About Chris King

Chris King is the editor in chief of Roofing magazine. He has covered the construction industry for 18 years, previously serving as editor of Roofing Contractor, managing editor of the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, and associate editor of Plumbing & Mechanical. He can be reached by email at chris@roofingmagazine.com.

Restoring Natural Slate Roof Takes Expert Craftsmanship

Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

When it came time to replace the roof on Howard W. Jones Hall, Youngstown State University wanted to closely re-create the original graduated natural slate roof. Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

Even slate roofs have to be replaced sometime.

Howard W. Jones Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the campus of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. The limestone structure with its twin towers is an iconic structure, and when the original slate roof finally deteriorated, the university wanted to keep the stately look of natural slate on the building’s exterior.

Charles F. Evans Company Inc. of Elmira, N.Y., was awarded the Jones Hall restoration job in early 2017 and named 37-year veteran Ken Dennison as the project manager. “We seem to excel in doing difficult projects, including specialty systems of slate, tile, and architectural sheet metal,” Dennison says. “We emphasize quality workmanship and uncompromising customer satisfaction. We also emphasize safety, and currently we are the only roofing contractor to be an approved OSHA VPP mobile Mobile Workforce STAR contractor.”

The university wanted to replicate the existing 6,500-square-foot graduated slate roof with random widths, and slate roofing tiles in the same color and size range were chosen. The scope of work included repairing the existing masonry and installing copper gutters, valleys and flashings.

Going Old School

The first step was removing the old slates, which proved a tough task. “We had to remove them almost one by one,” recalls Dennison.

Copper details were custom fabricated for counterflashing and step flashing.

Copper details were custom fabricated for counterflashing and step flashing. Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

The existing wood plank deck was in very good shape, and Carlisle Water & Ice Protection self-adhering underlayment was installed at the eaves, valleys and rakes. It was also applied around all of the details. Then two layers of 30-pound felt were tacked into place with plastic-capped nails.

Natural hand-split roofing slate was delivered pre-cut and pre-punched by Evergreen Slate Co., located in upstate New York. The slates were mixed to ensure proper color distribution and arranged in piles for installation on the site. Once the underlayment was in place, the slate was installed just as it might have been a century ago. “We used copper nails,” Dennison notes. “Everything was nailed by hand—two nails per slate.”

The installation called for a 3-inch head lap. “With random slate, you don’t need to put any vertical lines in, because nothing is going to line up vertically,” Dennison explains. “Every side lap has to be at least 3 inches, but there is no set pattern for the widths—we just mix them up. That’s why they use the term ‘random.’”

Handcrafted copper details completed the distinctive, traditional look. Flat-seam copper panels from Revere Copper were installed in the valleys, using clips to allow for expansion and contraction. Copper counterflashing and step flashing were also custom fabricated. “We bend it to fit whatever we might need,” notes Dennison. “We have a talented sheet metal shop at our office where we fabricate the big stuff, but we also cut and shape panels on site.”

Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

Photos: Charles F. Evans Company Inc.

A detailed safety plan was set up for the building, which was open and active during the entire installation process. Scaffolds with decking were erected at the eaves, and temporary tunnels were engineered to protect pedestrians at the entryways.

The rake edges did not have scaffolding, so a safety perimeter was set up 6 feet from the roof edge. Workers outside the line had use a personal fall arrest system, which was secured to anchors screwed into the rafters. “All of our mechanics are extensively trained, and each year everyone goes through additional training sessions,” Dennison says. “We all know what we’re supposed to do. We have a very stringent plan on project safety.”

Slate itself can pose its own set of safety concerns. “Slate can be heavy and sharp,” Dennison says. “It’s rock. You have to be very careful, but the guys that do it love it. A lot of roofs these days are totally hidden. On a slate project, at the end of the day you can step back, see what you’ve done, and be proud your work.”

Charles F. Evans is just putting the finishing touches on the roof at Jones Hall. “When we’re done with a project and the customer is happy, that’s the best satisfaction you can get,” Dennison says. “When the client is happy and you look back and see a beautiful product that you know you had a hand in—that’s what I like about it. A slate roof is really a work of art that will stand the text of time.”

TEAM

Architect: eS Architecture and Development, Dublin, Ohio, esarchitecture.com
Roofing Contractor: Charles F. Evans Company Inc., Elmira, N.Y., Evans-roofing.com
Slate Supplier: Evergreen Slate Co. Inc., Grandville, N.Y., Evergreenslate.com
Copper Supplier: Revere Copper Products, Rome, N.Y., Reverecopper.com

Metal Roof Provides Durability, Energy Efficiency for Florida Preschool

The Goddard School in Ponte Vedra Beach was constructed from an existing building

The Goddard School in Ponte Vedra Beach was constructed from an existing building that was entirely gutted and remodeled. It features a standing seam metal roof manufactured by Metal Sales and installed by Ford Roofing Systems. Photos: Jacob Maust, Ford Roofing Systems Inc.

“Almost everything we do is kind of odd, weird and unique,” says Jay Maust, president and owner of Ford Roofing Systems Inc. in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The company excels in high-end commercial and residential projects featuring metal, tile, slate and asphalt shingle roofing.

A recent metal roof installation in Ponte Vedra Beach was more straightforward than many of the company’s projects, notes Maust, but it has the aesthetics and architectural flair the company is known for. The project came to the company like all of the rest of the company’s jobs do: as a referral from an existing customer.

When the relative of a previous residential roof customer decided to completely gut, renovate and expand a building to put up a teaching preschool known as the Goddard School, Maust was called in to consult on the project, come up with a roof design and install it. The result was a standing seam metal roof that provides the durability and energy efficiency the school requires.

The existing shingle roof was torn down to the trusses, and any damaged trusses were replaced. After new wings were added, the building envelope was insulated with spray foam. New plywood decking was installed, and after the deck passed the county inspection, Maust dried the building in with Boral Tile Seal self-adhering underlayment. “It has great thermal properties to it,” he says. “In my opinion, it is the best peel and stick on the market.”

