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First Lutheran Church

Carlisle, PA

Copper Tile Bell Tower Roof Installation as part of Hail Damage Restoration Project

April 2011

High profile took on new meaning when GSM Roofing was called in to help repair a leak in the roof of the First Lutheran Church in Carlisle, PA. After examining the site of the leak, which was running into the masonry around the tower, the GSM Roofing team discovered the copper bell tower and copper facing, dating back 110 years, had suffered significant hail damage over the years and was greatly in need of replacement.

Located in the heart of downtown, the dome serves as a beacon, keeping watch over the city. Positioned 130 feet high, the dome adorns the church, standing 12 feet tall with a 12-foot wide base that narrows at its top. Doing repairs, let alone recreating the dome by hand-positioning tiles in wind and rain, was no easy feat.

Because the damage was caused by hail, the majority of the cost was covered by insurance. By working directly with the church board and Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, GSM presented its plan to replace and repair the damaged dome. GSM’s proposal was to replace the original single-lined copper with CopperPlus™, a stainless steel material base with copper cladding, offering the best characteristics of both materials. After careful consideration of the detailed proposal, GSM was awarded the job.

While GSM had long been the roofing contractor of choice by the church, this project was not only the most complex, but also the most visible. With scaffolding in place and a netting system to collect and capture falling debris, the two-month project was underway.

Click photo to enlarge

Project Highlights:

  • Removing and salvaging the existing copper
  • Creating a wooden brace around the bell tower to support new copper tiles
  • Handcrafting 650 individual copper “Spanish tiles”
  • GSM sheet metal fabricators designed and soldered tiles for a vertical standoff, creating a ½-inch shadow, giving the dome a 3D effect
  • Waterproofing ledge work
  • Restoring the existing black iron cross, embedded into the top of the dome, with a gold epoxy coating

“It was very important to us that GSM Roofing handle our dome replacement project. We have a number of different roof types at the church, from shingle, copper, rubber and slate, and GSM has worked on all of them. Their expertise is diverse and the work they do is beautiful. The GSM team goes above and beyond our expectations – every time.”

Tate Dillard, Administrator, First Lutheran Church

GSM continues to be a trusted contractor for First Lutheran Church and has since been awarded three more projects by Ohio Casualty Insurance Company.

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Glad to be wrapping up this project, but most of all ..enjoyed working with you and GSM, your company is spot on and customer service is off the charts!
Thank you!

Diana Hess Project Manager June 28, 2022