The first Greek immigrants settled in Charlotte, N.C., around 1910, according to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and comprised a small colony of about 20 people. At the start of World War I, the colony had grown to about 50 men, women and children. In 1923, the Greek Orthodox Parish of Charlotte was organized, and the first church service was held in the Chamber of Commerce building.
In 1951, the Holy Trinity community purchased J.A. Jones Estate at 600 E. Boulevard for its growing community of 250 families. The estate covered a square city block and was remodeled to include a new 600-seat church and education center. In 1954, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Cathedral opened to the community. The facility’s original roof system was red clay tile, and the main center dome and two smaller domes were coated in Dupont® Hypolon.®
In 2016, a major addition expanded the cathedral. Murr & Laney Inc., Pineville, N.C., was awarded the contract to complete the roofing work.
Murr & Laney has a decades-long history of working on Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Cathedral. When the sanctuary was experiencing various moisture problems in 1994, Murr & Laney workers inspected the roof and domes and replaced all the clay tile with standing-seam copper, completing the work in 1996.
In 1998, Murr & Laney craftsmen covered the three existing domes with 20-ounce copper panels and built custom copper Byzantine crosses to replace the existing ones at the top of the main dome, two smaller domes and front entrance, completing the work in 1999.
In 2015, church management asked Murr & Laney to bid on installing the roof systems for the cathedral’s addition.
“We weren’t the original roofing contractor when the building was constructed, but we have had a major role in bringing the building to life beginning in 1996,” says William Funderburk Jr., president of Murr & Laney. “To be asked again to take part in a major building upgrade was an honor.”
Because the church is part of Dilworth Historical District, new construction designs needed to incorporate the cathedral’s original character, materials had to be historically appropriate and blend with the existing structure, and the copper on the roof had to look as though it was installed in 1999.
Murr & Laney was awarded the contract and began work in mid-July 2016.
Getting to work
Three newly constructed fiberglass domes were delivered to Murr & Laney’s off-site shop where craftsmen applied Sealoflex® elastomeric coating. Twenty-ounce copper segmented standing-seam T-ribbed panels then were formed using WUKO benders and attached to the domes with rivets. Craftsmen capped off the T-ribs before transporting them to the job site where they were installed.
Below the domes, Murr & Laney craftsmen applied self-adhering Grace Ice & Water Shield® underlayment over the wood deck followed by red rosin paper and standing-seam copper.
A new walkway roof was added using 5/8-inch-thick DensDeck® Prime Roof Boards over a metal deck with ACI tapered polyisocyanurate insulation to provide slope to through-wall scuppers, where customized copper conductor heads fabricated by Murr & Laney craftsmen were added along with copper downspouts. A Duro-Last® .045-mil-thick PVC-reinforced tan-colored membrane then was applied and finished off with 16-ounce copper coping and trim.
On eight barrel roofs, workers attached 20-ounce copper radiused 1-inch-tall double-locked standing-seam panels to a wood deck using copper clips.
“We enjoy the art of manipulating metal using various applications,” Funderburk says. “This project was unique in that we don’t usually get to showcase so many applications on a single project.”
Achieving a 20-year-aged look was a challenge. Murr & Laney technicians conducted extensive research and experiments to figure out how to age the new copper to just the right hue without damaging or changing the existing copper and landscaping.
“We finally called in a chemist from Reagents (a manufacturer of specialty chemicals) to help formulate a mix of environmentally compatible ingredients,” Funderburk says. “Jax brown, brass, bronze and copper darkener were chosen to achieve the aged look. We sanded the copper for adhesion and applied the solution using sponges.”
In addition, new flashings, three custom copper Byzantine crosses and an ornamental awning over the side-entrance door were fabricated and installed.
“We also cleaned and scraped caulking off all existing glass windows in the main dome, replaced broken glass and reglazed all the windows,” Funderburk says. “Such details normally are not a roofing contractor’s job, but we do whatever it takes to get the job done!”
A grand sanctuary
After tending to numerous historical details, in February 2017, Murr & Laney completed another successful roofing project on Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Cathedral. Thanks to Murr & Laney’s diligence to finding solutions, the church’s new addition seamlessly blends with the existing structure, remaining a prominent feature in the Dilworth Historical District.
“The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Cathedral in Charlotte is a landmark that most people around the area are familiar with,” Funderburk says. “We are proud of our history with this congregation and our role in creating such a beautiful facility.”
Project name: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Cathedral
Project location: Charlotte, N.C.
Project duration: July 18, 2016–Feb. 10, 2017
Roof system types: Copper panels and PVC membrane
Roofing contractor: Murr & Laney Inc., Pineville, N.C.
Roofing manufacturers: Duro-Last® Inc., Saginaw, Mich.; GAF, Parsippany, N.J.; GCP Applied Technologies Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC, Atlanta; Revere Copper Products, Rome, N.Y.
Architect: One on One Design Ltd., Charlotte
General contractor: Myers and Chapman Inc., Charlotte