A New Roof for the Orcas Island Hotel
One way in and one way out – that is, unless you are a seal or a killer whale. The place is Orcas Island, Wash., in the Strait of Juan de Fuca’s San Juan Islands. The only way to get there is by ferry. As the ferry glides into the dock the first thing every visitor sees is the Orcas Island Hotel. The building is steeped in character but had been missing numerous roof shingles since the winter of 1999. It was for this purpose that the hotel’s owners, Doug and Linda Tidwell, searched out Malarkey Roofing Co. in January of 1999.
Late in the 1890s, William E. Sutherland settled Orcas Island and later built the Orcas Island Hotel. Through the years, it has changed hands more than a few times, but in June of 1998, the Tidwells discovered that the hotel was for sale. They jumped at the chance. “Living on Orcas Island is like stepping back in time,” smiled Doug Tidwell. “We love raising our children here and we love living here. Most of all we have enjoyed fixing up and managing the hotel. It is rich in history and architecture and really sets the tone for visitors to the island.
“The winter of 1998-99 was tough. We had a number of shingles blow off with subsequent water leaks in the hotel,” continued Tidwell. “We needed a new roof and we needed a roofing system that would stand up to the wind and rain of the San Juan Islands.”
The San Juan Islands are located off the coast of Washington State and trail up the coastline into Canada. The islands are beautiful but receive tremendous amounts of rain and wind. Winds often hit 100 mph or greater.
Tidwell started his search for the right roofing system in January of 1999 on the World Wide Web. “I punched in high wind shingles and was led to the Malarkey Web page. After some additional research on the product, I sent an e-mail of inquiry,” said Tidwell. “The one catch was funds. We were working on a tight budget and this is a historic building. We had a lot of factors to consider and really needed a good company to approach.”
The e-mail was routed to Peter A. Chance of Seattle, the Malarkey representative for Washington and Alaska. “When I received the request, not only for a high wind shingle but also for a donation of materials, I knew this would be a great opportunity,” stated Chance. “The company believes in forming these types of relationships.”
The Orcas Island Hotel had traditionally been roofed using red shingles. For reasons related to historic preservation, the Tidwells wanted and needed to stay with the original look. Chance recommended using Malarkey’s Legacy-35 architectural shingle in Redwood. “This shingle offers a 100-mph wind warranty, Class 4 impact resistance and Class A fire protection. It was exactly what they needed, plus the redwood color was a great match,” said Chance.
The bonus was that the shingle also featured the Zone. “The design of the Zone eliminates the troughing effect often seen on standard laminated shingles. The troughing effect allows water to run sideways, creating a source for leaks,” stated Greg Malarkey, senior vice president of Malarkey Roofing. “Additionally, laminated shingles manufactured with the Zone have two rain seals to prevent water from blowing up behind the shim. There is also a substantially larger nailing area; up to three times larger than the older style laminated shingle,” continued Malarkey. “It is significantly easier for the applicator to quickly and correctly install theseshingles. They have the best possibility of withstanding high winds and wind-driven rains.”
With the decision made, it was simply a matter of then getting the shingles from the Malarkey plant in Portland, Ore., to Seattle for loading onto a ferry and then unloading onto the dock at Orcas Island. Chance worked with Portland and North Cascade Building Materials in Everett, Wash. “We were right on schedule and then the unexpected happened: a ferry crashed into the Orcas Island dock,” said Chance. “It put us behind for weeks on delivery of the materials. But finally in September of 1999 the materials were delivered.”
The shingles were delivered into the hands of Ralph de Raimo, of Right Angle Roofing. Tidwell had called de Raimo for a bid since Right Angle had been the initial roofing company to help during the blow-off of the old roofing system. “When the old shingles blew off, we needed help right away. Ralph was here and not only helped with the roofing but also with the insurance,” noted Tidwell.
Right Angle recommended tearing off the old roofing system but due to budgetary concerns, the Tidwells decided to go over the old shingles. “We called Malarkey Technical and confirmed that it would work and would not cause problems with the warranty,” continued de Raimo. “With such an old roof, we still took samples throughout the system to make sure that we weren’t roofing over any rotted areas. We did find a few problems. In those cases, we went down to the plywood and either repaired or replaced the decking.”
Malarkey had also donated its modified underlayment, 501UDL. “501 UDL is a great underlayment for areas that deal with high winds and rain,” explained Chance. “It is modified with SBS and offers flexibility and strength for the roofing system. One of the key features of 501 UDL is that it lays flat and does not wrinkle.”
De Raimo applied the 501 UDL on areas of 5-12 pitch or less and didn’t use any additional vapor barrier on the 10-12 pitched areas. “I have been in business for eight years on the island and have worked with Malarkey products before. They are good for the high winds we have on the island,” noted de Raimo. “The local hardware store stocks and recommends Malarkey regularly.”
“The two biggest challenges were getting the materials and checking the old roofing system,” stated de Raimo. “When the ferry crashed into the dock two days before the job started, it really put us off. Once the materials did arrive, it took us over five weeks to roof the hotel. The steepness of the roof and the tight valleys and dormers were partially the reason for the long duration of the job. Checking the old roofing system really took the bulk of the time. If there was any area of question, we took it off and replaced it.”
Right Angle Roofing donated the copper flashings and all hips and ridges. They also worked intensely to deal with the original siding, and had to cut flashings into siding that was quite old. “We didn’t want to change the look in any way of the historical hotel,” noted de Raimo. “The building is very old and so is the siding. We took great care with it all.”
The results are great. “We really like the color,” smiled Tidwell. “We had gone back and forth between Coast Guard Red and Redwood. The Legacy-35 was only available with redwood so we went that direction. We think it looks more like the original than ever.”
“We have had a great response from neighbors. They love the texture and color of the roof,” said Tidwell. “It is great to have not only a beautiful new roof but also a very watertight, strong system. The partnership we formed with Malarkey has been invaluable to us and this historic hotel.”