Overlooking Lake Huron and set amongst lush gardens, the Island House Hotel was built on one of the most valuable historic sites in the State of Michigan and resides within the boundaries of the Mackinac Island State Park.
A nod to its 19th-century roots, the destination hotel undertook a winter maintenance project that granted a timeless ambiance for decades to come.
Historic jobs require careful roofing procedures and attention to detail. Restoration efforts also entail an understanding of the building components involved with historic structures. The roof of the Island House Hotel was in desperate need of refurbishment considering its age and the historic nature of its construction. In addition, the severe weather conditions of the island impacted the roofing system over the years.
Due to the existing slatboard on the roof deck from previous wooden shake construction, the roof required a complete re-sheeting job. An experienced contractor was needed to restore both the appearance and the physical integrity of the historical roofing system.
Green Horizons, a roofing company known for historic and high-end roofing around the Great Lakes, was selected to take on this iconic and challenging project. The finished project went on to take home an award in the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) 2022 Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards Program.
ARMA honored Green Horizons with the 2022 Bronze Award in the Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards Program. This program recognizes low and steep-slope asphalt roofing projects across North America based on four categories: Reasons for Selecting Asphalt, Performance, Beauty, and Distinction. ARMA received over 80 submissions this year, which were judged by a panel of industry experts and members of the trade media, including RC.
Officials with Green Horizons said the team was proud to win the award, especially since the Island House Hotel was a complex project with the goal of preserving history.
Originally constructed in 1852, the Island House Hotel was one of the first summer hotels on Mackinac Island. Throughout the years, the hotel continued expanding with different rooflines, angles, and pitches. The 35,000-square-foot roof features 350 squares, 38 dormers, and two conical roof sections, one towering at six stories high. The average roofline sits at a height of four stories. Due to its vastness, Green Horizons considered the number of materials and amount of labor needed to complete the project on time. The restoration efforts were designed to maintain the classic beauty of the roofline as well as provide long-term performance benefits. The contractor addressed many areas of substantial settling, leaking, and rotting across the entire roof. The highest conical roof section still had the stamp of the original construction date but was in complete disrepair. Green Horizons rehabilitated the structure and added gold paint, restoring the rounded finial conical roof to its former grandeur.
Green Horizons tackled this complex project with a high level of carpentry integrated with roofing expertise. The contractor was most proud of seeing the success of their employees. The lead installer was able to cut perfect inverted triangles to re-sheet specific pitches of the roofline. Numerous custom, pliable pieces were built to integrate with the historic construction of the building. An additional brass finial was added to the peak of the roofline to represent the connection of sailboats to the community. This was the final touch to the gorgeous roof restoration.
One of the major obstacles to restoration involved logistics and transportation of materials to the Island House Hotel. Due to its unique location and the island-wide ban on motorized vehicles, all materials that arrived at the jobsite had to be delivered to a mainland ferry, loaded onto a freighter boat, and then transported to the project site by horse-drawn carts. Each cart team had approximately 4,000 pounds of materials. Part of the charm of Mackinac Island is the historic character of the homes, hotels, and transportation methods. Historic jobs require preserving the integrity of the area. Island locations also add layers of complexity and deliver unexpected challenges unique to roofing projects on the surrounding mainland.
Green Horizons was under heavy time constraints to finish the work after the summer tourist season and before the ferry system shuts down due to ice buildup in the straits of the Great Lakes. Furthermore, the project had to be reviewed by City Council and go through a lengthy permitting process. This squeezed Green Horizons into a timeframe to complete the project within five weeks. Green Horizons pulled off the difficult task of re-sheeting the roof on time, preserving the history of the Island House Hotel for years to come.
Asphalt Shingles: The Right Solution
Green Horizons utilized asphalt shingles to maintain the historic aesthetic while providing the necessary strength and durability to protect this island property. Asphalt shingles were the natural answer for the roof as the flexibility of the product gave way to the substantial settling of the 165-year-old wood frame construction. Asphalt roofing is uniquely qualified to address the different rooflines, angles, and pitches of this structure. This project used the Malarkey Legacy shingle line due to the all-weather resilience of the shingles. The architectural shingle delivers a Class 4 hail impact rating and adds durability to the roofline.
For more information about ARMA’s Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards Program, visit www.asphaltroofing.org/excellence.