In the late 1990s, the historic Central Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, Alabama, faced a common problem: a growing congregation and need for more space. Like many historic churches, Central Presbyterian is located in a downtown area, landlocked with no available real estate to expand. So, the church began to look around the neighborhood for a suitable property to purchase.
Across the street from the church is the Cooper House, one of the oldest homes in the Twickenham Historical District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1973. The Cooper House, one of the very few antebellum structures of frame construction to survive the Civil War, suited the Central Presbyterian Church’s need for expanded parking, office space and storage, but needed extensive renovations, all of which would require approval of the Huntsville/Madison County Historical Society.
The first renovations to the Cooper House did not require the church to make extensive external changes. Instead, the church graveled the back yard to increase church member parking, painted the exterior, and renovated the inside of the house for office space and storage. While the Historical Society would not allow the church to demolish the home and build a new, larger structure, they did allow the conversion of a back porch into an additional space. Now called the Family Life Center, the renovated Cooper House fits the church’s goals for expanded ministries, while preserving the integrity of the historical structure.
A major challenge to the exterior renovation was the need for a new roof and rainwater system, which were required to be both consistent with the Cooper House’s historic style and built with quality, durable materials professionally installed to last well into the future. Historically, the roof of the Cooper House was terne metal, painted gray. To maintain the historical look of the house, Hays Buchanan, the architectural firm managing the site, chose natural VMZINC® for its historically-correct gray color, strength and durability. Hays Buchanan designed a standing seam roofing system with stainless steel ridge caps, and specified the European-style gutter and seamless weld downspout manufactured in natural VMZINC® by Ornametals Manufacturing of Cullman, Alabama. The church and the Huntsville/Madison County Historical Society readily approved the application as consistent with the building’s historical architecture.
The entire roofing system was designed to be fabricated and installed in natural VMZINC®. The 11,000 square-foot standing seam roof has numerous valleys, with a chimney cap and stainless steel ridge vent system. The rainwater system, also in natural VMZINC®, consists of six hundred feet of 6-inch, half-round gutter and 500 feet of 4-inch, seamless-weld downspouts, manufactured by Ornametals Manufacturing. Accessorizing the gutter and downspout system are a full line of natural VMZINC® accessories, including gutter hangers, downspout brackets, elbows, and a unique star outlet design made for easy installation that does not require soldering.
VMZINC® is architectural zinc manufactured by Umicore Building Products. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Umicore is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of zinc building materials for roofs and walls. Elegant and time-tested, VMZINC® is a solid zinc-copper-titanium alloy that has been used for roofs and facades for almost 200 years. While VMZINC® is often used in contemporary applications, the Cooper House project is a perfect example of why VMZINC® is a natural choice for historic restoration: the color of natural VMZINC® is historically correct and aesthetically pleasing, but also durable and made to last. VMZINC® is sustainable with a long lifespan. In addition, production techniques maintain the unique look of natural metal, but with consistent colors. In contrast to copper, for example, natural VMZINC® will not develop a drastically different patina; rather it weathers over years to form a beautifully textured gray patina.
“We are quite proud of the Cooper House,” said Lisa Mendyke of Central Presbyterian, “And thank Ornametals Manufacturing for its part in making it such a beautiful renovation.”
Ornametals Manufacturing is the only U.S. manufacturer of EuroGutterUSA, a complete roof drainage system, featuring European-style half-round gutter, with a traditional bead and a rear inverse cant that - together with properly installed roof flashing - protects fascia board from deterioration. For the Cooper House, Ornametals manufactured the roof drainage system in natural VMZINC®, but other materials are available, including QUARTZ-ZINC®, ANTHRA-ZINC®, and copper. Natural VMZINC® is the original zinc, shiny and smooth when it comes out of the mill. QUARTZ-ZINC® provides a pre-weathered gray that mimics the matte patina that zinc naturally develops over time, while ANTHRA-ZINC® is a rich, charcoal black. Ornametals also provides a full line of roof drainage accessories, and specializes in standard and custom ornaments.