Copy provided by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association

Replacing the roof of the 7th Day Adventist Church in New Haven, Conn., was a massive and complex project featuring a 150-foot-tall steeple with various high-pitched roof sections. With roofing conditions ranging from small pinnacle caps to large expanses of shingles, the project posed considerable difficulties and required significant efforts to overcome.

Nevertheless, KJN Restoration’s experienced team installed 150 squares of asphalt roofing shingles and 3,000 square feet of lead-coated copper on one of New Haven’s most historic buildings.

The level of dedication that KJN Restoration demonstrated toward craftsmanship, attention to detail, and its ability to handle a complicated project is truly commendable. The team’s remarkable skill and expertise have undoubtedly contributed to preserving this historic building for generations to come.

A Local Historical Treasure: Beauty and Complexity

The church has a rich history dating back to its construction in 1888. As one of the city’s oldest and most diverse religious institutions, it is a beacon of the community, situated in a neighborhood easily accessible to Yale University.

Due to extensive wear and tear, the church’s roof required a complete replacement. The original slate roof had been obscured by multiple asphalt shingles, layered over time, making the restoration process more complex.

Given the historic nature of the building, restoring the roofing system required a contractor with specialized expertise. KJN Restoration had the perfect team for the job, having established a strong relationship with the client based on its excellent customer service, top-notch quality, and outstanding workmanship on a previous project.

The roof of 7th Day Adventist Church in New Haven, Conn.,

The Scope of Work: Project Specifications

The scope of the roof replacement was elaborate, involving the removal of the two asphalt shingle layers, as previously mentioned, and a single layer of slate. The project had distinctive installation requirements, including numerous valleys and transitions leading to low-sloped areas, and it featured opposing steep-sloped wings and crickets that directed water flow around the innumerable projections. Moreover, the steep roof had a dramatic pitch of 20/12, making the work more taxing to plan and execute. 

During the restoration, KJN Restoration installed half-inch CDX plywood on all steep slopes and a half-inch HD board on flat roofs. The team also used GAF Slateline shingles on steep slopes and fully adhered .060 EPDM on flats. 

The roofing system incorporated 20-ounce lead-coated copper on all valleys and flashings, with 20-ounce flat seam panels on flat areas behind the steeple. The KJN Restoration team addressed many areas prone to substantial leaking, including one area where vast tributaries converged on a three-foot conductor head, causing a yearslong persistent leak. 

Lastly, the team completed the project by adding Alpine SnowGuards where necessary and securing .032 6-inch aluminum gutters with 3-inch by 4-inch downspouts around the building. These final touches improved the roofing system’s functionality and enhanced the historic building’s overall appearance.

Tackling Challenges

Limited access to the roof proved to be a significant challenge for KJN Restoration throughout the project. The church owned no land adjacent to the property; the rear yard of the property line only extended approximately five yards. 

Therefore, before the project could begin, KJN Restoration had to obtain permission from the neighbors to gain access to the church, using their land to access the roof. To maneuver, the contractor needed to expertly operate a scissor truck in order to reach heights of up to 15 feet for debris removal and loading materials. 

To reach the pinnacle of the steeple safely, the team secured the use of a lift to lower the existing roofing materials and install the new shingles. The precision and mobility of the lift ensured the safety of onsite crewmembers. While the job was progressing, the team encountered an unexpected problem — a hive of honeybees on the roof. 

Honeybees are an essential pollinator species in maintaining global biodiversity and health. Due to their ecological significance, honeybees are protected under various laws and regulations, and their safe removal and relocation require expertise. Fortunately, one of the church members happened to be a beekeeper and safely relocated the bees. The unforeseen issue impacted project milestones, requiring the team to adjust its schedule to accommodate the honeybee removal. Another challenge involved supply chain issues, resulting in longer lead times for securing materials. 

“Material shortages were a huge concern for us, so we got ahead of the problem and were able to pre-buy the asphalt shingles and store them at our shop once the client selected the color, but the lead-coated copper resulted in a lengthy waiting period,” said Kenneth Ney, principal of KJN Restoration.

7th Day Adventist Church

Location: New Haven, Conn.

Roofing Contractor: KJN Restoration

Project Timeline: May-July 2022

Project Size: 15,000 square feet

Project Specs: 150 squares of asphalt shingles with flat roof and lead-coated copper

Products Used: GAF Slateline shingles

Asphalt: The Cost-Effective Solution

The desire for a breathtaking roofline that paid homage to the church’s history and the availability of slate-shaped asphalt shingles greatly influenced the material decision. The church pastor selected GAF Slateline shingles, he said, for the product’s shadow lines and tapered cutouts, creating a natural slate-like appearance. Although slate roof tiles have been popular for centuries, they can be as much as three times more expensive than asphalt shingles. The GAF Slateline shingles offered a cost-effective alternative that achieved the desired aesthetic and preserved the historical integrity of the building. 

GAF’s Slateline shingles are similar to slate in shape and scale but come at a fraction of the cost, making them an affordable solution for the client. Unlike slate, which struggles to maintain strength, asphalt shingles can easily accommodate different rooflines, angles, and pitches. This versatility, regardless of size or complexity, made the choice a superb option.

“There were several small, extremely steep sections that came to a virtual point where slate would have needed to transition to sheet metal,” added Ney. “The shingle-capped hips and ridges on the steeply sloped roof were only possible to achieve by applying the versatile design of asphalt shingles.”

KJN Restoration demonstrated the versatility of asphalt shingles by astutely handling the transition to low-sloped areas with flat seam lead-coated copper, as well as the use of open lead-coated copper valleys and stepped flashing, integrating with the church’s masonry walls seamlessly.

Client Satisfaction: Quality Craftsmanship

The client was delighted with KJN Restoration’s execution on the roof and expressed satisfaction with the final result. Throughout the three-month project, the team took special care to ensure debris torn from the structure did not impact the neighboring properties. 

By using slate-shaped asphalt shingles that complement the brick structure, the roof design is a tribute to the church’s 19th-century roots. The towering steeple rises above the adjacent two- and three-story homes, providing a stunning visual composition. The new roof exudes an old-world charm and is a community focal point visible from several blocks away.

KJN Restoration showcased excellent artistry on this highly complicated building and completed the project with superior expertise. The 7th Day Adventist Church serves as a preserved example of timeless elegance.

Excellence in Asphalt Roofing: Winning Gold

ARMA recognized KJN Restoration’s tremendous work on the 7th Day Adventist Church and awarded the company a prestigious industry prize: Gold Winner – ARMA 2023 Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards. The New Haven-based contractor was delighted to win and felt a sense of pride for the technical effort required to restore the grandeur of the historic church. 

To show appreciation, KJN Restoration said it intends to use the $2,000 prize to “treat the team to a celebratory dinner, acknowledging the job site crew’s professionalism and coordination as the driving force behind the project’s success.”

 ARMA’s Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards Program recognizes the top steep- and low-slope asphalt roofing projects across North America based on four categories: Reasons for Selecting Asphalt, Performance, Beauty, and Distinction. 

This year was record-breaking, with 127 submissions celebrating success stories, innovative solutions, and complex artistry while promoting the core benefits of asphalt roofing systems. A panel of industry experts selected seven projects as winners of the 2023 Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards Program.

To learn more about the awards program or ARMA, visit