Fluid-Applied Membranes and Roof Restoration Methods

Cold-process fluid-applied systems combine the elastic properties of rubber polymers with the waterproofing characteristics of a highly refined emulsified asphalt. The result is a monolithic, seamless rubber membrane. Photos: Paragon Roofing Technology

Fluid-applied membrane systems have been available on the U.S. commercial waterproofing market for many years. Originally, the systems most frequently applied were hot-applied emulsions with or without reinforcements. In the early 2000s, a liquid rubber membrane system was developed that could be applied in cold-process fluid-applied applications. The liquid rubber material combines the elastic properties of rubber polymers with the weatherproof/waterproof characteristics of a highly refined emulsified asphalt. The resulting formulations are proprietary materials that, when properly applied, adhere to form a monolithic rubber membrane. The resulting membrane can be applied to range from 20 mils to 200 mils dry.

Unlike coatings that only provide a film surface or adhesives that require reinforcements for waterproofing capacity, the liquid rubber forms a seamless membrane that provides instant  waterproofing/weatherproofing capabilities. The material cures within seconds to 80 percent of its full strength with full cure within 12 hours of application. The liquid rubber membrane is manufactured at the point of application through its dual component formulation; the system consists of a spray grade and a catalyst that are mixed together at the moment of application through specially designed spray rig equipment. The chemical reaction between the spray grade and the catalyst results in an instant, seamless rubber membrane. The instant set allows the seamless membrane to be in direct contact with water immediately. This feature also allows for the material to be applied either horizontally or vertically up to 200 mils thick in one application. Although the membrane still requires time to fully cure, it is approximately 80 percent cured when the two materials come into contact. This is a unique feature of the material, and it requires specialized equipment and training to be applied correctly.

Advantages of Liquid Rubber Membranes

The dual component formulation consists of a spray grade and a catalyst that are mixed together at the moment of application using specially designed spray equipment. Products are also available in one-part emulsions for application with brushes and rollers.

Liquid rubber membranes combine the properties of adhesives and coatings while adding significant technological advancements that create an instant-setting waterproofing/weatherproofing membrane. It is the 21st century version of a built-up roof (BUR) system that has the performance characteristics of modified bitumen and—because it is a monolithic, seamless membrane—it provides a longer service life with less maintenance than other options. Liquid rubber membranes provide economical solutions to almost all roofing and waterproofing/weatherproofing applications and offer excellent performance characteristics.

The primary advantages of the material are as follows:

· Superior elongation and recovery. Structures move. Surfaces expand. Seasonal temperature changes alter the size and shape of every object. Liquid rubber membranes have the capacity to stretch and recover, which allows for movement of the underlying surface. The average elongation is over 1,000 percent, and the material recovers to 90 percent of its original state after elongation.

· Excellent adhesion. Liquid rubber bonds to most substrates and forms a permanent bond with itself, resulting in self-healing and self-sealing properties. The liquid rubber membrane provides excellent adhesion to metal, wood, plastic, and concrete — even green concrete. It also provides strong adhesion to existing construction materials like BUR, modified bitumen, thermosets and thermoplastic membranes, and all waterproofing materials. In most cases, no primer or tack coat is required.

· Sustainable and environmentally responsible. The materials contain no VOCs and satisfy EPA regulations and environmental concerns. No special ventilation is required, as the material is non-toxic, odorless, and non-flammable.

· Safe applications. Products are available that can be applied with trowels or squeegees as well as a specially designed dual-component spray rig. No heat, kettles, torches or open flames are required in the application process. The material is safe to apply and poses no health risks to the applicators.

Another advantage of the liquid-applied system is that the material is self-leveling. This allows the membrane to conform to substrate irregularities and provide a continuous seal at penetrations, which are typically the most difficult details in roofing applications.

Another primary advantage of the liquid rubber membrane system is that the material is self-leveling. This allows the membrane to conform to substrate irregularities and provide a continuous seal at penetrations, which are typically the most difficult details in roofing applications. The instant, full adhesion of the membrane allows for continuous system application without additional components that would be required with other membrane applications. This eliminates the chances of deformation from the breakdown of different material system components. It also eliminates some of the application errors associated with multi-component systems.

Deformations of one of the materials in the multi-component system can lead to failure of the total system. Examples of typical defects in roofing systems include loss of attachment from improper adhesive application at substrate, insulation or membrane; improperly aligned insulation; loss of attachment of insulation due to substrate irregularities; voids in membrane attachment that lead to blisters and/or ridges; and slumping or buckling flashing due to improper attachment. The improper attachment of one component leads to differential movement in the system.

Liquid-applied systems form a monolithic membrane, eliminating the most vulnerable point of rolled membranes for moisture infiltration: the seams. The superior adhesion characteristics to all types of substrates and materials also eliminates the chances of moisture infiltration under the membrane.

While overspray is minimized in liquid rubber membrane applications, precautions should still be set at perimeter building locations and application should not be attempted in high winds.

The elongation and flexibility of liquid rubber membrane exceeds industry standards. This allows it to withstand typical thermal cycling and perform well in extreme heat and cold. Application temperatures are wider than most other adhesives and coatings, and range from ambient outside temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit to over 100 degrees. The membrane is naturally UV resistant and can be exposed throughout the lifetime of the membrane. The membrane is compatible with all types of reflective coatings if application is required. Granule surfacing can also be applied.

The membrane is also very durable. Depending on applied dry mil thickness, the membrane can withstand heavy force and is puncture resistant with self-healing and self-sealing properties.

The membrane can be applied over damp surfaces and it can be exposed to ponded water in unlimited duration. The material has been used as pond liners and in containment tanks since its introduction to the market. The water absorption rate is less than 1 percent—well below ASTM’s minimum water absorption rate of waterproofing materials, which is 5 percent.

Benefits for Applicators

There are significant benefits to applicators of liquid rubber membranes. The foremost benefit is the reduced crew size required for application. This is an important consideration due to the severe labor shortages affecting the construction industry.

In most cases, a crew of three properly trained and experienced applicators using one spray rig can complete up to 10,000 square feet in one day. Additional hoses and/or spray rigs can double or triple those production rates.

In addition to the advancements in material technology, there are vast improvements to the specialized equipment used in the application process. The spray equipment is now portable and can be transported to construction sites without heavy trucks and covered trailers. The spray equipment is also lightweight and can be easily positioned on roof areas or waterproofing trenches. This equipment is housed on four-wheel carts for easy transport throughout the construction site.

The spray equipment consists of a high-volume, low-pressure system. The dual component equipment mixes the two components outside the gun to form a monolithic membrane upon impact with the substrate.

