Light to get new skin

Spring is here, and preservation crews will soon be out in force at the two Grand Haven lighthouses.
Alex Doty
Mar 22, 2014

This summer, the bulk of the work will focus on the entrance light, which will be preserved similar to the inner light was last summer.

Despite the preservation aspects, there are some differences planned for this latest phase.

“The original plan was to sandblast the outside and paint it,” Grand Haven Public Works Facilities Manager Dan Vivian said. “You won’t see any scaffold like we had there last year.”

Instead, the lighthouse will be re-skinned with new corrugated metal siding.

“It’s a very cost-effective solution,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “We saved a lot of money on sandblasting.”

Vivian noted that by going with new siding, the cost of the project will be about $33,750.

“We’re looking at a change of about $11,000 to forego the sandblasting,” he said.

Funding for both lighthouse projects comes from donations raised by the Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy.

The decision to go the new route was made, in part, to give the structure a clean, patch-free exterior that isn’t susceptible to break-ins from vandals or other damage.

“The stuff that is up there right now has been patched,” McGinnis said. “We’re going to take that off and put new up. With it all one piece of metal, we think we’ll discourage efforts to break in.”

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


Real estate maven

Is corrugated metal siding as ugly as I picture it to be? And for the entrance to our harbor? And to save $11,000? So the 2 structures won't match, one will have an ugly corrugated steel skin on it and the pure structure itself is still falling apart? I am not even close to being knowledgable on this but this doesn't sound like an effective or intelligent allocation of dollars to me. If the dollars aren't there to do it right let's wait a year or 2 and not cut corners on something that will look bad for years to come.

makes sense

Yes, good comments and questions. This so-called article doesn't explain anything hardly. We need full details on this face-lift. If it's going to change the appearance substantially, then it's not right.


The lighthouse currently has corrugated metal siding. It is in poor condition. The windows and other areas have been patched over. It probably is painted with a lead-based paint. Sandblasting the old paint requires encapsulating the structure to prevent lead/paint dust from entering the waters. It is prudent to remove the old siding and to replace it with new siding which will match the original siding. Hopefully, they will use a prepainted red siding which has a very durable finish and will look great for lots and lots of years. By having prepainted siding, the renovation will go very quickly. Note to crew: Cut the siding with shears, not with a saw. Sawing heats the siding up and ruins the galvanization!


It will look like we have built a pole barn at the end of our pier then. Please reconsider this decision. I agree with Real estate maven...wait and do it right.


Maybe everyone is answering simultaneously, but this is a 1-to-1 replacement. The corrugated steel is already there. It never has matched the inner lighthouse. It will just be getting a more environmentally friendly paint.

Dave Vander Meiden

Great thinking, Einstein! Funny that you agreed with Maven who at least acknowledged that he was not knowledgeable on this subject. Do you even know what corrugated metal looks like and have you ever actually visited the pier house? It is currently skinned with corrugated metal and has been for as long as I can remember. To replace corrugated metal with corrugated metal is precisely what a preservation project should do! I'm curious what you would suggest as an alternative? Vinyl siding to match your house?

Tri-cities realist

“The stuff that is up there right now has been patched,” McGinnis said. “We’re going to take that off and put new up. With it all one piece of metal, we think we’ll discourage efforts to break in.”

All one piece of metal? Now that would be something to see! Does McGinnis have a clue what he is talking about?


Replacing the skin is definitely the way to go. Hopefully they will pre-paint the new sheet off site. Which will give them the advantage of being able to apply a very durable coating system. One that's not possible to apply onsite. One thing I don't understand is how they are going to be able to correctly prep and paint the struture/framing the sheeting is secured to without doing any blasting out there. Fact is you can't. So we'll see what really happens regarding sand blasting. I just hope the contractor will have his act together a little bit better than he did when working on the Lighthouse.


this is our should not be made to look tacky...lets reframe this discussion and do it right.

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