Cedar Shakes

Renovation of Hawaii’s Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel

by Alison Diegel, freelance writer for the construction industry

From Architectural West Mar/Apr ’10

In Waikiki, a popular Hawaiian vacation destination, there is an abundance of hotels, resorts, and condominiums.  Waikiki is a tourist’s mecca for relaxation, sightseeing, shopping, and high-energy nightlife.  The town itself hosts many events each year on its beaches, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing, and outrigger canoe races, a traditional island water sport for which the Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel is named.

         The 25 Outrigger resorts and resort properties span across four islands of Hawaii, and the newly remodeled Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel is the pride of the fleet.  The $110 million transformation began in 2007 in an effort to redefine the Outrigger Reef as a modern, elegant site inspired by Hawaiian traditions.

         With amenities such as a poolside bar and restaurant, spa, and porte-cochere, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach provides genuine hospitality and authentic cultural experiences from dining to décor and events.  Great care was taken when renovating to offer a truly unique, world-class vacation getaway, rich with Hawaiian heritage and modern comfort.  In addition to the interior renovations, the work included new construction and retrofitting for the existing porte-cochere, lobby trellis, and Kani Ka Pila Grille restaurant.

         The Outrigger Reef sits on the edge of the beach and its prime location subjects it to the damaging effects of the ocean water and winds.  Stephen Sang, an architect with Quad Design Group, Inc., Honolulu, chose to design the new porte-cochere like a Polynesian canoe house and use the building to display a century-old restored outrigger canoe.  He knew that superior exterior building products would be essential for providing protection as well as aesthetic appeal.

         When planning the roof, Sang wanted a roofing product that could withstand the Hawaiian climate and still meet tourists’ expectations of luxury.  After weighing many options, EcoStar(TM) Seneca Cedar Shake Tiles(TM) were chosen as an eco-friendly, durable, synthetic alternative to the existing natural cedar shake roofs of the Outrigger Reef’s porte-cochere and various other buildings.  While other brands were considered for the roofing project, none of them met the strict requirements of Quad Design Group.  Sang worked to identify the best option for replacing the original wooden shake on the Outrigger Reef and found that EcoStar’s Chestnut Brown Seneca Shake was the perfect complement to the hotel’s open-air environment.  He knew that it would maintain the natural look sought by the building owners.

         Unlike the original cedar shake roof, EcoStar’s Seneca Cedar Shake Tiles provide enhanced durability and require virtually no maintenance.  Because of Hawaii’s climate, the original natural wood shake roof required ongoing maintenance including power washing every couple of years that had led to deterioration.  In contrast to traditional wood shake, EcoStar’s Seneca Cedar Shake Tiles offer superior performance, little to no maintenance, and a 50-year Gold Star Warranty.  Long-term cost comparisons show that during the 50-plus-year service life of EcoStar’s Seneca tiles, traditional shakes would need to be replaced at least two or three times.  EcoStar’s minimal filler content ensures long-term protection and enhanced durability.

         EcoStar was recently acquired by Staroba Plastics.  Staroba, the original and continuous manufacturer of the recycled rubber and plastic tiles, purchased the sales and marketing portion of EcoStar from Carlisle SynTec.  Staroba Plastics has been the manufacturer of the product since the inception of the product, close to 20 years ago.  In the early 1970’s the formulation for Starloy (Staroba Alloy) was developed by the Staroba family.  This base formula of recycled rubber and plastic is the foundation for the injection-molded roofing tiles.

         With the roofing material specified, Honolulu Roofing Company Inc. was chosen to install the roofing system.  Although its personnel had never worked with EcoStar previously, the tiles’ reputation put them at ease, as did the EcoStar professionals who provided installation training.  With the high winds and extremely sharp 24:12 roof pitch, ease and safety were top priorities for the crew.

         Because of the steep pitch, the lightweight qualities of the EcoStar Seneca shake tiles were a huge benefit.  Manufactured from 80% post-industrial recycled rubber and plastic polymers, the tiles are extremely light in weight, nearly half the weight of traditional cedar shake, and provide minimal impact on the building structure while also offering easy installation.

         Honolulu Roofing began by tearing off the existing cedar shake roof and installing EcoStar’s Glacier Guard self-adhering underlayment to the wood deck, ensuring superior protection from damage caused by water infiltration, which is a frequent occurrence in high-wind areas like Hawaii.  After adhering the Glacier Guard to the deck, Versashield underlayment was also applied and then installation of the Seneca Shake tiles began.  “We were pleased with the ease of the installation despite the initial worry of working with such a steep slope and the fact that this was our first EcoStar project,” said Dora Fong of Honolulu Roofing.

         The porte-cochere, the lobby trellis, and Kani Ka Pila Grille restaurant were also covered in a blend of Seneca Cedar Shake Chestnut Brown tiles to match the entryway.  The look and attention to detail in the remodeling of the Outrigger Reef transformed the hotel into one that embraces the spirit of the sea while welcoming the cultural traditions of Hawaii.  With a newly remodeled interior and exterior, and with an eco-friendly, sustainable EcoStar roofing system that will withstand almost anything Mother Nature brings its way, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel is ready to provide luxury and protection to its visitors for a long time to come.

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