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New Century for a Wright Roof - Restoration & Design for the Vintage House | Old House Online

New Century for a Wright Roof

The complex repair required multiple solutions.
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Roof repair

1. Overall view of the roof before repairs and replacement.

When Fran Cosentino and Jane Parker undertook restoration of the Boynton House in Rochester, they grappled with a myriad of design and repair issues. Modern systems (pipes, wiring, ducts) mostly would be hidden, but work on any visible elements—like the roof—would have to please the homeowners, conform to Mr. Wright’s original design, and be approved by both the local historic-preservation commission and the covenant holder—the Landmark Society of Western New York.

At the beginning of the project, the roof was sagging at gutter overhangs; deterioration was evident under the built-in gutter; the number of drainage outlets was inadequate; compromised structure was funneling water through clerestory windows in the dining room. The novel, low-pitched roof had, arguably, a too-shallow slope for effective
use of wood shingles (1).

Closeup of sistering stabilization measures, with steel straps installed under the gutter.

2. Closeup of sistering stabilization measures, with steel straps installed under the gutter.

In their effort to prepare the iconic house for its next century, the homeowners chose as their contractor Kurt Catalano of CSTM Roofing—which stands for Clay, Slate, Tile, Metal. After the tear-off stage, repairs included sistering the rafters and lookouts and installing new, extra-heavy steel support straps under the gutters. At the south-facing clerestory windows, leaking was remedied by structural repairs on the interior and improved flashing outside (2).

View of gutters and substrate fully covered by the ice and water membrane.

3. View of gutters and substrate fully covered by the ice and water membrane.

Built-in gutters were lined in 20-ounce copper with soldered seams, followed by installation of the roofing. Fran and Jane had found a few old wood shingles in the attic, so they chose heavy-butt shingles in Western red cedar, for both their appearance and longevity. However, as insurance against snow and ice dams on the low-sloped roof, CSTM Roofing installed an ice and water membrane over the entire surface under the shingles (3). To provide an extra degree of life and mimic aging, the new shingles were dipped in a dark-brown acrylic stain by the supplier.

finished roof

4. A view of the finished roof.

The repaired roof functions well and meets Wright’s aesthetic (4).  

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