Roofing a temple

Horch Roofing restores the roof systems on a historical Masonic temple in Maine

  • Although the asphalt shingles on the temple’s roof had a slate-like color, they did not represent the original architect’s rendering.
  • Workers used a man-lift to remove debris.
  • The old roof systems were removed down to the decks.
  • Workers followed a design pattern on drawings to install new asphalt shingles.

Built in 1877, the former Masonic temple in Belfast, Maine, is one of the city’s most elaborately decorated buildings. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the building is a 3 1/2-story masonry structure built from red bricks and stone capped with a mansard roof and four-story tower set prominently at the corner of Main and High Streets.

In 1995, the Masonic Temple Association sold the building and moved to a new building on Wight Street. In 2017, the historical building was purchased by new owners who called on Horch Roofing Inc., Warren, Maine, for help with installing new roof systems.

Prep and plan

The property owners’ top priority was completing the roofing project as safely as possible with minimal disturbance to the public and ground-floor commercial storefront tenants.

“Our first challenge was making sure we had safe access to the roof,” says Peter Horch, president of Horch Roofing. “After planning to access the roof from an adjacent parking lot, we developed a plan to keep pedestrians and vehicles safe. We erected walk-through staging along the sidewalks next to the building to protect passersby.”

The Horch Roofing safety plan included more than 100 feet of walk-through staging, obtaining permits to block off parking spaces, personal protective equipment, redirecting pedestrian traffic, high-visibility outerwear for ground personnel and a full-time competent safety person on the ground to observe work throughout the project. During the first week, the job site was inspected by an Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officer.

“Because of our strict safety policies and guidelines, along with our outstanding and experienced field crew, we were not fined for any violations and were applauded for our safety efforts,” Horch says.

After reviewing the original architectural drawings, the Horch Roofing team discovered the original slate roof had been replaced with asphalt shingles more than 25 years ago.

“Although the asphalt shingles had a slate-like color, they did not represent the original architect’s rendering,” Horch says. “The drawings clearly showed courses of alternating colors and patterns along the mansard side of the roof. Using the drawings, we determined what materials to use, how to install the materials and how to get the materials to the rooftop.”

Tear-off and install

The existing 6,300-square-foot steep-slope roof assembly consisted of two layers of asphalt shingles, horsehair underlayment and 1-inch-thick wood boards. The 1,000-square-foot low-slope roof system consisted of EPDM, one layer of fiberboard and 1-inch-thick wood boards.

To begin the tear-off process, workers constructed barriers along the edges of the upper mansard roof sections so the debris could be collected along the barriers and then moved to a designated removal point on the roof. Workers then loaded the debris onto a 120-foot-high man-lift and lowered it into dumpster trailers.

On the mansard sections, workers applied CertainTeed WinterGuard® HT underlayment to the roof deck along the perimeter, roof-to-wall and valley transitions, and pipe obstructions. On the remainder of the mansard roof sections and field, workers applied Owens Corning Titanium® UDL30 Synthetic Roofing Underlayment.

Following the design pattern on the drawings, Horch Roofing team members then installed GAF Timberline Ultra HD® Shingles in Slate and Patriot Red on the steep-slope sections. On the low-slope areas, workers adhered Carlisle 1/2-inch-thick SecurShield® HD PolyIso boards and WeatherBond 60-mil-thick EPDM using Carlisle Bonding Adhesive.

Horch Roofing craftsmen also replicated several accent pieces on the spires and decorative bands around the mansard roof sections.

“It was a team challenge to mimic the look of the old roof using modern materials with different exposures,” Horch says. “But the installation team really showed what they can do and came through on this project.”

Back to life

After three weeks, the Masonic temple roofing project was completed on time and on budget. Thanks to the dedicated team at Horch Roofing, the roof systems on a prominent Belfast historical landmark have been restored for all to see. Because of the high volume of traffic at the intersection, the project was viewed by many local and visiting onlookers who stopped to see the work.

“The most rewarding part of this project was being able to deliver on the customer’s expectations and hear feedback from the community,” Horch says.

“We were commended multiple times from passersby for our professionalism, efficiency and quality of workmanship,” Horch continues. “The roofing project was successful on every level. The roof system was brought back to its original design, and our customers were excited to have the project completed professionally. We all feel proud for being a part of this team and company.”

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing’s associate editor and an NRCA director of communications.

Project name: Belfast Masonic Temple
Project location: Belfast, Maine
Project duration: June 1–22, 2017
Roof system types: Asphalt shingle and EPDM
Roofing contractor: Horch Roofing Inc., Warren, Maine
Roofing manufacturers: Carlisle® SynTec Systems, Carlisle, Pa.; CertainTeed LLC, Malvern, Pa.; GAF,® Parsippany, N.J.; Owens Corning,® Toledo, Ohio; WeatherBond Roofing Systems, Plainfield, Pa.


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