North Country Slate has been providing natural roofing slate in the great state of Illinois for decades in both the restoration and new construction markets. Churches, university buildings, government buildings and prestigious private homes are enjoying the long term shelter and aesthetics that only natural slate roof shingles can provide. With the confidence of both architects and restoration professionals, and working with qualified slate roofing contractors, North Country Slate tiles have been chosen by discerning specifiers for their projects where only the best is good enough. Our natural slate shingles have gone to school on numerous buildings at the University of St Mary of the Lake, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. They’ve gone to church on St Nicholas Catholic Church, St Benedict Church and St Mary’s Church and we went to the roof of the historic Wheeler mansion. Our Canadian and Vermont slate shingles also provide the crowning glory to countless private homes. With our commitment to only providing the highest quality ASTM S-1 rated roofing slate, our products fill the need for traditional domestic slate and offer a welcome alternative to imported slates of questionable quality and origin that have only recently entered the market. Look for our North Country slate roofs in Chicago, Mundelein, DeKalb, South Barrington, Palatine, Lake Forest, Bannockburn, Highwood, Deerfield, Highland Park, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Evanston, Lincoln Park, River Forest, Riverside, Arlington Heights, Oak Lawn, Pullman District, Park Ridge, Hinsdale, Urbana, Springfield, Centralia and Aledo.
University of St. Mary of the Lake – Rock of Ages
When Cardinal George Mundelein set out to build a new Roman Catholic seminary just north of Chicago in the 1920s, he chose classical structures with an American influence that would survive the ages. His vision would become the University of St. Mary of the Lake. While his original slate roofs at the university performed well for about 50 years, leaks began appearing in the 1980s and the asphalt shingles used then as a replacement were now failing. By 2002, Stanley Rys, vice president of facilities, was looking for a solution that would restore the original appearance of the buildings, provide long term protection from the elements and save money in the long run. “As a Catholic seminary, we certainly expect to be here in a hundred years,” says Rys, an aeronautical engineer with an MBA. “I was able to go to the board with these projects with good financial reasons.” After researching roofing slate, he selected North Country Unfading Black Slate for it’s performance, appearance, and long-term warranty. Nearly 70 percent of the buildings on campus, involving almost 1,000 squares of 18 x 12 x 1/4″ North Country Unfading Black slate, have now been restored. As well, construction of a new building, the McEssy Theological Resource Building, was recently completed using the same unfading black roofing slate. Soon the entire campus of Georgian-style red brick buildings will have the same new uniform roof lines with a deep luster that will withstand freezing winters and scorching summers. After tearing off the original roofs, roofing contractor Larry Marshall had to figure out the best way to attach the slate roof shingles to the poured concrete deck over wooden sleepers. This labor-intensive decking method makes a sturdy substrate but can present a challenge for installing slate. After installing copper gutters and flashing, an ice and water shield was adhered to the entire substrate. All the slate roofs were installed on very tight construction schedules during the summer months over four years, marveling visitors as to how well they matched the existing architecture. It is the unique architecture that draws not only priests, but lay persons to the campus. In fact, Rys said that several architects, when first visiting the campus, were amazed at the buildings and layout of the campus. “They look around the place and say, ‘Why didn’t we learn about this place in school?” he says. Cardinal Mundelein would be pleased with the appreciation of his efforts. He personally raised the money, selected the land and toured Europe with architect Joe McCarthy to learn how to install a sense of performance in the campus he built. The layout of the university deliberately brings students into direct contact with peaceful gardens filled with Catholic icons and classical architecture. As steward of this university, Rys makes his decisions based on what’s good for the long run. “I put a personal guarantee of 100 years on this project and the rector says he’s going to hold me to it,” says Rys with a laugh.