The Cross House

Repairing a Roof Finial. Part II

The turret finial. In repose in the library.


Recently, I did a post about repairing the turret finial.

I could just paint the finial and put it back in place. I could.

But just can’t.

So I asked Mark from WF Norman to give me a quote on repairing the egregious issues.

Today he got back with me.

About $1200. Gulp.

Mark also warned, ominously:

Now for the “BIG IF” concerning these repairs. Your old finial could very well be made out of pure sheet zinc. We still work in sheet zinc today. And we have worked on a zillion 100-year old zinc ornaments like yours over the years. Over that many years zinc crystalizes in a way that can make it very brittle, and also difficult to impossible to make solder stick to. We have worked on things like your old finial that literally crumble and fall apart in your hands. At a minimum we would have to remove paint where we needed to solder. This in itself should not be a problem since you will no doubt repaint your finial anyway. We would also have to do some light grinding and sanding of the areas that needed to be soldered. And we would have to use some mildly acidic flux to get solder to stick. Even with all this work there are times when the old zinc given to us to repair cannot be repaired given our best efforts. I include this paragraph as a heads-up to one of the bad things we could encounter.

Having said that, my feeling in looking at your photos is that your finial would be worth trying to repair. It doesn’t look like a lost cause. We’ll have to have it here in our shop to confirm any of these possibilities one way or the other.

The cost is more than I had hoped, but less than I had feared (I feared like $4500). So……..I am going to……..bite the bullet, and go ahead. Of course, I will not be able to afford to eat for the next few months. Or pay the mortgage next month. And electric bill.

On the bright side however…ROAD TRIP! To WF Norman!!!!!!!!

Amy, are you packed?




15 Responses to Repairing a Roof Finial. Part II

  1. I know that this will shock you, kindred spirits that we are – I am SO glad that you are going to bite the bullet and get your final fixed! It’s the right thing to do. I have a good feeling about it being possible, with the finial not crumbling and totally falling apart….I WILL it to be so! Yeah – road trip is right! Yippee! Keep us posted, please & thank you.

  2. Nevada, MO doesn’t have as many old houses as some towns because it was burned down at one point, but take a drive down Washington Street (drive north from WF Norman) if you want see the main ones. There’s scattered, but the best one is the big blue Victorian, which is also sort of the end of the beauties on that street.

  3. Checking out the weather heading towards Illinois, and saw the line of tornado-warned cells trekking across Kansas right now; hopefully your new shingles have had time to seal, and that no dangerous storms pass over you…

  4. I can’t help but wonder if a recreation of the original would cost less than repairing the old one. Yes, i’m sure you don’t want to destroy history. But still, $1200.00. Whew!

  5. So glad that you wondered this out loud, Ken – Ross – because I have been wondering the same thing!! LOL.
    Oh this house restoration “stuff” is such a slippery slope….

  6. This is my first comment, but – I’m ADDICTED to your blog!!! I check it several times a day…

    I’ll need to stop by, I drive through Emporia on my way to Fort Worth (several times a year). I live in Des Moines.

  7. Be sure and check out Cottey College while you are there. That is my alma mater! Nevada is such a beautiful little town. Keep your eyes open, lots and lots and lots of wonderful old houses that will make your heart melt!

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