At the end of a dirt road in southern Vermont is a stunning timber and stone residence designed to resemble a 16th century Anglo-Norman manor house. The adjacent barn is styled to look as though it was from the same period too. It is topped with zinc, a roofing material with European roots dating back many centuries. The zinc roofing material supplier, RHEINZINK America Inc., has the same European lineage but now thrives in the United States as well.
The home’s owners have a keen interest in both ancient and modern architecture and went to great lengths to ensure the 5,000 sq. ft. home was authentic in its construction. It made for painstakingly slow construction. Skilled craftsmen labored on the house for eleven years to complete the hand-planed interior details. The craftsmen then spent an additional two years building the “ancient“ barn.
The decision to fabricate the barn roof from zinc followed research by the homeowners into the materials common to northern Europe hundreds of years ago. But it wasn’t enough that the same material was used. It also had to have the correct look, which led to the specification of RHEINZINK prePATINA bright rolled Double Lock Standing Seam Roof Panels to cover the white oak structure. More than 4,000 sq. ft. of the roofing was utilized.
The bright rolled material was selected deliberately in order to achieve the “naturally aged look“ that the owners were seeking. “It’s gone almost immediately to a soft grey which is what we hoped would happen,“ noted one of the homeowners. "As the years go by, the color of the weathering white oak and the aging zinc will come together in a dusty grey. Seeing this building in the fog five years from now will feel like seeing a 500-year-old ghost barn floating in the hills of Vermont.“
Installation of the RHEINZINK panels was done by Cold Hollow Contracting, Burlington, VT. “These folks had serious zinc-roofing experience and were clearly the most craft-oriented of all the roofers we met with,“ said the husband.
The main focus was getting an “old look“ as quickly as possible, said Tim Heaghney, co-owner of Cold Hollow Contracting. “That’s really what makes the bright rolled so special—it ages quickly. We fabricated the 28 ft. panels on site and did the flashing fabrication in our shop. Many of the normal sheet metal skills apply to the zinc although we relied heavily on the RHEINZINK installation manual as well as personal support from their technical people. We used a radius cut and fold at the eve termination as opposed to the typical detail used in steel and copper where it‘s just cut at the 90 for the drip edge. The roof was steep but we do a lot of steeples and domes so we’re comfortable working at heights.“
The installers also utilized RHEINZINK’s AIR-Z structured underlayment to provide an air-gap behind the zinc.
The RHEINZINK distributor on the project was Beacon Sales, Shelburne, VT.