Lakewood, OH

Condo Restoration

A Golden Opportunity

Marine Towers

Lakewood, Ohio is a beautiful suburb of Cleveland, known for its gorgeous lakefront living. The Gold Coast neighborhood of the city is a line of luxury high-rises that offer some of the most breathtaking views of Lake Erie that one can find. Marine Towers is one of those buildings, and its amenities and location make it a highly desirable place to stay. But, its proximity to the lake brings some special challenges. As you’ll see in this case study, while the view is spectacular, this job is no day at the beach for our team. With serious safety obstacles and some interference from mother nature, this project is interesting. Replacing masonry work, brick and lentil replacement, tuckpointing, and caulk replacement are things we do every day. Fighting high winds and a temperamental lake, however, make this project unique.

Mother Nature’s Greetings

The Challenge

Some hard-to-replace masonry? No problem. Positioning equipment over delicate sandstone? We can do that too. Convince Mother Nature to calm down while we complete work on a building? Not quite as easy! There were days on this project where the wind kicked up midday with our crew on stages hundreds of feet above the lake, and they had to be called off of the apparatus until the winds subsided. Couple that with a unique building design that leaves no place for our crew to tie-off their swing stages and you’ve got a difficult rigging project. Our crew had to get creative to find ways to stay safe, and if the stages weren’t OSHA compliant, the work would be stymied. Careful planning would be the only way to combat the wrath of the Great Lake.

The lake had another major impact on this project. Being that close to the water means that you can get moisture in the walls of the building. The winds blow so hard that horizontal rain is common, so that means there can be water in the masonry. Because of that, all of the mortar joints needed to be re-tuckpointed. Normally, this would be a routine job, but with this building layout and these weather conditions, this job is anything but routine.

Measure Twice, Tie Once

Our Approach

Safety First. Quality is the Standard. That’s the Cleveland Building Restoration motto, and the crew took that to heart when plotting on this project. The rigging strategy took about three times as long to plan as a normal project, but it paid off on the first phase, as it was completed with no setbacks, and most importantly, no injuries. The high winds of the lake lost the battle in round one, and that’s a result that we expect to continue through the remaining phases of the project.

To combat the water impact on the masonry work, a painter was subcontracted to coat the surfaces with a BASF elastomeric coating to help bridge hairline cracks. The membrane allows the brick to “breathe”, and lets vapors escape if water gets into the building. The crew re-tuckpointed the mortar joints and sealed off the gaps. All masonry work on the East elevation is done, including caulking around the doors and windows. For now, it’s CBR – 1, Lake Erie – 0.

All Shipshape

The Outcome

There are two more phases left to complete the project, but for now, phase one is complete. The crew learned a lot, not only about working on this building but about working on similar lakefront properties in the future. Phases two and three should take much less time to complete now that the team is familiar with the layout and environment, but as always, if taking a little longer to plan means a safer project for our team, then that’s what we’ll do. We’ll take a break while the lake freezes over, but when it thaws in the spring, we’ll be right back to work, helping the Gold Coast remain a Cleveland treasure!

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