Churches – Texas

Vernon L. Dunagin, AIA, has enjoyed a long history of significant roofing, waterproofing, and other significant projects for churches. A number of these churches required compliance with historic requirements to maintain their standing on the Texas Historic Register. Mr. Dunagin has worked as the Architect-of-Record for 16 churches listed on the Texas Historic Register, and another 10 churches of more recent vintage. Listed hereafter is a sampling of the most significant projects.


First Baptist Church was constructed in two phases in 1950 and 1954. Undertaking this project in 1999, the Church Building Committee requested that the main building exterior be restored to its original condition. Careful study was conducted on the tile and built-up roofs as well as the masonry exterior. The design (Vernon L. Dunagin, AIA was the Architect-of-Record) ensured that the exterior appearance would look as it did in 1950. The existing one-piece Spanish S tile was salvaged (95% salvage rate) and re-used to maintain the historic fabric of the roof. To avoid complex changes for drainage coal tar pitch was employed for the low slope roofs. Because the masonry walls were constructed without a cavity condition for drainage, new thru- wall flashings were avoided allowing the termination of the tile at the brick walls to remain visually unchanged. A siloxane penetrating breathable sealer was applied to the masonry stopping leaks that had persisted for many years. The project was selected as the international winner for large projects by the Roofing Consultants Institute in 2000.


This highly complex building of 12/12 shingle roofs and large segmented built-up roofs was re- roofed three times in a 16 year period due to repeated hail storms. Twice, Vernon L. Dunagin, AIA, designed the re-roofing projects and the third time acted in the role of Owner’s representative. Each time the roofs were replaced in their entirety after Mr. Dunagin successfully negotiated the settlement with the insurance carriers.
Vernon L. Dunagin, AIA, also served as the Owner’s representative and consultant for 172 failed window flashings in the original building. In this case a settlement was reached with the original contractor who performed the remedial flashing work under Mr. Dunagin’s direction. Each window and the surrounding stone masonry was removed, flashings installed and the windows re-installed. Care was taken to ensure the mortar and masonry matched the remainder of the building.


The Student Success Center was originally constructed and operated as a Protestant church. The College obtained the building in a campus expansion and today operates it for educational purposes. Steep sloped roofs in a hurricane zone as well as the building being historically significant led to a design that incorporated a 450# composition shingle in lieu of the original wood shingles installed when the building was constructed. The roof survived with very minor damage 5 years after its installation when Port Arthur sustained a direct blow by Hurricane Rita.


During design a roof replacement system using standing seam copper was presented to Church elders. The majority of the existing built-up roofed decks had slopes of at least 2/12 making them candidates for standing seam copper. The design formulated by Vernon L. Dunagin, AIA, Architect-of-Record, employed a waterproof bituminous underlayment. One-inch (1”) high standing seams were utilized with continuous panels of 23’ using expansion cleats to allow for movement. Clips were installed at 8” on center to ensure against wind damage in the most extreme condition. The roofs survived with no damage during Hurricane Rita.