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A Monumental Roof Revival

Stunning Case Study: First Christian Church Completely Reengineered and Roofed

“When we were first contacted by the Board of Salem’s First Christian Church, recalls Trever Pfeifer, “they made it clear that they wanted a state of the art roof that would be durable, energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing for the church that had served as an architectural and social anchor in downtown Salem since 1952.”

A pitched roof with three layers of shingles, original shiplap sheathing, and a shallow, un-insulated space between the roof and the cathedral ceiling made for significant challenges.

First Christian Church Side ViewIn addition, the 12/12 roof pitch (45-degree angle) posed a logistical challenge with material handling, both removal and installation. Downtown parking meters on two sides of the church required coordination with the City of Salem to stage vehicles and bins, including crane equipment.

Pfeifer Roofing met with the board of First Christian Church 12 times over a 9 month period. The result of those meetings was a value-engineering program that included a specially engineered Ventilated Nail Base Panel (VNBP) for the steeply pitched cathedral ceilings. In all, the project called for a complete re-engineering and roofing of 20,000 square feet of pitched roof, 12,000 square feet of panel, and 5,000 square feet of flat roof.

Pfeifer also managed evaluation of the Business Energy Tax Credit potential for the 20,000 square feet of VNBP insulated panels. This work yielded an energy savings of $8,400 each year.

According to First Christian Church’s facility manager Mark Riding, “Pfeifer inspired confidence from the start of the project. The fact that they were a licensed general contractor, their understanding of structural, HVAC, and value-engineering systems, all of these things made us comfortable from the start.”

FCC Roof Construction Workers“To be clear, Pfeifer was not the only company we contacted, we solicited three estimates. Pfeifer was the most prepared in our initial interviews, they broke down every detail and cost, and they presented us with options, some of which we had not even considered.”

“Pfeifer was also very impressive in their management and coordination of suppliers and other contractors involved in the project. They worked with the HVAC contractor to calculate estimated energy savings which we submitted to the Department of Energy, and we still own that tax credit. They arranged for the manufacturer of the insulated and ventilated nail board system (VNBP) to fly out from the east coast to evaluate the use of their product on unprecedented scale and slope. And they worked with the shingle manufacturer to specify a 130 MPH rated shingle and vapor barrier system, including bonding and fastening protocols that would safeguard the warranty of the roof.”

Pfeifer was also very good about educating our board of directors (among which there are two retired engineers) about long-term investment considerations. They made the case that replacing the flat roofs on the structure would save considerably in the long run, so they specified new plywood sheathing, a 55 millimeter poly roll out roof, a new stainless steel ventilated fascia system (to accommodate the increased thickness of the (VNBP) system, new, custom gutters and countless other details that would yield a sustainable roof and classic appearance.

“By preserving the building to the highest standard, we honor those who have gifted their time and resources to continue the church’s mission. We were established as a downtown church, and serving the urban population continues to be a cornerstone of our mission. The quality of Pfeifer’s work ensures that we will be able to use future monies to serve the people of Salem for decades to come.”

“When trusted friends ask me about roofing companies they can trust, Pfeifer is the only referral I give.”

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