Metal Architecture Home

Historic Roof Replacement

Church receives roof replacement and aesthetic upgrade


St. Mary's Parish in DeKalb, Ill., has a history of 167 years dating back to 1850 when parishioners first gathered in each other's homes for mass. Their original church was built in 1861. Soon, that building was too small for the growing parish and in 1901, a new church was constructed with a beautiful blue Bedford stone and stained glass windows imported from Germany. A few short years later, a rectory and parish school followed. Still to this day, the St. Mary's campus is a flourishing and positive influence on the local community.

As all structures over 100 years need capital improvements, St. Mary's major project in 2017 has been the roof replacement with specific obstacles to overcome. Longevity, durability and the roof appearance were the top three factors needed from the new roofing product in order to protect their roof from the Midwest elements for decades to come. A roof that would last generations versus one that may last only 20 years was needed for financial reasons. Raising funds for a new roof is not easy for a parish and obtaining a new roof that can last 50-plus years made the most economic sense. That led the parish towards investigating a clay tile roof. Structurally, the century-old rafters could not support the heavy weight of a clay tile, which averages 8 to 10 psf.

Historic Roof RenovationIn pursuit of discovery for a solution to St Mary's church roof needs, Charlie Waldron, project manager, AMB Roofing and Sheetmetal, Johnsburg, Ill., brought Corona, Calif.-based DECRA Roofing Systems Inc.'s Villa Tile product to the church board for review. The Villa Tile had everything that the church was looking for in the new roof and it only weighs 1.6 psf. The appearance of an old world clay tile creates an illustrious grandeur to the church, which is filled with such a rich and dynamic history.

Being fastened with screws, the roof will be able to handle the strong rural winds coming from the west and the sound entering into the building is reduced by the airspace between the panels and the roof deck. While the panels are fastened direct to the deck, the airspace between the barrels in the panels creates an above sheathing ventilation (ASV) factor which reduces heat transfer into the church and will assist in reducing HVAC costs. Being that the cathedral ceiling was not ventilated, this problem is also easily solved with the product because of the airspace naturally provided by the Villa Tile profile.

The DECRA Villa Tile is also more than half the material cost of a clay tile and it will not absorb water, which means that it will not crack over time or with occasional hail. Class A fire rated, UL 2218 Impact resistant, and Dade County approval make this DECRA roof a viable and cost-effective solution to many parishes' roof requirements. The new Villa Tile roof provides an upgraded appearance to the St. Mary parish rectory and church.


Jim Sardegna is the national light commercial manager for DECRA Roofing Systems Inc., Corona, Calif. Recently celebrating his 15-year anniversary at DECRA, Sardegna has pioneered, developed and managed territories as a regional manager for DECRA throughout the Midwestern states of Nebraska to Kentucky. To learn more, visit