A Tale of Two Courthouses

Two historic courthouses. Two new composite roofs overhead. Why is this so significant? Because restoration teams these days are now specifying and installing more man-made composite roofing products on historic buildings than ever before.

Challenges of Historic Structures

When the team from Delta Innovative Services started work on the roof of the Cass County Courthouse in Harrisonville, Mo., they found many challenges: rotten substructure, chimneys requiring extensive work and even the abatement need for pigeon poop!

The roof on the 1897 three-story yellow brick structure had certainly seen better days. The old slate on the roof was replaced in recent decades by concrete tiles that were in miserable shape. The dream of the county was to have a new roof that would look good and meet historic area requirements while withstanding severe weather.

“The DaVinci Roofscapes product we installed was less expensive than real slate and has a tremendous warranty to back it up,” says George Modlin with Delta Innovative Services. “We felt this composite roofing product was the best fit so we worked with the DaVinci team to make sure it would meet the historical integrity of the project.”

One of 34 buildings in the Harrisonville Courthouse Square District, the original courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1994. The new Bellaforté Slate composite roof in a Smokey Grey color complements several of the architectural styles in the neighborhood, including Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival.

“What I really find tremendous about the Bellaforté product is the nail pattern, and the ease at which one can install the shingle to high wind conditions,” says Modlin. “DaVinci does have a good warranty, as do other products, but it’s the engineering, design, and product performance that makes a commodity tremendous to me.

“County commissioners, employees at the courthouse, tenants and shop owners around the square have all been very positive regarding the roof renovation. We went the extra mile on this project for the county. It’s not often that a roofing/sheet metal contractor can participate with a community to be a part of such a long-lasting effort.”

Smokey Gray: A Historic Favorite

In Belvidere, N.J. the Warren County courthouse sits right in the middle of the historic district. Built in 1826, restored in 1953, and added to in 1961, this courthouse complements the Federal, Late Victorian and Greek Revival architectural style popular in the 1800s.

The old roof — a mixture of real slate, asphalt, and other materials — was finally replaced this year. Integrity Roofing was called on to restore it with more than 20,000 square feet of DaVinci Single-Width Slate composite roofing. Once again, a Smokey Gray color was chosen to unify the look of the historic area.

Replacing a roof on a historic structure isn’t always easy. Approvals are needed from leaders of the historic district and other groups. With the Warren County Courthouse, the structure is listed on both the New Jersey Register of Historic Places (in 1978) and the National Register of Historic Places (in 1981). With new composite roofing overhead, the historic courthouse once again proudly complements other structures in the historic area.