This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol3: Stair Building, Ornamental Ironwork, Roofing, Sheet-Metal Work, Electric-Light Wiring And Bellwork", by The Colliery Engineer Co.. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
63. In many parts of Europe it is customary to cover domes, lanterns, cupolas, etc. with sheet lead; but owing to the great variations in temperature which are encountered in the United States of America, it is necessary to use a metal which is better adapted to withstand the unavoidable expansion and contraction.
Sheet copper or galvanized iron are the best metals for use in countries where excessive changes in temperature occur. The latter, however, is not durable enough for covering domes, lanterns, or cupolas, and, consequently, sheet copper is generally employed.
There are different methods of covering domes, but the following four may be considered preferable: namely, plain or smooth, ribbed, paneled, and metallic shingle or slate coverings.
64. Smooth, covering is usually put on domes in a manner similar to that employed in flat-roof covering, with flat locked seams, each sheet being well tied down with strong cold-rolled copper cleats. If the dome is large the ordinary flat sheets about 20 in. X28 in. are generally used, the curvature of the dome being so slight that the soft copper will easily adapt itself to the shape. When the dome is small, however, each sheet must be blocked out to the proper curve, so that the covering, when finished, will have a neat, smooth appearance and be free from buckles. The chief objection to locked-seam covering is the liability to leakage, chiefly through the seams, on the nearly horizontal parts of the dome. The solder will spoil the appearance of the dome if the copper work is allowed to retain its natural color.