Bahama Breeze: Re-roofing With Synthetic Cedar Shakes for Aesthetics and a 50-Year Warranty

The Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Raleigh, NC was due for a new roof. Most of the roofing system was made up of natural cedar shakes that were curling up at the edges. Some pieces were missing as well. Problems like these with cedar shakes are part of the slow, normal progression of natural shake aging — over time the product distorts and cracks.

Why we chose to replace natural shakes with synthetic shakes

We were called in by the regional facilities manager of Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and other restaurant brands, because we’ve been working with them for years in the Atlanta area. We don’t ordinarily travel out of state for projects but we do for specialty projects and we’re always happy to accommodate our clients when possible.

We hadn’t installed the original cedar shakes so this time around we recommended that Darden re-roof with synthetic cedar shakes because of where the property is located. Shakes are not as common in the southeast as they are on the west coast and in Colorado where they last 25-30 years — our humid climate isn’t friendly to natural shakes, whether they’re made out of cedar or treated pine. In humid climates, synthetic shakes last more than twice as long as natural shakes. The synthetic shakes give the restaurant the Caribbean appearance it requires while also being warranted for 50 years.

Centerlines and getting it right the first time

Our steep-slope experts did both the preparation and installation. We used all new materials with a strong overlap and interlaced with felt.

Since the main part of the roof is an octagonal structure, we needed to lay out the roofing pieces before installing them, much in the same way that a tile or suspended ceiling installer makes their preparations. We created center lines as reference points that started from the center point moving out so in the end each of the eight roof portions would be identical and have a uniform appearance. Everything needed to be exact in the pre-planning or the finished sections would appear cockeyed.

Another reason to get everything perfect before beginning to install is that synthetic cedar shakes are as expensive as natural slate! This type of roof costs roughly six times what a typical flat roof costs. We were able to get as good a price as possible because Darden Restaurants needed a large quantity to re-roof other locations as well. The customer-color shake product we used is from an industry leader and one of our favorite manufacturers, DaVinci Roofscapes.

Scheduling, process and safety

We were fortunate that the Bahama Breeze manager let our crews use a normal work schedule even though initially we planned to do a lot of demolition work overnight. They made sure not to seat people underneath the section of the roof we were working on so it wouldn’t disturb their meals.

The synthetic shake installation technique is similar to slate installation. So is the way that you maintain and repair the shake. We used ropes and safety harnesses at all times and the reason you don’t see any warning lines in the photos is that they don’t do any good on a sloped roof! We used a lull forklift to get the roofing material off and on the roof. This keeps the job site neat and does not affect operations inside the business.

In addition to this Bahama Breeze, Sentry Roof has re-roofed a dozen Red Lobster restaurants for Darden Restaurants and solved many roofing problems on other properties they own, including retrofitting. And we currently have two more Darden Restaurants properties in we’re in the process of re-roofing. Sentry takes pride in the strong partnerships we develop with our clients — we believe it’s why we’ve been in business for 35 years.

If you have any questions about re-roofing with synthetic cedar shakes for commercial re-roofing or new construction, please let us know. We’re glad to answer any questions and give you our thoughts on the different materials you can consider for your roofing project.

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