With its stunning colonnaded façade and landscaped grounds near the sweeping waters of the Delaware Bay, the Congress Hall Hotel is a centerpiece landmark of Cape May, N.J. It inspired John Philip Sousa to compose his "Congress Hall March" in its honor, and served as a Presidential retreat prior to the establishment of Camp David.
When Core Painting & Powerwashing of Marmora N.J. was awarded the exterior paint job of the National Historic Landmark, however, the building needed a lot of work. "The hotel had been plagued for a while by paint stripping off the building," says Rob Duzy, founder of Core Painting, which since its inception 20 years ago has taken on some of the most sensitive and demanding commissions in the Ocean City area.
Core used roto-nozzles to remove the finish down to the bare bricks. Crews further prepared the surface by tuck pointing bricks and mortar that had been damaged over the years. Because of the location near saltwater and National Park Service regulations against harsh chemicals, Core selected Sherwin-Williams UltraCrete SolventBorne Texture Coating. The product's fade resistance – particularly because of the bright yellow color selected – was a major selling point for his client, Duza says.
Tight deadlines and building size presented other problems. Five different lifts – up to an 80-footer – were used.Crews painted at night to accommodate guests of the hotel, which was open during the project. The 180-year-old shutters were removed and factory-dipped to remove stubborn old layers of paint. Fresh coats of A-100 Latex Primer and SuperPaint Exterior Latex Satin have them looking like new again.
Congress Hall's property management company was so impressed with Core Painting & Powerwashing's work, that they commissioned them to restore four more buildings on Cape May's Historic Jackson Street. It's a testament to Duzy's commitment to excellence in both his work and choice of high quality Sherwin Williams products.
"I treat every building I paint as if it were my own home," he says. "I wouldn't use anything but the best." Though it's unlikely his company will encounter a job of this high visibility and complexity again, Duzy welcomes the challenge.
"This was the paint job of a lifetime," he says, "and the next time it needs to be painted, we'll gladly do it all over again."