The equipment has a direct drive system to eliminate downtime associated with traditional belt drive systems. The application rate averages up to 1,000 square feet an hour for one gun. The equipment can run two guns at the same time, which increases production to 2,000 square-feet per hour. It can run up to 600 feet of hose and the material can be contained in everything from a 5-gallon pail to a 275-gallon tote. The most common container is a 55-gallon drum.

The spray guns have also improved. Advancements in manufacturing have eliminated most of the clogging issues that plagued spray guns in the past. The spray guns are lightweight and can be disassembled rapidly if material clogs occur. The older spray guns took up to an hour to take apart in the event of material clogs.

Overspray—a common problem with most spray applications—is minimized in liquid rubber membrane applications because it is a low-pressure application and the material cures instantly after release from the spray gun. Precautions, such as coverboards, should still be set at perimeter building locations and application should not be attempted in accelerated wind conditions, but the chances of excessive overspray are minimal.

Liquid Membranes and Roof Restoration

Because of their waterproofing/weatherproofing capacity, instant cure set, adhesion success with most substrates and materials, wide range of application temperatures and membrane mil thickness that can range from 20 mils to 200 mils dry, liquid rubber membranes can perform in most building exterior applications, including new and remedial roofing applications. At this time, the systems are being used primarily as roof restoration and repair products.

Typical roof restoration projects include applications over built-up roof systems (asphalt and coal-tar), thermoplastics, EPDM, sprayed polyurethane foam, metal and tile. The liquid rubber membrane systems were designed to significantly extend the service life of the existing roof system. They are also excellent for repairing flashings and penetrations. The spray equipment is small and mobile and most repairs can be completed with minimal manpower.

When it is applied by knowledgeable installers, the system is an excellent economical choice for building owners. The initial step in the restoration process is the proper repair of the existing roof system and preparation of the surfaces. All surfaces should be free from any loose dust, debris, oil, grease or foreign material. These items should be removed prior to application by means recommended by the manufacturer. The liquid rubber membrane can be applied over damp surfaces; however, extensive ponding water should be removed prior to application.

Proper roof repairs should be completed in compliance with roofing industry standards. The one-part emulsion can be used for repairs to the existing membrane. Reinforcements should be added as required. All cracks, penetrations, existing seams, corners should be addressed using polyester fabric with roller/brush or trowel grade.

Once proper repairs and preparation are completed, the liquid applied membrane can be applied to the existing roof surface. For most roof membranes and substrates, a light rinse/power wash of the surface is all that is required. A primer is required over existing EPDM membranes.

The other exception is on aggregate surfaced built-up roof systems, which require additional preparation. Removal of all loose aggregate is required. On asphalt-based BUR, the liquid applied membrane can be applied directly over the prepared surface. For coal-tar based BUR, a manufacturer-approved fabric is required due to the gassing of the coal tar. The reinforcement should be set in a 20-mil wet profile of one-part liquid rubber. The reinforcement shall be set in a full and even application so that it is fully adhered with no wrinkles, buckles or blisters. The liquid rubber membrane is then set over the reinforcement. For best application practices, the reinforcement should be set in place with a soft-bristle broom.

The application of moisture relief vents is also required on BUR systems to prevent gassing of bitumen, which could contribute to blisters. Typical applications require one vent for every 1,000 square feet. Additional vents may be used in areas with existing moisture in the system.

Once the preparation and proper repairs have been completed, the liquid rubber membrane can be applied. Application can be completed with brush, roller or trowel in smaller application areas. Spray grade material shall be applied using specialized equipment. Apply material in a full and even application. Always apply it in strict accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and approved submittals.

Stir materials during application in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to avoid product separation. Applicators should spray the fluid component as a continuous, monolithic and seamless membrane of uniform thickness, beginning at the lowest point and terminating at the highest point. In the event the membrane is applied too thin, contact the manufacturer for recoating guidelines. Prior to application, create a grid across the roof with spray paint, allocating one drum of material per section of the grid. Perform cut-outs to check mil thickness and retain samples. Typically, three test cuts are to be taken per 1,000 square feet. In addition, continuously check wet millage by using the “T” post on a caliper mil gauge. After the liquid rubber membrane has cured, apply trowel adhesive to any visible voids. Comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper membrane terminations.

For horizontal applications, apply the two-part liquid rubber membrane in a single, monolithic coat to minimum 80 mils wet/60 mil dry. Repair damaged installation in accordance with manufacturer’s requirements. The spray application requires a 90-degree spray angle (a golf putting motion) with the spray tip within two feet of the surface. Wider spray angles will decrease mil thickness and can cause uneven application.

Ultraviolet stabilizers are added into the material formulation so the completed liquid applied membrane does not require additional surfacing for UV protection for short term (less than ten years) exposure. Long-term exposure (and warranties) require that some sort of surfacing is applied for additional reflectivity or protection. A variety of surfacing materials, including coatings, granules, pavers and living roof applications can be applied.

Liquid-applied membranes are typically eligible for warranties from 10 to 25 years. Contact the manufacturer for warranty requirements.

About the author: John A. D’Annunzio is the owner of Paragon Roofing Technology, headquartered in Troy, Michigan. He has been involved in testing, evaluating, and designing roofing and waterproofing materials and systems for more than 30 years. For more information, visit www.paragonroofingtech.com.

ARMA Honors Top Asphalt Projects With QARC Awards

The QARC Gold award was presented at the International Roofing Expo in New Orleans, where Imbus Roofing received a $2,000. Pictured are Bob Gardiner, CertainTeed; Steve Sutton, Imbus Roofing; Andrew Imbus, Imbus Roofing; Tom Smith, CertainTeed and Ron Gumucio, ARMA.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recognized a historic music hall, a home with a roof built to withstand high-wind events, and a museum dedicated to the United States’ fight for independence as 2017’s top asphalt roofing installations. ARMA’s annual Quality Asphalt Roofing Case-Study (QARC) Awards Program awarded the projects that exemplify the most beautiful, affordable and reliable asphalt roofing systems in North America.

Imbus Roofing Co. Inc. received the Gold QARC Award for its new roof installation on the 225,000 square-foot, 139-year-old Cincinnati Music Hall. The Kentucky-based contractor installed designer asphalt shingles to replicate the Music Hall’s slate tile roof, while also providing crucial durability against Cincinnati’s tough climate.

Reliant Roofing Inc. was honored with the Silver QARC Award for its completion of Topsail Residence, a 10,600-square-foot asphalt shingle roofing system designed to endure high-wind events in Ponte Vedra, Florida. This high-performance roofing system not only provided the homeowners with a durable option, but also a visually stunning roof for years to come.

