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Click here to view samples of our skylight work--one of our most popular requests! Click here for our slate and tile roofing--a unique skill perfected through 100 years of execution. Click here and see how we put the crowning touch on many of Chicago's most beautiful homes. Click here to view samples of our hanging and inlaid gutters Click here to see how copper can enhance a structure's architecture Click here to view the beauty and durability of ornamental metal work. Just a few examples of our work on Chicago's most famous structures... ...and here's a few we've done lately.







BAY CLADDING  We fabricate and install copper standing seam bay roof coverings.  We also install new or repair existing metal bay wall claddings.  Most "steep" bay roofs are installed with copper standing seams where each panel is locked to the next panel and attached to the underlying wood with copper cleats.  Wall flashings are attached with lead wall anchors and sealed with Vulkem sealant.  The eave portion of the new roof covering is normally attached with solid brass screws.  These roofs can be installed either with or without gutters.....

       We also install metal bay wall vertical claddings, which can include decorative frames or stampings.  These materials are attached with solid brass screws or blind installed copper rivets and sealed to adjacent  window frames with Vulkem sealant.  All horizontal seams are soldered with 50/50 solder.

    When repairing old bay wall claddings, we duplicate sections of deteriorated cladding, and fabricate new sections to match the existing.  All miters are soldered, and the new sections attached over old openings.  Lead coated copper is usually used in patching old iron claddings, as this material is much more ductile than iron, solders more effectively, and is chemically compatible with iron.




COPPER DECK  We fabricate and install flat copper decks.  This installation is ideal for small roof areas, such as bays, and for areas in which there is little or no drainage deck pitch.  Nearly all types of roofing will deteriorate under constant standing water, but a copper deck can survive standing water for decades.  Copper does not "rust away".  Rather, it slowly looses copper oxide (patina) by the mechanical action of running water.  A standard copper deck is constructed with 18" x 24" or 24" x 36" panels, which are locked together and soldered with 50/50 solder.  Each panel has copper cleats which are attached to the underside of the locks on each panels.  The cleats are then secured to the underlying wood deck with solid copper roofing nails.  In this way, the entire copper deck is secured with hidden fasteners, which cannot cause leakage to the interior.  Wall flashings are turned up the wall a minimum of 6", and secured with lead wall anchors.

      We also install copper standing seam roof systems, ideal for pitched areas and bays.  In this system the panels are locked together with 1" vertical seams, which are not soldered.  This is an ideal system for an area with a pitch of at least 4" vertical rise for every 12" horizontal run.  The panels are secured with cleats in the same basic manner as a flat deck.

CORNICE  We fabricate and install copper cornices, designed to meet your  specifications.  We handle all elements of the installation, from erection of scaffolding to removal of the old metal, replacement of the support structure, and installation of the new copper moldings.  We can duplicate the exact design of an existing cornice, or lower the overall cost of the work by simplifying the design and eliminating minor but labor-intensive details.  The masonry behind a cornice is usually very rough and not very watertight.  Covering this area with even the simplest cornice adds to the life of the masonry wall and to the aesthetic appeal of the building.  Though this hidden section of wall is usually very crude, it would be unusual that it require tuckpointing prior to installation of the new metal.

       We also repair old galvanized iron and copper cornices, duplicating missing sections of moldings, stampings, or decorative brackets.  We close off openings made by birds and squirrels, thus extending the life of the old installation.  The presence of birds and squirrels is very damaging to old metal, not only by the immediate physical destruction they cause, but because their acidic droppings cause rust.  Closing off these openings also helps keep the front of a building clean of animal droppings.

       Though we do not paint these materials, we regularly work with painters, and can create a metal work surface ready for sanding, priming and painting. If the metalwork requires use of a steel pipe scaffold, this equipment can be turned over to the painter at the conclusion of our work.







GUTTER  We install cold rolled copper and lead coated copper gutters, as well as inlaid gutters and galvanized iron flat roof gutters. 

