Reroofing Historic Churches With Composite Slate and Shake

Historic churches dot the landscape of America. Some starting as small structures and others created as large towering testaments to faith, churches hold a special place in our hearts.

Saint John’s Cathedral_2

As with all older, historical buildings, church exteriors need to be refurbished as they age. When that time comes, many of those churches are selecting composite slate and shake roofing materials.

“Many of the people tasked with reconstructing the roofs on their historic churches wish to have the original look duplicated,” says Tim Gentry, vice president of technical services with DaVinci Roofscapes. “It may not be expedient to use real slate or shake materials again on a church, these people are finding that it’s sensible to look at more modern materials.

“This is where composite roofing makes a big difference. From a structural standpoint, composite materials weigh far less than real slate. And, both composite slate and shake tiles are fire- and impact-resistant. These state-of-the-art composite materials can provide the historic look a church is seeking while giving them decades of worry-free maintenance.”

Historical Denver Church Chooses Composite Slate

Throughout the past two decades, dozens of historical churches in the United States have relied on composite slate and shake tiles when reroofing their church structures. In 2017, Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver had three main parts of its historic church re-roofed — the cathedral (completed in 1910), Parish Hall (in 1927) and Roberts Hall (in 1957). Old slate  roofing tiles were sliding off the roof, causing a hazard. Installation of DaVinci Roofscapes Single-Width Slate tiles was approved by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission.

“We’ve gained a great deal of peace-of-mind with the composite roof overhead,” says Reverend Canon Broderick Greer with Saint John’s Cathedral. “Especially in light of the Notre Dame fire, we appreciate the safety aspects that this composite roof provides along with the stone exterior elements of our structure.”

Composite Roofs and Religious Restorations

The peace-of-mind associated with the investment in a composite roof comes from churches much older than Saint John’s Cathedral. Some of the historical religious settings receiving new DaVinci roofs during the past decade include:

Historic Churches composite slate and shake

“We experience hail, high winds, and heavy rain throughout the year in southwestern Oklahoma,” Fr. Brian Buettner, pastor at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. “The regular occurrence of severe storms in the area makes it necessary for us to safeguard the church interior with a roof we can rely on. We were looking for a modern product that would give us longevity and good looks. We found that in the DaVinci Roofscapes product.”

In Nebraska, a new composite slate roof on an 1899 church brought both color and peace-of-mind to a church.

“Danish churches like ours are known for our red and white roofs, which tie back to the colors of the Danish flag and the heritage of our church,” says Gene Hansen, a member of the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. “Those colors identify us. We knew we needed to replace the roof with a product that could help protect the church more in the future but still had those special colors.

“I was impressed by the quality, durability and selection of the DaVinci composite shake roofing. Once we discovered the company could create a custom color red for the shingles, that truly sealed the deal.”

As restoration crews around the country tackle the job of historic church roof replacements, the specialists at DaVinci Roofscapes are available to work side-by-side by offering product and color advice.

“Our experience with supporting church reroofing projects has grown dramatically in the past decade,” says Gentry with DaVinci. “We’re here to provide the guidance, color selection support and installation insights that churches need to put new roofs over their heads.”