Portsmouth Naval Hospital

Portsmouth Naval Hospital

Building Owner:

United States Navy


Portsmouth, Virginia

Roofing Contractor:

Tidewater Roofing

Roof Area

185,000 square feet




IB Roof Systems


Mechnically attached using 80 Mil ChemGuard Membrane

When the Navy was first preparing to build the Portsmouth Naval Hospital back in 1826, every seaman was taxed for the hospital fund. The original hospital was built the following year and since then the facility has continued to grow. The increasing demand for medical care led to the creation of another building in 1960. Yet more growth meant an additional construction project for Portsmouth during the 1990’s. As it came time for the latest facility to open, the hospital decided to undergo major renovations to its main building. Among the projects: putting a new roof on the 18-story structure. But installing a new roof meant covering more than half a dozen different levels.

Tidewater Roofing of Hampton, Virginia teamed up with IB Roof Systems for the job. Work began in late May of 2001. IB Chemguard 80 mil was chosen for its incomparable chemical resistance and durability. Walk pads were also installed on a number of floors to provide a slip resistant surface for hospital personnel to utilize when working on the roof.

Emmit White, president of Tidewater, says crews faced a number of different challenges over the course of the project. Safety was a major concern since the roof edges had no parapet walls. Many of the higher floors were small, making it difficult to work. Utilizing IB preformed flashings made it possible to complete critical detailing in a shorter period of time.

When it came time to haul materials to the 18th floor, the crane was unable to reach all the way to the top. Once an alternate route was found, crews found an additional challenge: large brackets bolted to the top of the hospital they had to workaround. The brackets are a permanent part of the roof, used to hold a star to the top of the roof during the holiday season.

The crews had no trouble maneuvering through the obstacles they faced and Tidewater completed work on floors 4, 5, 11, 15, 17, and 18 as of January 2003. When the remainder of the work is complete, the first few floors of the hospital will have new roofs, as well. The end result will be a renovated facility to help the Portsmouth Naval Hospital continue offering medical care to its patients for years to come.