The Bronze QARC Award was given to Thomas Company Inc. of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, for its low-

slope installation on Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, the project featured a high-quality modified bitumen roof membrane to prevent water penetration and create a more stable surface for the facility’s vegetative roof.

According to ARMA, the 2018 QARC Award program received some of the most impressive and innovative submissions of asphalt roofing installments to date. “This year’s submissions demonstrated asphalt’s ability to provide a durable and reliable roofing system against harsh weather while simultaneously offering an array of beautiful colors, designs and installation options,” said Ralph Vasami, ARMA’s acting executive vice president. “These projects are true examples of what asphalt roofing can offer commercial businesses and private homeowners alike.”

The 2018 QARC Award recipients are:

Gold
Project Name: The Cincinnati Music Hall
Company: Imbus Roofing Co. Inc.
Project Description: This steep-slope roof was installed with CertainTeed’s Grand Manor luxury asphalt shingles in the colors Stonegate Gray and Brownstone, as well as DiamondDeck and WinterGuard underlayments. The size, complexity and steepness of the project presented a great challenge to the contractor, who managed to install a durable asphalt roofing system that was also visually stunning.

Imbus Roofing received top honors for its work on 139-year-old Cincinnati Music Hall. Photo: CertainTeed

Silver
Project Name: Topsail Residence
Company: Reliant Roofing Inc.
Project Description: GAF Grand Canyon Lifetime Designer Shingles in the color Stone Wood was selected not only for its beauty, but its superior high-wind protection. Hand sealed Timbertex Premium Ridge Cap Shingles and GAF self-adhering Leak Barrier were also installed for added leak prevention.

Reliant Roofing received the Silver QARC Award for its completion of Topsail Residence in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Photo: Justin Alley and Kyle Brumbley

Bronze
Project Name: Museum of the American Revolution
Company: The Thomas Company Inc.
Project Description: The historic project required a high-quality roofing membrane that offered an aesthetic appeal to the building. Thomas Company chose SOPREMA’s SBS Modified Base Ply – ELASTOPHENE Flam with the SBS Modified Bitumen Flashing Base Ply – SOPRALENE Flam 180 to keep the roof water-resistant year-round, protect the roof membrane from foot traffic and add a beautiful appearance to the museum.

The Bronze QARC Award was given to Thomas Company Inc. of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, for its work on Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution. Photo: Soprema

Honorable Mentions:
Big House Castle Rock
Jireh 7 Enterprises
Castle Rock, Colorado
Malarkey Roofing Products

Closson Chase Winery Church Roof
AI Anthony Roofing LTD
Hillier, Ontario
IKO Production Inc.

Tiny House & Top Shop
M & J Construction
Erhard, Minnesota
CertainTeed Corporation

West Loch Village Senior Apartments
M & R Roofing
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
PABCO Roofing Products

For more information about this year’s winners or to submit an asphalt roofing project, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.

Community Service Initiative Celebrates America’s Heroes

Habitat for Humanity identifies veterans who are in need of a new roof, and Owens Corning donates the materials. Platinum Preferred Contractors donate their team members’ labor to install the roofing systems. Photos: Owens Corning Roofing

Combine the expertise of a global humanitarian organization with roofing system materials donated by a manufacturer. Add the generosity and community-minded spirit of roofing contractors across the nation. Apply the parties’ collective efforts to honor and protect unsung heroes. What is the outcome? For veterans served by the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project, the results are safer, more comfortable homes. This article shares the story of how one manufacturer connected its relationship with Habitat for Humanity with the expertise of roofing contractors already active in community service to create an integrated program serving American heroes.

An Idea Is Born and Contractors Collaborate

As the grandson of a veteran who proudly served under General Patton in World War II, Brad Beldon, CEO of Beldon Roofing in San Antonio, Texas, has long respected the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans. In fact, his grandfather’s selfless service inspired Beldon Roofing Company to develop a strong legacy of community outreach. When Brad broached the concept of a community service initiative honoring veterans during a Platinum Contractors Advisory Board meeting in San Antonio, his idea was met with broad enthusiasm. Beldon Roofing completed the first “trial project” which served as a model for the national Roof Deployment Project.

Leveraging the humanitarian spirit of Platinum Preferred Contractors across the nation, the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project is a multi-stakeholder initiative bringing together Habitat for Humanity, members of the Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor Network and the Owens Corning Foundation to support American veterans. The program fuses Habitat for Humanity’s experience building and restoring homes with the expertise of the network’s members to provide veterans with new roof systems. Each partner in the program plays a distinct role. Habitat identifies veterans who are in need of a new roof but are unable to replace the roofs themselves. Owens Corning donates the roofing system materials including underlayment, shingles and other materials needed to replace roofs in disrepair. Platinum Preferred Contractors donate their team members’ labor to specify materials and install the roofing systems.

Since its inception in Spring 2016, the National Roof Deployment Project has installed nearly 60 roofs, and the program’s momentum continues to grow. The practice of giving back is a time-honored tradition for Platinum Preferred Contractors. Owens Corning Contractor Network Leader Jason Lewinski says the program builds upon Platinum Contractors’ rich history of giving back to their communities. “When we rolled the program out at our Platinum national conference in San Antonio, we saw lots of hands go up and heard contractors say loud and clear, ‘I’m ready and willing to participate,’” said Lewinski. “Not one contractor has ever said, ‘this is new to us’ – as many of our contractors are already so community-minded. And many of them don’t stop at the roof. They often want to provide gutters, soffit, fascia, siding or whatever it takes to make the needed repairs.”

Platinum Contractor Tripp Atkinson, owner of ContractingPRO in Memphis, Tennessee, is a good example of a roofer who is also a community servant. He and his team have donated roofing and siding labor for Brinkley Heights Urban Academy, a Christian missionary organization serving at-risk youth. In addition to ministering to the kids, feeding them or just listening to the kids, ContractingPRO finds opportunities to apply its remodeling expertise to the distressed homes of these under-served youth. Remarking on his involvement in the Roof Deployment Project, Atkinson says, “We’re not just putting on roofs, but giving back in a way that is changing lives and helping these veterans enjoy their homes more.” He adds that community service provides an opportunity for his team to make a difference that extends beyond the business. “It’s very important for us to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves and our company,” he said.

Contractors Give Back to America’s Heroes and Communities

The National Roof Deployment Project’s focus on supporting veterans has been especially appealing to contractors, notes Matt Schroder, communications leader at Owens Corning. “Many contractors have shared that they either served in the military or have close members of their family who are active service members,” Schroder said. He added that the Roof Deployment Project has also opened up opportunities for Owens Corning to partner with veteran-focused organizations such as Purple Heart Homes.

The Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project brings together Habitat for Humanity, members of the Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor Network, and the Owens Corning Foundation to support American veterans. Photos: Owens Corning Roofing

Jon Sabo, owner of RoofRoof in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a good example of a Platinum Preferred Contractor who can relate to the program as a veteran. “As a former Marine myself, I’m personally honored that we’re able to partner with Owens Corning and Habitat to relieve a big stress,” said Sabo, following the donation of a new roof to a veteran. “One of our core values has always been to give back to the communities we serve, and we jumped at the opportunity to be able to give back to someone right in our own back yard.”

Military members’ time away from home can mean maintenance on the home front is neglected. Nick Yadron, owner of M&M Remodeling Services in Crete, Illinois, says that the Roof Deployment Project is an opportunity to say thank you to veterans and help their families. “We all see so much value in this program as a way to say thank you to our veterans. All the Platinum Contractors were really excited when the program was announced a few years ago,” Yadron says.

While he is active in the Chicagoland area, Yadron’s commitment to service goes much further. In 2013 and 2016, he traveled to India on a mission trip where he helped a team establish water wells and build schools. Closer to home, M&M supports Habitat for Humanity. Over the years, his company has also “adopted” a family experiencing hard times and provided new windows, siding and gutters.

Employee and Community Engagement

Even those not directly impacted by the Roof Deployment Project are engaged by the program. According to Don Rettig, Director of Community Relations and President of the Owens Corning Foundation, the Roof Deployment Project has resonated with both Owens Corning employees and the communities served by Platinum Contractors. Rettig says one welcome outcome of the project is the amount of conversation on Owens Corning internal communication channels and social media. “We’re always excited to see our people take pride in our community engagement,” Rettig says. “This partnership with our contractors to help our nation’s veterans has certainly been well received.”

“We know from surveys that some 93 percent of our people appreciate working for a company that provides opportunities to be involved in supporting the local community,” Rettig notes.

Communities have also taken notice of the contractors and veterans involved in the program. In multiple local markets, media outlets ranging from broadcast television stations to daily newspapers and online news sites have shone the spotlight on this program. In several markets, media have come out more than once to report live from veterans’ homes as contractors replaced a roof. “We’ve seen TV stations return to neighborhoods to produce stories about additional projects — even in the same market,” Schroder says.

Making an Impact

A November 6, 2017 article in The New York Times noted an emerging trend in corporate philanthropy is the desire by companies to show both customers and employees that their interests extend beyond making profits, and that companies today are determined to show an impact. As the National Roof Deployment Project illustrates, when roofing contractors, communities, and corporations align with non-profits to engage in service, the results can literally make an impact, one shingle at a time.

Retrofit Roofing Project Highlights Advancements in Building Materials and Methods

The roof was replaced on Huntsman Corporation’s Advanced Technology Center, an L-shaped, 70,000-square-foot facility housing expensive equipment and research labs. A TPO membrane roof system was installed over high-density polyiso cover board.

The roof was replaced on Huntsman Corporation’s Advanced Technology Center, an L-shaped, 70,000-square-foot facility housing expensive equipment and research labs.

Over the last few decades, computer and scientific innovations have evolved at a furious pace, with new technologies rapidly replacing only slightly older ones. In this race for the latest and greatest, it sometimes feels like the devices in our pockets and controlling our home stereos are from some virtual reality, while the building materials of our homes and workplaces are relics of a bygone age. But, looks can be deceiving, and the polyiso insulation industry is playing a role in evolving our built environment.

For example, many commercial buildings seem only superficially different from those built a generation ago when seen from a distance. But, from behind the glass curtain walls and updated building amenities, we may not notice the disruptive technologies that have substantially improved building systems in recent years. Informed by sophisticated research and utilizing advanced components, cutting-edge building materials are thinner, stronger and more resilient than traditional products. Adopting them in both new construction and renovation can appreciably improve building performance, while also decreasing environmental impact. These products are particularly attractive to forward-looking companies interested in buildings that will prove cost-effective over the long term.

A Case in Point

When the Huntsman Corporation began considering facility improvements for its Huntsman Advanced Technology Center (HATC) in The Woodlands, Texas, they decided to embrace the most innovative materials available. This four-building campus, located about 35 miles north of Houston, serves as the company’s leading research and development facility in the Americas, so it is appropriate that it be built with products as advanced as the technology it houses. Replacing the aging PVC roof on Building 1 was a key element in this upgrade.

After more than two decades of exposure to the Texas heat, the roof was approaching the end of its useful life. With expensive equipment and valuable research in labs throughout the building, Huntsman didn’t want to take any chances in modernizing the L-shaped, 70,000-square foot facility. With the added incentive of receiving the highest-level certification from its insurer, the company decided to remove and completely replace the existing roof with state-of-the-art materials.

Commercial roofs in Texas are required to have an insulation R-value of 20 or higher, so simply replacing the existing membrane and lightweight insulating concrete on a metal deck that the building had used before with the same materials would not have sufficed. In addition, current codes which say that old roofs need to be brought up to current code when doing a tear-off job. After reviewing the options, they chose to install thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane roofing over high-density polyiso cover board.

The polyiso cover boards are lightweight and easy to cut, which reduces both time and labor costs for installation. They add strength and protection to a roofing system, enhancing the system’s long-term performance. They can be shipped with approximately three times more square feet per truckload than gypsum products, so fewer trucks are needed, leading to fuel and transportation savings. Plus, they can be cut without specialized tools and workers don’t have to worry about the dust that is created when sawing, as they would with other types of cover boards. And most importantly, these high-density boards are based on proven technology.

A TPO membrane roof system was installed over high-density polyiso cover board.

A TPO membrane roof system was installed over high-density polyiso cover board.


Drawn to polyiso for its high R-value per inch of thickness, compressive strength, impressive fire-, wind- and moisture-resistance, long-term durability, and low environmental impact, Huntsman partnered with roof mechanics experienced in working with these materials and committed to both safety and quality.

If the original installers of the previous roof 22-years earlier had witnessed this new project, they would have been amazed. Instead of hoisting heavy materials up ladders, pallets are deposited on the roof by crane. Boards are attached with fasteners and plates or foam adhesives to the deck, and robotic welders seal the seams in the TPO membrane.

The new roof is resistant to ultraviolet, ozone and chemical exposure, which contributes to a lifespan of more than 20 years, while being virtually maintenance-free. Workers who access the roof to remove debris from the tall trees on the HATC campus can easily stay on the safety-taped walk pad areas. The roof materials are all recyclable later, leading to a very low environmental impact.

Increasing the thermal resistance to an impressive R-21 for the combined roof system, the building now exceeds local, state and international building codes. This added insulation and the reflective white surface of the new roof are going to lower energy consumption and lead to greater indoor comfort and a decreased load on HVAC systems. The roof is much less susceptible to the mold, mildew, and will help prevent water from pooling and ponding as it did on the old roof.

