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Modjeska Theater

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Location: Milwaukee, WI

Materials: SBUR with SBS Modified Bitumen Flashings

Square Feet: 20,200

Conditions, Strategies & Results

Modjeska Theater

The Historic Modjeska Theater on Mitchell Street in Milwaukee presented a challenge: water-intrusion and structural shifts threatened to overshadow the historic renovation desired by the caretakers. The City of Milwaukee, keeping the tradition of Historic Mitchell Street, breathed life into the project with assistance from the theater’s caretakers, VJS Construction Services of Waukesha, WI and Roofed Right America.

Most important was to return the theater to a structurally-sound and watertight starting point for the next phase of renovation. Roofed Right America proposed a scope to remove all of the wet insulation down to the structural decking: the uppermost roof consists of a pitched structural concrete deck about eighty feet tall which required a large crane and a partial blockage of the street below for pedestrian safety, and the lower roofs were tongue-in-groove wood board decking which had been eaten away by the elements to the point of collapse. In most areas, water penetration originated from the ceramic coping tiles and the wall flashings before travelling to the inside of the masonry, wearing the cream city brick away before decaying the decking and structural components below.

Project Conditions:

The existing roofing materials were 20,200 square feet covered by a four-ply Smooth Built-up Roofing System (SBUR) with SBS modified bitumen flashings. The roof showed signs of extensive failure and needed replacement.

The timing of the project necessitated a rigorous safety plan with December bringing an early and particularly frigid winter: wind-chills on the jobsite dipped to -5 degrees and snowfall exceeded 10 inches. On a roof with such a steep pitch, even minor accidents compounded by the conditions can easily result in fatality, for which reason we had three full-time safety-monitors and our Safety Director personally overseeing the jobsite during the steep-section phase. This upper-most section of the roofing project was certainly the most laborious, but also the most rewarding; completing it despite such adverse conditions was a major milestone for the project and an immense morale-builder for the roofing crews.

Strategies and Results:

Upon completion of the most difficult section of roofing, Roofed Right America’s masonry crew began the installation of the historic-specification metal counter-flashing and the removal and replacement of the existing ceramic coping tiles with masonry sealant. Several of the ceramic pieces broke during the removal process and custom-molded replacements were created to existing specification and installed in their place.

The lower roof phases involved decking and structural component replacement but were completed according to schedule. Harsh winter weather, time-consuming historic details and potentially dangerous initial jobsite conditions never stop our motivated craftsmen from a safe and successful finish. The Modjeska Theater is a testament to our convictions of pride and quality: the theater’s successful renovation will be completed under the safety and protection of another impressive Roofed Right America installation.

Roofed Right America gives the guaranteed best value on commercial roofing projects with the same caring attitude and quality materials carried by the oldest companies in the Milwaukee area. Our crews are more productive, more caring in the work they perform, and every member of our team is happy to bring our excellent craftsmanship to your facility. There is no sense of entitlement at Roofed Right America, we feel that the best way to earn your trust is to show you the quality and care that we can bring to you at the guaranteed best value. Our Apples to Apples guarantee has yet to be beaten on any project as of yet.

Contact Milwaukee roofing contractors at Roofed Right for a quote.
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