"Fighting Irish" Fan of DaVinci Polymer Slate Roof

KANSAS CITY, KAN. - Located near the famous University of Notre Dame Main Building sits the Sara Bea Learning Center for Students with Disabilities. The large structure provides accommodations for students with disabilities attending the university, houses the campus mail distribution center and is home to a back-up generator system.

Sara Bea Lerning CenterFailing asphalt shingles and venting problems on the roof required the university to find a long-term solution for the structure’s roof in 2013. While some people desired a natural slate roof on the building, Senior Project Manager for Facilities Design & Operations at the university, Tony Polotto, had other ideas.

“This residential style building couldn’t support the weight of traditional slate tiles so I looked into polymer slates,” says Polotto, LEED AP BD&C, RRC, RRO. “I reviewed many tile options but was most excited about the DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-Width Slate tiles. The appearance, features and benefits of the polymer slate was commendable. After the Learning Center roof was completed, I found myself so impressed with the product that I installed it on my own home.”

Learning About Polymer Roofs

The Notre Dame Union Roofers brought in Midland Engineering out of South Bend, Ind. to remove the old decking and install the new roof following Polotto’s plans and specifications. “The team at Midland Engineering has worked on a variety of roofing Sara Bea Learning Centerprojects on our campus,” says Polotto. “This is the first time we installed a slate alternative on campus, but you can’t tell any difference from the natural slate. The roof blends in perfectly with the surrounding buildings that feature real slate.”

Nearly 10,000 square feet of roof on the university’s Learning Center was covered with polymer slate tiles from DaVinci in the European blend of light, medium and dark gray along with light and dark purple. The structure features copper valleys, snow guards, gutters and downspouts.

“Sustainability is a large part of how we construct buildings on our campus,” says Polotto, who oversees the entire University Roofing program at Notre Dame. “The 50-year limited warranty provided by DaVinci aligns with our goal of using long-term, environmentally-friendly products.”

On the Homefront

Tony PolottoAfter supervising the successful roofing project on campus, Polotto decided to reroof his home. “My house is just nine years old, but the architectural shingles were already showing signs of bacterial growth and weakness from hail damage,” says Polotto.

The 12/12 roof pitch on the home made replacement a challenge — especially since Polotto decided to re-roof the house himself.

“Every night and on weekends during the entire summer I went up and did the installation,” says Polotto. “I started with Grace Ice and Water Shield under the roof and also used 30 pound felt to achieve a Class A fire rating. I read all the DaVinci instructions and watched every installation video I could find to ensure I performed the installation corectly. It was a great experience and I’m proud of the finished project.”

Because the look of the DaVinci roof on the Sara Bea Learning Center so impressed him, Polotto used Valoré Slate tiles on his home. He staggered the 12- inch tiles in Dark Gray to give the roof an authentic, natural slate look.

“In my experience I’ve found that most homeowners are not educated on roofing options,” says Polotto. “Too often they stick with asphalt shingles because they don’t know about any other product. That’s a shame, because those shingles need to be replaced in about 20 years or less … and the DaVinci tiles will be on my roof for at least 50 years.

Tony Polotto“During my home’s roof replacements, dozens of people stopped to ask me what type of roof I was installing. They thought it looked incredible. Now I’m helping educate people at the University of Notre Dame and in my neighborhood about all the attributes of the DaVinci polymer slate tiles!”

Located near South Bend, Ind., the University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842 and sites on 1,250 acres. More than 12,000 students are currently enrolled. The campus contains 143 buildings with a total of 4.8 million square feet of roofing that Polotto oversees.


DaVinci Roofscapes has manufactured award-winning synthetic slate and shake roofing since 1999. The polymer roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and far more cost effective than the natural product. DaVinci leads the industry in tile thickness, the tile width variety and the greatest selection of subtle earth-toned colors. Company products have a 50-year limited warranty and are 100 percent recyclable. DaVinci proudly makes its products in America and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the National Roofing Contractors Association, the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit www.davinciroofscapes.com.


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