A new commercial roof is a substantial investment. Luckily, with all the cost savings inherent in both the installation process and the whole-life use of high-density polyiso cover boards, companies don’t have to forego state-of-the-art materials for financial reasons. Factoring in the ease of installation (from cutting to less dust) and weight of the cover boards, retrofitting an older building with updated roof systems can be a win-win for both clients and crews.

PHOTOS: HUNTSMAN CORPORATION

Contractors and Manufacturers Team Up to Make Life Better

In a small town in Florida, a disabled Army vet received help when he was on the verge of losing his home because he couldn’t afford a new roof. In Kansas, proceeds from the raffle of a new home went to help fight childhood cancer. In Texas, victims of a damaging storm and unscrupulous swindlers had new roofs installed and their faith in people restored.

In each case, Atlas Roofing and local contractors stepped in to nail shingles and improve people’s lives, just as they do across the nation on a regular basis.

“A well-installed roof with quality roofing products can represent a big improvement in someone’s life,” says Kirk Villar, vice president of sales and marketing, roof shingles and underlayment at Atlas Roofing Corporation. “Shingles can help build communities, and we are proud to partner with roofing contractors to help make that happen.”

Here are three stories of Atlas Roofing and local contractors making life better for people who needed help.

Assisting a Veteran

On a cul-de-sac in Ocoee, Fla., neighbors still take care of one another. Art Burkholder, a 74-year-old retired and disabled veteran, recently discovered that human kindness, compassion and charity are still alive and well in our world.

Burkholder, a former Army sergeant, has lived in his home since 1989. He suffered a stroke in 1998 and a heart attack just two years later. Now Burkholder, who lives on a modest fixed income, is battling cancer.

When Burkholder’s home insurance lapsed, he couldn’t get it renewed without having a new roof installed. And without insurance, his bank placed him into a state of forced foreclosure.

He couldn’t afford to fix the roof, and he couldn’t afford to move. Burkholder received the foreclosure notice in August of 2016. In a panic, he finally went to neighbor Tami Kneidinger for help.

Those who live on Burkholder’s street are like a close-knit family. Kneidinger, who lived next door to Burkholder for 15 years, and his other neighbors put together a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money needed to install a new roof. They wanted to keep him at home, near the people who care about him.

The campaign raised about a third of what was needed to fix Burkholder’s roof—nowhere near the goal. So Kneidinger and another neighbor started writing letters asking for help.

One of the letters came to the attention of Victor Osage of G & A Certified Roofing in Winter Park, Fla., and Colin Hobbs of Atlas Roofing, who agreed to supply Burkholder with 33 squares of shingles directly from Atlas.

Osage and his G & A Roofing team replaced the roof in November 2016. The crew fixed several leaking deck boards, cut away low-lying tree branches and installed Atlas Pinnacle Pristine asphalt shingles and Summit 60 synthetic underlayment.

“It was an honor to be able to do this for Mr. Burkholder,” Osage says. “He is a wonderful man and obviously loved by his entire neighborhood.”

Thanks to G & A Certified Roofing and Atlas Roofing, together with Kneidinger and all of Burkholder’s generous neighbors, the Army vet is no longer facing foreclosure. “If it weren’t for Atlas, none of this would have worked out,” says Kneidinger.

Keeping Dreams Alive

Since 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has devoted itself to finding cures for diseases and treating sick children. Founded by stage and screen comedian Danny Thomas and two friends on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life,” discoveries at St. Jude’s have changed the way doctors treat children with childhood cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.

As a nonprofit organization, St. Jude’s depends on events such as the Dream Home Giveaway for ongoing financial support. Held in 30 locations around the nation this year, the Dream Home Giveaway raffles off a new home built by contractors who donate time and materials to the project. Tickets are $100 each and only a limited number are sold in each city. All proceeds go to St. Jude.

For the second consecutive year, the builder of the Dream Home, Nies Homes, has partnered with St. Jude to bring the successful fundraiser to Wichita, Kan. After selling more than 6,500 tickets in just six days for a total donation of $650,000 in 2016, Nies Homes was eager to do its part once again in 2017. This year’s goal was to sell 8,500 tickets at $100 apiece for a total donation of $850,000. The 3,814-square-foot Dream Home will be awarded in a live ceremony on May 17.

Bella Bush, the face of Wichita’s St. Jude Dream Home, is a true example of determination and positivity in the face of almost insurmountable odds. At 18 months old, Bella was diagnosed with a tumor on her optic nerve. She had surgery, but doctors were only able to remove a quarter of the tumor because of its location. Had doctors removed the entire tumor, she would have been blind. Bella soon began her first round of chemotherapy, which lasted a full year, sending her cancer into remission.

Unfortunately, in 2016, Bella’s family learned her tumor had returned. Just as Nies was breaking ground on Kansas’ first St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway house, Bella began treatment again and, despite several different types of chemo, the tumor continues to grow.

Nies Homes Vice President Curtis Cowgill is inspired by Bella’s determination. “When you think about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and all it does to provide comfort to families and children facing the battle of their lives, it touches something in all of us,” Cowgill says.

“We are honored to be a part of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway builder team. This home-building experience is a community effort,” he continues. “And it’s humbling to build a home together knowing the result will help ensure that the work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital can continue, bringing smiles and care to its young patients and families while finding cures to end childhood cancer.”

Dan Phillips, owner of R. Phillips Roofing Inc., has served the Wichita community for 36 years. After working on the first St. Jude Dream Home, Phillips was eager to participate again. Crews installed Atlas Summit 60 synthetic underlayment, followed by GlassMaster Performance Fiberglass Shingles. The roof was then capped with 50 squares of Pro-Cut Hip & Ridge shingles.

The roof of the St. Jude home included all of the components to qualify for the Atlas Signature Select Roofing System. The premium protection period includes full system coverage, non-prorated labor and materials, and tear-off and disposal costs when needed.

“The St. Jude Dream Home represents proof that good people can come together for something that is much bigger than any one of us,” Phillips says. “I made sure to get four of my best guys to lay down the roof in just over a day. We’re all very proud of the work we accomplished.”

Atlas Roofing is proud to be part of St. Jude’s mission and congratulates Nies Homes and R. Phillips Roofing for their support of the St. Jude Dream Home. The quality roofing materials will help the home protect its occupants and also be a symbol of hope for children afflicted by serious illnesses.

Righting Wrongs

Tink and Bobbye Calfee were devastated when they realized they were victims of an $11,000 roofing scam. The couple put their trust in a contractor who took their money and promised to fix their roof after a series of storms ripped through their Conroe, Texas, neighborhood in May 2016.

