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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The New Library Roofs

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, August 12, 2012

The roofing projects at three of our library locations are nearing completion, allowing us to finally put away the buckets.


The roofs on the Schiappa and Toronto buildings started going bad when they reached the 20 year roofing guarantee.


Yes, both buildings are actually near or past 25 years old.


The Toronto Branch Library roof shingles began to shrivel and peel, but the roof itself did not leak.


The Schiappa Branch Library roof looked okay from the ground, but began leaking along the edges, fortunately in nonpublic areas of the building.


Engineering work on replacement roofs started in 2011 to be ready for the 2012 construction season.  The projects were funded from the library’s capital improvement budget, which allows planning for such budget needs in advance.


Bids were received in March and awarded to the N.F. Mansuetto & Sons, Inc. of Martins Ferry for $ 483,287 which was within the ten percent allowance of the estimate.


The library bid the three roofing jobs as one contract, and selected the same materials for all three locations to save on costs.


The Library Board felt strongly about the use of a galvanized steel roof, which would provide a 50 year life for the roofing system.


In addition, a porch extension was added to the Schiappa Branch to address issues of blowing rain and snow near the entrance of book drop. 


The soffit and facia was reworked at the Toronto Branch to allow better air flow in the attic area.


And the third library involved with roof is the Tiltonsville Branch building, which is having its front overhang replaced with the same metal roofing product.  The main roof at Tiltonsville was replaced in 2000, but the overhang roofing “has some age to it.”


Most people seem to like the color of the roof, it is called “copper penny” and offers a different hue depending on the sky’s reflection.


The recent rainstorms have tested the roof and its gutters, and it is nice not to deal with wet ceilings and walls.


The final item to be added is “snow guards” which will prevent snow from sliding off the smooth roof surfaces as it begins to melt.


We have that same situation with snow sliding off the slate roof of the Main Library building, but there it falls on another roof or in the yard where people aren’t walking.


Roofing systems are a constant issue with buildings, and the Main Library certainly had its share of roofing problems during its first 50 years of existence.


The clay tile roof had been damaged by falling pieces of the adjoining tower, and the copper flashing was deteriorated and allowed water to pour down the inside walls.


Only the 1956 slate roof ended those problems.


Directing a previous library gave me experience with flat roofs.  During my first week on-the-job, it started to rain and the staff ran and grabbed plastic buckets that were stored in the back.


Each staff member seemed to have “their spot” to position a bucket to catch the dripping water.


No one had mentioned the leaking flat roof, but I was assured that an engineer was designing a roof replacement for the building.


I was good at forming plastic sheets into funnels, and emptying buckets out the window or into a toilet, but that all ended with a new roof, which would now be more than 35 years old.


I am counting on the 50 year guarantees on our new roofs here to take me into retirement.