Many churches are choosing metal roofing as a way to beautify their buildings and eliminate maintenance worries for future congregations. Roofing of steeples, however, always presents special challenges.
Roofing church steeples typically involves careful staging and fall protection. This means that, whenever a steeple is roofed, the bulk of the expense is for labor. Additionally, church members often seek a very distinctive material to beautify their church’s steeple. Another factor with church steeples is that they often have non-90 degrees hip corners that must be addressed.
Particularly on very high and steep spires, a steeplejack should be involved with the project for their expertise in staging and fall protection. Because of metal’s durability, it makes sense to install it on church steeples and eliminate the labor cost of future re-roofing. Metal roofing, with its wide choice of profiles and distinctive colors, also meets the aesthetics concerns of churches. Some churches are opting for copper roofing on their steeples. The copper will eventually develop a beautiful patina that will further enhance the steeple. Also, chemicals can be applied to speed up the patina process or pre-patinated copper can be used. Classic Products’ Copper Chateau Slate works very well on steeples; its vertical positioning on the roof looks better and installs better on narrow roof sections than does the horizontal positioning of competing copper shingles. Flashing methods for non-90-degrees hip corners vary between roof systems; the roofing manufacturer should be consulted because a steeple is definitely a project where you want to “do it once, do it right.”
Additional information on this subject can be obtained from Technical Bulletin numbers 38 and 39 dealing with Copper as well as number 53 dealing with Steep-Pitched roofs.