       Today, most of the work is done in copper.  The price difference between galvanized iron and copper tends to be only about 8% to 15%, yet the long-term benefits are much greater with copper.  Copper does not have to be painted, and will not rust under "ponding" water conditions.  Small amounts of standing water are often unavoidable in an inlaid gutter.  Copper can greatly extend the life of the installation.  We work in standard cold rolled copper, which is the color of a new penny.  Lead coated copper has a dull gray appearance, and is used when working in conjunction with older galvanized iron elements on the building.  Unlike standard copper, this material will not induce rust on the old iron.  It will not turn green like standard copper, but will retain its gray appearance.

    We fabricate and install box gutters and molded style gutters for steep and flat roofs.  These gutters have an integral roof flange, designed to prevent leakage between the gutter and the roof.  All seams are soldered with 50/50 solder (half lead, half tin).  The gutters are then attached with 1/8" x 1" copper bus bar braces (#14 ga. galvanized iron in the case of a galvanized gutter), designed to hold up under the weight of ice and snow.  We fabricate the gutters with as much drainage pitch as conditions and appearance dictate.

    Inlaid gutters are installed inside a wooden or metal cornice molding or behind a masonry wall.  When completing a replacement, we very often find two or more layers of old gutter, as well as patch materials and asphalt.  We remove as much of the old material as is prudent, which allows us to maximize the drainage pitch of the new installation.   If necessary, we can also fabricate the new piece with a waterstop along the front edge, to deter water from overflowing.












ROOFING  We perform repairs to existing slate and tile roofs as well as new copper, slate and tile roofs. 

       Most slate and tile repairs consist of the replacement of broken or missing tiles or slate, replacement of deteriorated underlying roofing felt, or the replacement of deteriorated flashings such as roof valleys or chimney flashings.  Though it isn't important when small chips flake off of a roofing slate, it is important to replace larger missing pieces every few years, as these broken pieces allow water to leak onto the layer of roofing felt underlying the primary roof covering material.  This can cause leakage over a much wider area, requiring "re-lay" of a wide area of the roof.  Water leaking from one slate for a few years can require the removal and re-lay of as much as 100 square feet of roofing.  Thus, periodic minor repair is the most cost-effective way of handling a roof of this type.

       Because of the relatively higher initial cost of this type of roof covering, new slate or tile roofing is not a practical alternative for most people.  However, it is an extremely long-lived roofing material.  Our first major tile roof was completed in 1896 on the building which now houses Harry Caray's Restaurant in Chicago.  Much of this mansard roof is still in service.

       We also install new copper standing seam and flat lock roofs. Standing seam roof systems are installed on roofs with a minimum pitch of 4" rise for every 12" of horizontal run.  Each panel is locked to the next adjacent vertical seam.  Flat-locked decks are installed in 24" x 36" or 18" x 24" panels, which are locked together and soldered with 50/50 solder.  This is an ideal roofing system for an area with little or no drainage pitch. Both types of roofing are secured to the underlying roof boards with copper nails and blind installed cleats which are hidden below the roofing surface.

       When replacing an individual slate or tile, we remove the remaining fragments of the original piece and install new materials.  We attempt to match the original as closely as possible with materials currently available. Individual replacement slate are attached with solid copper roofing nails and nail aprons while tile are secured  with solid copper roofing nails.  Some repair personnel use small copper clips and "globs" of caulking to hold slate in place.  These inevitably come loose, and the slate fall out.



SKYLIGHT  Albert J. Wagner & Son has fabricated and installed the same metal-and-glass gable and hip style skylights for over 100 years.  These units are normally fabricated in cold-rolled copper, and glazed with 1/4" clear laminated or wired translucent safety glass.  These skylights are custom fabricated to the appropriate size, and normally last for   eighty years or more with little or no maintenance.  Our skylights are ideal for areas with low relative humidity, such as apartment building staircases and commercial properties. These units can be installed with ventilators designed to exhaust the high solar induced heat which can build up below the unit.  Metal and glass skylights can be fabricated in a basic gable "roof", hip-style "roof", or pyramidal shape. 

       We also install acrylic dome skylights, which can be custom fabricated to the exact curb size required.  These skylights offer greater insulation value than the gable units, and are ideal for more humid areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms.  These skylights typically last twenty-five years or more, but are difficult to ventilate.

    Copper skylights can be made in unusual shapes, custom-designed to fit into unusual areas, or fabricated to tie in with metal decks.  Examples of custom designs are shown on this page.