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.

Seeing the Light

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. What hurts the most is when we miss an obvious solution to a problem — when we look back at a difficult time and realize an option we didn’t take advantage of was staring us in the face all along. Picture Homer Simpson smacking his forehead and exclaiming, “D’oh!”

When we look back at this time in history, I think that’s how we’ll feel about adopting solar power. No matter what your opinion is about other forms of energy, including fossil fuels, nuclear power plants, and wind turbines, I think you’d have to admit that we aren’t making enough use of solar. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think it’s obvious that in the rays of the sun, we have a tremendous renewable resource that is mostly going by the wayside.

I interviewed a plumbing contractor a few years ago who specialized in passive solar hot water systems. He said the inspiration came to him when he picked up a garden hose that had been out in the sun and the water nearly scalded his hand. “It was then I thought, ‘Why am I paying a utility to heat the water in my house?’” he said.

I was reminded of that conversation when I interviewed Martin DeBono of GAF Energy for this issue. Before entering the world of rooftop solar, DeBono had a background as a nuclear engineer and served as a submarine officer in the Navy. “I’ve always been fascinated by solar,” he said. “The sun provides the equivalent amount of energy in one hour as all of the world’s power plants produce in a whole year. You combine that with the fact that I am a huge outdoors person — I love the outdoors —and you can see some of the challenges the world faces by relying on fossil fuels.”

His job also allows him to tap into his love of building things. “Last week I built a mock-up roof in my driveway with a mock-up solar system to show some executives and some family and friends what we do,” DeBono said. “So, solar gives me the opportunity to build, to think, to advance technology and do something I believe in.”

DeBono believes in making the most of technology to harness the power of the sun. He also believes in another obvious point: the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor. “We firmly believe that roofers should be installing the system and ensuring the integrity of the roof,” he said. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof.”

GAF Energy Aims to Transform the Residential Solar Industry

Photo: GAF Energy

Earlier this year, Standard Industries launched GAF Energy, a new company with a lofty goal: revolutionizing residential rooftop solar. Working in tandem with GAF, GAF Energy is driving the adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. The business model is designed to tap into the strength of GAF’s network of more than 6,000 certified roofing contractors to offer homeowners a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installation.

“We’ve created GAF Energy to take on roof-integrated solar and bring it to the next level,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “By leveraging GAF’s roofing expertise with GAF Energy’s solar expertise, we’ve created a solar kit designed specifically for roofers and their customers during the re-roof and roof construction process.”

The company believes that by standardizing these integrated solar solutions, they can be more easily installed on residential roof replacements and new construction projects. “By putting everything in a kit, we really simplify the process for a roofer,” DeBono says. “In fact, our target roofing contractor is someone who has never done solar.”

Connecting With Contractors

GAF Energy is currently working with GAF sales teams to identify contractors with residential sales teams that would be good candidates for adopting solar. Initially, the company is focusing on nine states, with plans to expand nationwide. The nine states are California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. Key factors in the consideration of these markets included the climate, the price of electricity, and state and local programs for utility rebates and incentives.

The roof-integrated solar kit is designed to function as part of the roof system and be aesthetically pleasing. Photo: GAF Energy

If contractors seem like they will be a good fit, GAF Energy sets up a multi-pronged training program, which includes classroom training and training in the field for both salespeople and installers. “We have full day of classroom sales training with a professional sales trainer,” DeBono explains. “After contractors complete the sales training in the classroom, we provide field resources for in-home sales training and on-the-roof training. We have field resources that we send out with roofing contractors’ salespeople into the field. Once we have a successful sale, we also provide on-the-roof training for the first installation. All of that is done just for being part of the GAF contractor network because it is our belief that we need to enable a new generation of roofers to sell and install solar.”

According to DeBono, GAF Energy is then able to provide all of the services that roofers typically do not have, including electrical services, design services, and connection services. “If the roofing contractors have the wherewithal to continue the project with the electrical and the design, we’re happy to enable that, but what we’ve found is that roofing contractors like GAF Energy to do that. We work with the roofing contractors and their customers to determine which services we provide and which services the roofer provides. It really lowers the barrier for adoption for both the roofing contractor and the homeowner.”

Contractors are already selling and installing the system. “We launched the company in January, we conducted our first sales training sessions in February, and we’ve already received our first purchase orders,” DeBono notes.

The Solar Kit

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation, including the integrated photovoltaics (PV), flashings, all of the power and electronics that are necessary, along with the hardware.

The system itself screws into the deck and is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Power electronics plug into each other below the system and out of sight, and leads are connected to the inverter, which can be installed by the roofing contractor or GAF Energy.

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation. It is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Photo: GAF Energy

The kit — and the business model — are designed to provide synergy with the roofing contractor. “It is our firm belief that the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor,” says DeBono. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof. As part of the Standard Industries family, we were founded to tap into this market, but we have a strong heritage from GAF, so we completely subscribe to that. We built a solar offering explicitly for roofers. First and foremost, if the roof is not a waterproof barrier for your home, it’s a failure, and we would never allow that to happen.”

The kit is also designed to be aesthetically appealing. “It is a truly roof-integrated solar system — the solar becomes the roof,” DeBono says. “It’s lower profile to the roof, and it simply looks better. The roof being one of the largest influencers on the physical appearance of one’s house, and the house being one of the largest assets a homeowner owns, homeowners don’t want to put anything ugly on their roof. By making it beautiful, we immediately eliminate the objections of those folks who say ‘I don’t want solar on my roof because it’s ugly.’”

Value for Homeowners

The relationship with GAF Energy is designed to benefit the homeowner as well as the contractor. “The value for the homeowners is they have a local contact who sells and installs our system and will be there if there is ever an issue, and they are working hand-in-hand with a manufacturer to provide an unparalleled level of support,” DeBono says. “The solar kit is covered by the same warranty as the roof. It’s backed by a waterproof guarantee from Standard Industries, which has been around for over 130 years.”

