Historical Sites Rely on Polymer Roofing

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – For preservationist across the country challenged with recreating natural slate and shake roofs for historical projects, the answers come in the form of man-made polymer roofing tiles. More durable than natural products, polymer roofing tiles resist fire, impact, high winds and the punishing weather conditions of Mother Nature.

“Often times historical sites hold onto their original roofs as long as possible thinking they’re staying ‘true’ to the structure,” says Ray Rosewall, president and CEO of DaVinci Roofscapes®. “That can be a mistake. As natural slate and shake products age, they break down and are no longer able to protect the building. This can increase the risk of damage to the structure or even susceptibility to fire.

“These worries can be put aside when replacing natural shake and slate roofs with polymer roofing products that accurately replicate the original roofs. There are many historical preservationist embracing man-made roofing products because they bring so many advantages to a project — increased durability, longevity and comparable aesthetics being just a few assets of polymer roofing products.”

Examples of specific projects that embraced the advantages of polymer roofing tiles include:

DuSable Museum Roundhouse

After a proud history that includes serving as a horse stable during the 1893 World’s Fair, the Roundhouse at DuSable Museum in Chicago has now been restored. Originally built in the early 19th century, the structure’s round shape is made of Joliet limestone and is now topped by a DaVinci Roofscapes polymer slate roof.

Part of the first African American museum campus in the United States, the 66,000-square foot Roundhouse and the adjoining buildings are home to a library, caf?, galleries, technology and language lab, museum store and educational spaces. The building is considered one of the main contributing features to the recognition of Washington Park when it was designated in 2004 on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We realized at the start of the project that the first priority was to support the historic restoration of the building,” says Sarah Delezen, senior project manager for the Alter Group. “The DaVinci multi-width slate roofing tiles look amazing on the Roundhouse. The structure’s original roof was made of slate, so we were pleased that these polymer tiles have the texture and subtle variations of color that make them appear historically accurate. The Castle Gray blend of colors in the roof perfectly offsets the copper gutters on this structure.”

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Olde Liberty Restaurant

When a fire destroyed the historic Olde Liberty Station restaurant in Bedford, Virginia in September of 2009, owner Harry Leist vowed to rebuild. Just five months later the popular restaurant reopened its doors — with a new roof overhead and a long line of waiting customers.

“This building is a landmark in our area, so we were committed to renovating and reopening as soon as possible,” says Harry Leist. “We took the opportunity to change aspects of the structure so it would more closely resemble the original passenger rail station constructed in 1905.”

One of the significant changes made was to install Bellaforté polymer slate tiles on the roof of the now 107-year-old building. The original rail station had heavy slate tiles on the roof. Sometime during the life of the rail station, those tiles had been replaced with contemporary shingles.

“The asphalt roofing shingles caught fire very quickly during the 2009 blaze,” says Leist. “We turned to DaVinci’s slate roofing tiles because we wanted to make an investment in recreating the original slate roof while gaining the benefits of the fire-resistant synthetic product.”

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Peterson House

In Durango, Colo., the milled wood roof shingles on the historic 1880s Peterson House were so worn by time and weather that they had simply crumbled apart. As part of ongoing restoration efforts of the historic structure in 2011, the team at Animas Museum turned to experts at DaVinci Roofscapes to provide a polymer roof that would replicate the look of the original roof.

“The mission at our museum is to keep La Plata County history and culture alive for present and future generations,” says Carolyn Bowra, director of Animas Museum. “DaVinci has certainly supported this effort and made it possible for the Peterson House to have a new life.

“We love the Fancy Shake roof in the Mountain blend color because it is ‘spot on’ for the period and the building. Our insurance agent is thrilled with the safety aspects and the fact that the polymer roofing tiles have a Class A fire rating. We’re so pleased with this DaVinci roof that we’re hoping that, as other roofs in our complex become in need of restoration, that we’ll be able to install these same polymer tiles.”

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Rivers Education Center

In Charleston, S.C., the Rivers Education Center has been targeted for restoration and reuse. Originally the site of the Royal Bag and Yarn Manufacturing Company beginning in 1900, the masonry building had served as a school since 1938. After closing in 2005, the school lay dormant for years. Thanks to rededicated efforts to preserve historic sites, the building should be renovated and ready for new classes in 2012.

“The old slate roof did not meet current seismic and wind code requirements,” says Paul Ferrari, architect with Davis & Floyd, Inc. “Charleston is susceptible to earthquakes and hurricanes, so we need a roof on the Rivers Education Center that meets the newest building code requirements. Our search for a similar looking tile roof led us to the Bellaforté polymer roof in Slate Gray from DaVinci Roofscapes. This roof is a great looking alternative to real slate and was accepted by the City of Charleston Commercial Corridor Design Review Board.

“We have a long history in the South of preserving our structures. Being able to incorporate the newest building materials with all their man-made advantages is a true asset on a project like this. We’re able to beautifully replicate the old tile roof while providing the students and faculty members with a roof overhead that will help protect them from unexpected acts of nature.”

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Historical Projects Coast-to-Coast

In addition to the projects listed above, the following historical projects have also had new polymer DaVinci roofs installed within the past several years:

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 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 Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit our website.