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Centenarian Contractor

After 100 years, Wagner Roofing continues to make history by restoring Washington D.C.’s historic buildings

Wagner Oct18 7

Since 1914, Wagner Roofing Co., Hyattsville, Md., has specialized in historic roof restorations for churches, government buildings and private residences throughout Washington, D.C., and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic region. With over 500 projects to its credit, it’s restored and replaced the roofing and other sheet metal work on such historic landmarks as The National Cathedral, the Smithsonian Castle, Woodlawn Plantation, Lincoln’s Summer Cottage, U.S. Department of Treasury and the Old Post Office.

100 Years

It was the Wagner family’s leadership and quality of work on the most challenging roofs in and around our nation’s capital that sustained this family-run business for a century. Things changed in 2014 when Dean Jagusch, a non-family member and New Zealander, took over as president from owners Chuck (the founder’s grandson) and Sheila Wagner, who had been at the helm for the previous 25 years.

“Chuck and Sheila really established the direction the company would take,” Jagusch says. “That’s a legacy that I’ve continued to build upon. I am very cognizant of the trust that people have for us and our reputation and quality of work … and standing behind the work. Equally as important, however, is the current leadership team that we now have in place. We have worked tirelessly over the past few years to build a team in which every department within our organization is keyed into our strengths and the constant training of our workforce. We take pride in gaining (and maintaining) the trust of our customers as their go-to, quality-driven provider of roofing, sheet metal, restoration and innovative building solutions. Their return business has essentially become our proof of concept.”

To ensure success, Wagner Roofing management works with building owners as much as possible to create and maintain relationships. “Our approach to a job helps differentiate us,” Jagusch says. “We’re not so focused on selling the big job unless it is the right solution for the customer. We’ll perform a ‘discovery’ to learn more about the property and the project, as opposed to going for a grand slam project if it’s not entirely what the customer needs. We understand the sales process can be long and drawn out, particularly with the type of customers we work with in terms of making decisions. We are certainly not motivated to be the low-cost provider.”

Metal in Maryland

Wagner Roofing has received multiple awards over the years for its highly skilled metal roof systems and ornamentation. Examples include a North American Copper in Architecture and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) Gold Circle award-nominated Boston private residence; an unprecedented NRCA triple-Gold Circle and NRCA platinum award-winning U.S. Naval Academy Mahan Hall (which included extensive elaborate decorative ornamental copper work); its work at Hearst Hall at the National Cathedral School, Washington, D.C.; the flat seam copper dome on the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; and most recently, the Roofinox terne-coated stainless steel roof replacement that it installed at the St. Aloysius Church in Washington, D.C., the oldest church in the Federal City.

When dealing with historic renovation, Wagner Roofing’s work is often governed by written specifications. “There’s the identification of any current issues; being certain of the condition of the roofing and exterior components,” Jagusch says. Often on historic projects, Jagusch says he frequently witnesses “traditional roofing, flashing and ornamental work that has been misunderstood over the years with poorly executed repairs.”

Also, Wagner Roofing has to make its repairs and replacements in accordance with historic covenants where detailing, material and methods are required to match what was originally there. To successfully do so and preserve the past, Wagner Roofing works with historic districts and governing jurisdictions submitting scopes of work of what it intends to do and its approach. “We’ll identify particular areas of the project that aren’t going to be performed the way they were historically, like in the case of tin, which is no longer available,” Jagusch says. “We’ll dive into traditional detailing and try to replicate it as closely as possible.”

Wagner Roofing has a large sheet metal shop and warehouse, and employs a highly skilled team of sheet metal fabricators. Being able to control its own fabrication in a controlled environment allows it to successfully replicate and produce historically accurate metal work pieces. “It enables

us to break down pieces we take off of buildings and develop them,” Jagusch says. “We can mock up large pieces in the shop. The shop provides a lot of consistency in terms of rainy day work. In our business, we are very dependent on what’s going on with the weather. We can stack up and defer fabrication work in our fab shop and work consistently year round. Many of our competitors have shears and brakes, but we can replicate ornate detailing, and that really differentiates us.”

To continue to grow and succeed for the next 100 years, Jagusch plans on expanding the commercial side of his business, if it’s the right fit, with what he calls his incredibly talented, dedicated management team. “We believe that if we stay true to being known as the trusted, quality-driven, innovative guy in the market, we’ll continue to grow and the sky’s the limit.”