The next step was to install painted metal perimeter wall flashings for the metal roof system that would also serve as stops for the HardiePlank and stucco siding. “It not only provides waterproofing protection but creates a tie-in for our system,” says Maust. “We call it a receiver flashing. It provides a nice, straight line where the siding or stucco ends. There is typically blue plastic that covers the metal, and after the siding is installed, you just peel the plastic sheeting off, and any paint or residue that might have gotten on the metal is peeled off with the plastic. And the end you have a beautiful piece of metal that enhances the look of the building—and it’s a water barrier.”

The standing seam roof was manufactured by Metal Sales Inc. On jobs such as this one, the project superintendent typically measures the roof by hand and prepares a cut list for the manufacturer. Metal Sales shipped the finished panels to the site, including 24-gauge galvalume panels painted in Kynar Silver Metallic, drip edge, hip and ridge panels, and headwall flashing.

Precise Execution

Since the front entryway was still under construction, roofing crews began at the back of the building and worked their way forward. One hurdle was formed by the addition of a back wing, which had a primary support beam that intruded on a designed valley. Since the support could not be moved, Maust decided to change the slope of valley to avoid the potential eyesore.

Photos: Jacob Maust, Ford Roofing Systems Inc.

Photos: Jacob Maust, Ford Roofing Systems Inc.

Architectural details included shed dormers over the doorways and windows, as well as gable dormers with false louvers.

Proper placement of penetrations on metal roofs is critical, notes Maust, and the company takes pains to ensure that penetrations are kept to a minimum and are properly designed and executed. Crews make sure plumbing stacks are in the center of a panel and don’t interfere with the ribs. When plumbers rough in the stacks, roofing crews make sure the last section of pipe can be rotated to ensure it is in the center of a panel before the final cuts are made. “We make them go through this extra step,” Maust says. “If they won’t do it or can’t do it, we’ll do it for them.”

Coordinating work with representatives of other trades on the project was difficult, but it is necessary part of the process, according to Maust. Ford Roofing workers made sure to be on hand to assist framers, as well as contractors installing siding, stucco, fascia and HVAC equipment. “That is our roof, and we don’t want anyone else walking on it, period,” Maust says. “We’ll install weather vanes, cupolas—whatever’s going up there.”

The standing seam metal roof was installed after the building envelope

The standing seam metal roof was installed after the building envelope was insulated with spray foam. The result is a durable roof system that helps ensure energy efficiency for the building. Photos: Jacob Maust, Ford Roofing Systems Inc.

The company built a curb for one of the HVAC fan units, and flashed in another that had a factory-installed curb to ensure they looked identical. “We went up there and sealed it in and flashed it,” Maust notes. “We made it look like it was part of the roof.”

For those forced to walk on the panels, rituals include knocking boots on the ladder and wiping the soles with a towel to ensure no sand or grit could possibly mar the finish. “We use foam tubes on our ladders so we don’t scratch the paint,” Maust explains. “It’s a learned process, and we’ve learned a lot of things over the years.”

Safety is always the top priority on every project. “On steep–slope jobs like this one, everyone wears harnesses and is tied off to their own bracket, which is properly attached to a truss,” Maust notes. “We are always checking on each other. Sometimes it’s hard to see if someone is tied off when they are on the top of the roof, so we developed this little motion where someone on the ground will make a hand gesture, and the person on the roof will pull up his safety line to demonstrate they are tied off.”

The installation on this project went like clockwork, according to Maust. “I’ve been doing this since I was 14,” he says. “The key is logistics. Is there stress sometimes? Absolutely. You just have to pace yourself.”

Photos: Jacob Maust, Ford Roofing Systems Inc.

Photos: Jacob Maust, Ford Roofing Systems Inc.

Maust is detail-driven, but he realizes it’s people who must execute the error-free, eye-catching projects that generate referrals. “Success comes from having guys in the field that care,” he says. “They understand very clearly that if they do a good job, this job is going to lead to another job. They get that. I also get that.”

The key is to not only build strong roofs but strong relationships. “I’m a very social person when it comes to my homeowners and my contractors,” Maust says. “If I’m working for a contractor, I want to meet the homeowner and help them select their tile. I want my reps, my builders, my homeowners to embrace a project together. I want everybody to know everybody. You develop these friendships and relationships, and that’s where great projects and great referrals come from.”

“That’s how I get my work,” Maust concluded. “All of my projects come to us through word of mouth. I’ve never placed an ad.”

TEAM

Architect: Dig Architecture, Jacksonville, Fla., Dig-architecture.com
General Contractor: Benchmark Commercial Group, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., Benchmarkcommercialgroup.com
Roofing Contractor: Ford Roofing Systems Inc., Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Fordroofingsystems.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Metal Sales Inc., Metalsales.us.com
Underlayment Manufacturer: Boral Roofing, Boralamerica.com/roofing

North Carolina Middle School Generates More Energy Than It Uses

Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County, N.C.

Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County, N.C., was designed to be an energy-positive building. It generates 40 percent more energy than it consumes. Photo: Mathew Carbone Photography

When Robbie Ferris first presented the idea of a school building that generates more energy than it uses, people were skeptical. Now he can point to Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County, N.C., as proof that a high-performance school building can go well beyond net zero and generate 40 percent more energy than it consumes.

Ferris is the president of SfL+a Architects and manager at Firstfloor, a development company that specializes in public-private partnerships and design-build-operate agreements. “We designed the building, we own it and we lease it to the school district,” he says. “We monitor all of the systems remotely. One of the reasons we do that is because when you put really high-performance systems in buildings, you have to make sure they are operating at peak efficiency. It can take time to make sure everything is optimized.”

Three years after completion, Sandy Grove Middle School is outperforming its energy models, and the building continues to win accolades. It recently received Energy Star 100 Certification and has been recognized as the nation’s most energy positive school.

“Sandy Grove Middle School is a perfect example of a high-performance facility,” says Ferris. “With the public-private lease-back model, everyone wins. The students receive a quality school, it fits in to the school system budget, and it is energy efficient to help both total cost and our environment.”

The building’s systems were designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, and that includes the roof, which features an array of photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity. “We wanted a roof that would last 30 years,” Ferris notes. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of success with TPOs, and metal roofs as well. This particular client wanted a metal roof look from the front, but they were very open to a membrane roof on other parts of the building. We made the decision to put the metal roof on the front of the building and a TPO on the wings at the back of the building.”

On this project, the warranties were important considerations, along with durability and energy efficiency. SfL+a specified a standing seam metal roof system manufactured by Dimensional Metals Inc. and a TPO system manufactured by GenFlex. “Obviously, if you’re putting a couple of million dollars’ worth of solar panels on your roof, you want to make sure you have a roof that is going to be problem free.”

A Smooth Installation

The installation was a challenging one, but everything went smoothly, notes Aaron Thomas, president and CEO of Metcon Inc. Headquartered in Pembroke, N.C., Metcon is a full-service general contractor that specializes in energy positive commercial buildings, so it was perfectly suited to serve as the construction manager on the project.

Photovoltaic panels were installed

Photovoltaic panels were installed on both the standing seam metal roof and the TPO system. The systems on the low-slope roof sections are fully ballasted, and both sections were installed without penetrating the roof system. Photo: SfL+a Architects

Thomas and Ryan Parker, senior project manager with Metcon, coordinated the work of subcontractors on the job, including the Youngsville, N.C. branch of Eastern Corp., which installed the TPO and metal roofs, and PowerSecure, the solar installer on the project, based in Wake Forest, N.C.

The roof systems covered 85,000 square feet, and Sharp PV panels were installed on both the metal roof and the TPO system. Solar panels were also installed on freestanding structures called “solar trees.” Each solar tree is 20 feet tall, 25 feet wide and weighs 3,200 pounds.

“The TPO roof system was upgraded to an 80-mil product due to solar panels being added to the roof,” Parker notes. “It was 100 percent ballasted on the low-slope sections, with slip sheets being used below the racking on the TPO roof.”

On the metal roof, clips manufactured by S-5! were used to affix the solar racking to the seams. “There are no penetrations for the frames, and penetrations for the electrical wiring went through vertical walls, not the roof,” Parker says. “There were no penetrations anywhere in the roof system, which made all of the warranties that much easier to keep intact.”

The biggest challenges on the project, according to Parker, were coordinating the different scopes of work and ensuring all of the manufacturers’ warranty considerations were met. “We had two different kinds of roofs, both coupled with solar panels,” Parker says. “Like any rooftop with photovoltaic products, there had to be special attention paid to the warranties of all parties involved. Both Genflex and DMI were closely involved in coordinating details to ensure that the owner achieved a great roof free of defects.”

The building’s systems were designed for energy efficiency

The building’s systems were designed for energy efficiency, and the roof features an array of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Photo: Mathew Carbone Photography

One key was developing a detailed schedule and keeping everyone on it. “We would meet once a week and huddle up on how it was progressing and what else needed to be done,” Parker recalls. “We found that by using a collaborative submittal sharing platform, all of the varying parts and pieces could be checked by all parties to ensure compatibility.”

There were multiple safety concerns associated with combining solar panels to the roofing system, so everyone had to be on the same page. “The roofing subcontractor and the solar subcontractor performed a joint safety plan that utilized common tie off points,” Parker notes. “The job had zero lost time.”

“Everyone coordinated their work and it was a great team effort,” Ferris says. “It was one of the smoothest jobs I’ve ever seen. We have not had a single leak on that project—not a single problem.”

Proof Positive

For Ferris, the greatest obstacle on energy-positive projects convincing members of the public and governmental agencies of the benefits. “The biggest challenges had nothing to do with construction; they had to do with just doing something new and different,” he says. “The toughest challenge was getting the school board, the county commissioners, the public and the review agencies on board. It took a very long time—and lots of meetings.”

Photo: SfL+a Architects

Now Ferris can point to Sandy Grove as an example of just how a high-performance school building can pay huge dividends. “As soon as you see it in real life, you’re on board,” he says. “It’s very exciting for people to see it. If we can get people to the school, they’ll walk away convinced it is the right thing to do.”

With Sandy Grove, the school district has a 30-year lease with an option to purchase. Ferris believes the lease model is the perfect solution for educators. “We’re responsible for any problems for the life of the lease,” he says. “If a problem does come up, we usually know about it before the school does because we monitor the systems remotely online.”

“In their world, buildings are a distraction from educating kids,” Ferris concludes. “This is one building that is not a distraction.”

TEAM

Building Owner: Firstfloor, Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., Firstfloor.biz
Architect: SfL+a Architects, Raleigh, N.C., Sfla.biz
Construction Manager: Metcon Inc., Pembroke, N.C., Metconus.com
Roofing Contractor: Eastern Corp., Youngsville, N.C.
Photovoltaic Panel Installer: PowerSecure, Wake Forest, N.C., Powersecure.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Dimensional Metals Inc., DMImetals.com
TPO Roof System Manufacturer: GenFlex Roofing Systems, GenFlex.com

Copper Is the Solution for Challenging Residential Roof Restoration

This home in Alexandria, Va., was retrofitted with a copper double-lock standing seam roof system

This home in Alexandria, Va., was retrofitted with a copper double-lock standing seam roof system installed by Wagner Roofing. The 16-ounce copper roof panels were 17 inches wide. Photos: Landmarks Photography—Jay Stearns

“We like the tough jobs,” says Dean Jagusch, president and owner of Wagner Roofing Company. “We like the intricate jobs.”

Headquartered in Hyattsville, Md., Wagner Roofing has served the Washington area market for more than a century. “We specialize in historic restoration and innovative architectural roofing and sheet metal,” Jagusch notes. “We’re full service. We do slate, copper, tile, and have a low-slope commercial division as well. But our trophy stuff tends to be of the steep-slope variety.”

A recent residential restoration project in Alexandria, Va., certainly qualifies as “trophy stuff,” taking home a North American Copper in Architecture Award from the Copper Development Association (CDA) in the “Restoration: Roof and Wall” category.

It’s easy to see why. The origami-inspired design features multiple roof angles, but the daring design was problematic. Even though the home was relatively new, the owners were plagued by leaks. Along with Restoration Engineering Inc. of Fairfax, Va., Wagner Roofing was called in to consult on the project, determine the source of the leaks, and come up with a solution.

The original galvalume standing seam roof channeled the water into a large, stainless steel internal gutter with roof drains. Jagusch found that the leaks were occurring at two types of critical points. First, there were leaks where the internal roof drains met the central gutter. The other problem spots were along the pitch transitions.

Jagusch felt that installing a conventional-style painted galvalume roofing system in those spots was almost impossible. “We felt that was since it was an area that was failing, we wanted a metal we could work with when we met a transition and turn the panels vertical where we needed to without having to break them and rely on rivets and caulk,” he says.

Custom five-sided downspouts were fabricated

Custom five-sided downspouts were fabricated, but large windows at the back of the home offered few options for support. The downspouts were attached up under the framing system. Photos: Landmarks Photography—Jay Stearns

Copper was the answer. “The detailing was pretty tough to do, so we recommended changing it to copper so we could work with it, be able to solder and have a more seamless roofing assembly,” Jagusch recalls.

Another key to the project was redesigning how the roof drained. “We decided to push all the water to the exterior,” he says. “We collaborated with Restoration Engineering and we fleshed out the original redesign.”

The team decided that installing a copper roof system with a new drainage plan would be the best way to eliminate the leaks and keep the inspiring look the homeowners desired.

“We wanted to eliminate the drains and push all the water to the exterior, so that’s why we went for the re-slope of the big central gutter,” Jagusch says. “Also, at the transitions, we wanted to make sure we were 100 percent watertight, so we used a combination of turning up panels and soldered cleats to get everything into place.”

Solving the Puzzle

With its intersecting planes, the roof made laying out the panels an intricate puzzle. “You also had large expanses of roofing that changed pitch throughout,” Jagusch explains. “Panels had to be laid correctly because not only does the roof slope up, but it also slopes sideways. The layout of the panels was critical from the get-go. We all looked at it and agreed that we would follow parallel to the actual trusses, which we felt was the best solution.”

The old roof system was removed and stripped down to the 3/4–inch plywood deck. “We covered the entire roof deck with Grace Ultra,” said Jagusch. “We then used a slip sheet and installed 1-inch-high, double lock, 17-inch-wide, 16-ounce copper standing seam panels.”

Photos: Landmarks Photography—Jay Stearns

Photos: Landmarks Photography—Jay Stearns

Panels were roll formed at the Wagner metal shop out of 20-inch-wide coils using an ESE roll former and trailered to the jobsite. Approximately 5,400 square feet of copper panels were installed on the project. The double-lock seams were mechanically seamed. Twenty-ounce copper flat-seamed panels were used in the large valleys.

The safety plan included full scaffolding during every phase of the project. “We have our own safety scaffolding system,” Jagusch says. “Our guys demand it on our jobs, and we demand it of them to come home safely every day. We are very proud of our safety record. It’s front of mind for us.”

In addition to the roof, all of the metal cladding was replaced on the southeast feature wall. The top of the wall was reconfigured to accommodate the new sloped valley. Where the wall met the roof, a band was fabricated to match the top part of the fascia. Other details included copper cladding for the chimney.

Drainage was redirected to the perimeter, where custom-fabricated gutters were installed. “On the west side, the roof was originally designed to dump off straight onto a rock feature on the ground, but we fashioned a custom copper box gutter about 35 or 40 feet long,” Jagusch states.

At the either end of the large internal gutter and at the end of a large valley, shop-fabricated copper conductor heads were installed. Custom five-sided downspouts were fabricated, but installing them posed another challenge, as large window areas offered few options for support. The downspouts had to be snugged up under the framing system.

“Everything had to work with the other building components,” Jagusch explains. “One of the tougher things on this project was being able to have the function and the form both top of mind, in that order. The key was to make the functional stuff look good.”

Showpiece Project

The project was completed about a year ago, and the copper has begun to change in color. “The copper now has a gorgeous bronze, kind of purplish hue to it,” notes Jagusch. “I think it will eventually develop a green patina, but with the way the environment is these days, I think it will take 15 years or so before it gets to that point. That’s the cool thing about copper—it’s a natural, breathing material that is constantly changing, constantly evolving.”

Copper cladding was installed on a feature wall

Copper cladding was installed on a feature wall, which also featured changes in slope. The top of the wall was reconfigured and a band was added to match the top part of the fascia. Photos: Landmarks Photography—Jay Stearns

Wagner Roofing has a maintenance agreement in place on the home, so Jagusch has stayed in touch with the owners and kept tabs on the project, which is performing well. “I’ve got just one hell of a team here,” he says. “It wasn’t just one estimator that went out and brought this thing in. In our business, estimating and roofing is a team sport. We kicked this thing around a lot with all divisions of the company, from estimating to operations to the actual installers before we finally settled on a number for this thing.”

“We work on some pretty spectacular places, and of course this is one of them,” he concludes. “We like a challenge, and this is the stuff that my team really loves to get their teeth into.”

New Construction Project Tests Contractor’s Mettle

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

Independence High School in Frisco, Texas, was conceived as an impressive new construction project on a tight schedule. The standing seam metal roof of the building was a key component in the architectural planning, as it was designed to provide aesthetic appeal for the massive structure while minimizing the view of mechanical equipment for passers-by on the ground.

The roof also was comprised of several low-slope sections, which were covered with a modified bitumen system. Both the metal and modified systems contributed to the building’s energy efficiency, helping the project achieve LEED Silver status.

The roof systems were installed by the Duncanville, Texas, branch of Progressive Roofing Services. Randy Dickhaut, the company’s general manager, indicated the project was completed in approximately one year—an ambitious schedule for a job of this size. “It was a challenging new construction job,” he says. “There were a lot of logistics involved, but in general, the job went very well.

A Tale of Two Roofs

The first goal of the project was drying in the metal decking. A two-ply, hot–mopped modified bitumen system manufactured by Johns Manville was installed on 24 decks totaling approximately 195,000 square feet of low-slope roof area. The system was applied over two layers of 2 1/2-inch polyiso insulation and 1/2-inch JM Securock cover board. The system was topped with an Energy-Star rated cap sheet, DynaGlas FR CR.

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

In the nine sections where the 88,000 square feet of metal roofing was installed, two layers of 2 1/2-inch polyiso insulation were attached, along with plywood decking and self-adhering TAMKO TW Tile and Metal underlayment. The standing seam metal roof system was manufactured by McElroy Metal, and the company provided the manpower and equipment to roll form the panels on the job site. Roof panels were the company’s 22-gauge Maxima 216 panels in Weathered Galvalume. These panels were complemented by 24-gauge Flush panels on walls and soffits.

The roll former was mounted on a scissor-lift truck. The eaves of the building were approximately 36 feet off of the ground, so a sacrificial panel was used to create a bridging effect to help guide panels to the roof. “Basically, the roll former went right along with us,” Dickhaut recalls. “We would pull 30 or 40 squares of panels, then drop the machine and move to the next spot. We were able to roll the panels right off the machine and lay them in almost the exact spot they would be installed.”

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

The length of some of the panels posed a challenge, and as many as 12 crew members were needed to guide them into place for installation. In the steep-slope sections, crew members had to be tied off 100 percent of the time, so retractable lanyards were used to help keep safety lines out of the way.

The roof was mechanically seamed using a self-propelled industrial roof seamer manufactured by D.I. Roof Seamers. “We call it walking the dog,” notes Dickhaut. “One man can operate the equipment, and he just walks it every inch of every seam.”

The metal roof was designed to hide the mechanical equipment for the building, and Progressive Roofing completed work on two deep mechanical wells before the HVAC equipment was installed. “In the wells, we used McElroy’s Flush panels for the vertical surfaces and transitioned to the metal roofing,” notes Dickhaut. “In the bottom of the mechanical wells, we installed the Johns Manville modified roof and flashed the curbs.”

Rising to the Challenge

Dickhaut points to a few challenges on the job, including the length of the panels and the weather. “Overall, the job went really well,” he says. “The architects did a great job on the design, and McElroy has really good details. It was a pretty straightforward process. There was a lot of wind and rain we had to cope with. When you have a 100-foot panel that you can’t kink or scratch, it can get kind of tricky. You just have to be very careful.”

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

Photos: Lynn Cromer Photography, Ferris, Texas

The Texas weather made the schedule unpredictable. “We were on that job over a year, so we caught all four seasons,” he says. “Weather had a huge impact. We dealt with extreme heat, humidity, snow, ice, mud, monsoon-type rains. Texas throws anything and everything at you.”

Whatever the conditions, Progressive Roofing was ready. “We show up locked and loaded,” Dickhaut says. “We attack it. We have seasoned veteran roofers that lead the pack. On that particular project, we had an architect, roofing consultants, an owner’s rep, and a general contractor. We would also bring in the McElroy and JM reps periodically for consultation. It’s really a team effort.”

TEAM

Architect: Corgan Associates Inc., Dallas
General Contractor: Lee Lewis Construction Inc., Dallas
Roofing Contractor: Progressive Roofing Services Inc., Duncanville, Texas

Snowstorm in the Gym

I was recently introduced to Mike Pickel, co-founder of Texas Traditions Roofing in Georgetown, Texas. We were busy preparing case studies for our education issue, so I asked him if he’d worked on any interesting school projects lately. He replied, “Well, I did just get a call about a snowstorm in the gym.”

It took a second to wrap my head around that statement. A snowstorm. In the gym. In July. In Texas.

Now, that got my attention. I must admit, that wasn’t at all what I was thinking about when I asked about projects for our education issue. Our case studies usually put the spotlight on marquee projects like the new basketball arena at Ole Miss or the new indoor football practice facility at Liberty University covered in this issue. We were also following stories about a metal roof on a new construction project in Texas, a large hot-mopped modified bitumen re-roofing project in New Jersey, and a solar installation on a school in North Carolina.

But a snowstorm in the gym—I had to hear more about that. Talking with Mike Pickel reminded me that trophy projects are one thing, but there are a lot of less glamorous but no less important tasks that can make up the typical day in the life of a roofing contractor.

Texas Traditions had helped out at Summit Christian Academy in Cedar Park, Texas, before, solving some tricky leaks in the mechanical wells over the classrooms that had puzzled other contractors for years. “They started saying we were miracle workers,” Pickel recalls. “I said, ‘No, we’re just roofers, ma’am.’ But they just loved us from that day forward.”

So, it was natural that school administrators called Texas Traditions when an unusual problem revealed itself in the gym. “They called us and said, ‘We’ve got a problem out here. We don’t know what’s going on. It looks like it’s snowing in the gym.’”

Pickel doubted it was a roof leak, but he went out and took a look. “It did look just like snow,” he says.

Luckily, Pickel had seen this once before. Years ago, he had a residential customer with the same problem—army ants. “Sure enough, army ants were up there just eating away at that iso, and it was falling down like snow through any crevices or cracks.”

Working with the private school to handle small problems is just part of the job, notes Pickel. So is helping administrators manage their budget to prepare for necessary re-roofing projects. “In some cases, we have to patch these roofs and nurse them along until they have the money for a roof replacement,” he says. “You do what you have to do to help a client. So, now we’re a pest control guy as well.”

