Renovations on the Victorian Reed House are moving along nicely. Since the project is only minutes from the office and I was already out running an errand for work, I decided to stop by myself and see this major project underway. Currently, our amazingly talented crew is working on replacing the lining on the internal gutter system all the way around the multi-dimensional roofline.
My first thought as I approached the house, was wow, it's massive! It took my breath away and for a second I felt as though I was beamed into the 1900's when it was built. As I stood in front of it, looking at all the scaffolding built around it, I waved at Gary working above. He invited me to have an up close and personal view of what they were doing and after a tiny hesitation, I said "sure". I walked up the u-shaped stairs to the top floor attic level, passing several other contractors working with-in the home, and once again I was flabbergasted at the over 5,000 square feet of space and exceptional architectural detail inside.
I reached my destination on the 3rd floor where I had to crawl out of the window to get on the scaffolding. Halfway through the window with one foot almost down, I got a glimpse through the gap between the wall and scaffold edge of how high up I was. My heart dropped to my feet, but I still made it on the scaffold. After a few very heavy steps, I decided that was where I'd stay, which still gave me a good view of what Dustin and Gary had already completed. Obviously, this was not the day to conquer my fear of heights. In any case, they were both more than accommodating while I stood in my "spot", taking a few minutes to show me the new lining they installed over the gutter.
The internal gutter system, also known as Yankee Gutters, box gutters or built-in gutters, is considered a concealed roof drainage system, which was used on homes from the 1700’s through the early 1900’s and most commonly found on buildings from the Victorian period. Just like on the Reed House, this system offers a not readily visible gutter that doesn't alter the historic character of the building and doesn't take away from decorative cornice details.
Gary and Dustin are replacing the lining over approximately 300 feet of gutter. It would be one thing if this was simply a straight gutter, but it's not. On the front right side of the home, there is a barrel-like shape, which is what they were working on during my visit. Precise measuring and trimming for an exact fit is especially crucial. Once fitted around the outside edges, another covering is added perfectly flush at the inside top edge and heat welded to seal for a waterproof finish. I say this in the simplest form. The pictures below visually show some of the steps involved.
The Roofing Company is very fortunate with its highly skilled production staff, which have the knowledge and metalworking ability to restore a home such as the Reed House close to his original historic character. As it should be, most roofing companies won't touch a project like this simply because it requires working on a historical home. A preservation consultant whose practice focuses on historic structure should always be consulted before any dramatic alteration begins.
Once the work is completed, a regularly maintained, well-detailed system can last 60 - 100 years or more. Careful, regular inspection by a competent roofer is critical to the longevity and success of the system. Since The Roofing Company offers a free annual inspection to every customer, the Read House is in very good hands.