One of Baker Roofing Company’s oldest roofing material suppliers is Ludowici Roof Tile Co. in New Lexington, OH, which was founded in the 19th century.
The two companies have collaborated on a number of projects such as Few Quad, a residence hall at Duke University and the famed Grove Park Inn in Asheville. When Ludowici needed new roofing at one of its historic manufacturing plants, Baker Roofing won the job.
“The choose us because we have the ability and manpower to do the job, and they want it done right,” says Woody Baldwin, Baker Roofing Vice President and CEO, who has worked closely with Ludowici over the years. “Reroofing of old buildings is difficult and they know Baker’s going to do the job right.”
John Cagle, head of the Commercial Steep Slope Department, which performed the work, says the job called for Ludowici’s French tile. The roof was comprised of four bays, each 12,000 sq. ft. in size. “It’s huge for a tile roof,” he says.
“Ludowici roof tile can last over 75 years,” says Cagle. So, in the tear-off, old tile was recycled and new tile had to be blended to match the color of the old tiles.
“The plant was working 24 hours a day, and they wanted us to work at night to reduce noise,” says Cagle. “We started work about 6 p.m. and worked until 5 a.m.”
The project manager Kurt Kettering brought a team of experienced tile installers, including five with Ludowici’s top rating of “Crown Roofer.” Each tile was screwed down by hand.
The job was challenging because of the number of openings on the roof. There was also 180 ft. of clearstory windows to be replaced. Baker also rebuilt the wood substrate.
The company, sensitive to Ohio’s then struggling economy, purchased 95 percent of its material in-state.
“It’s not your everyday roofing project,” says Cagle. “It’s challenging to go into a project that was completed 130 years ago and you’re trying to update it but do it with respect for the original workmanship. We definitely want to keep a good relationship with Ludowici.