Dewey Lifesaving Station roof to be replaced

Low bidder Spicer Bros. chosen to install asphalt shingles
October 20, 2020

The Dewey Beach Lifesaving Station is set to get a much-needed new roof, as commissioners voted Oct. 9 to accept a $13,624 proposal from low bidder Spicer Bros. to install architectural shingles.

Interim Town Manager Jim Dedes said he obtained six bids from contractors on cedar, metal or asphalt shingles. He said metal was ruled out because it wouldn't match aesthetically, leaving the best choice between asphalt and cedar, which currently covers the roof.

Dedes said some bidders didn’t recommend cedar because the building sits next to the ocean, and other bids for cedar shingles were cost-prohibitive.

Dedes said he was told the current roof’s cedar shingles were installed incorrectly; roofers used too many nails, which split the shingles. The current roof was installed before his time, and there is likely no warranty at this point, he said.

The price will likely go up a bit if roofers need to replace plywood underneath the shingles, Dedes said. The town could get a 40-year manufacturer warranty, or pay extra for a 50-year warranty. Spicer Bros. will install the roof, and the shingle manufacturer will inspect it to ensure installation was done correctly, he said.

Dewey Beach Building Official Daune Hinks said the building is in a wind-borne debris zone right next to the ocean, and that architectural asphalt shingles have a greater protection rating. 

Commissioner Gary Persinger said he had 15 years of experience with a cedar shake roof in Dewey Beach.

“It was not a pleasant experience,” Persinger said, noting that repair issues always arose regarding the correct kind of nails and contractor qualifications. He said he favored architectural-grade asphalt shingles, some of which have the appearance of cedar.

Commissioner David Jasinski abstained from voting on the type of shingles. He said the building is supposed to be a historic replica, and that shingles will make a significant difference in its appearance.

Commissioners agreed that if Spicer Bros. can’t install the roof within 60 days, the next-lowest bidder will be approached. Commissioners voted unanimously to pay for the roof from the general fund.

The station overlooks the ocean at the end of Dagsworthy Avenue, and it is a 1988 replica of the original building that was commissioned as the Rehoboth Beach Lifesaving Station in 1878. The original station was decommissioned in 1947, and was moved first to the Forgotten Mile, where it was converted into a private home, and later moved to Shipcarpenter Square in Lewes, where it was restored as a home and still stands today.

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