Boston, Massachusetts

Gildbert & Becker and Sika Roofing Cook Up a Five- Star Rooftop Patio For Restaurant

When Earl's Kitchen + Bar decided to convert an underutilized roof into a 3,200-square-foot indoor/outdoor patio, they knew they needed to find the right ingredients of skilled roofing contractors and a quality waterproofing system.  They found that with Recover Green Roofs, Gilbert & Becker, and Sarnafil PVC membrane.

Earl's Kitchen + Bar
Boston, Massachusetts 

Boston Properties

Green Roof Contractor
Recover Green Roof, LLC 
Somerville, Massachusetts 

Roofing Contractor
Gilbert & Becker Co.
Dorchester, Massachusetts 

Waterproofing System
System with G 410 60 mil
feltback membrane in Lead Gray  

Project Size
3,200 square feet

Earl's Kitchen + bar
A Recipe For Problems

Earl's Kitchen + Bar is located in Boston's iconic Prudential Center building, and is surrounded on all sides by skyscrapers, so accessing the roof was a challenge.   This was solved by using a pedestrian alleyway as a staging ground to convey materials onto the roof using a mini lull.  

After Gilbert & Becker of Dorchester, Massachusetts installed the 60 mil Sarnafil G410 membrane, Recover Green Roofs of Somerville, Massachusetts affixed a durable Sika protection membrane that would both protect the waterproofing membrane and stand up to the wear and tear of a busy restaurant.  "We like the Sika protection membrane because it is a good sturdy product, and it is compatible with the Sika waterproofing membrane," said Tony Sanchez, vice president of design and project management at Recover Green Roofs.   "The mat is a lot easier to use and install compared to needle punch mats, and being able to heat weld it to keep it in place is a big plus."  

Earls Kitchen + Bar

There was a lot of work that had to happen after the mat was installed.  The Recover team worked creatively around complex design challenges, including expansion joints, vertical columns, and fixed objects on the roof to create a streamlined, well-functioning, and leak-proof system.   These challenges made the concrete paver installation complex, requiring custom cuts and bridging over the expansion joints and drains.   Recover installed 3,200 square feet of concrete pavers on leveled pedestals with integrated subsurface irrigation that runs throughout the roof.  

Water Service

The roof layout is defined by dozens of irrigated planter walls and planters.  A variety of perennials such as small trees, shrubs, and climbing vines as well as seasonally dependent accent annuals transform the space into a unique, lush dining experience.  A smart irrigation system with drip emitters measures the transpiration rates of the plants and allows Recover to remotely monitor and control the irrigation.   

"Above the protection layer and below the pavers we ran irrigation lines that come out of the pavers,"  Sanchez explained.  "We had to make holes to pull the irrigation lines through the planters, which was very challenging because you want to make sure you make the holes in the right spots."

"We had 100s of penetration in the roof for trees, railings, and  the steel structure for the skylight, so we had to cut the roof open and then make it watertight again," John Marcone, vice president and project manager for Gilbert & Becker stated.   There were also a lot of punctures from trades people which had to be addressed, after which the EFVM waterproofing tests were conducted to make sure the roof was watertight.  Gilbert & Becker also had to raise up a portion of the patio two feet to make it level with the rest of the patio, and install membrane over this area.  

Earls Kitchen + Bar
Top Notch Service

The teamwork of Gilbert & Becker, Recover Green Roofs, and Sika Roofing played a major role in the success of the project, most of which had to be completed in a six-week timeframe.  "Gilbert  & Becker and Recover were fantastic," remarked Kirsten Bray, senior project manager, construction + facilities at Earls.  "Gilbert & Becker  did a great job addressing the penetrations and tying in the new patio level with the rest of the patio, and the Recover crew was very driven and diligent about testing the membrane.   I would work with them again in a heartbeat."  

"John Marcone would direct us to the right Sika people if we had some technical questions, and they were incredible to work with and very helpful," Sanchez said.  "It was great working with everyone on this project."  

Marcone added, "Recover Green Roofs were awesome and coordinated well with us and the Sika representatives. "  It was this professionalism that earned Recover Roof third place in the Waterproofing Category of Sika Roofing’s 2017 Project of the Year competition.

The Taste of Success

Today Earl's Kitchen + Bar patrons are enjoying the rooftop patio while those involved with the waterproofing and green roof installation enjoy the taste of success.  "We had three Nor'easters since the roof was installed with no problems," Sanchez said.  "It looks as cleans as the day it was installed.  We hope this project shows the versatility of modern rooftop spaces in the urban environment -- especially in mixed climates like New England -- and creates a precedent for functional, multi-season rooftops of the future."  

Earls Kitchen + Bar

"I would recommend the Sarnafil system again, because of the warranty and because it is such a durable product," Bray commented.  "It gives us peace of mind knowing that such a quality system is underneath all those pavers."  

Lunch, anyone?

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