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Preserving Church’s Legacy With Metal Roofing


Metal roofing offers energy savings, wind resistance, and durability.

The roof of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Oconomowoc, WI, had seen better days, prompting the congregation to turn to the Matterhorn, metal-roofing line for a solution.

Churches have a special place in the American psyche. Many communities were planned around churches, as many of them predate the towns and cities where they are located. Time tends to ravage all things, however, and churches are no exception.

Until recently, the roof of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Oconomowoc, WI, had seen better days. After about 30 years of wear and exposure to high winds, the church’s asphalt roof had started to fail.

“The building itself was built in 1956, though the congregation was established in 1885,” said Gary Tillman, pastor at St. John’s. “The roof was 25 to 30 years old. There began to be problems with shingles coming up, causing water leakage and damage.”

St. John’s church had several architectural and environmental challenges, including fierce winds that batter the area on a regular basis.

The church wanted to put a little more money into the roof, so that they wouldn’t have to replace it in another 30 years. That’s when they turned to CertainTeed’s (Malvern, PA, Matterhorn metal roofing line and Steve Sawvell of Sawvell Roofing and Siding, Oconomowoc (, a company that specializes in metal installations.

“It’s kind of a historical building in the area,” said Sawvell. “It’s in good taste to use products that are going to be around for a long time.”

According to Sawvell, the church had several architectural and environmental challenges, including fierce winds that batter Oconomowoc on a regular basis. He said the Matterhorn Slate was used for the project because it was “architecturally correct” for a church and strong enough stand up to the area’s harsh weather conditions.

“On average, there are probably one or two wind events a month with winds of more than 40 miles per hour,” said Sawvell. “Matterhorn Slate is durable. It’s done really well through the winter and survived several recent wind events.”

Parishioners no longer need to worry about the roof in high winds, and they are pleased with the color and design of the metal roofing.

Pastor Tillman said that prior to the church’s project, his only experience with metal roofing was childhood memories of the tin roof on his grandfather’s home. “Sawvell gave St. John’s a recommendation for CertainTeed’s Matterhorn roofing and gave us samples,” he said. “Carpenters in the congregation recommended metal roofing as well. The church did some research into the system and loved the color and quality of Matterhorn.

“The parishioners have made nothing but positive comments,” Tillman added. “They love that they don’t need to worry about the roof in the high winds. They also love the color and design of metal.”

Since installing the new roof on St. John’s Lutheran Church, many in the church’s congregation have said they would like to see Matterhorn roofing on their own homes, according to Sawvell. “It’s nice to be a part of a project that is going to stand up to time and be a part of the community,” he said. “It’s a cleaner look and it’s more durable. It’s kind of a work of art.”

Get information on:
• Matterhorn Shake
• Matterhorn Slate
• Matterhorn Tile

— Why Metal Roofing?

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