. Allmet stone-coated metal roofing is light in weight and among the safest roofs in seismic regions. When installed as designed, the dry under-deck roofing system eliminates need for moisture barriers. Made from 3/16 Galvalume-coated metal, Allmet systems won’t rot, crack, warp or break. They’re energy efficient and feature a Class A fire rating.

DaVinci Roofscapes’ Color Consultant Names Gray 2015 Color of the Year

Thanks to aging baby boomers and their complete comfort with growing older, gray is expected to be the rising color of choice for roofs across America in 2015.

According to national color expert Kate Smith, with the youngest baby boomers now in their 50s, the generation that redefined traditional values is now making new rules for how homeowners live during the second half of their lives. The boomers, always seen as different from those who had come before, appear very comfortable simply being themselves. More grounded and balanced than they were as teens, the boomers are embracing “going gray” and doing it differently than their parents and grandparents.

Owning the majority of homes in America and having the resources to remodel and redecorate means that boomers wield influence that has been unmatched by previous generations of seniors. Gravitating towards gray—in all of its many shades—combined with warm neutrals, sets the stage for people to personalize a home color scheme that is as unique as those who rocked the ’60’s.

“Refined and elegant gray is not only accepted in today’s society, but an extremely popular choice,” says Smith, president of Sensational Color. “From embracing natural graying hair to topping off the house with a gray slate roof, it’s hard to go wrong with gray.”

The color trends forecaster believes that the introspective side of soul searching by baby boomers is reflected in them placing more value on their time, relationships and privacy. “A simpler palette of colors—gray, beige, ethereal blue or green combined with deep brown or black—give us the foundation for exploring ourselves and the world around us from the sanctity of our home,” says Smith, who serves as a color consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes.

Smith, who authored the “FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home” and “FRESH Exterior Home Colors” e-books available free from DaVinci, sees today’s homeowners as having a “renewed sense of self” that instills a feeling of exuberance at living life.

“Whether close to home or around the world, a taste for the exotic and unknown captivates our imagination and design sense,” says Smith. “Complex patterns, intricate designs, mosaic tiles, embossed leather and decorated metals combined with weathered or toned down bright colors such as Frank Blue, Nifty Turquoise or Cranapple, visually help communicate our enthusiasm for life.

“These are expressive and playful colors, with a dash of bohemian and a pinch of sophistication. Adding one of these confident colors to a home exterior area, like the front door or trim, can update any home scheme and create a joyful feeling every time residents come home. The addition of a storm gray or classic gray polymer slate or shake roof overhead caps off this feeling of security and stability in the home by uniting the entire exterior.

“Bringing together many different textures and colors seamlessly—slate or shake-looking roof tiles, partial stone facades or perhaps copper accents—is one of the ways this trend is influencing the look of home exteriors. Mixing materials works best when homeowners and designers take into consideration the whole house exterior and its surroundings while they work out their color scheme.”

Polymer Tiles Replicate Natural Slate

Inspire Aledora Slate V-Series Roofing

Inspire Aledora Slate V-Series Roofing

Inspire Aledora Slate V-Series Roofing features varied-width polymer slate tiles that replicate different sizes of natural thick slate. Available in four widths—6, 8, 10 and 12 inches—the 1/2-inch-thick tiles can be installed in natural, non-repeating straight or staggered patterns. Their precise surface texture and sharp, jagged and irregular tile edges create natural shadow variance and time-weathered looks, as well as prevent on-roof glossiness. Aledora Slate V-Series is available in Charcoal Black, Mist Grey, Olive, Steel Grey, Sage Green, Red Rock, Brandywine, and multi-color mixes and custom mixes for unique blends.

Roof Bracket Allows Staging of Materials without Covering Anchor Screws

Acro Building Systems' Johnny Jack roof bracket

Acro Building Systems’ Johnny Jack roof bracket

The Johnny Jack roof bracket’s patent-pending design provides a better platform for staging materials on steep-slope roofs. Made in the U.S.A. by Acro Building Systems, the roof bracket is designed to stage materials on architectural roofing, including metal shingles, slate, tile and asphalt, while never covering the anchor screws. It features a 5 1/2-inch surface clearance, and is ideal for working around dormers. Operational dimensions are 7 by 1 foot and the bracket folds to 48 inches for storage. The bracket, which weighs 14 pounds, is powder coated safety yellow and spans 6 1/2 feet.

Simulated Slate Is Virtually Maintenance Free

Inspire Roofing Products, a division of The Tapco Group, releases Aledora Slate Roofing.

Inspire Roofing Products, a division of The Tapco Group, releases Aledora Slate Roofing.

Aledora Slate Roofing offers the look of genuine slate tile at an economical price and lighter weight. The virtually maintenance-free solution from Inspire Roofing Products, a division of The Tapco Group, features sharp and jagged tile edges, as well as natural shadow variance. The slates, which can be nailed by hand or nail gun, are available in Charcoal Black, Mist Grey, Olive, Steel Grey, Sage Green, Red Rock and Brandywine. The product features a Class A fire rating, 110-mph wind-uplift rating, Class 4 impact rating and a limited lifetime warranty.

