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

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

Composite Slate Roof Offers Curb Appeal

 A composite slate roof was chosen to help the facility fit in with the surrounding area.

A composite slate roof was chosen to help the facility fit in with the surrounding area.

Jack Lucks has an “architectural eye.” His dedication to creating attention-grabbing projects has served him well during the past 43 years as he makes design and product decisions related to a variety of projects with different architectural styles.

In recent years Lucks and his group, Continental Real Estate Companies, have focused on the creation of senior/assisted living facilities. A recently opened facility in Granville, Ohio, has been well received, and Lucks, a founding partner with the group, credits the distinctive look of the building’s composite slate roof as a key to its curb appeal.

Roof Materials

The design goals included integrating the building with the surrounding area. “Granville is an older town, founded in the early 1800s,” Lucks notes. “There are lots of slate roofs in town that complement the Greek Revival style of this area. Having a composite slate roof on our facility that so perfectly replicates real slate was a smart decision.”

A composite slate roof from DaVinci Roofscapes was chosen for the project. “The black Bellaforté Slate roof has the aesthetic look we wanted without the weight of real slate,” says Lucks.

Lucks points out that the Middleton project is a single-story building with a roof that’s highly visible from the street. “When you look at this building, half of what you see is the roof,” he says. “That made the roofing decision especially important for us.”

According to Lucks he has been “enormously pleased” with the authentic look of the composite slate roof. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that the DaVinci roof has helped us gain tenants,” he says. “People look at the structure, see the brick and ‘slate’ exterior. It makes them take that crucial step to walk in our door.”

With 94 rooms, Middleton offers six levels of support for residents at the 92,000-square-foot structure. The facility provides restaurant-style dining, daily activities, an on-site theatre and nature paths, as well as laundry and housekeeping services, 24-hour licensed nurses and a beauty salon. “America’s population is aging,” says Lucks. “Our facilities help Americans age gracefully in beautiful settings that cater to their changing needs.”

Team

Roof System Manufacturer: DaVinci Roofscapes

Photo: DaVinci Roofscapes

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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