They all talk about it—Hermann’s City leaders and promoters. “Hermann doesn’t do enough to promote our architecture,” they’ll say. Renovation efforts like the one on E. 3rd Street at the John and Tracy Heimos house, probably elicits surface curiosity more than anything—certainly no knowledge of the ‘hows and whys’ of historic preservation in Hermann’s historic neighborhoods. Nor do Hermann’s visitors know the city has a Landmarks Commission that oversees preservation efforts, such as what is becoming iconic—Hermann’s ridged, red rooftops.
The Heimos home was the old Pfautsch Tavern constructed in 1865. As of this week, the building is getting a new roof thanks to Ken Copp, of Ken Copp, Inc., and his sons Matt and Mike, who also have businesses of their own. Working with the weather has been an ordeal this spring, so tearing off the old roof and replacing with the new, has been a work in progress. If it could have been one construction process without the delays, Ken estimates the roofing job would have taken about three weeks. He should know. The Copps have roofed many of the historic buildings in town and they have seen the original roofs through the different periods of Hermann’s history, starting from wooden shake roofs, board roofs, corrugated metal, terne and today’s manufactured standing seam roofs. What about asphalt shingles?
“It’s the Landmark’s responsibility to try to preserve the historic value of the buildings,” says Landmarks Chairman Chuck Hartbauer. That said, it’s not like the Commission will force homeowners to have the original roof that kept out snow and rain and the occasional squirrel, but there are standards to follow. Through the year’s, Hermann’s homeowners have adapted to the technology of the times. Hartbauer says the shake and board roofs had deterioration problems which also created insect problems at times.
“Corrugated sheet metal was an answer to that problem,” said Hartbauer. “They were easy to install and maintenance free.”
They were also somewhat fire proof, an important consideration of the time.
According to the HeritagePortal.com, corrugated iron was developed and patented in Britain around 1830 and was exported to the expanding colonies around the world.
“Originally made from wrought iron, but since the 1890’s made from mild steel, it is often supplied with a hot-dip galvanized finish to prevent rusting. Its merit over traditional building materials, i.e. masonry or timber, is that it is cheap, durable, lightweight, strong, re-usable and easily transported; such versatility is the key to its continuing use.”
Missouri State Parks Historic Site Specialist Cynthia Browne says corrugated metal became very popular around the Civil War era and was painted “tinners red,” as the color of preference, or sometimes green, to imitate verdigris of aging copper.
Ken Copp did the roof renovations on the buildings at Hermann Farm (Kallmeyer Farm) with copper, so it is still used. He wanted to use “old style” standing seam steel for some of his latest roof renovations, but he says the manufacturing company that produced it went out of business. This was called “terne” metal.
According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, terne plate is a form of tinplate: a thin steel sheet coated with an alloy of lead and tin. The terne alloy was in the ratio of 10-20 percent tin and the remainder lead. The low tin content made it cheaper than other tinplates, but it had to be painted. Once painted, it could then last 90 years or more.
Chuck Hartbauer says corrugated tin was available in different lengths, but in general, due to the length of the roof from the top of the ridge line to the gutter, two or more pieces would need to be overlapped to keep out the water. Today’s standing seam roofs have custom-cut lengths that can eliminate those seams.
The old Pfautsch Tavern building is being roofed with a painted manufactured standing seam roof, whose design allows the pieces to snap together for strength and ease of installation. The color is charcoal-gray, similar to very aged terne metal. The previous roof was corrugated metal painted red.
“The Landmark Commission has no objections to a standing seam roof, because it is an upgrade to what they had before,” said Hartbauer. “We do have color schemes we’d like people to adhere to in the historic district, so there’s nothing outlandish out there.”
He says they work from a historic palette of colors and that most roofing manufacturers know these colors.
“Most of these fit within the palette we work off of,” he noted. “We try to stress to people in the historic district that want to replace a roof, to follow the palette guidelines and come before us.”
Sheffield Metals International describes standing seam metal roofing as a concealed fastener metal panel system (22 to 26 gauge) that features vertical legs and a broad, flat area between the two legs. Standing seam systems have fasteners that are hidden, whether the panel is attached to the roof deck using a clip or is directly fastened to the deck under the vertical leg using a fastener flange. Standing seam is considered a higher quality system that is commonly used on architectural and commercial buildings.
One of the biggest benefits of standing seam metal roofing is that no fasteners are visible on the surface, which means they aren’t exposed to UV, moisture, wind, and other elements that can cause a fastener to wear or fail over time. Also, standing seam systems don’t put holes in the panels that are protecting a home or business. Plus, some people see fastener heads as unsightly, which is why using a standing seam system to hide them is common.
The snap-lock design of the roofing panels on the Tavern consist of panels that have been carefully roll-formed with specifically shaped edges, a male and female leg, that snap together and do not require hand or mechanical seaming during installation. Snap-lock profiles are attached to the roof deck using a clip that attaches to the seam and fastens underneath the panel.
Ken Copp says these roofs are durable and can be installed fairly quickly. What about that durability in a hail storm?
“Hail will ding it, but it has more tensile strength than copper,” he says.
He’s on the fence when it comes to installing snow/ice guards.
“It depends on the location,” he explained. “If people are walking directly below [the roof line] it’s not a bad idea. “History needs to be considered too.”
Chuck Hartbauer appreciates the advances made in roofing materials and the fact that they are cost effective for the homeowner, attractive and similar in style to the corrugated metal and standing seam terne roofs that graced Hermann’s rooftops previously.
The Landmarks Commission doesn’t enforce the shake roofs from another time—Hermann is not Williamsburg, VA, but if someone wanted a shake roof in the historic district, would it be allowed?
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “Most of the time, there are photos out there from the 1800’s that show ‘Here’s the roof I had on, but I don’t want to put a corrugated roof on—I’d like a standing seam.’” “We’re OK with that. You’d better put the best roof up there you can because you don’t want to go up there a second time.”