Custom-Bilt supports Boston's character

BOSTON – Metal roofing from Custom-Bilt Metals covers and complements the best of American architecture, from brand-new, single-family houses, to modern shopping malls and hotels, to decades-old landmarks. In Boston, 70,000 square feet of Vail Majestic Copper shingles from Custom-Bilt Metals, installed by Dave Gardner Contractor and Supply from Framingham, Mass., will extend the life of the Traffic Tunnel Administration Building, while blending with the character of its historic surroundings.

Located at 128-152 North Street on the northern edge of downtown, the three-story structure was built in 1931 and serves as a magnificent example of the neoclassical style, with prominent massing, bold columns supporting pediments, detailed window trim, and a brass-capped cupola. But, like many buildings its age, the years had begun to take their toll on the structure: Its original roof, porcelain-coated metal tiles painted green, had begun to leak. Given the building’s history and its location in Boston’s venerable North End neighborhood, the task of reroofing the building was not one that could be taken lightly. “Mayor Thomas Menino was mindful of the historical significance of the building and wanted to preserve its original integrity,” said Patrick Brophy, assistant director of the City of Boston’s Capital Construction Division.

City officials commissioned Boston architectural firm Spalding Tougias Architects to find an aesthetically compatible roof for the building. “The building had a unique roof to begin with, so we looked for a system with visible variations in its appearance—such as the copper metal roofing—and had a similar shingle look, one that would take on that green color once it began to patina,” said George Tougias, AIA, one of the firm’s principals.

Tougias specified 16-ounce, Vail Majestic Copper shingles from Custom-Bilt Metals, which were installed in 2006. “Vail Majestic Copper shingles are an excellent choice for this application,” said Tony Chiovare, president of Custom-Bilt Metals. “A solid copper shingle can withstand the wide range New England weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, heavy snow and high winds—plus foot traffic during installation. With its lifetime warranty, this new roof should last longer than the original roof.”

Several additional design and material features ensure the Vail Majestic Copper shingles look good and are easy to install:

  • An interlocking tab system creates waterproof channels and aligns panels during installation
  • A patented hem design prevents wind uplift and moisture penetration
  • A lightweight panel configuration eliminates costly structural upgrades

According to Assistant Director Brophy, the reroofing has been a success throughout the tough Boston seasons, allowing the building to continue to comfortably house offices for the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. “We’re very happy and pleased with the final roofing product from Custom-Bilt Metals,” said Brophy. “It blends seamlessly with the character of the community and we expect it to be maintenance-free for years to come.”

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