Synthetic Slate Roof Complements Mausoleum Design

Sustainability, aesthetic appeal and a solid 50-year warranty (commercial projects) were all factors in the selection of synthetic slate roofing for the new structure at Holy Family Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Specified by architect Kenneth E. Giere, AIA, LEED AP, the synthetic slate roof from DaVinci Roofscapes now covers the 2,507-square-foot Garden Crypt Mausoleum building in Downers Grove, Illinois.

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The mausoleum, which opened in August of 2017, was designed to convey the Catholic faith and to re-establish the dormant cemetery as a Catholic cemetery of the Diocese of Joliet. A gothic design style was chosen to represent the religious importance of this structure, similar to churches in the area.

The impressive mausoleum was specifically designed to complement the surrounding residential neighborhood structures — in both height and material selection.

Selecting a Roof

IMG_6052 (2) – ResizeThe DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-Width Slate in the Brownstone color blend gave the mausoleum the look of a slate roof, but for less money. The lightweight nature of the product, compared to real slate, also allowed for cost savings in the structural steel roof framing.

Giere points to the 50-year warranty from DaVinci as another asset of the product. He found it to be the longest warranty available compared to other competitive products.

The Holy Family Cemetery and Mausoleum contains 260 crypts, 300 cremation niches, a large covered chapel area, entry portico and a storage room. The site includes new stone entry pillars, fencing, landscaping and signage.

Sustainable Structures and Roofs

In general, cemetery mausoleum structures are designed for a minimum of 100-year life expectancy. The sustainable structures need to convey solid construction and longevity — with minimal repairs — to the people who will be interred in them and to their caretakers.

“I believe that the low maintenance, long life of product and solid warranty for the synthetic slate materials from DaVinci are all impressive assets that would benefit any cemetery,” says Giere.

For this project, snow guards were also specified on top of the Multi-Width Slate roof.

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With winter weather conditions in Illinois generally including a good amount of snow and ice, the snow guards became a safety necessity so that built-up snow or ice does not fall and injure visitors. Since the entry portico leads into the chapel and has sidewalks that extend on each side to the niches and crypts, there was a strong desire to have snow guards near the entry portico.

According to Giere, when people see the synthetic slate roofing they’re impressed with its look. The durability, strength and sustainability of the composite slate had made a big impact on people visiting the site.