Photo: GAF Energy

DeBono believes that for most customers, the decision to add solar comes down to the bottom line. “The primary reason people go solar is to save money,” says DeBono. “There is this vision that people go solar because they are green. But the tipping point to go solar is really about saving money. As we roll this program out, we’ve been focusing on the nine states that offer the best savings.”

DeBono notes the sales cycle for his company’s solar system is about the same as that for a re-roof. “It’s definitely not longer,” he says. “The reason for that is it’s a very simple sale. With our system, we are turning your roof from a static asset into an energy-generating asset that saves you money every month. The only increase in the sales cycle may be the matter of 15 minutes or 20 minutes in the home where we explain it to the customer. What’s critical about our model — remember we have our heritage as a roofing company — is our approach is perfectly compatible with the way roofing contractors sell and do business today.”

Customers calling for a new roof might be good candidates for solar, whether they know it or not. According to DeBono, contractors handling calls about a roofing estimate first check Google maps to determine if the location will be compatible with a solar application. If so, the discussion could lead to adding the solar kit: “The contractor might say, ‘In the same time frame it will take us to put in your new roof, we can make it a solar roof. Instead of this great asset that lasts for 25 years and keeps you warm and dry, you can have a great asset that lasts for 25 years, keeps you warm and dry — and oh, by the way, it generates electricity every day and saves you money every month.’ We’re seeing that people are really interested in that value proposition.”

With a background as a nuclear engineer, submarine officer in the Navy, and six years in the solar industry, DeBono believes the roofing industry is the key to expanding the rooftop solar market. “We at GAF Energy have this mission: energy from every roof,” he says. “And when you look at the size of the roofing industry compared to the size of the solar industry, if you really want to accomplish energy from every roof, it has to be done from a roofing platform.”

For more information about GAF Energy, visit www.gaf.energy.

Bedside Manner

About a decade ago I had to find a new doctor. While researching doctors on the internet, I stumbled onto to a bunch of articles about the decision-making process of patients. Surveys asked patients which traits they looked for in a doctor and which factor was most important when choosing their physician. As I remember it, the answers varied quite a bit; some looked for certain areas of expertise, while others stressed an affiliation with a local hospital. Referrals from a trusted source were the most important criterion for some people, while others pointed to compatibility with their insurance carrier as the key factor.

While the reasons for initially choosing a doctor were all over the map, there was one overwhelming reason patients gave for staying with their doctors: their ability to communicate with them, encourage them, and explain a diagnosis or treatment options — otherwise known as their “bedside manner.”

I thought of those surveys as I spoke to the contractors who worked on the health care projects profiled in this issue. In many ways the dynamic was similar to that of doctor and patient. Whether it was a new construction project or a roof replacement, the owners of the health care facility needed an expert opinion. For the contractors profiled in this issue, technical competence, quality workmanship and experience were all extremely important. But all of these contractors also stressed the importance of communication — with the building owner, the manufacturer’s rep, the facility manager, their own crews and members of other trades. Throughout the job, they discussed what was necessary to eliminate or minimize disruptions for all involved — including patients, visitors and guests.

For Jason Carruth of Advanced Roofing, the task was especially tough, as his re-roofing project at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, placed his crews right above the main entrance of a busy hospital — and its neonatal intensive care unit. When asked why the project was a success despite its challenges, Carruth replied, “The communication between the manufacturer’s rep, the owners and ourselves was excellent. Pre-planning is everything. When the key players on a job are all on the same page, that’s when a project ends up being successful.”

A good bedside manner keeps patients coming back to their doctors. It can lead to more business for roofing contractors as well.

A Roof Coating Is the Right Answer for Florida Condo Complex

Photos: KARNAK Corporation

Educated customers make the best decisions.

That philosophy is shared by Frank Scelzi of Munyan Restoration Waterproofing and Painting Service of Tampa Bay Inc. The company was founded in 1951 as a painting and waterproofing company, and over the years it has evolved into a general contractor that handles restoration of the entire building envelope, including the roof.

Munyan Restoration often educates its customers through seminars, which sometimes have the added benefit of bringing in new business. According to Scelzi, that was how he got involved in the Sage Condo project in St. Petersburg, Florida. “We have a marketing department, and we do what’s called ‘lunch and learns,’” he says. “Our engineer also has several continuing education classes approved for facility managers and building owners who want to keep up to date on certain things. We have these several times throughout the year, and one of the property managers said he needed a roofing inspection.”

The property manager was worried that his roof needed to be replaced, and he asked Scelzi to take a look. Scelzi found the existing TPO roof was nearing the end of its service life, and it had some minor tears and punctures, but he believed the roof would be a good candidate for a restoration coating. He contacted Joe Prussel, Southeast U.S. Regional Manager for KARNAK Corp., to confirm his conclusion and determine which product would be the best fit.

“After the initial evaluation, Frank brought me back to walk the roof and look at the condition of it,” Prussel says. “Frank wanted to give them an option of coating in lieu of tearing everything off and transporting all of the trash to the dump — avoiding not only the cost but the environmental impact that would have, as well as the disruption to the residents that live there because the building has a multi-level roof.”

After adhesion tests proved a high-solids silicone coating would be an excellent fit, Scelzi submitted a written proposal and he and Prussel put on a presentation for the board and the property manager. “We told the board that we’ve been on the roof and had seen the damage that is up there, and we feel that it is a good candidate for a coating application,” Scelzi recalls. “We went through the procedure with them. We told them how we clean the roof, how we do our repairs, apply our primer, do our tie-in work, and ultimately apply the coating.”

After he detailed the safety plan and documented the experience and training of his crews, Scelzi told the residents what to expect during the coating application, stating, “There’s really going to be no disruption of your lifestyle while the coating system is going on.”

The board had been budgeting for a roof replacement, and the coating application was substantially less expensive. It would also be approved for the 20-year warranty the board sought. “They decided to go forward with it,” Scelzi says. “This was a real quick turnaround, which is unusual in the condo market. We were at a board meeting on a Thursday night and had a signed contract Friday morning.”

Following the Plan

A couple of weeks later, the Munyan Restoration crew was executing the plan laid out at the board meeting.

