A new roof for the old Mission

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  • The new cedar roof on the Cataldo Mission.

  • 1

    Photos by Josh McDonald A construction worker roofing the section of roof above the entryway into the church.

  • 2

    Courtesy photo The previous roof on the Cataldo Mission as crews began to tear it off.

  • The new cedar roof on the Cataldo Mission.

  • 1

    Photos by Josh McDonald A construction worker roofing the section of roof above the entryway into the church.

  • 2

    Courtesy photo The previous roof on the Cataldo Mission as crews began to tear it off.

CATALDO — The Historic Cataldo Mission has been receiving much-needed repairs over the summer, including the daunting task of replacing the 40-year old roof of the church.

What many people may not realize is how much effort goes into repairing and preserving a building like the Cataldo Mission.

“We had to take a 6-hour class on the history and importance of preservation,” said Gabe Bujko, a project superintendent with Ginno Construction. “The class was very thorough and went back all the way to Greeks, because the construction of the Mission is based on Greek architecture.”

While the project had many facets to it, including some minor repairs and maintenance efforts, the main project is the $200,000 roof repair that has needed to be done for a few years.

“We had been wanting to get the roof redone for a while, but we were waiting on Federal funding,” Old Mission State Park director Kathleen Durfee said. “It was last redone in 1974 and was meant to be a 30-year replacement.”

The roof was originally covered with 4-foot cedar shake roofing, but when coming by materials became difficult the last repair was done with smaller cedar shakes.

“We were able to get back to the 4-footers,” Bujko said. “It’s hard to find trees that size and the trees that were used for the shakes we are putting up came from Canada.”

The building features some now-archaic construction methods including using pegged mortise and tenon joints, which make repairs difficult at times.

A pegged mortise and tenon joint is where the joint is strengthened by driving a peg or dowel pin through one or more holes drilled through mortise side wall and tenon.

“It can be difficult and you have to understand that if you mess up, there isn’t really a way to fix it,” Bujko said. “You have to work carefully, but also quickly.”

Bujko takes pride in the work that he and his crew have been doing, and really enjoys working on the Mission in particular.

“There is just so much history here,” Bujko said. “We love working out here and want to be the guys that they call when they need work done.”

The untreated cedar shake roofing is nearly an exact replica of the original roof, but in its historically accurate but untreated state, it also requires a state of the art gas fire suppression system that won't soak the wattle and daub walls and make the building structurally unsound.

This was the sixth time that the mission has had a new roof installed, and fortunately for the crews they were nearly finished installing the entire roof before this week’s rain showers.

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