OMNI MOUNT WASHINGTON HOTEL BRETTON WOODS, NEW HAMPSHIRE

CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc., owner of the Omni Mount Washington Hotel and Resort, decided to update and insulate the hotel’s signature red metal roofs to help preserve the grand hotel that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. “We are now putting a new winter bonnet on the Grande Dame with an innovative, fully insulated roof,” read a letter that was sent to hotel guests before their arrival. “This preservation measure will prevent icicles from forming during the winter months, and the subsequent damage it has been known to cause.” The owner’s representative and senior project manager, Joni Fournier of Consilium Partners, LLC, of Denver, Colo., noted the last time a completely new roof was put on the entire building was in 1955. Prior to that the hotel’s five story towers and major portions of the roof had been copper that was originally green but had been painted red to imitate Spanish tile. Portions were reroofed in 1999.  The roof and the hotel were run as a summer vacation attraction until that same year when skiing and other winter sports became more popular in the region and guests began staying year round. Consequently, because it was originally designed to be a summer resort,  it was a ‘hot roof’ in which heat escaped from the main hotel into the attic spaces that were not insulated, making the snow melt and slide, which created massive, heavy icicles. Some were six-feet-plus long — as large as a VW bug and when they fell, they sometimes pierced the flat roof below.

Because this was a renovation project, the goal to update and insulate the existing signature red metal roofs naturally led to the re-specification of a new standing seam metal system. A primary concern was choosing a product that would be durable and resistant to weather including some of the highest wind speeds and winter temperatures recorded in the continental United States on nearby Mt Washington.

The project began when steps were taken to winterize the property and create a “cold” roof. Extra layers of insulation were installed, attic flooring laid down, and various roof penetrations that opened up to the sky were eliminated. Continuously vented spaces over the extra insulation in the roof and walls cools the roof surfaces down, reducing the possibility of ice formation.

An elaborate network of internal roof drains and catch basins were also installed, multiple roof-piercing vent pipes were consolidated and curbs added at the roof perimeters to keep water from running over the edge. Freezing water was redirected to the internal drains. Meanwhile, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane roofing was laid down on flat roofs. Rodd Roofing was contracted directly to the owner, CNL.  The preservation of the front porte cochere proved particularly satisfying to Fournier who supervised the removal of layers and layers of paint and the installation of a sturdy metal-and- glass insert to replace the very delicate glass-and- wood skylight that was previously in place. The result was a porte cochere that looked the same but was better able to withstand the harsh cold, winds and snow near Mt. Washington. Interestingly, a piece of glass from the original skylight was recently discovered and put on display. In addition, two of the rambling structure’s towers were reconstructed to accommodate cellular telephone amplification and to generate more heat, then recapped with new standing seam roofing panels.

Rodd Roofing of St. Johnsbury, Vermont installed the extra layers of insulation and laid down a rugged Englert 1300 Series Profile standing seam red metal roof. The 1 1/2" mechanically seamed standing seam roof is Florida Building Code compliant and Dade County tested for wind uplift and is coated in Kynar 500 PVDF. It was rollformed onsite with an Englert Metalman rollforming machine. Over many decades Rodd Roofing has worked with hotel management providing emergency service and maintenance.  Rodd Roofing’s knowledge and attention to detail led the MWH Group to contract with Rodd once full roofing replacement became necessary. Working closely with the owners and architects, this design group worked tirelessly to overcome both the shortfalls in the original 1900’s construction and to incorporate 21st century design elements.

There was never any issue that a standing seam metal roof would replace the existing one. Restoration was always a key objective in a $60 million refurbishment of the rambling structure, of which the roof was an important element. The structure was first built in 1901 with a copper roof that was later painted red.  For more 80 years, as you turned into the Mount Washington Hotel scenic driveway, the complementing beauty of the red metal roofs had been strikingly evident and an important visual trademark of this iconic landmark hotel.

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