Surf Mall

Drexel Metals Inc.

Reviving a historic site is always rewarding. But a historic reroof project is truly successful when those involved recognize that they don’t have to recreate history—they can improve it. The Surf Mall in Ocean City, NJ, recently became the enhanced highlight of the Ocean City boardwalk because of a new metal roof from Drexel Metals, Inc., Ivyland, PA.

“Reroof projects give a building owner the opportunity to express a building’s history but with updated technology and materials,” said Brian Partyka, president of Drexel Metals. “Almost any look can be created with metal because of various profile options, but metal also provides added strength, durability, longevity and sustainability.”

The mall’s history began as the Showboat Theater in 1929, a re-creation of a previous theater that was destroyed by a fire in 1927. Showboat changed its name to SURF in 1939, and by the 1970s, the years began to show. Standing water, crumbling walls and roped-off dangerous theater sections forced the theater to close in 1979. A renovated facility reopened years later as the Surf Mall, a stop for tourists and locals to collect souvenirs and boardwalk memorabilia. By late 2010, improvements were once again needed.

KMR Enterprises Inc. is an Ocean City design-build firm that worked with the mall owner to create reroofing options. “The mall was in desperate need of improvements,” said Michael J. Schlembach, president of KMR. “The previous steel roof was rusted and faded, and there was evidence of coastal destruction and blow off. It was in really bad shape, and the owner needed to look at what could be done to improve the look of the building but also the safety issues.”

Michael and his team, particularly KMR Vice President Kris Schlembach, joined forces with Drexel Metals to battle this challenging project. According to Michael, he selected Drexel Metals because of its superior warranties, fast delivery, rollforming equipment and color-matching partnership. He added: “By picking Drexel Metals, we could work directly with them instead of going through a distributor or separate channels. They are so easy to work with and exceeded our expectations.”

Tear off work began in November 2010, once the summer boardwalk season was wrapped up. Working on the coast in the winter presented challenges, but what the crew uncovered was worse than any nor'easter. Underneath the deteriorated metal were a modified bitumen roof and wood decking that needed to be replaced. Not only did all these layers show signs of damage, but the entire roof structure also had a bounce factor that needed to be corrected. The building’s original construction span created a roof deflection, which Michael believes allowed wind and water to penetrate the system and deteriorate the roof faster than is typical for a properly installed metal roof.

The crews worked quickly but meticulously to ensure the safety of the building contents. Long days were spent tearing off the metal and immediately covering up what was removed. In the end, the 20-plus-member crew installed a new 5/8-inch plywood deck, redid framing and adjusted roof pitches to correct areas of ponded water. The addition of new plywood along with 2- by 6-inch stiffeners and thousands of fasteners eliminated the deflection issues.

Drexel Metals supplied DMC175, a 24-inch coil with 18-inch pan. The new metal roof is a 1-¾ Snap Lock panel, which was roll formed on-site. The 0.040”-aluminum is coated with TRINAR® from AkzoNobel, Columbus, OH. The coating contains 70 percent PVDF resin for unmatched durability even in a harsh ocean front environment. This type of coating is considered the premiere finish for architectural metal construction applications thanks to its superior color and gloss retention. At the owner’s request, AkzoNobel created the custom color—Wind Surf Blue—to match the previous metal roof system.

“We are always willing to do custom color matches for specific projects, and the Surf Mall is a prime example of how this flexibility can result in an eye catching final installation,” said John Roscoe, of AkzoNobel. “The Surf Mall is a property that has welcomed generations of summer vacationers, and it needed a color that could return it to the center of attention that it deserves to be. Thanks to our custom color matching service, we were able to provide a finish that fit very naturally in a boardwalk setting.”

Coastal considerations obviously were vital for a building that sits directly next to the ocean. KMR selected a thicker gauge coil, stronger profile, additional clips and superior coating to help this roof stand up to Mother Nature. The roof was tested to meet Miami-Dade County standards of 135-mph wind load. New Jersey officials also enforced stringent engineering requirements to ensure the safety of the structure.

As a local business, KMR appreciates the team effort that was put forth for more than six months to improve Surf Mall. But as a resident, Michael hears firsthand what this retrofit means to the community. “I often ride my bike down the boardwalk and friends and familiar faces stop me and say, ‘Hey Mike, the Surf Mall looks great. The color just pops out at you, you can’t miss it.’”

Partyka added: “The Surf Mall shows that historic sites are more than a place to buy T-shirts and beachwear, but it also illustrates the need for meeting new codes and standards, proper installation, and advanced engineering. This project was such a success because so many companies put their expertise together to overcome what the coast and time had done to the 80-plus-year structure. Drexel Metals appreciates the professionalism and hard work of KMR, and we thank them for choosing us to be involved in their community improvement.”

Drexel Metals, Inc. is a leading supplier of equipment, materials and technical support for the regional manufacturing of metal roofing. Drexel Metal Roof Systems supply contractors and distributors with the equipment and materials to fabricate metal roofing panels on-demand through a low cost supply chain versus purchasing pre-fabricated metal roofing panels. Our engineering and technical expertise give our installers and manufacturers the tools to increase profitability and customer satisfaction, as well as the peace-of-mind to take the next step in building a more successful business. Specifically, through DM-ARM, Drexel provides state-of-the-art panel-fabrication machinery; comprehensive training; an unparalleled quality assurance program; a reliable material supply chain; a robust warranty program; and responsive, on-demand customer service and technical support. For more information, please contact Drexel Metals at 888-321-9630, or visit us at

About AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel is the largest global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. AkzoNobel supplies industries and consumers worldwide with innovative products and are passionate about developing sustainable answers for our customers. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we are a Global Fortune 500 company and are consistently ranked as one of the leaders in the area of sustainability. With operations in more than 80 countries, our 55,000 people around the world are committed to excellence and delivering Tomorrow’s Answers Today™. To learn more, contact AkzoNobel at 614-294-3361, or visit

About KMR Enterprises Inc.

KMR Enterprises Inc. specializes in the architectural metals market, offering aluminum composite wall panels, architectural metal roofing, insulated panels, louvers, sunshades, soffits, etc. The company provides its services all along the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Florida. KMR offers the full package to its clients, which includes materials, installation, shop drawings and value engineering through the design-build process. For more information, call 609-399-0015, or visit

About Drexel Metals

Drexel Metals Inc. is a provider of coil, engineering support and machinery to jobsite fabricators of metal roofing. For more information visit

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