Replacing a roof is something building owners might do just once in their lives, so explaining what’s involved is critical, notes Pickel. “You’ve got to educate the owner,” he says. “You’ve got to go out and craft a custom solution for each client. That’s what we tell our residential roof advisors all the time: Stop selling and listen to the client. That’s key for us. We excel at listening to the client and problem solving.”

Listen to clients and come up with a plan to meet their specific needs. That’s great advice no matter what line of work you’re in.

New Roof and Building Upgrades Provide Security for Florida Day Care Center

The Joseph Caleb Center

The Joseph Caleb Center received a building envelope upgrade that included a new modified bitumen roof for the low-slope sections and a new standing seam metal roof on steep-slope sections at the perimeter. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

The Joseph Caleb Center in Miami caters to a very young clientele, but the building housing the early childhood education center was definitely showing its age. The existing roof was failing, the concrete walls were cracked, and the window seals were broken. The restoration project was a complicated one, with several roof and wall systems that had to be tied in together. Luckily, that’s just the type of project Errol Portuondo likes. Portuondo is the owner of Florida Building & Supply in Miami, which focuses primarily on commercial restoration and re-roofing projects. The company restored the building, topping it with a new self-adhered, modified bitumen roof system and crowning it with a standing seam metal roof around the perimeter.

“We handle the whole envelope,” Portuondo notes. “That’s what sets us apart. That’s our niche. We like to go into these projects that have four, five, six items—the kind of projects other companies avoid. Most people like to handle the easy stuff—get in and get out. We like to tackle the harder type projects that require a lot of thinking.”

Complicated Scope of Work

The project required a roof system that was Energy Star rated and would comply with South Florida’s requirements for high velocity hurricane zones. Furthermore, the building would remain open during the roofing installation process, so the roof system could not give off any fumes or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A self-adhered modified bitumen roof system from Polyglass USA Inc. was chosen for the flat roof sections because of its high reflectivity, durability, and ease of installation, as well as the lack of any odor.

The existing roof consisted of a mechanically attached modified system surrounded by a standing seam metal roof. Florida Building & Supply first removed the metal roof system, as it partially covered the flat roof. After the steep-slope sections were dried in with 30-pound felt and Englert MetalMan HT self-adhered underlayment, crews began to tear off the old modified system. Everything was removed down to the lightweight insulating concrete (LWIC) that had been installed over the metal deck.

The day care center

The day care center was open during the restoration project, so the safety plan included moving the children’s playground during the roof installation. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

The specification called for adhering polyiso insulation directly to the lightweight with OlyBond 500 adhesive from OMG Roofing Products, so making sure the LWIC was in good shape was crucial. Core samples were taken of the roof and subjected to a series of adhesion and compression tests required by the county. “We passed all of the tests and got all of the approvals regarding the lightweight, and we installed the insulation and the Polyglass system on top of that,” Portuondo says. “We like using that system because it is easy to install and allows us to salvage the lightweight. It also gives you really great uplift resistance.”

Crews installed tapered polyiso insulation manufactured by Hunter Panels to a custom-designed layout provided by ABC Supply Co. Insulation ranged in thickness from more than 5 inches to a minimum of 1 ½ inches. After the existing roof system was removed, Portuondo realized that the deck could not be penetrated without potentially damaging the structure, affecting the placement of emergency overflows. “Some of the existing buildings weren’t designed like they are today, so you have to work with the existing drains and make sure you can take care of the water through emergency overflows if any drains should get clogged,” he says.

After the insulation was installed, the 20,000-square-foot low-slope section was ready for the Polyglass three-ply, self-adhered modified bitumen roof system. Elastoflex SA V, a self-adhered SBS modified bitumen membrane, was used for the base and interply sheets. The surface layer consisted of Polyfresko G SA, a white, self-adhered APP modified bitumen cap sheet manufactured with CURE Technology, a thin-film technology designed to improve the membrane’s durability, UV and stain resistance, and granule adhesion.

“What we like about the self-adhered system is that you can move on the roof quick and clean,” Portuondo says. “Sometimes the intake of the mechanical units is up on the roof, and with a hot asphalt application, you have to be careful with any fumes. That’s not a consideration with the self-adhered system. It’s very clean and very fast, especially if you are about to get a rainstorm. You can get a barrier installed very quickly on the roof as opposed to hot asphalt or a torch system.”

Details, Details

Once the new low-slope roof was installed, work began on the new standing seam metal roof manufactured by Englert. Tying in the metal roof with the modified roof was relatively easy, according to Portuondo, but other details were more problematic.

The last steps included perimeter metal trim and gutters. “We work closely with the manufacturers based on their inspection process and when there are certain details,” notes Portuondo. “In this specific project, there were a lot of details.”

Waterproofing the skylights

Waterproofing the skylights was tricky, as the glass extended under the metal roof and ended just a few inches from the new modified bitumen roof system. In these sections, Polyflash 2C, an odor free, fluid-applied flashing system from Polyglass, was used. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

Florida Building & Supply also handled repairing and painting the perimeter of the building. Hairline fractures in the concrete block walls were repaired with epoxy injections prior to painting. Crews also re-caulked and waterproofed all of the windows and skylights, including glass walls that extended under the metal roof at the top and ended at the bottom just a few inches from the modified roof system.

“That tie-in was very difficult because by the time you ended your base flashings for the modified, you were right at the glazing,” Portuondo says. “For those areas, the only solution was the Polyglass Polyflash 2C kit.” Polyflash 2C is an odor free, fluid-applied flashing system that is UV-stable.

Setting up the plan of attack in advance was crucial, notes Portuondo, but with any older building, you have to be ready to adapt as the job progresses. “You don’t really know structurally what you’re going to run into until you start to tear off,” he says. “Sometimes what you find under the roof turns out to be different than you expected, and you have to make changes in the field.”

Safety is always the top concern for both employees and members of the public, notes Portuondo. “We moved the playground area and set up a safety perimeter fence,” he explains. “We made sure the children would not be harmed while we were installing the roof, so that was a logistical problem.”

