roofing and roof specialties

Traditional Blend

A sympathetic addition to a clubhouse in Atlanta features a tile roof that blends seamlessly with the original.

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By Hadiya Strasberg

Because the addition stands next to the existing clubhouse, it was important that the roof tile match in color, size and texture.

The oldest golf club in Atlanta, GA, the East Lake Golf Club has been the permanent host of the TOUR Championship since 2005. So when it planned to build a 20,000-sq.-ft. addition, the club was insistent that the 2008 playoffs, held in late September, were not to be postponed due to construction. This meant that all of the work had to be done within one year. The other stipulation was that the new building, including the tile roof, should look like its historic counterpart.

This tight schedule was difficult, but the architects, contractors and product manufacturers and suppliers worked together to complete the project in on time. "We began work in May 2007," says Chuck Hull, principal architect at Atlanta-based Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates (SRSSA). "Construction began in February 2008, and the clubhouse reopened for the TOUR Championship on time in September 2008."

A new 20,000-sq-.ft. addition (right) to the clubhouse at Atlanta, GA's East Lake Golf Club was designed by Atlanta-based Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates (SRSSA). The two structures share similar Tudor-style framework and detailing as well as clay tile roofing. All photographs: courtesy of Rob Wehr, Ludowici Roof Tile

The original clubhouse, designed by Neel Reid in 1915, is a Tudor-style building that features a half-timber façade and clay tile roofing. "When the club decided to build an addition, it specified that it should be, as much as possible, indistinguishable from the existing club," says Hull. "We based our design on original drawings of Reid's work that showed the existing design with a single-story wing to the north." Although this wing was not built in the early 20th century, it did serve as a guide to the new structure. SRSSA followed the design guidelines when designing the single-story, 20,000-sq.-ft. addition with a half-timber façade. Although the design follows Reid's historic guidelines, the building does deviate from the original drawings in some respects, such as the orientation and gable expression.

The custom-designed clay tiles on the original clubhouse building were manufactured by B. Mifflin Hood Tile Company, which went out of business in the 1950s. In order to replicate the roof, New Lexington, OH-based Ludowici Roof Tile was brought on board. Ludowici's first step was to color match the glazing.

As the addition was conceived of as a traditional design, SRSSA worked with many manufacturers and tradespeople in the traditional building field. This included Ludowici Roof Tile of New Lexington, OH, which came on board in September 2007 to re-create the custom roofing tile on the existing clubhouse.

When Ludowici was first contacted about the clubhouse addition, there was a slight mix-up. "It was funny, because Hardin Construction, the general contractor, called me and said, ‘We know it's your tile on the existing clubhouse roof, and we want you to supply more for our addition,'" says Rob Wehr, Georgia sales manager at Ludowici. "But it wasn't our tile." The tile for the original clubhouse had, in fact, been manufactured by B. Mifflin Hood Tile Company, a rival to Ludowici that went out of business in the 1950s. Luckily for Hardin Construction and East Lake Golf Club, Ludowici and its 121 years of tile-making experience had the ability to match the tile.

SRSSA, Ludowici and the roofing distributor spent two months trying to match the colors. They started out with a handful of the tile company's standard line and then tweaked them slightly with each attempt.

In December 2007, Wehr and others conducted a building assessment. "We took chips and samples of the tile to get an idea of the colors," says Wehr. "We weren't able to take entire tiles off the clubhouse, though, because the owners did not want to damage it in any way."

From September to March, Ludowici was involved in color matching. "We started with Ludowici's standard colors," says Troyce Jackson, sales representative with roofing distributor JGA Southern Roof Center in Norcross, GA. "Once we had established a palette of similar colors, we worked with ceramic engineers to develop custom glazes."

"It was a long process of tweaking the colors," says Wehr. "We would send the tiles to our ceramic engineers, they would change the colors slightly and we would compare the samples to the existing tiles. This was repeated until the architects were satisfied that we had matches." The architects were involved, says Hull, "because we had to decide on both the correct color for the individual tiles and the percentage mix of each color in the final blend." Fourteen different glazes, ranging from shades of red and orange to shades of green and black, were chosen for production.

The B. Mifflin Hood tile palette was made up of 14 different colors, which ranged from shades of red and orange to shades of green and black.

Interestingly, the tile Ludowici was matching had been manufactured differently from the way clay tile is made today. "B. Mifflin Hood didn't apply glazes on their tile," says Wehr, "but achieved their colors by ‘fire flashing,' which means they injected gas into the kilns and ramped up the heat at certain points. So while we determined that there were 14 different color tiles on the clubhouse roof, B. Mifflin Hood never set out to make that many. It just happened." Fire-flashing is considered too dangerous today; coloration is achieved now by metallic chemical glazing.

After the glazes were matched, SRSSA and Ludowici made mockups of the roof layout. "It should look random," says Wehr, "but in order to achieve the right blend, it is actually semi-scientific." Together, Ludowici, SRSSA and roofing subcontractor KTM Roofing of Snellville, GA, determined the number of colors that should be placed in each area to re-create the blends found on the roof of the existing clubhouse. Once on site, KTM blended all 14 colors on the ground in a staging area. "KTM organized the tile in groups of 100," explains Wehr. "In this way, the number of tile was easy to determine. For example, if one color glaze should make up 14 percent of the roof, the installers would take 14 tiles for each section. When all 100 tiles were collected, KTM would mix them up randomly."

Roofing accessories, such as ridge tile, were also replicated. The original ridge tile features a very thick collar and heavy scoring, both of which Ludowici was able to match.

Jackson, who worked alongside Ludowici, remarks that some of the colors were used quite sparingly, while others were needed in large quantities. "There was a large disparity in the number of tiles needed for each color," he says. "Some colors made up 21 percent of the roof; others made up 14 percent and then down to as little as 3 percent."

The roof, which was approximately 13,000 sq. ft., required about 34,000 tiles. Because 100 tiles covered about 40 sq. ft, the selection process was repeated many, many times. Installation took about two months during the summer of 2008. To ensure that it would be completed on time, KTM used a team of 15 roofers who worked 13-hour shifts, six days a week.

Just as the glazes were custom colors, so were the sizes and shapes of the tile. "Our standard-size tile is relatively close to the size of the tile from the existing clubhouse," says Wehr. "Ludowici could have matched the size exactly but only at a hefty additional cost." Instead, Ludowici increased the size only slightly to save on material and labor costs, while simultaneously achieving a close match.

As for the shape, the company used the same manufacturing process it uses for its Georgian tile, which it most closely resembles, and then tweaked the surface texture. "Ludowici's Georgian tile has vertical scoring, so that it resembles a lightly brushed surface," says Jackson. "For the tile at the clubhouse addition, we needed heavier, rustic-looking, vertical scoring and some horizontal scoring, which is very rare, but it was easily replicated with a simple adjustment to the machinery."

Roofing accessories, such as ridge tile, were also replicated. The original ridge tile features a very thick collar and heavy scoring, both of which Ludowici was able to match. "We used one of our signature #211 ridge tiles," says Wehr, "and then used the same 14 custom colors and custom texture we had developed for the field tiles."

The level of craft and detail that went into the new tile roofing added to the success of the new clubhouse addition. "We have reports that some club members asked the club manager which portion of the building was new, which pleased everyone involved," says Hull. "It is a testament to the collaboration between client, architect, contractor and supplier. It made for a good experience as well as a successful result."