(802) 839-6099 • 279 Websterville Road, Barre VT 05641 • jay@southgatesteeplejacks.com
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Roofing and Sheetmetal

With steeples, roofing is usually either on a nominally flat surface such as a belldeck, or very steep surface such as a spire.

FLAT ROOFS
On flat roofs we like to use copper or lead coated copper in a traditional type of installation referred to as “block soldering”, as seen in the accompanying photos. On restorations, we strip off the old roofing. We like to have a minimum roof pitch of 1” per foot, and if needed will create a new slope for an old roof with sleepers and 5/8” plywood. If the existing slope is adequate, we will renail and repair the old sheathing, and lay 3/8” CDX plywood over the old sheathing. Then we will lay ice and watershield over the plywood. Then, the installation of the sheetmetal may begin. Before any sheetmetal destined to be soldered is laid, it is important to lay some tar paper so that the soldering will not melt the ice and watershield.
The first step in the roofing is proper dripedge. Failure to craft a proper dripedge is the most common error we find in our inspections. A roof that does not leak is all very well, but, the point at which all the accumulated rain water has reached the end of the roof is critical. If the roof sheds the water away from the building it is good. If not, and the water is allowed to course down the building, it is a failed roof. Many workers craft a nice, water tight copper roof, and then simply fold the copper over the edge. The results are disastrous. We usually use a garden hose to check how well water falls away from the dripedge. The smallest tweaks on the dripedge of a completed roof will make sure that small unforeseen “backsplashes” do not occur. Such backsplashes can cause great harm over the years.
Open areas are covered with 18”x24” “pans” that are installed with clips and soldered together. Penetrations and unusual contours require creative workmanship.

DOMES AND SPIRES

On domes we usually use copper or lead coated copper, although slate and wood shingles may also be appropriate.
On spires we like to use slate, rubber slate, wood shingles, copper, or lead coated copper. Since spires are so high and hard to reach, I always advocate for a spire roofing that need never be painted. Pre-painted steel roofing such as is used in standing seam roofs is always an option, but the longest warranty on such material is 50 years, and we like to plan on our roofing enduring for 100+ years.
 


West Dover Church Spire