Roofing Tin over Cedar Shakes: New Jersey Project in Mount Holly

On Main St. in Mount Holly, New Jersey, sits the Robin’s Nest Restaurant.. The roofing tin project saved a roof dating back to the Civil War period. In truth, the tin restoration project preserved two roofs: the old standing seam panels plus the cedar shakes underneath.

Advantages to owner for restoration work over replacement:
1. Cost of restoration project totaled less than 50% compared to a new metal roof
2. Restaurant remained open during renovation
3. Restoration meant preserving instead of replacing
4. Traditional appearance was maintained, instead of a new roof look
5. Ten year warranty against leakage is included

As some tin roof owners in New Jersey have discovered, their metal panels were a “reroofing” over the older cedar shake styles. During the mid to late 1800s, this home improvement made sense: local fires were devastating on wooden roofs, tin sheets became reasonable in pricing, and the local home insurance agent offered premium discounts for a metal roof. As one customer told the story, the local insurance agent and roofer were either related by blood or pocketbook.

This roof is one of the originals, as noted by the smaller size tin sheet pieces. In addition to a rough surface, some panel edges had rusted through the metal sheet. For us, this project meant employing extensive work.

Preparation for panel restoration steps

The crew washed down the roofing surface with clorox and a pressure washer. On this project, the crew kept the scraping of loose debris to a minimum. Note the aging of these panels have created an uneven surface.

As a result, scrapping might weaken the metal thickness. Also, the crew knew that the upcoming restoration steps would smooth out the surface appearance better than scrapping

The primer from Andek Corporation not only retards the rust, but strengthens the metal. For this type of metal panels, only the strongest primer would work.

Repairs were made once the roof surface was cleaned. After the primer was applied, a careful examination of the panels’ condition is undertaken to determine if any further repairs were needed. As can be seen on these photos, numerous areas required reinforcement.

The all-important base work

As any roofing contractor in this business can tell you, the ability to find a crew that can apply the base work in a roofing tin restoration project is difficult. The embedded mesh has to lay smoothly to avoid wrinkles, yet not too tight since the mesh might snap during curing. These photos make this step look easy, but the ability to expertly handle the mesh is the key to a project’s successful appearance….as well as performance.

A comment about the mesh: The mesh provides the integrity necessary for the long-term performance of the acrylic. The performance not only insures a weatherproof reroof of the metal panels, but the assurance that flaking will not occur. Plus the mesh smooths out the rougher look of the old tin panels, yet retain a matted finish like the older metal roofs.

Roof Menders crew humor

An aside: This crew chief knows how to maintain a positive attitude toward the work, even on those hot July days of this project. A game had evolved during previous projects while performing this base work–tossing the mesh roll from the guy working the roof edge to the guy at the roof ridge. Reasons for less-than-perfect catches range from “weak arm”, “old eyes”, “wind”, etc. The roof edge crew member did have every incentive to throw properly since he was earmarked to retrieve the roll. And the roof ridge crew member could exaggerate his prowess in the catch.

Afterwards, they bragged to me that they never missed a toss on this project.

The handling of the mesh involves a comfort level with handling a flexible material. The work along the roof edges illustrate the expertise of this crew.

Top coats of slate grey acrylic

By the time the crew is applying the two top coats of grey, the project becomes more a painting job.

Customer changed her mind

If you are confused about the use of red or grey acrylic in these photos above, there is a simple explanation. After the primer was applied, the owner changed her mind about her final tint preference–not a rusty red, as had been originally planned, but slate grey. In order to keep the crew working while awaiting the replacement grey acrylic, they used some of the rusty red acrylic for base work. The owner explained her decision as follows: The large restaurant with a red roof tended to dominate that Main St. corner; she thought a slate grey roof would blend the building more smoothly into the ambiance of the area.

As on many projects, she illustrated the importance of color selection in a roofing tin restoration project.

The final result was a weatherproof, restored roof overlooking Main St., Mount Holly.

Updated Photo of Restaurant in 2014