The building had a main roof on the 12th floor and two other roof sections on the fifth floor, totaling approximately 30,000 square feet. The main roof was sloped toward the interior, and its outer edges were approximately 6 feet above the center. “Everything slopes into the roof’s interior to make it more architecturally pleasing,” Scelzi notes. “It gave you a real weird feeling when you stepped out on that roof, but as far as setting up a safety perimeter, it made things fairly easy. The roof also had built-in tie-off points, so our guys could be harnessed, and that made the safety aspect very easy for the guys up there.”

The roof on the Sage Condo complex was restored using a high-solids silicone coating system manufactured by KARNAK. Photos: KARNAK Corporation

The first step was washing the roof with 799 Wash-N-Prep, an environmentally safe cleaner that can go right into the roof drains and the water system. “The entire roof was cleaned,” notes Scelzi. “We used a power washer and a round scrubber head that really raises the dirt from the roof. The roof was pretty dirty, but it really came out very, very clean and it was a real good surface for us to do our repairs and start doing our tie-in work.”

Repairs were made to seams and penetrations using Karna-Flex 505 WB repair mastic with fibers, using a brush application. The next steps included applying the primer and the coating.

The 180 Karna-Sil Epoxy Primer is a two-part epoxy that can be applied with spray equipment or a roller. A roller was used on this project, and it was applied at a rate of 3/4 of a gallon per square. “It really enhances the adhesion of the coating to the roofing membrane,” notes Prussel. “This is one of the products we did an adhesion test with and got very good results. It dries fairly quickly — in three to four hours — which makes it very user friendly.”

After the primer was dry, the Karna-Sil 670 high-solids silicone coating was applied. The product was chosen for several reasons, including its excellent performance in the adhesion test and the fact that the owner wanted a white coating. The product also allowed the contractor to meet the 20-year warranty with only one coat, minimizing labor costs.

The slope of the roof was another key consideration, as crews wanted to make sure the product didn’t run or migrate when they put it on. “What was really nice about this system from KARNAK was the high-solids silicone, even with the angle of the roof, the coating just stayed there, so we could really get our millage,” notes Scelzi. “On this job, we even exceeded it in some areas, which was good.”

For the 20-year specification, the coating was applied at a rate of 3 gallons per square, or 46 dry mils. As they put the coating down with rollers, crew members constantly checked the thickness with a mil gauge. After the project was completed, destructive testing confirmed the proper mil thickness was achieved, and then the test areas were repaired.

Smooth Operation

Weather was a concern, as rain, dew and fog are common in the area. “We had a couple of days we had to stand down due to the weather, but other than that, the project went very smoothly,” Scelzi says. “It really shows you what coatings are supposed to do — make it more friendly for the building owners and for the applicators who put it down.”

It also minimizes disruption for the residents. “We had some material we had to stack in certain areas, but the residents never even knew we were there unless they saw that material,” Scelzi says.

Prussel points out that coating applications also pose less liability for owners, as the roof area is never exposed to the weather, as it would be during a tear-off. “With a coating, there is never a liability of an open roof, and especially in Florida in summertime, you never know when you’re going to get some rain.”

Feedback on the job has been positive, notes Scelzi. “The owners, property manager and board members are very happy,” he says. “It’s a nice, clean-looking product and there are no seams. It’s a monolithic system. They are very pleased with the result, and it cost a lot less than a roof replacement.”

The project included a contract for an annual maintenance program. According to Prussel, proper maintenance not only safeguards the warranty, it can save owners money in the long run by ensuring the likelihood that the roof will be a good candidate for another coating application when the warranty period nears its expiration.

“Whenever we do a presentation for a building owner, a board, or a property manager, we always stress the importance of maintenance,” Prussel says. “It’s extremely vital to any roofing project, be it a coating or a new membrane, that a certified applicator of that manufacturer observe the roof a minimum of once a year, maintain it, make any repairs, and make a report for the owner.”

Scelzi and Prussel believe that teamwork between the manufacturer and the contractor is essential at every phase of the job. “As the manufacturer working with the applicator, we have a technical support team that can advise the applicator which product would be the best fit for that substrate,” says Prussel. “We are there to specifically design a system that is the best fit for the owner of that building, and we can advise the contractor on the application, and they can lay out the best option for that customer. We want to make sure our product will work, our product will last, and everybody will be happy.”

Scelzi agrees. “It gives the customer a good feeling to know they have a quality contractor and a quality manufacturer standing behind them,” he says.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Munyan Restoration Waterproofing and Painting Service of Tampa Bay Inc., Clearwater, Florida, www.munyanpainting.com

MATERIALS

Roof Coating: Karna-Sil 670 high-solids silicone, KARNAK, www.karnakcorp.com

Primer: 180 Karna-Sil Epoxy Primer, KARNAK

Repair Mastic: Karna-Flex 505 WB, KARNAK

Cleaning Agent: 799 Wash-N-Prep, KARNAK

Re-Roofing a Busy Hospital Poses Logistical Challenges

At Holmes Regional Medical Center, Advanced Roofing replaced 32,000 square feet of roofing on four different levels. Photos: Smith Aerial Photos

When leaks on the existing roof on the Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, became too much to bear, the need for a new roof on four levels of the building was obvious. But so were the numerous difficulties posed by removing and replacing the roof on an active hospital. To make matters more complicated, the areas affected were directly over the hospital’s main entrance and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which cares for premature infants.

It would take a talented team of roofing professionals using the right products to install a durable roof system without disrupting patient care. Advanced Roofing Inc. was up to the challenge.

Advanced Roofing is a full-service commercial roofing contractor based in Florida. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale, with offices in Sanford, Tampa, Miami, Jupiter, Fort Myers and Jacksonville. According to Jason Carruth, branch manager of the Sanford location, the company installs almost every type of low-slope and steep-slope roof system. “We do production, service, maintenance — anything to do with commercial roofing,” he says. “Our specialty is re-roofing occupied buildings.”

