Thatched roofs were, and are, a way of life for some cultures. The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii needed a new roof for its signature entry building that was 23,500 square feet of thatch. High winds and heavy rains had taken a toll on the large thatched roof; the new roof needed be durable, yet still maintain the cultural and historical integrity of the Center. The Center had several smaller buildings throughout the grounds. Several different products were tested on these roofs to determine which product would meet the goals of the project; DECRA Shake in Weathered Timber was chosen.
The thatched roof had to be removed. Installed on spaced sheathing, there was no solid deck under the thatch. Two options are available when spaced sheathing is encountered: use counter battens and battens without filling in the spacing, or fill the spacing as necessary and use only the battens. DECRA Shake works with either a batten or a batten and counter batten system. Be sure to consult local building codes before determining which option to pursue; some codes require that the spaced sheathing be filled.
In this situation, battens and counter battens were used over the skipped/spaced sheathing without fill. While there is no replacement for original thatch, the DECRA Shake was a great alternative for the Center; the stamped shake pattern on the steel resembled the random look of the thatched roof. The ceramic stone granules that protect the steel panel also provide texture so the roof does not appear flat, further emulating the original thatch and maintaining the cultural and historical integrity of the Center.
The project is shown "after" the DECRA Shake stone-coated steel roofing was installed in the top two photos. The bottom "before" photo shows the old thatched roof.