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Commercial Roofing Zion Lutheran Church

Zion Lutheran Church

Zion Lutheran Church, located on the eastern side of downtown Cleveland, is one of the original landmark designated churches in northeast Ohio. The board of trustees recognized the need to start a restoration program for their historic structures. We were contacted to review the existing condition of the main church steeple and devise a long-term strategy for the renovation of the steeple. Due to the age of the existing building and the historic significance of the church we were required to work with many agencies to assure the historic character of the main steeple was not compromised. Many meetings took place between us and the Landmarks Commission, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, and the Historic Arm of the National Park Service. The crucial areas of need were identified as follows:

1. Replace the existing roofing.
2. Reline the existing box gutters.
3. Rebuild/replace the existing finials.
4. Rehabilitate the existing stone details.
5. Tuck-point the existing masonry mortar joints.
6. Bolster the structural integrity of the upper steeple.

All of this work had to take place while the church was in operation and without closing down any sidewalks or streets.

The stone details were in decrepit shape, allowing an abundance of moisture to enter into the masonry structure. The stones, all original, were either rebuilt or replaced as needed. Specialty masonry products were formulated specifically for this process.

The steeple was in need of an immense amount of tuck-pointing. Research indicated the original mortar to be lime based, as opposed to a cement based mortar used today. We were required to have a specific type L lime based mortar made for this project.

With the cooperation of the board of trustees, the various agencies, product manufacturers, and the scaffolding erecter, as well as the city of Cleveland building commissioner, allowed us to complete this project in an extremely efficient manner. The original schedule for this project was 180 days; we completed the project 22 days ahead of schedule.

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After Access hatch detail.


Photo above shows the renovation of the existing louvers. Extreme caution was used to minimize damage to the original wood, which was put in place in 1878.

The stone caps (before above, after below) were renovated in place using specially formulated masonry products. The finished stone detail should have a useful life of at least 100 years.



The original finials were too deteriorated to reuse. New copper finials were hand fabricated at our shop. The spheres on top of the new finials were added after researching the original finial configuration

Above row – Various views – shingles

Left: New copper finials installed atop the steeple.

Far left: Custom fabricated copper box gutter typical of all.

Near left: Tuck pointing of the brick and stone in progress. This painstakingly slow and tedious, but necessary process, required 562 man-hours over a period of 3 weeks.

Far Left: One of our men hard at work removing shingles from the top of the steeple.

Near Left: Typical scaffolding set up for work. Scaffolding erection took 1 week.