|With steeples, roofing is usually either on a nominally
flat surface such as a belldeck, or very steep surface such as
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
West Dover Church Spire