For Holmes Regional Medical Center, a two-ply modified system with a reflective coating from Tremco was specified. This was an ideal fit for the re-roofing application at the hospital, notes Carruth, as it was a cold-applied system with low VOCs. “As a certified Tremco applicator, we were invited to bid on the project, and we were successful with the contract,” says Carruth.

High Degree of Difficulty

The project involved the complete tear-off and replacement of the roofs on the four lowest levels of the hospital, totaling approximately 32,000 square feet. These included two of the most sensitive areas on the building. “We did the whole section over the main entrance where everyone drops people off,” notes Carruth. “Another section was directly over the NICU center. We did the staging and handled personnel coming in and out on four roof levels over that area. The entire roof section also surrounds an open-air atrium below, so we had to roof around not only the main entrance, but an atrium as well.”

No torches could be used on the project, so cold-applied modified system from Tremco was specified. It was topped with a reflective coating. Photos: Advanced Roofing Inc.

Safety was the top priority, both on the roof and on the ground. “We had to have full-time supervision on the ground,” Carruth says. “We had ground safety monitors that worked for us, and they had to coordinate traffic at the drive-through and the turnaround, as well as the pedestrian walkway, which was right at the edge of our staging area.”

The site posed numerous challenges, as the lone staging area was limited and the schedule was subject to change at a moment’s notice due to emergency surgeries. “Work over the NICU unit was a little more involved due to the fact that we were almost continually on call,” Carruth explains. “On days we were able to work, we had to be ready to stop if there was anything critical going on.”

Work began in the areas with the most problems. “We started in different sections based on the priorities of the hospital,” Carruth notes. “We initially focused on the areas where the leaks were the worst.”

After the problem areas were fixed, work proceeded in sections, working from the back to the front to minimize traffic on completed areas. The process involved tearing off the existing built-up roof down to the concrete deck and installing a temporary roof to keep everything watertight. Then tapered insulation was applied in cold adhesive, followed by a cover board and the two-ply smooth modified system. The last step was the application of the Alpha-Guard MT coating, which was set in a polyester mat.

Logistics, loading and disposal of debris was a complicated process, as crews could only load the roof at one point accessible to a telehandler — a 10K Lull. This meant much of the material had to be moved a long way across the roof. “We had to haul all of the material and all of the debris from the old roofs across a level, down a level, and up a level to one spot,” Carruth explains. “Mobilization was a little bit difficult on it because we were only allocated one staging area.”

Tear-Off and Installation

Advanced used a 10-man crew on the project, doing most of the demolition work at night and installation work during the day. The fall protection plan included Raptor tie-off carts and anchor points at higher levels of the building.

Photos: Advanced Roofing Inc.

Mechanical roof cutters were used to tear off the existing built-up roof. In some sections, lightweight concrete also had to be removed. Debris was placed in a custom-fabricated trash box with a lid that had special forks for use with the telehandler. “We cut the old roof into small sections and just used hard elbow grease to pop them off the bottom,” Carruth says. “We utilized a Lull and a trash box to dispose of the that debris, driving it over to the dumpster, which was in the parking lot.”

After the temporary roof was installed, tapered insulation was set in a low-rise foam adhesive. This was topped with half-inch Securock cover board and the modified sheets. The two-ply Tremco system consisted of a PowerPly HD base sheet and Composite Ply HT top sheet, both set in PowerPly adhesive. Before the coating was applied, all of the edge metal and trim were installed. “We put all of flashings in, put all of the sheet metal on, we put the counterflashing in,” notes Carruth. “All metals were installed on this project were stainless steel, as it was in Melbourne and pretty close to the coast.”

The Alpha-Guard MT base coat and Alpha-Guard MT top coat were set in Permafab polyester fabric. The coating was applied using a squeegee.

The system supplies the benefits of solar reflectance, which include lowering the roof temperature and minimizing utility costs, but the roofs also had to be aesthetically pleasing. “There are patient rooms that look down in this roof, so that’s why we went with the light gray coating, which still supplies the necessary SRI [Solar Reflectance Index] value,” Carruth points out.

Minimizing Disruptions

The work areas also necessitated other considerations for patients and staff. “We had guest rooms where we had to hang tarps up so people couldn’t see us working at the time,” notes Carruth. “There were passive air louvers that we had to cover to keep debris from the tear-off from getting inside the building. We also had to put charcoal filters in all of the air intakes.”

The work schedule could change on a moment’s notice, so the roofing crews kept in almost constant contact with facility managers. “We’d provide them with a weekly schedule and every day we let them know where we would be working and what we’d be doing. If anything changed, we’d hear about it from their facility people and adjust on the fly.”

The project was completed on time, despite numerous weather delays and interruptions because of surgeries in the NICU. “The communication between the manufacturer’s rep, the owners and ourselves was excellent,” Carruth says. “Pre-planning is everything. When the key players on a job are all on the same page, that’s when a project ends up being successful.”

Success on this project meant protecting the patients and pleasing the owner with a top-quality system. The roof system was designed for high-priority, high-sensitivity projects, and there are few areas that are more sensitive than a neonatal intensive care unit. But these types of projects are familiar territory for Advanced Roofing.

“This is what we do. We re-roof occupied buildings,” Carruth says. “Not only are we putting on a roof system, we’re dealing with customers, we’re watching the weather forecast and making sure the roof is always watertight. The experience Advanced has roofing occupied building is why Tremco and Holmes selected us for the project. We know how to handle those situations and keep the roofs watertight on a daily basis.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Advanced Roofing Inc., headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. www.advancedroofing.com

MATERIALS

Cold-Applied Modified System: PowerPly HD and Composite Ply HT, Tremco, www.tremcoinc.com

Roof Coating: Alpha-Guard MT in Light Gray, Tremco

Cover Board: Securock, USG, www.usg.com

Contractor Has the Right Prescription for Medical Office Building

Texas Traditions Roofing installed the metal and TPO roofs on the Pflugerville Parkway Medical Office Building, as well as the metal wall panels, soffit, fascia, gutters and downspouts. Photos: Texas Traditions Roofing

The Pflugerville Parkway Medical Office Building features a metal roof, a TPO roof, metal wall panels, soffit, fascia, gutters and downspouts. The new construction project was perfect for Texas Traditions Roofing, which prides itself on its versatility and quality craftsmanship.

