• Vanguard Roofing Restores porch Roofs With New Terne (Tin) Roofing on This Charming 1850 House In Bethlehem, NY. Half Round Galvanized Gutters With Downspouts Were Also Installed.
  • New Terne Roof, Locked And Soldered 14 X 20
  • Vanguard Roofing Restores Entrance Roof With Terne On Historic Bollinger Mill, MO
  • New Terne Roof over Low Pitched Entrance Roof Adjoining Slate Roof (1910), Albany, NY

Terne - The Traditional "Olde Tin" Roofing Metal

If you're concerned about the roof over your head, litterally, you may want to investigate putting up a metal roof. Touted for their longevity and durability, copper, terne and steel roofs are made to last a lifetime.

Bill Brandow's parents, Wendy and John, purchased a charming 1850 house in Bethlehem several years ago. Two terne porch roofs on the house appeared to be showing their age.

"The edges were in bad shape. Water was getting in along the edges. It had been covered with tar, too," said Brandow, who works for the preservation architecture firm John G. Waite Associates in Albany.

To retain the historical accuracy of the home, the Brandows decided to hire Jim Staats of the South Bethlehem-based Vanguard Roofing Co. to replace the terne roof.

When they took up the old one, they discovered that it was still in very good condition except for the edges. "There wasn't a bit of rust on any of the nails. The underside looked brand-new. The wood looked brand-new," Staats said.

The terne roofs of that period had a "quilted" look. Tinsmiths crafted the roofs from small pieces of metal. they interlocked and soldered the pieces together to keep the water out. "20 by 14 was the standard from the Federal period to the late 1870's," Brandow said.

Using this historical information, Staats fit together these 20" by 14" pieces of metal. "The seams are dressed down tight. Each seam is soldered with a hot iron," he said.

The Brandows used metal not only for historical accuracy, but because the low pitch of the roof left them few options. Asphalt or fiberglass shingles do not last long on roofs with low pitches. "The lower the pitch, the faster they wear out. The UV rays eat up shingles," Staats said.

Although metal roofs are considerably more costly than asphalt shingle roofs, they last much longer.

- Joanne McFadden
Schenectady Gazzette, Schenectady, NY


The care and professionalism that was displayed by your firm during this lengthy and difficult project was impressive, to say the very least. To be able to restore the slate roof and associated copper work to its original condition on a project this size, required skills that are not easily found.

~Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart