There are many houses in Arlington and Alexandria that are virtually identical to this one, most were built 50 to 70 years ago; this house was probably on its third or fourth roof. As you can see, the existing light gray shingles are old and worn and are at the end of their life. The Owner of this house will soon outgrow it, so it was important to install a new roof that will protect the property but will also add some curb appeal when the day comes to sell it and move on.
Click on any picture to enlarge:
Here you can see the pitted and cracked shingles from the side porch.
First: Off with the old roof; once the old shingles are removed we inspect the roof deck for rotted or split boards. Generally these houses are really solid, most of them have old growth 1×6 pine or sometime oak roof decks; the density of the boards resists rot even when the roof is neglected for years. This house needed a few deck boards replaced because of cracking and a little warping; so far these boards have had at least 18,000 roofing nails driven in and pulled out of them and they look like they can take 18,000 more.
When replacing a roof we have to act as if it’s going to rain any minute-even with bright blue skies, we work quickly to cover the house from rain. That’s why we focused on the main house roof first before working on the lower porch roofs.
Once the main house was waterproof I started on the lower porch, to add some curb appeal the Owner opted for a standing seam copper roof on the small front porch. When installing an accent roof like this symmetry and scale are of the utmost importance. I made these 16 oz copper panels in the shop, they divide the roof into five equal segments; if you look around you’ll see metal roofs that were installed from one end of the house to the other, without evenly dividing the roof you wind up with a full size panel on the left and a little skinny panel on the right. Asymmetrical layout can look ridiculous or it can be just a little off , bothering anyone looking at it-even if they don’t know why.
To keep the roof as compact and graceful as possible I turned the standing seam panels up the wall in one continuous seam, the technique takes time and practice but it looks perfect. The panel is never cut into, I fold pleats into the copper and then double lock the seams for a completely waterproof joint that requires no sealant or solder; its taken years to perfect this technique and no I won’t show you how to do it.
At the end of one very long day we have a finished beautiful roof.
If you have a house that needs a new roof or a boost in curb appeal give me a call; I’m sure we can figure something out.
Thanks for reading,