Today, the Calfees and other swindled homeowners in their neighborhood have new roofs over their heads thanks to Always Great Service (AGS) of Cypress, Texas, Atlas Roofing and StormScamHelp.com. The new roofs were provided to the homeowners free of charge.

“My husband has heart trouble, and I thought he was going to have a heart attack worrying so about it,” Bobbye Calfee says. “It’s been marvelous that somebody came in and helped us.”

Local media documented the homeowners’ plight and the assistance offered by StormScamHelp.com, a watchdog organization founded by Genesis Contractor Solutions (GCS), based in Englewood, Colo. GCS partnered with Atlas Roofing and AGS to put new roofs on each of the affected homes. Atlas Roofing donated the shingles while AGS provided the labor.

Diane Peoples, Atlas Roofing’s marketing and communications manager, traveled to the community in Conroe and says “This was a coordinated effort to make things right and give back to the community.”

Dallas Roofing Contractor Partners with Habitat for Humanity to Repair and Replace Roofs for Deserving Homeowners

Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, Dallas, established the non-profit Roof Angels, which repairs and/or replaces up to 30 roofs per year through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, Dallas, established the non-profit Roof Angels, which repairs and/or replaces up to 30 roofs per year through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Chris Zazo is a CEO who sees opportunity everywhere. When he needed a corporate gift idea to give to hail-restoration customers of his commercial roofing business, Dallas-based Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, he established Hailstone Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., and now makes his own cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

While considering how to differentiate Aspenmark Roofing & Solar from its competitors in a market that has no licensing, Zazo embraced community service. “I wanted to find a way to better our industry and really take the sting off the title of ‘roofing contractor,’” he says. “We were getting asked every year by this charity and that organization to support their causes‚ which we were happy to do. Then we got involved doing the new-build roofs for Dallas Habitat for Humanity and really rallied around that organization.”

To differentiate his firm’s charitable work from its for-profit work, Zazo officially established the non-profit Roof Angels in 2013, but he couldn’t quiet his entrepreneurial spirit. He wondered how he could involve the entire roofing industry in community service. “I really wanted to put together a program for the industry,” he explains. “I wanted to get the manufacturers and distributors involved, get our employees involved and create a model in which if we took it to a national organization it could be replicated anywhere in the United States. I dug a little further and found out Habitat has a program called A Brush with Kindness, which is perfect for this idea.”

Although the homes chosen for restoration are usually small, Zazo says they often have extensive damage and four or five layers of shingles.

Although the homes chosen for restoration are usually small, Zazo says they often have extensive damage and four or five layers of shingles.

A Brush with Kindness is Habitat for Humanity’s home-repair program for owners who are struggling to maintain their homes. The program seeks $10,000 donations to support one family’s home repairs. “When we found out about this program, we jumped in and asked, ‘What if we [Aspenmark Roofing & Solar] took the roof off of your hands?’” Zazo recalls. “The roof is usually about 50 to 70 percent of the budget for the home repairs, so, without it in the budget, A Brush with Kindness could do much more to a deserving family’s home. I reached out to GAF to see if they’d donate the shingles. I called SRS Distribution to see if they’d donate the accessory items and delivery. Then all we had to do was raise money for the labor. We proposed this model to Habitat and they said, ‘We love it. When can you start?’”

FUNDRAISING

A Brush with Kindness’ representatives asked Roof Angels and its partners, Parsippany, N.J.-based GAF and McKinney, Texas-based SRS Distribution, to repair and/or replace up to 30 roofs per year. In the beginning, Zazo hadn’t thought through the fundraising part of Roof Angels, so he was often paying his crews for these roof installations out of his own pocket. He started holding Happy Hours and other small events in which he could quickly raise a few thousand dollars.

Pages: 1 2

Roofing Contractor Brings Community Together to Help Homeowners in Need

Gwen Maechling

Gwen Maechling of Professional Restoration and APEX Home Solutions rallied members of the greater St. Louis community to help a family in desperate need of a new roof.

There is an old saying that goes, “A good deed is its own reward.” Sometimes one good deed can lead to another with amazing results. This is one of those stories. In the end, members of the greater St. Louis community came together to achieve something that once looked almost impossible: helping neighbors restore their home.

The community service project was spearheaded by Gwen Maechling. Maechling has been passionate about construction since her first project, a custom home she helped build in the St. Louis area when she was just 20 years old. “I was out there every single second during construction,” she recalls. “It was so exciting. It was different than any job I’d ever done. It just lit a fire in me. I’d been searching for that passion, and I found it.”

She later moved to Florida, earned her real-estate license and worked on several residential development projects. When she returned to the St. Louis area, she took a job selling residential roofing, siding and gutters for a company specializing in storm restoration work. She now manages production and sales training for another storm restoration company, Professional Restoration in St. Charles, Mo. She also is the owner and founder of St. Louis-based APEX Home Solutions, which handles residential roofing and remodeling projects.

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER

Maechling has overseen so many roofing projects in Glendale, Mo., that one realtor jokingly refers to it as “Gwendale.” In February 2014, she was working on a roofing project there and saw an elderly couple taking advantage of a break in the winter weather to rake leaves. She noticed the gutters were overflowing with leaves and debris, and she brought over a ladder and offered to clean the gutters out.

AFTER: Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the new roofing and siding.

AFTER: Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the new roofing and siding.

As she spoke with the couple, Charles and Jennie Blank, she realized they were both hearing impaired. At first, communicating was a bit difficult, but Maechling realized they could read lips very well, and they indicated they did not want any help. Maechling persisted, and while cleaning the gutters she noticed the home was in need of several repairs. The roof was old and leaking in several places, and the soffits, fascia board and window sills were rotting. The old three-tab shingles and siding showed evidence of extensive hail damage. “It was one of the worst homes I’ve seen,” she remembers.

Pages: 1 2

RICOWI Provides Unbiased Research on Recent Hail Damage

Each time weather reports and news stories warn of impending heavy rains and hail, the Hail Investigation Program (HIP) Committee of the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI) Inc., Clinton, Ohio, begins a process to determine whether the hail damage is sufficient to meet the HIP requirements for deployment of volunteer research teams.

Before the daily assignments began, the volunteers reviewed the various research requirements, met their team members and learned their responsibilities.

Before the daily assignments began, the volunteers reviewed the various research requirements, met their team members and learned their responsibilities.

Mobilization criteria is met when “An event is identified as a hailstorm with hail stones greater than 1 1/2 inches in diameter causing significant damage covering an area of 5 square miles or more on one of the target- ed areas.” Once a storm that meets the criteria has been confirmed and meteorological data and local input have been obtained by HIP, a conference call with RICOWI’s Executive Committee is held to discuss HIP’s recommendation and review information. The Executive Committee decides whether to deploy.

