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Copper steeple adorns church

Photo: Wagner Roofing Co.
Photo: Wagner Roofing Co.

Wagner Roofing Co. constructed a steeple for Holy Redeemer Church in Kensington, Md., with a welded aluminum frame, 3/4-inch plywood sheathing, self-adhered membrane underlayment and 20-ounce flat seam copper cladding. The original 40-foot-tall steeple was blown from its 80-foot-high pedestal during a storm in June 2012. The steeple failed due to years of water penetrating the painted metal skin.

Wagner Roofing worked with structural engineer Simpson Gumpertz and Heger to assess the condition of the existing masonry bell tower structure. Then, Wagner Roofing worked with Copper Craft to design and fabricate a replacement copperclad steeple. While other cladding materials were considered during the design phase; copper was selected for durability, natural patina and minimum maintenance requirement. The lead-coated copper roof was removed and replaced with 20-ounce copper standing seam attached to a repaired structural deck. The project was completed in October 2014.

The steeple was fabricated and shipped to the job site in two sections, the 30-foot-long main steeple section and an 8-foot copper cross. The roof was built with approximately 1,000 square feet of 1- by 17-inch-wide, 20-ounce copper standing seam supplied by Wagner Roofing that was rollformed and mechanically seamed in the field.

The new steeple was designed to have an improved attachment to the concrete-framed structure of the bell tower and shed water well away from the central attachment location. The aluminum frame provided a solid base for custom-sized, shopfabricated flat seam copper panels. The steeple was attached to a structural steel frame that tied back to the original concrete structure. The base podium for attachment of the new steeple was built as part of the overall pre-fabricated unit and shifted the flex point to within the bell tower. This enabled the copper roof to be completely tied into the steeple and eliminated any potential locations of water infiltration.

Structural engineer: Simpson Gumpertz and Heger, Washington, D.C.

Steel erector: G & G Welding, Clinton, Md.

Fabricator: Copper Craft, Grapevine, Texas,

General contractor/installer/copper: Wagner Roofing Co., Hyattsville, Md.,