Contractors Go to Church with DaVinci Roofscapes


Almost 140 years after it was built, the chapel at the Dayton Veterans Administration Medical Center in Ohio needed a new roof. The original roof, constructed out of slate, boasted a large cross with a star-studded border in light colors on the background of black slate. The current roof structure of the chapel couldn't support the weight of real slate, so DaVinci Roofscapes synthetic slate shingles were specified.


Twenty-seven squares of medium tan imitation slate tiles and 67 squares of black composite slate tiles were ordered by Detroit Cornice and Slate Company in Michigan to complete both sides of the roof plus the steeple and vestibules.

“Working with a 7-1/2-inch exposure and 9-inch wide field tiles, it was important that the vertical and horizontal band dimensions come out looking the same width," says Dawn Hesse, project manager at Detroit Cornice and Slate Company. "The client also wanted the vertical line of the cross to be completely straight. However, it is not recommended to create a ‘slot on slot’ configuration with any roofing.”

To solve the challenge, Detroit Cornice blended together different widths of DaVinci polymer roofing tiles in 6-, 9- and 12-inch sizes to come as close as possible to creating the cross while maintaining the warranty. A chalk outline of the pattern was sketched on the roofing felt for the installation crews to follow.

According to Hesse, another big challenge facing the team on the chapel project was gaining a full understanding of the roof’s original design.

“We’re experts in slate and flashing details, and knew that this project would require careful pre-construction planning,” says Hesse. “Multiple layouts were created and reviewed by all members of the team. It was a time-consuming process that required patience and input from everyone involved. A variety of roofing tile colors, sizes and patterns were considered

"Overall, the coordinated efforts needed to make this project happen were a key to its success. Part of that success was due to the support we received from DaVinci, as well as providing one of the better looking synthetic slate products on the market today.”

To see another DaVinci project where lightweight roofing tiles offered a solution to a problem, visit SRA Architects Specify DaVinci Polymer Roof for New LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.