On April 11, 2016, the hailstorm that damaged the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex met the requirements for mobilization.

RESEARCH TEAMS AND BUILDINGS

Volunteer recruitment is an ongoing process throughout the year. RICOWI members are encouraged to volunteer as a deployment team member by completing forms online or at HIP committee meetings held twice a year in conjunction with RICOWI seminars and meetings.

Once a deployment is called, an email is sent to RICOWI members to alert the volunteers and encourage new volunteers. RICOWI sponsoring organizations also promote the investigation to their memberships. Volunteers are a mixture of new and returning personnel.

On May 2, 2016, 30 industry professionals traveled from across the U.S. to assemble in Texas. These volunteers were alerted to bring their trucks, ladders and safety equipment. To provide an impartial review, 10 teams of three volunteers were balanced with roofing material representatives, roofing consultants or engineers, meteorologists, contractors and researchers. Team members volunteered to be their team’s photographer, data collector or team leader.

When the deployment was called, press releases were sent to various media in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to alert local companies and homeowners of the research investigation. RICOWI staff began making calls immediately to the local area’s government officials to seek approval for the investigation teams to conduct research. Staff also made calls throughout the research week to help identify additional buildings.

A large area in and around Wylie, Texas, had hail as large as 4 inches in diameter.

A large area in and around Wylie, Texas, had hail as large as 4 inches in diameter.

Several methods are used to help determine which areas and roofs are chosen. A list of building permits were provided to RICOWI by local building officials to assist with roof choice. In addition, one of RICOWI’s members from the area did preliminary research and provided addresses for the teams. These site owners were contacted through phone and email to notify them of the research project.

Teams were assigned low- or steep- slope research and were assigned addresses accordingly. Team members carried copies of the press release and additional information to help introduce the investigation to business owners and homeowners.

Ultimately, the objective of the re- search project in Dallas/Fort Worth included the following:

  • Investigate the field performance of roofing assemblies after this major hail event.
  • Factually describe roof assembly performance and modes of damage.
  • Formally report the results for substantiated hail events.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

Before the daily assignments began, the volunteers reviewed the various research requirements, met their team members and learned their responsibilities. The teams were briefed on safety, how to take proper photos and how to capture important data.

As each day began, a briefing was held providing assignments for the day. This included addresses for investigation based on whether the team was focused on low- or steep-slope research. The teams were encouraged to stop at other homes and facilities that were undergoing roof repairs in addition to their assigned inspections.

The days were hot and long for the teams. Volunteers began each day at 8 a.m. and many did not return until 5 or 6 p.m., depending on the number of roofs they were assigned. The temperature during the day was around 80 F and humid; the temperatures on the roofs were much worse.

Pages: 1 2

A Roofer’s Guide to Lightning Protection

Your roof is not only a weather barrier, it is a work platform for other trades, including lightning-protection installers. Understanding a few basics about lightning protection will simplify job-site coordination and lead to more successful projects.

Lightning protection installers are highly trained craftsmen. Like roofers, they work exposed to the weather and often at dangerous heights.

Lightning protection installers are highly trained craftsmen. Like roofers, they work exposed to the weather and often at dangerous heights.

Lightning protection systems (LPS) are increasingly being used to enhance building resilience to natural disasters. More architects are specifying them because climate change is increasing the frequency of lightning strikes, and the growing use of electronic devices in buildings make them vulnerable to lightning surges.

Lightning protection installers are among the first trades on a job site and one of the last to leave; grounding may have to be installed simultaneously with foundations and final connections cannot be made until all building systems are in place.

The Maryville, Mo.-based Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) has certification programs for journeymen and master installers. An advanced Master Installer/Designer certificate is also available; it is crucial because project architects typically delegate design authority to the lightning protection contractor. The installer/designer must then meet stringent standards issued by the Quincy, Mass.-based National Fire Protection Association; Northbrook, Ill.-based UL LLC; and LPI.

COMPONENTS

Most of an LPS is below roof level. The most obvious above-roof components are air terminals, formerly called lightning rods. They must be located at the highest points on a roof. Depending on the building’s size and configuration, additional air terminals are required around the roof perimeter at intervals not exceeding 20 feet, within the field of the roof, on rooftop equipment and as dictated by the standards. Air terminals can be as slender as 3/8-inch diameter and as short as 10-inches tall; larger ones can be used for decorative purposes or to meet special requirements. While most air terminals now have blunt tips, pointed ones are still encountered and can be a hazard to the unwary.

Air terminals are interconnected by conductors—typically multi-strand cables that can safely carry up to 3 million volts of lightning to ground. Conductors must also be used to bond rooftop equipment and metal components to ground. In most buildings, through-roof penetrations are required so the down conductors can be run inside the structure; the penetrations can be sealed with typical flashing details. If conductors are exposed to view, they should be located in the least conspicuous locations and follow the building’s architectural lines.

Every wire entering the building must have a surge-protective device on it, and these are sometimes mounted above the roof. A variety of mounting devices, connectors, fasten- ers and adhesives are also required. All LPS components should be listed by UL specifically for lightning protection.

LPS components are typically cop- per or aluminum. To prevent galvanic action with roofing and flashings, copper components should be used with copper roofing and aluminum components with steel or aluminum roofing.

Cables interconnect the air terminals (on top of the parapet) to roof penetration (foreground) and other metal items, such as the rooftop exhaust fans and their anchorage points. Interconnections are vital to the function of the lightning protection system.

Cables interconnect the air terminals (on top of the parapet) to roof penetration (foreground) and other metal items, such as the rooftop exhaust fans and their anchorage points. Interconnections are vital to the function of the lightning protection system.

CONSTRUCTION

Before getting on the job, the roofer, LPS installer, and general contractor should agree on project schedule and roof access, as well as review proposed locations of lightning protection components. Penetrations, especially, should be located and marked prior to roofing so they can be found afterward.

The roofing manufacturer should be consulted for its recommendations. Adhesives, for example, must be compatible with the roofing, and some manufacturers require an extra layer of membrane under attachment points.

For added assurance, the building owner should have UL or LPI Inspection Service inspect the job and certify the LPS was properly installed.

Pages: 1 2

Denver International Airport Is Reroofed with EPDM after a Hailstorm

The millions of passengers who pass through Denver International Airport each year no doubt have the usual list of things to review as they prepare for a flight: Checked baggage or carry-on? Buy some extra reading material or hope that the Wi-Fi on the plane is working? Grab
a quick bite before takeoff or take your chances with airline snacks?

