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Andrew Jackson Tavern – A Roof Old and New

Preparing For A New Roof

When preparing the tavern for the move, Colonel realized the roof could not stand erect, if it were to be safely maneuvered along the route to Foxfire Farm. So, the long sides were brought down, one on top of the other, while the boards and windows on the short ends were removed. With a tarp covering the top, the tavern and its roof made it to the farm safely.

Watch the video below and see how the roof was revived. 

Andrew Jackson Tavern Roof

And, take the photo tour, too . . . 

Once the tavern was set on its permanent foundation, it was time to take a closer look at the roof.  A plan had to be carefully thought out as to how repairs would be made and what kind of roof would be appropriate.

The question was faced every day while working on the tavern -- how much of the original material could be saved, and how much new material would be required?

Colonel and his team were intent on utilizing as much of the original materials or reclaimed materials as possible.

What’s Old Is New

Each side of the roof varied in what was left of original materials and what had been added over the years. One side was covered in tin which seemed to be hiding some mysterious layers underneath. The other side was nearly bare, except for old original boards and rafters. Colonel found that the wood on this side was worth a closer look; and after a careful inspection, it appeared to be salvageable. They patched some spots with reclaimed wood, added a few nails for reinforcement, and this side of the roof was ready to be lifted.

Payton shows us some of the very old, square nails used in the original construction, evidence of the time period when it was built, which was the early 1800s.

A Roof Resurrected by Hand

The first side went up thanks to the helping hands of generous volunteers working alongside Corey and Payton.

Below: Corey puts a temporary brace in place to secure the part of the roof that was raised; then a tarp was thrown over it to protect it from the weather as the restoration continued.

Payton measures for the correct roof pitch. This tape measure plays a major role throughout the restoration!

On to the other side . . .

Sheets of tin were flying from the roof to the ground as the guys began to remove the other material layer by layer. No decision had been made as to what would be used for the roof . . . possibly new tin, or maybe they could reuse the old. The tin that was pulled off was cleaned up and stored under the building for safekeeping.

Next, they tackled a layer of asphalt shingles, which were part of a previous renovation that occurred at some point in time.

Colonel then discovered something even better. There was an impressive layer of original wooden shingles that still covered one side of the roof. What a rarity to find today.  Some of the original square nails still held them in place. Other than a few that had to be discarded, the shingles were in good enough shape to keep. They would remain as the first layer of this section of the roof, thereby preserving proof of the original construction.

Another win for historic preservation.

Peeling the asphalt shingles off reveals original wood shingles. Wood shingles are something to treasure when they are still intact.

The other side goes up thanks to great teamwork.

Looking from the inside, you can see the original rafters made from cedar saplings, boards, wooden shingles and square nails. The ends of the nails were trimmed off as this side was kept exposed.

Colonel is thankful that, after two centuries, much of the original construction still remains and will continue to remain.

Repairs were made on some rafters and corners where water had come through and rotted the wood.

For the Love of Tin

A decision needed to be made on how the roof would be finished. Using wood shingles over the entire roof was not an option, so Colonel had to ask, “Where do we go from here?”  The old tin they had pulled off was weathered and had a patina on it that Colonel couldn’t even imagine how to replicate. He decided it would be perfect for this historic building.

So, the tin went back on.

A layer of insulation was added over the wood and shingles, and then the tin went back on as the final layer of roofing.

Kenneth measured and marked each spot where the tin was to be bolted and then handed each section up to Corey and Payton.

Of course, safety is important on the job. This is where experience and strategically placed ladders and rope come into play.

A view from the inside shows the original rafters and lathing. The second story lacked flooring, so temporary boards were used to create a floor while the team worked on the inside and ends of the roof.

A view from the makeshift second floor.

Cedar wood cut from the farm finished off the trim. Once the roof was secure, it was time to put the restoration into motion.

In our next post, the tavern begins to take shape. You’ll witness a transformation as the siding is replaced, the second floor is enclosed and a beautiful, rustic floor is uncovered.

AJ says, “Y’all come back soon!”