Selecting the Right Materials for the Project Makes a BIG Difference

Essex House imageThis article was first featured in Focus Magazine Jan/Feb 2013 Edition.

The Essex House, a three -story (14-unit) luxury condominium complex located on the sand in Marina del Rey was a property that was in need of some serious help. The original selection of building materials, coupled with years of deferred maintenance, had caused serious problems for this property. The heavy marine environment, the constant “sand blasting” and the harsh sun had taken its toll on the complex. When we were hired by the Association the building envelope had deteriorated to the point that portions of it were wrapped in plastic and had been for some time. The roofs leaked, the siding leaked, the doors and windows leaked, and the property values were depressed for such a premier location. These problems existed because of the type of materials that had originally been selected for the buildings, compounded by the lack of maintenance required for those materials in that environment.

From the onset of the project the Board realized that there would need to be a major renovation to the exterior envelope of the buildings. It became apparent to us very quickly that replacing the existing building materials with the same materials was not a good solution for the long-term life cycle of the building , nor was it a good solution for the ongoing maintenance costs. With the approval of the Board we solicited suggestions from an architect and made the recommendations to change the wood siding to stucco, to use a commercial grade window system on the expansive window front of the buildings, and to replace the worn out built up roofing with a new single-ply system. The rooftop decks were also replaced with new materials; all exterior metals were specified to be high grade stainless steel; and where possible items such as the weep screed, which are typically metal, were specified as vinyl. All materials were selected because of their ability to withstand the constant sand, sun and salt air environment.

Today the buildings are some of the most attractive on the sand in Marina del Rey. Not only have the severe water intrusion problems been eliminated completely, but the property values have been greatly enhanced.

Les Jillson
Vice President

Design Build Associates