Headquartered in Georgetown, Texas, the company handles a variety of commercial and residential work. “Residentially we do replacements and custom home new construction,” says Michael Pickel, estimator, Texas Traditions. “On the commercial side, we do mostly new construction, but we also do commercial repair and replacement as well.”

Pickel was the estimator on the project, but he feels the term “estimate” doesn’t begin to cover what his job entails. “We want to be the experts and provide all of the information for the general contractor, rather than just throwing an estimate at them,” he says. “We take that responsibility very seriously, whether it’s residential or commercial. We don’t necessarily like the word ‘estimate’ because it sounds like you’re guessing and just hoping it’s right. We understand that commercial new construction involves an estimate, but what we try to do is just be very specific and clearly define what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to be doing it, and what the manufacturer and what the NRCA recommends us to do. That way nothing is incorrect, it’s not going to leak, obviously, and you have the backing of the manufacturer because it was installed properly.”

Multiple Systems

The scopes of work included two sections of metal roofing — a peaked section in the middle of the main roof and a shed roof off to one side of the building. A TPO roof system was applied over the main roof on either side of the metal roof in the center. “We started with the metal roofing panels on the top first, and then worked our way down to the lower section on the side,” Pickel notes. “Shortly after that, we came back and installed the TPO roof. It was pretty open, so it was fairly easy to put that down.”

The low-slope roof sections were covered with a 60-mil TPO system manufactured by GAF. Photos: Texas Traditions Roofing

The metal roof system manufactured by Sheffield Metals features 1.5-inch Snaplock 450 Panels in Ash Grey. Approximately 4,000 square feet of roof panels were installed over two layers of 2.2-inch polyiso insulation, which was mechanically attached. The underlayment used was Viking Armor from Viking Barriers.

The 6,000-square-foot low-slope roof was topped with a 60-mil TPO system manufactured by GAF. First, two layers of 2.2-inch polysio were mechanically attached to reach R-25. A tapered insulation system was then fully adhered across the entire roof to ensure proper drainage.

The safety plan utilized a Raptor safety cart, which was lifted to the roof with a SkyTrak. “The Raptor system was either on the left or right side of the roof, depending what side we were working on,” Pickel says. “Any time workers were on the roof, they were tied off.”

After the roofs were completed, the focus shifted to the wall panels. Berridge Vee Panels in Charcoal Grey were installed using a man lift. “We put Z-purlins down horizontally over the vapor barrier,” notes Pickel. “Then we installed the 1-inch, four-by-four mineral wool insulation, and attached our panels over that.”

Metal crews also installed 11-inch fascia across the entire edge of the roof, including both the metal and TPO sections. “There are some tricks involved with that because it was a fully tapered TPO system, so your height differences can vary,” Pickel explains. “Making sure the fascia wrapped smooth and properly, and was the proper height, was a little tricky.”

Gutters were not originally specified, but they were added at the suggestion of Texas Traditions. “We talked to the G.C. about talking to the owner because we felt they were going to want gutters,” Pickel recalls. “They came back to us and said they wanted gutters, so we issued a change order for it.”

The company installed 6-inch box gutters and four-by-four downspouts matching the metal roof.

A Challenging Schedule

The jobsite was relatively open, accessible and easy to navigate, so some typical problems that can crop up with new construction projects weren’t a big issue. The HVAC units were installed on a pad within a fenced-in area on the ground, minimizing roof penetrations as well as foot traffic on the roof. Crews were able to focus on doing the job right — and doing it safely. “Installation-wise, it wasn’t too tricky,” Pickel notes. “We just had to ensure that everything was installed to the manufacturer’s requirements.”

Manpower and scheduling posed the toughest hurdles, notes Pickel, but the general contractor, Lott Brothers of Austin, Texas, did a great job of keeping everyone on the same page. “We had weekly mandatory meetings that were set up by the G.C., and it was very helpful for us and other trades as well,” Pickel says. “Having to coordinate multiple trips is very common with new construction, unfortunately, but it’s great that we are able to do so much work. We did everything down to the gutters and downspouts — the full system — but it takes a lot of coordination and scheduling of the crews, especially when you have other jobs as well.”

One advantage of the multiple scopes of work was that Texas Traditions crews didn’t have to worry about coordinating transition details with crews from other companies. “It’s also nice for the owner,” Pickel adds. “If they have any issues or if they have any questions, they know the roofer did every bit of the metal on this job, and all of the TPO roof, and they know who to contact.”

Versatility is one of the company’s strengths, and for that Pickel credits the experience of the company’s owners, including his father, co-owner Mike Pickel, who has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including 20 years working for a general contractor.

“He understands the complexity of coordinating multiple trades because he did it for so long from a G.C. perspective,” Pickel says. “His ability to know what needs to be done when allows us to be more effective and more efficient with our time. It allows us to be the expert in front of a general contractor because he was a general contractor. He worked with superintendents. He worked with multiple trades. His ability, knowledge and expertise within our company allows us to be the roofing expert.”

Texas Traditions strives to make the best use of that wealth of knowledge. “Each job is treated with care,” Pickel says. “It’s treated with expertise because it’s not just another job — it’s someone’s home, it’s someone’s office. We do apartment complexes, we do office buildings, we do residential homes, we do churches. Mike treats it with care, and it trickles down to everyone else to treat it with care as well.”

TEAM

Architect: Tim Brown Architecture, Austin, Texas, www.timbrownarch.com

General Contractor: Lott Brothers Construction, Austin, Texas, www.lottbrothers.com

Roofing Contractor: Texas Traditions Roofing, Georgetown, Texas, www.texastraditionsroofing.com

MATERIALS

Low-Slope Roof: 60-mil TPO, GAF, www.GAF.com

Metal Roof Panels: Snaplock 450 Panels, Sheffield Metals, www.sheffieldmetals.com

Underlayment: Viking Armor High-Temp, Viking Barriers, www.vikingbarriers.com

Metal Soffit Panels: FWP non-vented Soffit Panels, Sheffield Metals

Metal Wall Panels: Berridge Vee Panels, www.berridge.com

Colorful Exterior for Veterinary Hospital Comes Together Without a Hitch

The Kimbrough Animal Hospital in Longview, Texas, features a colorful exterior constructed of metal roof and wall panels. Photos: Petersen

Kimbrough Animal Hospital in Longview, Texas, is designed to provide top-notch care for its furry patients. The building includes surgical suites, treatment areas, and an in-house lab, as well as boarding and grooming facilities.