The company is used to overcoming logistical problems. “Our forte is re-roofing existing buildings, and so they are always active,” he says. “We strive to do quality work and stay on top of everything. We’ve just been doing this for so long that we know what we’re doing.”

Students Take the Lead on Roof Restoration Project

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating. The system was chosen because it would extend the life of the existing roof and cut utility costs for the building. The system was approved for a 20-year warranty.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Thomas Portaro is the owner of NTEC Systems, a company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., that specializes in roof restoration projects. Portaro owns the company, but on a recent project on the campus of Georgia Tech, it was definitely the college students who were in charge.

Portaro was contacted by students who were researching different roof systems as part of a class project. Members of the class had been tasked to come up with ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the school’s Atlanta campus.

Students were exploring all sorts of environmentally friendly building systems, including LED lighting and HVAC equipment. One group of students explored various building envelope modifications, eventually narrowing their focus to the roof system.

“This particular group of students showed the school and their professors how they were going to reduce carbon emissions and the energy footprint of the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building by doing a roof restoration,” Portaro said.

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

Portaro, a Georgia Tech graduate, was contacted by the group to provide some insights on the potential benefits of coatings. “I was asked to come down to the campus and give a brief lecture on the values of roof restorations, the types of coatings I was familiar with, how they were applied, and how they could restore this particular roof.

The building was built in 1998, and its roof was the original modified bitumen system. When students learned how a cool roof system would extend the life of the roof and save on utility costs for the building, they not only presented their findings to their professors but officials at the university. The school ultimately decided to fund the project.

NTEC Systems completed the installation of a high-solids silicone roof coating manufactured by GE. “The students pioneered all of this,” Portaro says. “This is an amazing group of kids. To be invited back to my alma mater and to execute this project really hit a chord with me. The project really worked out well, and it was really cool because I got a check from Georgia Tech. Think about all of the money I’ve paid them over the years. It was nice to get a little bit of that money back.”

Practical Application

One key concern for the university was achieving a 20-year warranty, so the first step was to ensure that the existing roof was compatible with the system. “One of the big value adds of GE Performance Coatings is that their tech side is very strong,” Portaro notes. “GE has great specifications, and they make it pretty simple for me as an engineer to go up and evaluate a roof and make sure it meets certain criteria. You have to evaluate each roof to ensure it meets the criteria for a restoration.”

“A great phrase—and I forget who coined it—is, ‘We do roof restorations, not roof resurrections,’” Portaro continues. “The existing roof has to be in a restorable condition.”

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoratio

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoration for the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building after a student project detailed the energy-saving benefits of a cool roof coating.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Infrared analysis was conducted to ensure the roof system was dry. Some minor repairs were needed, but overall the modified roof was in good shape. It was cleaned with pressure washer and primed with an asphalt bleed-blocker from GE Performance Coatings. NTEC crews then spray-applied two coats of GE Enduris 3502 high-solids silicone roof coating to a minimum thickness of 40 mils when dry. The system forms a monolithic coating that is self-flashing. “We detailed it all out, the inspectors inspected it, and at the end of the day it was all done, the 20-year warranty was in place, and everyone was happy,” Portaro says.

He points out that the GE silicone coatings rarely require a primer. “This is the only type of roof that requires a primer, and the only reason it does is that asphalts tend to bleed through silicones and can tobacco-stain them,” he notes. “It’s aesthetics—that’s it. The GE system is one of our ‘tried and trues’ in part because for 99 percent of the roofs we do, it’s a primerless system. So, we save that step, which saves us time and ultimately saves the owner money.”

NTEC Systems excels at large, high-volume jobs, and the company is always looking for tools to make it more productive. “We are highly automated here,” Portaro says. “That’s our strength. It’s what we do. We have the ability to do a ton of square footage in a short period of time because we have the latest and greatest machinery. We’ve actually created our own method of going from ground to roof and getting coatings spray applied.”

The company has modified some industrial machinery to move large volumes of high-solids silicone under control, according to Portaro. “Now, it’s not robotics,” he explains. “It still takes artistry. It still takes an expert pulling the trigger. We have guys that are very talented, and now the machinery is keeping up. We can do four or five times as much work in a day as we used to do just a few years ago. Our production levels have blown up.”

A Learning Experience

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

One of the challenges on this project was taking the time to use the application as a teaching tool. “The students were there the entire time,” Portaro remembers. “We were surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world. I’ve never had so many managers on a project in my life. These students brought a passion to the building industry like you’ve never seen before. They believe they are going to change the world, and they probably will.”

Portaro also shared his passion for environmentally friendly roof systems. The students apparently took that message to heart. “These kids are something special,” he says. “They went to Washington, D.C., to present this project to the Congress of the United States. These kids weren’t happy with just affecting one building on the campus of Georgia Tech. They wanted to share the story. This project got national recognition. I was really proud of these kids, who I met for the first time on this project. My hat’s off to them.”

Portaro has installed a lot of cool roofs, but the Georgia Tech project was special. “This was certainly the coolest project I’ve ever done,” he says.

Liberty University Taps Experienced Team for Indoor Practice Facility

Liberty University

Photo: Leah Seavers. Copyright Liberty University

While he was a student in the 1970s at Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Va., Craig McCarty took a job with a roofing company to help him pay his way through school. One of his business courses required students to set up a model business, so McCarty set up a fictional roofing company.

When a recession forced his boss to close down the company where he worked, McCarty turned his classroom project into reality. He got his contractor’s license and formed his own roofing business at the age of 20. More than 40 years later, he is installing roofs on the same campus he once took classes for a college now known as Liberty University.

McCarty is the president of McCarty Roofing, headquartered in Lynchburg, Va. This year the company installed the standing seam metal roof on Liberty University’s new indoor football practice facility, the fourth building the company has worked on at the school. McCarty has always been fascinated by metal roofs, and he estimates that 70 percent of the company’s business comes from the metal segment of the market. “It’s our passion, and we’re really good at it,” he says.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field. The structural metal roof system is made of panels that run the entire width of the building.