Engineered Slate Blended with Natural

Ply Gem’s engineered slate shingles

Ply Gem’s engineered slate shingles

Molded from nearly 100 percent recycled materials, Ply Gem’s engineered slate shingles feature deep shadow lines and chiseled edges. Color schemes include Sagebrush, gray mixed with deep green hues; Brownstone, a subtle mixture of earth-tone colors; Pewter, blends light and dark slate to create a rich gray; and Charcoal, dark gray slate with silver and charcoal shades. Each color is blended with natural slate to produce an authentic look. The shingles are manufactured with indented nail flanges, eliminating the need for additional framing support or special tools.

A Review of Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual

The Fair St. Christian Church, Springfield, Ohio, features North Country Black, Vermont Unfading Green and Vermont Unfading Red.

The Fair St. Christian
Church, Springfield, Ohio,
features North Country Black, Vermont Unfading Green and Vermont Unfading Red.

Over the years, I have read every slate and sheet-metal book I have been able to get my hands on. The National Slate Association’s Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual, 2010 edition, is by far the most comprehensive and practically designed slate roofing book I have read. As a slate roofing contractor, I recognize the value of the information being put forth in this book. It is loaded with information, ranging from the basic characteristics of slate through some of the most complex installation details relating to slate roofing and affiliated sheet-metal details. The details are designed to match the intended life cycle of a slate roof, which should last a century or more with proper care.

Too often I see architectural details that are over- or under-designed. If they are over-designed, the result is likely a much higher price for the building owner. Also, over-designed roofs many times have the unintended consequence of failing prematurely. On paper, the detail looks like it will last a lifetime but experience shows some of these details just will not work in the field. Under-designed roofs just cannot stand up to the 100-year life cycle of a slate roof. The details the NSA brings forth in this publication have been time-tested and provide a standard way for designers to create a roof design that will stand the test of time.

I believe if this book can become the standard from which all slate roof installers, designers and building owners can work, then we will all win. When the details are correct the first time around, the building owner will end up with the best roof possible without a bloated budget caused by inefficient design; the designer does not end up with a strained relationship with the contractor and building owner because of poor design; and the contractor is able to correctly install a long-lasting slate roof and create another satisfied customer.

The 2010 NSA manual has become the main source of information for slate roofing for my roofing company.

The National Slate Association

Slate has long played a part in the architecture of the new world. It was first introduced to the U.S. as ballast for ships coming across the Atlantic in the 1600s. Slate roofs have been found by archeological excavations in Jamestown, Va., dating as early as 1625, according to Preservation Brief 29, “The Repair, Replacement, and Maintenance of Historic Slate Roofs,” from the National Park Service, Washington, D.C.

Nearly a decade after our nation’s independence, the first slate quarry opened in Peach Bottom Township, Pa. From 1785, slate roofing production grew rapidly and hit its all-time peak around 1914. There were active quarries in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia. In 1915, slate roofing began to slowly decline because WWI took many of the able-bodied men, leaving quarries short of workers.

In 1922, the Poultney, Vt.-based National Slate Association was formed to promote the use of slate in roofing and structural applications. Many of the first U.S. slate standards were set in a book by the organization called Slate Roofs. However, the association became inactive in the late 1920s because of a lack of cohesion.National Slate Association logo

In 2002, a historic meeting took place in Sarasota Springs, N.Y. A group of slate manufacturers, roofers, architects, consultants and other interested parties met and reorganized the National Slate Association and formed a three-member board of directors. Matt Millen, Millen Roofing, Milwaukee, became the first president of the association. Today, the board of directors
includes 15 diverse members who are determined to ensure slate will be used extensively around the country. The National Slate Association’s purpose is to promote excellence in slate roofing practices through the development and dissemination of technical information, standards and educational resources.

To ensure it meets its goals, the association has implemented hail testing for the purpose of knowing the thicknesses of slates needed in hail-prone areas and fire testing to certify slate as a fire-resistant material for insurance companies. It also released Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual, which won the Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association’s Gold Circle Award for outstanding service to the industry. (See “A Review of Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual, to learn more about the manual’s contents.)

The National Slate Association’s current board of directors includes President John Chan, The Durable Slate Co., New Orleans; Senior Vice President Robert Fulmer, Fulmer Consultants, Freeport, Maine; Vice President Dave Large, North Country Slate, Toronto; Vice President Brian Chalsma, The Roofing Co., Hampton, Va.; and Treasurer Pete Papay, Penn Big Bed Slate Co., Slatington, Pa. Jeff Levine, Levine and Co., Ardmore, Pa., is the immediate past president, and Julie Palmer, also of Levine and Co., is the office manager.

Board members are Dan Cornwell, CC&L Roofing, Portland, Ore.; Alan Buohl, GSM Roofing, Ephrata, Pa.; Glenn Downes, Garlock French, Minneapolis; Clay Heald, New England Slate, Poultney, Vt.; Matt Hicks, Evergreen Slate Co., Middle Granville, N.Y.; Brad Jones Sr., Buckingham Slate Co., Arvonia, Va.; Craig LeGere, Mid-America Slate and Stone, Chesterfield, Mo.; Matt Millen, Millen Roofing, Milwaukee; and Russ Watsky, Russell Watsky Inc., Ossining, N.Y.

The National Slate Association would like to invite any interested parties to join the association. Sign up online or email John Chan. Write P.O. Box 172, Poultney, VT 05764.