Metal roofing lessons: day 1 on the bench: reverse seams

The first seam we learned together on the bench is one I have named a “reverse” seam. This is because the upstand part is seamed while the piece is still flat. This allows for roof gutter spouts, skylight corners, and low profile filets intersecting outside corners of any type. we used the front of a chimney apron as a model for the lesson.

Training spotlight: Merlin’s Roofing from Canada

In early May of 2018, Merlin O’brecht of Merlin’s Roofing in Canada travelled to my job site in Cincinnati, OH to spend a week learning traditional metal roofing techniques, and roof geometry. I’ll be working thru the video footage from our sessions and re-publishing them. Here was our meeting: picking him up from the airport after meeting online:

Kevin finished the diamond turtle! FB folders rejoice.

Great project from New Jersey metal master and student:

Kevin, musing on the inevitability of the next roofing crew causing damage to this, which can and should last the lifetime of the building. It brought to mind, one of my early works that was later destroyed by an eager insurance claims industry. Ready to sell work that was un-needed because of “dents”

This roof, completed by my company: Patina Slate & Copper, was destroyed by overzealous “hail damage” sales tactics, and ignorance. Only a few years after installation: in spite of being perfectly sound. The contractor who ended up doing the work sought me out to get up training on standing seam, however it was much after this roof. Truly a crime.

Learn to fold metal roofs!

In 2015 I left Rhode Island, and Casa Buena Builders to bring seamed roofing to the english-speaking world. I had been studying at night, bringing my skills up with folding and joinery; while working full-time in historic preservation, remodeling, and slate roofing. My favorite project of the tour that year was this seminar I was invited to give at the HPTC (Historic Preservation Training Center) headquarters in Frederick, MD.

Almost all of these techniques were completely foreign to the seasoned pros from the National Parks Service. I hope to one-day have all of these rules codified in English, and accepted at least internally within organizations like NPS. We may never be able to regulate the entire market like the better countries but within institutions and even preservation districts it is possible. I know all properties benefit from having roofs that are designed to last as long as the building.

This handout (PDF link) below demonstrates how to layout and cut the valley seam, from the ground as long as you know the two pitches of the intersection roof faces. This is very important with metal roof seaming. Much like in timber framing: the piece must be fully fabricated to exact specifications before they are assembled. In the same way: we do most of our design and layout on the drawing board, and on the cutting bench. There is very little “in place” fabrication, only folding assemblies.