The state-of-the-art facility is housed in a striking complex highlighted by colorful metal roof and wall panels. It was a complicated new construction project on a tight jobsite, but experience and planning made for a smooth, textbook execution.

Complicated projects are nothing new for Curtis-McKinley Roofing and Sheet Metal. Headquartered in Longview, Texas, the company has been in business for 33 years and does a variety of commercial, industrial and residential work, including modified bitumen, built-up, single-ply and shingle roofs, as well as metal roofing and sheet metal fabrication. “We did all the metal on the project,” says Anthony McKinley, vice president of Curtis-McKinley. “We did the roof, the walls and soffit.”

McKinley was confident his crews could execute the project smoothly, and his confidence was bolstered by his experience working on other projects with the general contractor, Transet Company, and the manufacturer of the roof and wall panels, Petersen.

“We have a good relationship with Transet Company and we’ve done so much work with Petersen that they know our company and our guys,” McKinley says. “If there are any technical questions, they are very quick to help and get us answers, and inspections go great.”

The Roof and Walls

The roof and wall panels were manufactured from 24-gauge steel. The roof was covered with approximately 18,000 square feet of 18-inch PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad panels in Charcoal. The exterior also incorporates 4,400 square feet of 16-inch HWP panels in Slate Gray and 5,250 square feet of 12-inch Flush Panels in three colors: Slate Gray, Teal and Berkshire Blue.

The roof is comprised of Petersen’s 18-inch PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad panels in Charcoal. Photos: Petersen

Crews from Curtis-McKinley dried the roof in with TAMKO’s TW Metal and Tile self-adhered underlayment and tackled different phases of the project as the building came together. “We kind of did it all at one time,” McKinley recalls. “First, we had a roofing crew come out and put the peel-and-stick on the roof, and we measured for the roof panels. Then we started installing all of the trim and had a few guys start installing the wall panels.”

Petersen fabricated and delivered the wall panels, which were installed over plywood and cinder block walls using a man lift. On the cinder block walls, hat channels were installed to receive the clips. At two entrances, the Flush Panels were installed vertically. “We also installed regular flush soffit panels,” notes McKinley.

A representative from Petersen roll-formed the roof panels on the site. Some of the panels were more than 50 feet long, and this posed some logistical problems. “It was a very tight construction site,” McKinley explains. “We ran the panels on site and we had to lift them up with a crane. We couldn’t use a lift because there was no way to turn the lift around when the panels were loaded. There was one long driveway down one side, and we had to stack all of the panels in one direction and lift them straight up.”

Panels were lifted using a spreader bar as a cradle. “We strapped the panels to the spreader bar,” McKinley notes. “We only lifted about 10 panels at a time and our guys would receive them and stack them at points along the roof. We had about six or seven guys on the roof and the rest of the crew on the ground to strap down the panels.”

The walls feature Petersen’s 24-gauge HWP and Flush Panels in multiple colors, including Slate Gray, Teal and Berkshire Blue. Photos: Petersen

The crew started installing panels on the main roof and finished roof sections alongside the structure as the job progressed. Crew members were tied off 100 percent of the time, using temporary anchor points screwed into in the deck. “We started off on the main roof area and worked our way from the back to the front,” McKinley recalls. “The shed roofs were incorporated as we worked our way forward.”

While the main crew worked on the roof, a smaller group sometimes split off to install the wall panels. “We had a crew with a few extra sheet metal guys on it, and we moved them around as needed,” McKinley notes. “That way they could start on the walls as the roof progressed and the job wouldn’t lag on.”

Planning Ahead

The main challenge on the project was the tight jobsite, according to McKinley. “It was a very limited site,” McKinley says. “Once we got the roof panels on, we could breathe a little easier.”

Despite the cramped conditions, communication between the crews kept conflicts to a minimum. “Working with other trades went fine,” McKinley says. “The superintendent on the site was easy to work with. We worked with other subcontractors in Longview we’ve worked with plenty of times. Our guys knew their guys, basically, and they just coordinate well and work around each other as needed.”

The project moved along smoothly and stayed on schedule. “We were blessed not to have any big weather delays,” McKinley says. “When they were ready for us, we were able to get right out there and move things along in a timely manner.”

McKinley also credits the manufacturer for help executing the project. “There are four or five different colors on it,” he says. “Each entrance was a different color, and the walls and roof. That was pretty interesting. Keeping it all straight with the guys was a challenge.”

Again, planning ahead was essential. “It just took a little more communication,” McKinley says. “When we were making our trim, we just had to make sure it was the right color. It’s very easy to work with Petersen. On a job like this one, the technical aspect of it was really very simple, but seeing all of the different colors on this project come together was pretty cool.”

Curtis-McKinley crew members were able to execute all of the transition details themselves as they installed the roof and wall panels. “They were all standard details, really,” McKinley says. “Almost all of the transitions were something the guys have done hundreds of times.”

Exceptions included the large, irregularly shaped windows at the entryways, which were trimmed in red. “There were two entrances with windows that were a little different,” McKinley says. “One set had a sort of triangular shape, which was pretty straightforward to flash. The other had a circular window, and that took a lot of time and coordination with the window people to ensure that we got it watertight with the flashing. Getting the trim for that wall custom made and fitting perfectly was a bit of a challenge.”

