Historic 1883 Barn Gets New Composite Slate Roof

This timber-framed Standard Pennsylvania-style barn was originally erected in 1883. When its slate roof deteriorated beyond repair, it was replaced with a synthetic slate roof manufactured by DaVinci Roofscapes and installed by Absolute Roofing.

This timber-framed Standard Pennsylvania-style barn was originally erected in 1883. When its slate roof deteriorated beyond repair, it was replaced with a synthetic slate roof manufactured by DaVinci Roofscapes and installed by Absolute Roofing. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Back in 1883, a timber-framed Standard Pennsylvania-style barn was constructed with a real slate roof on the homestead of the Hartong family, located in the City of Green, Ohio. After more than a century of service, the worn-out slate roof—and the rotting wood structural support system beneath it—have finally received a facelift.

“The structure was deteriorated beyond repair and had been leaking enough to also adversely affect the wood batten nailers,” says architect Chas Schreckenberger, AIA and principal of Braun & Steidl Architects. “Because this was a historic structure, our first choice was to replicate the original slate. When costs wouldn’t allow that, we investigated more economical slate alternatives.

“After reviewing all our choices, it was easy to make the selection of a DaVinci Roofscapes Single-Width composite slate roof. The appearance of the synthetic slate, its lightweight composition, affordability and durability all made it the obvious choice for this project.”

The next step required gaining approval on the roofing choice by the City of Green, which owns the structure, and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, which awarded a grant to finance the roof’s replacement. Once approval was received, the project started. Christian & Son Inc. was brought in to replace the rotting timbers, and Absolute Roofing and Construction Inc. started the roof installation.

“The DaVinci slate tiles we specified enabled us to retain the historic character of the barn, even to the point of recreating the large ‘1883’ date on the roof,” says Schreckenberger. “The final outcome exceeded our expectations and everyone involved is extremely happy with the results.”

Roofer’s Perspective

The challenge of recreating the 1883 date on the roof, plus detailing the entire roofing job for the Hartong barn, required a great deal of collaboration between the team at Absolute Roofing and Braun & Steidl Architects. Started in the spring of 2016, from start to finish, the roof frame reconstruction and tile installation took about six months.

The 45-foot by 90-foot timber-framed barn is part of the Levi J. Hartong homestead, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The 45-foot by 90-foot timber-framed barn is part of the Levi J. Hartong homestead, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

“There were two significant challenges in this project,” says Chris Kamis, president of Absolute Roofing. “First, we were working alongside the framing team to make sure the structure was secure and ready for the roof installation. Second, we had to configure the 1883 date carefully.”

Recreating the numerals was a challenging task. “The DaVinci product was slightly different in dimension from the original slate, so it took several layouts to accurately recreate the date,” Kamis notes. “The original date on the roof had been very faded, so we had some guidelines. In the end, the roof looks terrific with the 1883 date in Evergreen tile colors showing up beautifully against the Slate Black tile background.”

The completed roof project received the Contractor of the Year Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry in 2016 in the commercial specialty category.

Historic Homestead

Recreating the 1883 date on the roof was a challenge, and it took several layouts to achieve the original look. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Recreating the 1883 date on the roof was a challenge, and it took several layouts to achieve the original look. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Reflective of the Pennsylvania German heritage of the Hartong family and the community in the 1880s, the 45-foot by 90-foot timber-framed barn rests on a tooled sandstone foundation. Finished with vertical wood boards, the barn is part of the Levi J. Hartong homestead that includes a farmhouse, summer kitchen, milk house and other outbuildings.

“The city purchased the property more than a decade ago and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007,” says Sarah Haring, community development administrator for the City of Green in Ohio. “It’s located in the City of Green’s Southgate Park and since that time, the Summit County Mounted Unit has stabled their horses at the barn.

“The farmstead represents patterns in agriculture and architecture from the 19th century in our area. We’re excited to have the new roof overhead that so perfectly replicates what we believe the original roof looked like in 1883. The finished product is stunning and everyone, including visitors to the farmstead, are impressed with the look of the roof.”

TEAM

Architects: Braun & Steidl Architects, Akron, Ohio, BSA-net.com
Framing Contractor: Christian & Son Inc., Burbank, Ohio, Planexus.com
Roofing Contractor: Absolute Roofing and Construction Inc., Absoluteroofing.com

MATERIALS

Composite Slate Roof System: DaVinci Roofscapes, Davinciroofscapes.com

About Kathleen Ziprik

Kathleen Ziprik started Ziprik Consulting in Mills River, N.C., in 1996. The company provides all levels of public relations support, including media relations, writing, crisis communications and special events coordination.

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