Slate Roof Repairs

Day 1 Urgency

When purchasing the church in May 2019, we knew the roof was leaking in at least 3 places, and had been leaking significantly for some time. The leaks, caused by missing and damaged slate tiles, were causing significant damage to the ceiling, walls, window frames and floor. The leaks had to be stopped before structural damage occurred. That made roof repair the top priority.

The Repairs

A closer look at the damaged slate revealed a deeper issue: the underlayment beneath the damaged areas had rotted through. The underlayment is a layer of wood that covers the rafters and forms the base that the slate can be nailed to. Without solid underlayment, slate can’t be nailed down, or repaired. Plus, roof beams were in jeopardy of rotting quickly!!!

Slate Removal and Underlayment: May 2019

We brought in Lemoyne Interiors, part of Hayner Hoyt, to remove the damaged slate, shape and lay new underlayment, and cover it with modern roofing paper. They did a great job!

Editor’s note: As it turns out, I knew Hayner Hoyt CEO Gary Thurston through our shared passion for preserving old fire engines!

They also discovered something interesting – the slate roof was laid ON TOP OF the wood shake roofing from the 1800s! They hadn’t taken it off! This seems unusual, but several neighbors in Vernon Centre with slate roofs report that their slate is superimposed on top of original wood shakes too.

The History

We don’t know exactly when the wood shakes were installed, but a photo from around 1902 shows wood shakes, so the slate was likely installed shortly thereafter.

The steeple’s slate, however, was installed in 1885. Here’s the receipt:

Sanctuary and Steeple Slate Repair: June and July 2019

Once Lemoyne had completed the underlayment and prep, Charles F Evans Roofing came to deftly repair four damaged slate areas. Mike Teeps led the crew.

Over the course of two weeks, C.F. Evans repaired the sanctuary roof, then tackled a lot of the problem spots on the steeple.

Since July, the roof has been solid, with no visible leaks! There are two spots in the steeple at the corner under the belfry where there is some leakage, but it is slight and only during extremely heavy storms.

With the slate roof fixed, we could turn our attention to the floors, interior walls and ceiling.

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