French Quarter Facelift: The Full Service Approach

Everyone knows that Mother Nature, pollution, airborne corrosives and time all take their toll on a building. The resulting wear and deterioration of a building is, unfortunately, inevitable. With proper care, however, the life of a building’s exterior skin can be extended. One of our most current exterior restoration projects took us to a hotel in the heart of New Orleans where, once again, Chamberlin’s full service approach to cleaning, restoring and sealing the entire building envelope added another successful restoration project to our list of jobs well done.

 

The J.W. Marriott Hotel, formerly known as The Meridian, was built over 25 years ago on Canal Street, just two blocks from Bourbon Street and The French Quarter in downtown New Orleans. During the last 25 years the building has had very little maintenance and renovation. When The Meridian was purchased several years ago by CNL Hotel Development Company (CNL), major upgrades and changes were on the horizon. And with the new J.W. Marriott emblem on the side of the building, the hotel had to visually live up to the stature of the many beautiful hotels in the J.W. Marriott family.

 

Over the years, the exterior stucco walls had deteriorated in several areas and the eighth-floor pool terrace had begun to leak. To evaluate the condition of the building CNL enlisted the help of Vince Smith of Williamson and Associates, Inc. Architects. Smith designed the repair approach and produced architectural drawings giving locations and repair methods. He also provided a list of acceptable contractors that could perform individual parts of the restoration, including Chamberlin, to CNL. Having already worked for CNL Hotel Development on similar projects in Washington, D.C. and Dallas, Chamberlin competitively bid to perform the entire scope of work from demolition to patching, re-waterproofing and sealing. “Since we are a one-source contractor for restoring and waterproofing an entire building envelope,” said Project Estimator Terry Maitland, “we were able to offer the owner a turnkey solution for the whole restoration project. Plus, we have the manpower to tackle large projects in multiple states and still remain price competitive.”

 

Chamberlin began working on the hotel just before Christmas 2004. The exterior renovation required demolishing the stone tile around the pool deck, re-waterproofing the pool terrace and planters, installing new tile and repairing stucco on the first eight floors. Perhaps the most logistically challenging aspect of the project was the fact that the work was to be completed while the hotel remained open and fully functional during their peak season. “That was our biggest challenge,” Chamberlin Project Manager Anthony Smith commented. “Our work was being performed during the hotel’s busiest time of year that included New Year’s Eve and, of course, Mardi Gras.”

 

The Chamberlin crew mobilized to get the project completed within three months. In order to finish the project as rapidly as possible, the Chamberlin team of mechanics started working on different areas of the building simultaneously. One waterproofing team began working on the window and louver glazing assembly remediation on the first through eighth floors. They cut out the failing sealants and replaced them with Tremco’s Spectrem 1 and 2 silicones. A second team began demolishing the pool terrace and planters on the eighth floor. They removed tile surrounding the pool and the leaking waterproofing membrane beneath the tile, as well as the vegetation and existing waterproofing material inside four planters on the pool deck. Since the hotel was in full operation, demolition teams tried to minimize hotel guest and employee disruption by performing all demo work on the 3,000 square feet tiled area in a mere three days.

 

While those processes were getting under way, another Chamberlin waterproofing team began repairing deteriorated stucco. The exterior of the first eight floors was patched and then sealed with elastomeric coating. For the front entrance on Canal Street, CNL chose a vibrant red elastomeric paint to waterproof the formerly gray exterior, thus giving the main entryway a beautiful facelift.

 

Upon completion of the pool terrace and planter demolition, new waterproofing was installed on the terrace deck.  Tremco TP 150 Hot Applied waterproofing membrane was installed on the pool deck and reinforced with waterproofing fabric and protection course.  To allow for proper drainage of the deck, a 2” tapered setting bed was laid. The pool deck was then covered with tan tile pavers to better complement the aesthetics of the hotel. Planters were lined with a root barrier system to prevent the vegetation roots from penetrating the waterproofing material before replanting.

 

The Chamberlin restoration team completed their work at the J.W. Marriott in February. “Hats off to Superintendents John Wheeler and Pat Kelleher,” Anthony Smith commented. “This project signifies the completion of four hotel waterproofing renovations within one year, and they would not have been as successful without John and Pat’s hard work.” All four projects were completed for owner CNL Hotel Development. These projects included the Embassy Suites and Doubletree Hotel in Washington D.C., as well as a Hilton Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Each of these initiatives was driven by different pre-existing moisture and water infiltration problems in the building envelope. At the Embassy Suites, the Chamberlin team repaired concrete, installed deck coating and expansion joints. The Doubletree in D.C. required exterior sealants, decorative deck coating and structural repair under mechanical duct work.

 

No matter the cause of water infiltration, Chamberlin was able to remedy the problems with our full service approach to waterproofing the entire building envelope, a service our clients appreciate and have come to expect.