The real cedar shingles on the steeple atop the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Taylor Falls, Minn. lasted more than 100 years. Then, between leaks and woodpecker holes, church leaders knew it was time for a change. That’s when they hired Central Roofing Company to install a new custom copper steeple.

“The woodpeckers had created several holes you could put your fist through in the steeple,” says Donald S. Hansen, a 20+ year member of the church. “We had been putting off the decision to replace the steeple. Finally the leaks and the woodpecker holes made it important to get the job done immediately.”

Replacement Challenges

Members of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church really didn’t want to see the wood shingles go. Covered in old growth Cedar, it had been in place since the brick church was erected in 1903. Over the years the church grew and had many changes, but the wood shake steeple was always there.

When it became very evident the steeple needed a new covering, the church’s Property Committee began investigating options and contacting roofing companies.

“The height of the structure makes this project a bit complicated,” says Hansen, who served on the Property Committee. “Some roofers backed away from the project. Not Central Roofing. They came back to us with both steel and copper custom made options along with a game plan for installation.”

Creating a Custom Steeple

The 100-member church decided on a copper steeple, in large part because of the longevity copper offers. While more expensive than steel, the 100-year life expectancy of copper made it worth the investment.

“This is a beautiful steeple,” says Scott Kostka, senior project manager with Central Roofing Company of Minneapolis. “We started the project by removing the old wooden shingles and patching the areas of rotten or damaged decking. The woodpeckers really had a feast on the wood.

“Using a 120-foot man lift on the church site, we next installed new high-temperature self-adhering underlayment. Then came the 16-ounce flat seam copper panels we had created. The result is simply a stunning new steeple.”

Dedicated Roofing Team

“We’re extremely grateful to Central Roofing for taking such care with this project,” says Hansen. “One concern we had was that they would start the work and then leave for another job. That simply didn’t happen. They told us they’d work every day on the steeple until it was done, and they did.

“Even with COVID restrictions, this roofing team was on time and dedicated to the success of this job. The Central Roofing employees were excellent.”

With the new steeple now in place, church members have enjoyed watching the copper slowly age.

“It’s starting to shift with the seasons,” says Hansen. “While it was a gleaming copper in late autumn when installed, we’ve seen it slowly start to patina. We feel a bit like the original church founders must have felt. They watched the new cedar shingles age over time. Now we have the opportunity to watch the copper roof gracefully age with our church’s longevity.”