Taking a complicated project and making it look easy is one of the strengths of Curtis-McKinley Roofing. “The key is having the right guys,” McKinley says. “We are blessed to have very experienced professional roofers and sheet metal installers. Our sheet metal guys have done this for years. That’s getting harder to find these days, and we still have some older guys that know how to do it. They’ve done so much of it that I often rely on them to tell me, ‘This is how it needs to be done,’ or ‘This is a better way to do it.’ Then we just make sure everything conforms to the plans and specifications, and we ensure the installation integrity. Obviously the most important thing is to keep the water out.”

TEAM

Architect: Ron Mabry Architects, Tyler, Texas, www.ronmabryarchitects.com

General Contractor: Transet Co., Longview, Texas, www.transetco.com

Roofing Contractor: Curtis-McKinley Roofing and Sheet Metal, Longview, Texas, www.curtismckinleyroofing.com

MATERIALS

Roof Panels: 18-inch, 24-gauge PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad in Charcoal, Petersen, www.pac-clad.com

Wall Panels: 16-inch, 24-gauge HWP, Slate Gray and 12-inch, 24-gauge Flush Panel in Slate Gray, Teal, and Berkshire Blue, Petersen

Underlayment: TW Metal and Tile, TAMKO, www.tamko.com

OMG Roofing Products Launches New Website

OMG Roofing Products has launched a newly reimagined online destination at www.OMGRoofing.com. According to the company, the new website is easier to navigate, includes an improved search function, provides a closer link between OMG field sales and distributors and offers detailed product information, as well as product calculators, specifications and a video library.  

“Using feedback we gathered from users, we redesigned the website to make it much more intuitive and easier for roofing contractors and specifiers to find the right solution,” said Sam Everett, director of marketing communications for OMG Roofing Products. “Now they are never more than a few clicks away from whatever they need, whether it’s specific product information, detail drawings or locating their nearest OMG representative or distributor.”

The new responsive site adapts the user’s experience regardless of the type of equipment – desktop, laptop, tablet or phone – they are using to view the site. In addition, the site has been translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, and Chinese to support OMG sales efforts in Europe and Asia.

For more information, visit www.omgroofing.com.

A Little Piece of the Planet

There was an old TV commercial for one of the Big Box stores that really hit me. It was an ad selling garden tools and mulch, and at the end of the commercial, the tagline was something like this: “It’s not just your yard. It’s your own little piece of the planet.”

That’s how I remember it, anyway. And that’s weird for several reasons, including the fact that I almost never watch commercials (that’s what the remote control is for), and I’m certainly not a huge fan of yard work. I am, however, ridiculously attached to the small scrap of grass behind our house that is our backyard.

When the weather cooperates, our yard makes our house seem ten times bigger. The backyard provides more usable space, a place to relax and a little touch of Mother Nature. It’s a literal breath of fresh air.

I was reminded of how much I miss our backyard during the winter while working on this issue, which spotlights green roofs. I can understand the desire to increase usable space, but vegetative systems can bring so much more to the rooftop than aesthetics. They can help minimize storm water runoff, expand the natural habitat for birds and other wildlife, and help roofs perform more efficiently over a longer lifespan. From The Wharf in D.C. to a Manhattan skyscraper to home on an island in the state of Washington, the green roofs profiled in this issue are getting attention for all the right reasons.

When it comes to providing a haven for the birds and the bees, green roofs are the stars of the show, but every roof has the potential to last longer, conserve energy and help the planet. The industry is taking a leading role in educating the public and government on the benefits of long-lasting, high-performing roofs. In this issue, Tom Hutchinson, Louisa Hart and Marcin Pazera explore the importance of designing and installing thermally efficient products and systems — and documenting their performance.

The roof is the most crucial part of the building envelope, and roof performance is a critical component of a building’s energy footprint. In this industry, durability and sustainability have become the watchwords. And that’s important because when you pull up Google Earth on your computer, what do you see? Roofs.

It’s not just your roof. It’s your own little piece of the planet.

Cole Roofing Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary

Cole Roofing focuses on commercial roofing work, with a diverse portfolio that includes single ply, built-up roofing, metal, wall panels, and renewable energy systems. Photos: Cole Roofing Company Inc.

Cole Roofing Company is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Founded in 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland, the company currently employs more than 100 workers and focuses on commercial roofing work, with a diverse portfolio that includes single ply, built-up roofing, metal, wall panels, and renewable energy systems.

In 2012, William Robert Cole, known as Billy, took over the helm of the company from his father, William Roland Cole, known as Bill. Billy Cole represents the fourth generation of his family to run the business. As the company commemorated this milestone, Bill and Billy Cole shared their memories of the company and insights on the industry with Roofing.

100 Years of History

Bill’s grandfather, John H. Cole Sr., founded the company as John H. Cole & Sons after World War I. “My grandfather started the business in his basement making ductwork for home furnaces,” Bill says.

The business expanded to include gutters and downspouts, which led to installing shingle roofing. “Near the end of World War WII, my grandfather died suddenly,” Bill recalls. “All three of the older sons were off in the military. My grandmother, Mary Cole, ran the business for about two years until the war ended and the sons returned.”

Two of Mary’s sons, John and Bud Cole, took over the business after the war. In the 50s, the company started installing BUR on row houses in Baltimore. In the 60s, at Bud’s initiative, the company began doing commercial work. Bud bought out his brother in the mid-60s, and the commercial side of the business continued to grow as the residential side tapered off.

John H. Cole Sr. founded the company as John H. Cole & Sons in 1919.

“In the late 70s, I saw an opportunity with the introduction of single-ply membranes,” Bill says. “We shut down our residential side and trained all our steep roofers to install single-ply roofing.”

Bill Cole became president of the company in 1989 and continued to build the company, expanding into metal roofing. After years of being known as Cole Roofing, the company officially changed its name from John H. Cole & Sons to Cole Roofing Company Inc. in 1998. The business has continued to diversify in the 21st century, expanding into areas including green roofs, photovoltaic systems and metal wall panels. Bill served as president until 2012, when Billy was named president; Bill remains with the company as senior vice president.

