Duke University Chapel's Roof Restoration Complete with Lead Coated Copper Roof Replacement

The Duke University Chapel doors were officially reopened on May 11, 2016 after a yearlong interior and exterior restoration and renovation project. Originally constructed between 1930 and 1932, the English Gothic styled chapel was in need of repair and on May 11, 2015, crews began preparing the chapel for the internal restoration as well as erecting scaffolding around the chapel.

The general contractor for the chapel restoration, Romeo Guest Associates, Inc., selected Baker Roofing Company to perform the removal of the lead coated copper roofing system and fabrication and installation of the new lead coated copper roof and built-in gutter system. The company was honored to add another Duke University project to its repertoire of institutional work. Past experience with Duke University consisted of replacing the Ludowici tile roofing system on the Few Quad, replacing the copper downspouts, gutters and conductor heads for the Few Quad, replacing the tile roofing system on the West Union Campus and the most recent project of reroofing Perkins Library.

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Historic Duke Chapel Collector Head
Finalized Aerial View of Chapel
Roof Replacement in Progress
Lead Coated Copper Roof Detail

With the project kicking off at the beginning of summer in 2015, Baker Roofing Company crews had the unique challenge of a strict timeframe while dealing with heat and safety issues. Baker Roofing Company had exactly one year to complete the 23,345 sq. ft. roof replacement, with no exceptions. In order to accomplish this, the project management team had to find various ways for crews to work continuously through hot summer weather and the cold months. The crews maintained a strenuous schedule, often working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, many weeks. In order to stay on schedule, it was often necessary for crews to work on Sundays as well.

There were approximately 84 Baker Roofing Company employees that worked together on the project with roles ranging from crew members, project management and sheet metal fabrication to support, safety, purchasing and internal customer service and administrative support. The entire project was 100% self-performed.

Preparation for the Duke Chapel roof replacement started a year in advance due to the timeline constraints of this high profile project. “The best part of this project was that our team was able to finish the job not only on time, but three months ahead of schedule. Our success is attributed to the overall teamwork

of the field employees, sheet metal shop, safety department, all support staff and the numerous review meetings that took place every week. The constant planning and preparing paid off. ” says Jon Cagle.

It took approximately 101,305 lbs. of lead coated copper to reroof the Chapel, using a 20oz copper on the roofing system and a 24oz copper for the built-in gutter system. The conductor heads for the gutter system were fabricated in Germany by Ornamentals, the same process that was used to fabricate the conductor heads on the Duke University Few Quad Campus.

Not only was the roof undergoing renovation, the interior of the chapel was also being restored. The repairs to the interior consisted of expanding the tile in the limestone ribs of the chapel ceiling and installing proper mortar. The wood cravings that adorn the inside of the chapel were also restored undergoing a conditioning process to give the carvings a rejuvenated glow. Along with the limestone and wood cravings, the 77 stained glass windows in the chapel were repaired as well as the installation of new electrical service in order to accommodate the change in electrical loads that have evolved greatly since the original construction of the chapel over 80 years ago.