He’s found a great place to ply his trade in Liberty University, which has made roofs manufactured by Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems into something of a signature architectural style. Other Fabral roofs at the university include those on Williams Stadium, Hancock Welcome Center, Jerry Falwell Library, and the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center.

According to Jerry Wandel, Fabral’s Mid-Atlantic territory manager, based in Richmond, Va., Fabral and distributor NB Handy in Lynchburg have partnered to provide architectural metal enclosure systems for 13 buildings on the campus since 2010.

The new practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field, and the design for the structural metal system on the vaulted barrel roof called for panels—many as long as 240 feet—that would run the entire width of the building.

Fabral’s Stand’N Seam 24-gauge panels in Dark Bronze were specified for the project. According to Wandel, the product features a unique stainless-steel clip design and double lock-seamed side joints that allow panels to expand and contract throughout their entire length. The system had been installed successfully on indoor practice facilities at other colleges, including Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia Military Institute.

“When you run a panel that long, clearly one of the biggest concerns is expansion and contraction,” Wandel says. “Our Stand’N Seam product just lends itself to a project that has 240-foot panels. This one was right in our wheelhouse.”

Riding the Curve

The first task for McCarty Roofing was drying in the metal deck. Crews installed two layers of 2 ½ inch polysio and covered the insulation with Blueskin, a self-adhering underlayment manufactured by Henry.

The metal panels were fabricated on the site. Fabral supplied the roll former and brought in Ray Berryhill to operate the equipment. “Ray has done all of these jobs for us,” notes Wandel. “We want to make sure the contractor is in position to have a quality installation. Ray has so much knowledge about these jobs. He was the perfect person to execute this one.”

The panels were fabricated on the site.

The panels were fabricated on the site. The roll former was lifted into place at the edge of the roof by crane, and panels were rolled directly onto the roof and stacked for installation.

A crane was used to lift the roll former into place at the edge of the roof. “We were able to set the front two feet of the roll former in the built-in steel gutter, and then drop the back end of the machine down to the proper angle so we could roll the panels right onto the roof,” McCarty explains. “About every 15 or 20 feet up the roof we would stack some insulation, so the panel would float across the roof. Once it hit the top and went down the other side, it could just ride the roof down.”

The original plan was to install the panels as they came off the roll former, but McCarty decided it would be more efficient to run all of the panels, stack them on the roof, and install them once all of the panels were fabricated. “We had a large crane on site that was costing us money, and we had the people from Fabral there,” he recalls. “I went to the construction manager and said, ‘It’s going to make a lot more sense if we get all of the panels for the project up on the roof as quickly as possible.’”

The 4,000-pound metal coils typically supplied enough material for 8-10 panels, so Berryhill would run 8-10 panels at a time as crews from McCarty Roofing stacked them. When the roll former was lowered to the ground to load another coil, workers would strap the panels into place, figure out how much area the panels would cover, and set up again another 20 feet or so down the roof to receive the next batch. “We had a series of 15 or 20 straps for each bundle of panels,” says McCarty. “We had to be careful, but with eight people, you could pick up the panel and gently set it down.”

After the roll forming crew was done, the panels were pulled off of the stacks and installed. “It was a pretty extreme radius, but the panels just laid down on the roof perfectly,” McCarty recalls. “The design worked out really well.”

Liberty University

Photo: Joel Coleman. Copyright Liberty University

The built-in gutter gave crews a good location to set the bottom edge of the panels. “At the eaves, the roof pitch was very steep—maybe 12:12—and it was almost flat at the top,” notes McCarty. “We had to be tied off 100 percent of the time. We used retractables, but the safety equipment still limited our movement. It was pretty difficult for the guys working the first 30 or 40 feet.”

The roof featured large skylights, which made the metal panel layout critical. The design also featured upper and lower sections that stepped down around large windows, which made for some tricky details. “At the gable ends, we had to make the cuts at an angle,” McCarty notes. “We cut the panels in place with drill shears and hand turned them with tongs to lock then onto a cleat.”

The schedule was tight, and weather was also a concern. “It was in the dead of winter,” McCarty recalls. “We started laying panels in January. Fortunately, we had a mild winter, but at times it was like a wind tunnel. You’re not going to pick up a 240-foot panel in 35 mile-an-hour winds, so there were days we just weren’t able to work.”

The project was wrapped up at the end of May, and McCarty credits the decision to stack the panels as one of the keys to meeting the deadline. “It was the right call,” he says. “The time we saved made up for the lost days due to the weather and helped us complete the job on time.”

TEAM

Architect: VMDO Architects, Charlottesville, Va., VMDO.com
Construction Manager: CMA Inc., Lynchburg, Va., CMAinc.us
Roofing Contractor: McCarty Roofing Inc., Lynchburg, Va., McCartyroofing.net
Distributor: NB Handy Co., Lynchburg, Va., NBhandy.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems, Fabral.com

Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome Improves Drain Performance

OMG Roofing Products introduces the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome

OMG Roofing Products introduces the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome for retrofitting OMG Hercules Drains. The new strainer dome with built-in vortex breaker technology is designed to improve water flow from the roof. According to the manufacturer, independent studies demonstrate that when upgraded with the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome, Hercules Drains offer up to 2.5 times greater flow capacity than Hercules Drains without vortex breaker technology. Faster water flow off the roof also means that the drains get excessive weight off the roof faster. In addition, the integrated vortex breaker technology greatly reduces the chugging effect that occurs when a vortex collapses, which can overload the plumbing system.

Vortex Breaker Strainer Domes are made of heavy-duty cast aluminum for long life on the roof. The safety yellow powder coat makes them easily visible on the roof, so they do not pose a trip hazard. The new domes are compatible with all 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-inch OMG Hercules and OMG Aluminum Classic drains, including thermoplastic coated versions, and are installed using only a screwdriver with a #2 square drive.

For additional information, please call the Customer Service team at OMG Roofing Products at (800) 633-3800.