Following in Their Father’s Footsteps

Bill remembers being exposed to the business at an early age. “Sometimes on Saturdays when I was 10 or 12, my dad would go out and look at jobs, and sometimes he would take me with him,” Bill notes. He began working summers at the company in 1971 after his sophomore year of high school. His starting wage was $2.75 an hour. He was surprised to find out the laborer working alongside him — a college student — was making $3 an hour. “I stormed into my dad’s office to ask him what the heck was going on,” Bill recalls. “My dad didn’t even blink. He said, ‘Well, one day you’ll be able to tell people you truly started at the bottom.’”

Cole Roofing Company is a fourth-generation family business. Billy Cole (left) is the company’s president. His father, Bill Cole (right), the former president, remains with the company as senior vice president.

Bill worked on some of the company’s high-profile projects, including Baltimore City Hall, the National Aquarium, M&T Bank Stadium and the U.S. Naval Academy. “We did almost all of the slate roofs at the Naval Academy,” he notes. “Over the years, we did a tremendous amount of work down there. We don’t do much slate anymore, but back in its heyday, in the late 50s and 60s, we did a lot of slate work.”

Billy got his first opportunity to work for the company at age 13, when he did odd jobs including cleaning up the yard and cutting the grass. “I moved on to destroying things with fork lifts, and then when I got my driver’s license, I moved on to destroying things with pickup trucks,” Billy explains. “Thank goodness my dad was patient.”

Cole Roofing Company’s leadership team includes (from left) Billy Cole, Bill Cole and Jim Layman.

Billy worked summers for Cole Roofing while in high school and continued to work at the company while taking night courses at nearby Towson University. He decided to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, and he’s found it a rewarding experience.

“I had the fortunate opportunity to learn a lot about succession planning and running a family business from my grandfather and father,” Billy says. “I like what I do. Roofing fills this need for people. You’re genuinely helping them when they need it the most. People do need an expert to help them at that point, when water is coming in their building and preventing them from functioning. It ranks high on their crisis level.”

Adapting to a Changing World

Bill and Billy Cole believe the company has thrived by staying on the leading edge — and not the bleeding edge — of change in the industry. “We have always kept an eye toward the future,” notes Bill. “We don’t always want to be the first — let someone else work the bugs out — but we are never far behind.”

The Coles point to three examples of key technological advancements over the years that benefitted the company: embracing single-ply membranes, the early adoption of computers, and taking a leading role in roof-related renewable energy.

The demand for green roofs has surged in the Baltimore and D.C. markets, and Cole Roofing adapted to help customers meet their needs.

“The biggest change during my time was the introduction of single-ply membranes,” Bill says. “We always treated single ply as a separate division because in our opinion the skill set was so different. Retraining our steep roofers to be single-ply roofers was a great move for the guys and the company.”

While some companies abandoned built-up roofing entirely, Cole Roofing’s approach kept BUR as a viable part of the company’s portfolio. “Built-up roofing never went away from Cole Roofing,” Bill says. “As a result of that, we were able to use our single-ply division to grow the company. We never gave up on built-up roofing. It has stood the test of time.”

Bill readily admits that adding computers benefitted the business, but he was not fond of the idea at first. The company introduced computers to the accounting department, and it snowballed from there. “We fought that change like almost every other contractor I know,” Bill says. “Once we got into that world, it was wonderful. Eventually they put a computer on my desk and I became the spread sheet king. For a ten-year period, it really gave us a leg up on the competition.”

Under Billy’s leadership, the company has focused on further upgrading its computer capabilities. Billy also spearheaded a program to focus on living roofs and renewable energy, including photovoltaics.

“Historically, I saw where my grandfather and father felt it was important that if there was a reliable, trustworthy product that got introduced into the roofing universe, we needed to be able to provide that for our customers,” Billy says. “In the early 2000s, vegetative roofs started to pop up, and that made sense to us. We believed there was a way to do it that would maintain the integrity of the roof and still provide some ancillary benefits.”

Aided by legislation in the Baltimore and D.C. markets promoting storm water management, the green roof market surged. “That opened our eyes to the concept of using the roof as a platform — as something other than the roof being just an umbrella for your building,” Billy recalls. “Once I learned about solar and understood the economics and the return, that made me gravitate toward the idea of building small power plants on top of people’s buildings.”

A Culture of Safety

For all of the company’s accomplishments, there is one that stands above the rest, according to the Coles: the development of a comprehensive safety and loss prevention program.

“Cole was a leader in introducing real safety to the roofing industry,” Bill says. “It all started when I met an insurance consultant named Ben Tyler in the late 70s. He convinced me that we should be partners with our insurance companies, not adversaries. I put together a subcommittee of field employees and supervisors, and with guidance from Ben we built a comprehensive loss control program.”

The subcommittee developed two manuals — a company handbook and a safety handbook — and the experience changed the company. “It was an eye-opener, but we saw results,” Bill says. “We’ve been told by the insurance companies that we have dealt with over the years our experience mod was much lower than any other roofers that they knew.”

Cole Roofing was asked to give a presentation about its loss control program at the NRCA convention in the mid 80s. “I got to know some of my competitors, and I began to share some of the stuff we were doing,” Bill remembers. “People asked us to share our program with them, and we freely did that. A lot of companies are probably still running a version of the Cole Roofing safety program today.”

Cole Roofing now employs a full-time loss control manager and two quality control inspectors. “We all put safety first and provide support, training, and accountability to the field team,” Billy says. “The field team has a culture of brotherhood. They all look out for one another and are encouraged to hold each other accountable, regardless of rank, to be safe and follow the rules. We start with focusing on getting everyone back to their family every day; compliance is a byproduct.”

Family Matters

Since announcing the 100th anniversary, the Coles have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from former employees and competitors alike. Bill chalks his company’s successful track record to “keeping it simple.” He also points to a company culture that emphasizes a strong work ethic and a commitment to its employees.

“Somewhere along the line, my dad made it clear to me that our biggest asset in our company was its employees,” Bill says. “Running a family business is not easy. We’ve had our trials and tribulations. I think the answer for us is that we have always treated our employees as family, which better prepares us to deal with our own family.”

For Billy, summing up the formula for the company’s success is simple: “We put our integrity first.”