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Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, PA

Waterproofing Roof System, Firestone Roof Installations & Slate Repair


“If you don’t see me, that’s a good thing.” Those were the words of wisdom given to GSM Roofing when Jim McGaffin, facilities engineer at Bryn Mawr College, hired them as a roofing contractor. That was about 15 years ago, so needless to say, the GSM Roofing team doesn’t see much of Jim – at least not because there’s a problem with the project.

Today, GSM Roofing is one of two contractors approved to complete the college’s historic renovations. With more than 30 historic buildings spread over 120 acres, GSM Roofing has become a regular on campus, handling everything from routine maintenance and service to major renovations. Founded in 1885, Bryn Mawr College is one of the most distinctive and distinguished liberal arts colleges, driven by excellence and quality – two qualities shared with GSM Roofing.

With a commitment to preserve the historical integrity of the campus, Bryn Mawr’s renovations often require gutting a building down to its stone and removing the wooden structure. In addition to replacing the wood with structural steel and concrete floors, the renovated building is again topped with a new all-natural slate roof.

One of the most prestigious projects on campus is the exterior envelope renovation work underway at the Thomas Great Hall, the college’s only building listed as a National Historic Landmark. Work to the M. Carey Thomas Library began in March 2011, and to-date, GSM has logged nearly 6,000 man-hours replacing 13 different roof sections to the landmark building. The GSM team used a Kemper waterproofing membrane with a sandstone aggregate finish to imitate the historic aspects of the building. The low-odor properties of the membrane allowed GSM to install the roof while classes were in session and students in the building. With the membrane and copper flashing in place, the GSM team began the intricate process of repairing the slate.

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Project Highlights:

  • Installation of eight Kemper, liquid-applied waterproofing, polyurethane roof systems
  • Installation of five Platinum Firestone roof systems
  • Replacement of the copper flashing on each of the 13 roof levels, including a walking roof, which had not been used for nearly 30 years

“GSM has the expertise to do any roof system — from the most complicated slate roof with metal work to a flat roof. Each discipline within the company excels in what they do. With GSM you don’t need multiple roofing contractors. GSM Roofing brings the Lancaster County work ethic to every job they do. It’s how they present themselves, their expectations on quality and their attitude. If you start with that, it’s hard to go wrong.”

Jim McGaffin, Facilities Engineer, Bryn Mawr College
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So far, I am very pleased with the work you guys are providing and how the work is getting done. Please keep up the good work. Shane has been great to work with.

Ben Hegge Sr Site Project Engineer June 28, 2022