What Lies Beneath: Golf Clubhouse Restoration Shows Importance of Effective Waterproofing Systems

When it comes to waterproofing, what is below the surface is just as important, if not more important, than what is visible on the surface. The exterior skin of a building is often just an aesthetic façade that offers some protection. However, a building is truly guarded from the elements by its substrate waterproofing system. If not properly waterproofed, what lies beneath the surface of a building has the potential to be a scary sight.

 

Such was the case of the Scottish-style clubhouse at the Tribute Golf Course in Dallas. Though it looked great from exterior appearances, the clubhouse had a secret lurking behind its EIFS (Exterior Insulating Finishing System) walls. Improper waterproofing had allowed major water infiltration in and around the luxurious balcony areas, which subsequently led to damage of various other building components.

 

Though the clubhouse was only five years old, the original waterproofing systems had caused the building to grow old before its time. Water spots on the ceiling had already been painted repeatedly and new leaks seemed to be discovered every time it rained. Ultimately, Chamberlin was chosen to remediate the water problems, completely rebuild parts of the exterior, and restore the clubhouse.

 

Demolition

Chamberlin has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with general contractor Key Construction, especially on restoration projects. In addition to the Tribute clubhouse, Chamberlin has recently worked with Key on the historical restoration of the Gulf States Building and the Bryan Street Lofts, a new construction project. “Our knowledge, experience and quality work on prior jobs with Key put us at the top of the list for $600,000 restoration of the Tribute clubhouse,” said Project Manager Andy Wharton.

 

Chamberlin, under the direction of Key Construction, began by removing the EIFS and concrete topping on the balcony areas. It was then that the source of the problems became apparent. The OSB (Oriented Strand Board) beneath these areas was found to have no dampproofing and was damaged by dry rot. The concrete balconies lacked waterproofing protection from the aggregate in the concrete, possibly causing holes for water to penetrate the OSB.

 

Once the EIFS was removed, holes were discovered throughout the walls and balcony backup where transitions were improperly waterproofed. A poor installation detail was allowing water to go beneath the membrane, and in some areas, waterproofing was not installed at all causing excessive water infiltration, which naturally led to rot. Unfortunately, the previously installed dampproofing and flashing was limited to felt paper on the walls and plastic strips around the windows. In addition, the faux coping stone around the wrought iron handrails had water seeping in between each of the vertical railing pieces. The faux stone was removed from the balconies, and the railing was salvaged and cleaned for re-installation later.

 

The damage to the balcony areas had a domino affect. Damage was caused because of water infiltration, which was a result of improper detailing. This led to water damage and rot in the exterior walls because water could not flow properly to drains. Just like the children’s song says “the hip bone’s connected to the leg bone,” a building’s waterproofing is all connected and one improperly installed product or detail can cause major problems. In this case expensive remediation throughout the entire system was required. 

 

Rebuilding

Once damaged materials were removed, Chamberlin began installing new dampproofing and insulation on the walls, flashing at windows and doors, and waterproofing on balcony floors. Exposed walls were covered with new Tremco ExoAir 110 peel-and-stick waterproofing membrane. A layer of ¼” foam board insulation was installed to protect the stucco from the asphalt based ExoAir waterproofing, which in turn further insulated the building. Then, a three-coat stucco system was applied in place of the EIFS for durability and longevity. Elastomeric coating was utilized to give the stucco another waterproofing barrier and to perfectly match the color of the existing EIFS clubhouse façade. New cast stone coping and the modified balcony handrail was re-installed as well as new trim to match the previous design.

 

Near the end of the renovation, Chamberlin hit a schedule crunch to finish two weeks early in time for a wedding to be held in the clubhouse. “Senior Superintendent Joe Kuchta and Site Superintendent Artemio Sanchez were the catalysts on the project that kept the work safely moving ahead and even finishing early,” Wharton commented.

 

Back to Life

“It is back to looking like we didn’t do a thing,” said Wharton. “Our finishes and trim match the existing colors so well that it is hard to tell where our work stops and the existing EIFS and trim begins.” And all of this was done while the hotel and hospitality portion of the clubhouse remained open for business and fully functional.

 

After careful scrutiny by the manufacturer, a complete warranty package was issued for the wall dampproofing, flashings, and balcony waterproofing. The final product looks exactly the same as the previous clubhouse, but what you don’t see below the surface is that it is now securely protected from the elements, and above all – it doesn’t leak.