The storm created concentric cracks at the point of hail impacts and, in most cases, the cracks ran completely through the original membrane.

The storm created concentric cracks at the point of hail impacts and, in most cases, the cracks ran completely through the original membrane.

Nick Lovato, a Denver-based roofing consultant, most likely runs through a similar checklist before each flight. But there’s one other important thing he does every time he walks through DIA. As he crosses the passenger bridge that connects the Jeppeson Terminal to Gate A, he always looks out at the terminal’s roof and notices with some pride that it is holding up well. Fifteen years ago, after a hailstorm shredded the original roof on Denver’s terminal building, his firm, CyberCon, Centennial, Colo., was brought in as part of the design team to assess the damage, assist in developing the specifications and oversee the installation of a new roof that would stand up to Denver’s sometimes unforgiving climate.

HAIL ALLEY

DIA, which opened in 1995, is located 23 miles northeast of the metropolitan Denver area, on the high mountain desert prairie of Colorado. Its location showcases its spectacular design incorporating peaked tent-like elements on its roof, meant to evoke the nearby Rocky Mountains or Native American dwellings or both. Unfortunately, this location also places the airport smack in the middle of what is known as “Hail Alley”, the area east of the Rockies centered in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. According to the Silver Spring, Md.- based National Weather Service, this area experiences an average of nine “hail days” a year. The reason this area gets so much hail is that the freezing point—the area of the atmosphere at 32 F or less—in the high plains is much closer to the ground. In other words, the hail doesn’t have time to thaw and melt before it hits the ground.

Not only are hail storms in this area relatively frequent, they also produce the largest hail in North America. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Greenwood Village, Colo., says the area experiences three to four hailstorms a year categorized as “catastrophic”, causing at least $25 million in damage. Crops, commercial buildings, housing, automobiles and even livestock are at risk.

Statistically, more hail falls in June in Colorado than during any other month, and the storm that damaged DIA’s roof followed this pattern. In June 2001, the hailstorm swept over the airport. The storm was classified as “moderate” but still caused extensive damage to the flat roofs over Jeppesen Terminal and the passenger bridge. (It’s important to note that the storm did not damage the renowned tent roofs.) The airport’s original roof, non-reinforced PVC single-ply membrane, was “shredded” by the storm and needed extensive repair. Lovato and his team at CyberCon assessed the damage and recommended changes in the roofing materials that would stand up to Colorado’s climate. Lovato also oversaw the short-term emergency re- pairs to the roof and the installation of the new roof.

The initial examination of the roof also revealed that the existing polystyrene rigid insulation, ranging in thickness from 4 to 14 inches, was salvageable, representing significant savings.

The initial examination of the roof also revealed that the existing polystyrene rigid insulation, ranging in thickness from 4 to 14 inches, was salvageable, representing significant savings.

Under any circumstances, this would have been a challenging task. The fact that the work was being done at one of the busiest airports in the world made the challenge even more complex. The airport was the site of round-the-clock operations with ongoing public activity, meaning that noise and odor issues needed to be addressed. Hundreds of airplanes would be landing and taking off while the work was ongoing. And three months after the storm damaged the roof in Denver, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, making security concerns paramount.

INSPECTION AND REROOFING

Lovato’s inspection of the hail damage revealed the extent of the problems with the airport roof. The original PVC membrane, installed in 1991, was showing signs of degradation and premature plasticizer loss prior to being pummeled by the June 2001 storm. The storm itself created concentric cracks at the point of hail impacts and, in most cases, the cracks ran completely through the membrane. In some instances, new cracks developed in the membranes that were not initially visible following the storm. The visible cracks were repaired immediately with EPDM primer and EPDM flashing tape until more extensive repairs could begin. Lovato notes that while nature caused the damage to DIA, nature was on the roofing team’s side when the repairs were being made: The reroofing project was performed during a drought, the driest in 50 years, minimizing worries about leaks into the terminal below and giving the construction teams almost endless sunny days to finish their job.

The initial examination of the roof also revealed that the existing polystyrene rigid insulation, ranging in thickness from 4 to 14 inches, was salvageable, representing significant savings. Although a single-ply, ballasted roof was considered and would have been an excellent choice in other locations, it was ruled out at the airport given that the original structure was not designed for the additional weight and substantial remediation at the roof edge perimeter possibly would have been required.

Lovato chose 90-mil black EPDM membrane for the new roof. “It’s the perfect roof for that facility. We wanted a roof that’s going to perform. EPDM survives the best out here, given our hailstorms,” he says. A single layer of 5/8-inch glass-faced gypsum board with a primed surface was installed over the existing polystyrene rigid insulation (secured with mechanical fasteners and metal plates) to provide a dense, hail-resistant substrate for the new membrane.

In some areas adjacent to the airport’s clerestory windows, the membrane received much more solar radiation than other areas of the roof.

In some areas adjacent to the airport’s clerestory windows, the membrane received much more solar radiation than other areas of the roof.

In some areas adjacent to the airport’s clerestory windows, the membrane received much more solar radiation than other areas of the roof. When ambient temperatures exceeded 100 F, some melting of the polystyrene rigid insulation occurred. “That section of the roof was getting double reflection,” Lovato points out. To reduce the impact of this reflection, the roof was covered with a high-albedo white coating, which prevented any further damage to the top layer of the polystyrene rigid insulation board and also met the aesthetic requirements of the building.

LONG-TERM SOLUTION

Lovato’s observations about the durability of EPDM are backed up by field experience and controlled scientific testing. In 2005, the EPDM Roofing Association, Washington, D.C., commissioned a study of the impact of hail on various roofing membranes. The study, conducted by Jim D. Koontz & Associates Inc., Hobbs, N.M., showed EPDM outperforms all other available membranes in terms of hail resistance. As would be expected, 90-mil membrane offers the highest resistance against punctures. But even thinner 45-mil membranes were affected only when impacted by a 3-inch diameter ice ball at 133.2 feet per second, more than 90 mph—extreme conditions that would rarely be experienced even in the harshest climates.

Lovato travels frequently, meaning he can informally inspect the DIA roof at regular intervals as he walks through the airport. He’s confident the EPDM roof is holding up well against the Denver weather extremes, and he’s optimistic about the future. With justified pride, Lovato says, “I would expect that roof to last 30-plus years.”

PHOTOS: CyberCon

Roof Materials

90-mil Non-reinforced EPDM: Firestone Building Products
Gypsum Board: 5/8-inch DensDeck Prime from Georgia-Pacific
Plates and Concrete Fasteners: Firestone Building Products
White Elastomeric Coating: AcryliTop from Firestone Building Products
Existing Polystyrene: Dow