Polymer Shingle Siding Passes Architectural Muster at Historic Boathouse Row

by Patrick OToole

PHILADELPHIA – One of the most recognizable buildings in this city is getting a facelift utilizing new materials that don’t typically get specified on a historic building. That is why this demonstration may open the door to new materials with other historic restorations going forward.

Thanks to a partnership between the Friends of Historic Sedgeley and CertainTeed this fall, the historic Sedgeley Club Boathouse, featuring Turtle Rock Lighthouse on the east bank of Schuylkill River Boathouse Row, will receive a full siding renovation using CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions Polymer Shingle Siding.

The polymer shingles were unanimously approved in August by the Philadelphia Historical Commission, making this the first time that a designated National Historic Landmark will be clad in the very authentic looking product.

The resemblance of the brand’s 5-inch Sawmill Shingles to real cedar shingles is a key reason why they were chosen over traditional wood shingles for this project. The look comes from molded textures and patterns that replicate the effect of saw blades on real cedar plus the proprietary CedarLife™ Color Blends featuring color-through technology. The CedarLife selection includes a progression of shades that capture the appearance of natural Eastern White Cedar and Western Red Cedar at different stages of life, from new to weathered – permanently retaining that appearance. Also taken into account was the considerable savings in maintenance costs offered by polymer shingles which, unlike wooden shingles, do not require frequent patches and staining, something that is a particularly serious issue for a building abutting a river, where it is subjected to extreme weather conditions.

“It’s like having a house right on the beach that is beaten by the sun and its reflections off the water,” says Karen Earley, vice president of Friends of Historic Sedgeley. “We found Cedar Impressions to be a superior option over re-siding with wood. The shingles are also historically appropriate, and will better protect and seal the house from water and wind.”

The new siding will feature two of the darkest shades of Rustic Blend to have a weathered appearance, for a look that mimics real wood shingles that have aged approximately five years.

“We are incredibly proud to be a part of this National Historic Landmark project located so close to our company headquarters,” said Pam Schechter, president of CertainTeed Siding. “The members of Sedgeley Club did their homework, and thanks to our innovative new material, this historic building will look beautiful for many more years to come.”

The siding will be installed by Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Hancock Building Associates, a CertainTeed 5-Star Siding Contractor. Led by R. Keith McLean, the team also recently completed the boathouse’s new roof installation in 2016, using a CertainTeed Integrity Roof System and Landmark Pro roofing shingles in the color Weathered Wood.

“Building science has come a long way since the Sedgeley Club Boathouse was constructed in 1903. Using 21st century technology will preserve the look of an old building affordably and result in fewer maintenance headaches for the next generation of members,” added Schechter.

Sedgeley Club became one of the first all-women’s athletic clubs in 1897. The club also overcame numerous hurdles in constructing the boathouse in 1903. The 120-year-old organization started the non-profit Friends of Historic Sedgeley in 2012 to attend to restoration efforts and future repairs, including educating visitors about the city’s only operating lighthouse.

Other planned projects include creating a safe path for visitors to access the lighthouse and installing safety fencing next to the seawall. To learn more or to donate, visit www.friendsofhistoricsedgeley.org.

Cedar Impressions Individual 5-inch Sawmill Shingles were introduced last year. For more information about Cedar Impressions Polymer Shake & Shingle Siding, visit www.certainteed.com.

Qualified Remodeler visited the site on October 18 and interviewed Cedar Impressions senior product marketing manager Brian Kirn. A video of that video is shown above. QR

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