Case Western Reserve University Alumni House, Cleveland, Ohio
The Paulin Slate & Copper Co., Akron, Ohio
Much of the appeal of slate roofs is their phenomenal longevity, with over 150 years of useful service life already proven in the United States. Yet, when a roof can last that long or longer, it can create a unique problem for itself — a need for trained and experienced slate roof mechanics who can repair or restore the roof when the time comes. In the slate industry today, any skilled slate mechanic is appreciated because it’s a tough trade to be in, with a high degree of difficulty in the work itself, not to mention the workplace danger and the adverse working conditions. Slate roof restoration is a specialty trade that general roofers know little about, so when an historic building such as a church, courthouse, residence or a university Alumni House needs a complete slate roof renovation, where does the property manager begin?
The place to start is with a competent slate roof survey and evaluation by an experienced, professional slate roofing consultant who has no vested interest in the contracting job. Such an impartial and objective consultant will fairly evaluate the roof and determine what needs to be done and then provide important information about whether the roof should be repaired, restored or replaced altogether. In any case, once the correct approach has been determined, a competent slate roofing contractor must be found.
The Paulin Slate & Copper Company of Akron, Ohio and the Case Western Reserve University Alumni House in Cleveland are perfect examples of this scenario. Case Western Reserve University purchased the 1911 house in 1953, then decided, in 2007, that it would make a perfect Alumni House if it were completely renovated, inside and out. This meant that the slate roof needed a good going-over — many of the flashings needed replaced and some of the roof needed reslated. Joe Jenkins, of Joseph Jenkins, Inc., slate roof consultant, provided the roof evaluation, recommending that the Slate Roofing Contractor’s Association contractor list be reviewed for a potential restoration contractor. Luckily, The Paulin Slate & Copper Company was on the list and the company had already established itself with a good reputation for slate and copper work in the Cleveland area. Chris Paulin had founded The Paulin Slate & Copper Company in 2001, choosing to leave the relatively sedentary architectural field to instead tackle the difficult, hands-on trade of slate roofing. With the help of his brothers, Mike and Anthony, (shown below with crew member Rick Miller) his company has quickly emerged as one of the foremost slate roofing professional services in northern Ohio.
Before and after photos of a roof section (below):
The Paulin Slate & Copper Company completely reslated one section of the Alumni House using new slate from Camara Slate Products in Vermont in order to gain enough original Vermont weathering “sea green” 11 inch by 22 inch slates needed to repair and restore the remainder of the roof.