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Brattonsville Brick House, McConnells, S.C.

Contrarian Metal Resources' InvariMatte stainless steel was selected to recreate a Thomas Jeffersoninspired roof on the Brattonsville Brick House.

Contrarian Metal Resources' InvariMatte stainless steel was selected to recreate a Thomas Jeffersoninspired roof on the Brattonsville Brick House. The ongoing renovation began with the roof in December 2013. Phase one, now complete, included updates to carpentry and mortar and the Thomas Jefferson-style tinplate roof.

Centennial Preservation Group LLC, the historic preservation and restoration contractor, selected InvariMatte stainless steel for the project because the standard replacement material for a tinplate roof -terne and terne-coated stainless steel-was unavailable.

D. Shawn Beckwith is the preservation coordinator and restoration specialist at Culture & Heritage Museums. "The museum did not want to install a copper roof, an acceptable substitute even with painting, because it would add conjecture to being as authentic as possible for the historic Brattonsville mission statement," he says.

Centennial Preservation Group subcontracted the roof fabrication and installation to The Century Slate Co. Mike Tenoever, CEO of Century Slate, proposed using Contrarian Metal Resources' InvariMatte stainless steel instead of the terne-coated stainless steel specified in the contract documents.

InvariMatte stainless steel was compatible with the pressure-treated wood shakes from LifePine/ Green Shakes LLC and it was installed on the counter and drip flashings on the wooden section of the building to make all the metal the same.

Tenoever says without an actual roof to use as a template, it was necessary to determine how to balance modern construction methods and materials with historic methods and materials. "The owner is pleased with the results and by using InvariMatte Type 316 Stainless Steel as the fabrication of the shingle we have selected a material that will last longer than any other material out on the market," he says.

During the investigation of the building it was thought that a standing seam roof was originally installed, but the nailing patterns were not consistent with that type of roof. Beckwith says the pavilions in Academical Village, designed by Jefferson and constructed at the University of Virginia before 1826, had tinplate roofs that did not require soldering. Instead, they consisted of thin wrought iron sheets dipped in tin. Each plate edge was fitted into the fold of the plate, folded over and nailed to the wood roof sheathing. Jefferson used the same roof system on his homes, Monticello and Poplar Forest, Beckwith says.

Martin Meek, FAIA, drew the as-built drawings for the project and recommended a book to Beckwith: "Metals in America's Historic Buildings: Uses and Preservation Treatments," published by the National Parks Service in 1994. It states: "… for the first third of the 19th Century, tinned iron roofs were constructed from plates measuring a standard 10 inches by approximately 14 inches. In the 1830s plates 20 inches by 14 inches became available." … "Standing seam tinplate roofs did not come into common use until the Civil War era." The nailing pattern on Brattonsville Brick House was 20 inches by 14 inches.

The brick section of the house had a metal roof. A wooden addition with a pine shake roof was completed sometime around 1850. In the brick section of the house workers found metal clips attached to nails, nails in tongue and groove sheeting with a distinct nail pattern and three pieces of reused metal that conformed to the nailing pattern. This, and the information in the "Metals in America's Historic Buildings: Uses and Preservation Treatments," substantiated it was a tin plate roof installed in panels, not in a standing seam arrangement or a wood roof. Adding plywood over the original roof deck preserved the evidence and character. This allowed the roof to be reversible, a requirement for the preservation standards from the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties that if it were removed, "the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired."

The project goal was to restore Brattonsville Brick House to the way it was between the 1850s and 1870s. The guidelines for a historic restoration were established by the U.S. Department of the Photos: D. Shawn Beckwith Interior, National Parks Service, commonly referred to as the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and are designed to preserve, rehabilitate, restore or reconstruct a historic building.

The restoration team worked to be true to the original design and materials and investigated historic records and technology. A microscopic paint analysis was performed to determine its origin and recreate it with modern materials. The investigation showed that the original tinplate was coated with of a form of paint called tinner's red. The metal was primed and painted tinner's red using with Rapidri paint from MarJoh LLC to recreate the original tinner's red.

Bratton Brick House is unlike buildings found in the area at the time it was built; it resembles buildings built in Virginia at the time. The building was used as a store, post office, private residence and academy. Brattonsville Brick House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Brattonsville Historic District, created in 1971.

Historic preservation and restoration contractor: Centennial Preservation Group LLC, Columbus, Ohio

Fabricator/installer: The Century Slate Co., Durham, N.C. Paint: MarJoh LLC, Wheeling, W.Va., (304) 905-972337

Stainless steel: Contrarian Metal Resources, Allison Park, Pa., www.metalresources.net