Tips for Improving Ventilation on Residential Re-Roofing Projects

During residential re-roofing applications, it is important to ensure the roof system is properly ventilated. Photos: John R. Crookston

If the question is “Should I provide ventilation on this steep-slope roof?” there is a simple, one-word answer: Yes. The problem with this answer is that it would make a very short article, and I am sure that is not what was expected. Let me explain!

Ventilation is required if you have unconditioned space, and it is that space that needs to be ventilated. In most commercial applications, you are dealing with a flat roof membrane over insulation installed directly over a metal deck. With no “attic” involved, there is no unconditioned space and, therefore, there is no space to ventilate. You still have to find a way to control the moisture, but this is accomplished through the use of mechanical air conditioning and heating units, and also through the introduction of outside air and air exchanges. For this article, I want to concentrate on a typical residential steep-slope application, and the basis for most normal houses all goes back to 1 John 1:1, which goes something like this: “Thou Shalt Ventilate.”

To help all of this make sense, it is important to define some terms I use. “Conditioned space” is anywhere in the house that we are attempting to control the temperature or humidity — the living space of the house. “Unconditioned space” refers to areas of the structure where we are not attempting to control the temperature or humidity — typically attics (although some attics are treated as conditioned spaces). Unconditioned spaces should be as close to the outside temperature and humidity as possible. To accomplish this, we would use vapor barriers, insulation, and ventilation. The insulation would be anything that would restrict the transfer of either heat or cold in either direction; the vapor barrier would be anything that stops the transfer of moisture between the hot and the cold areas; and ventilation would be the method by which we allow the hot or cold air to move between the inside of the unconditioned space and the outside atmosphere.

Erecting scaffolding at the roof’s edge ensures safety and gives technicians a comfortable spot to examine and repair intake ventilation at the soffits.

Current building codes and building technologies have improved the performance of homes greatly by making them able to “breathe” and at the same time resist that transfer of energy. Examples would include the newer thermo-pane windows with better weather stripping, and house wrap to stop the wind pressure from penetrating the house. There are also truss roof systems that incorporate high “energy heels” at the plate to allow insulation all the way out to the edge of the plate and still allow a 4 inch air space at the plate to allow the air to flow freely.

To make this all work, it is important to fully ventilate the soffit area, and to combine this with a system to get the air out of the attic space. This could include a ridge vent system, regular roof louvers, turbine vents or gable end vents. It is important to remember, however, that you cannot mix these vents. We need to understand that air is lazy and will always follow the path of least resistance. If we mix the different types of vents on the roof, the air will move from one to the other and short-circuit the airflow. For example, air might flow from a roof vent near the peak to the ridge vent just a couple of feet away, leaving the rest of the attic with no airflow. In this case, more is not better.

Wide Range of Energy Efficiencies

You will find that most of the houses built after the late ’70s used truss systems that incorporated the energy heel. This also corresponded with the “energy crisis,” which saw a massive increase in the amount of insulation blown into the attics. Four to 6 inches became 12 to 20 inches, and it is important to know that the more you tighten up a house, the more important it is to increase the ventilation. A fully insulated house demands a fully ventilated house to perform effectively. About 10 years ago, we built a house and a cheese-making facility, using R-panels, which are made from EPS foam sandwiched between layers of OSB panels. They are incredibly strong and energy efficient. They can get so tight it is difficult to open or shut a door because of the air pressure. That can potentially be dangerous in the event of poor indoor air quality and pollution. In this instance, we engineered a mechanical system to completely change the air twice an hour — and at the same time, saving the energy of the heated or cooled air with an air-to-air heat exchanger. The system supplied combustion air for the furnace and the stove, and also recycled the heated air from the bathroom fans and the oven exhaust, saving the heat, but exchanging the air itself.

The soffit should be removed as part of the tear-off process.

Our projects have ranged from this extreme of efficiency to some of the older homes — some more than 150 years old — that had no insulation. They were wonders of efficiency for their time, and the builders understood all of these principles. It was common to see some of these elaborate homes with what looked like a “widow’s watch” observation tower with windows all around at the very peak of a low-sloped hip roof. Combined with a large central staircase, the owners could open the windows and inside doors in the summer, and the central hallway and the “widow’s watch” acted as a large chimney, moving the hot air out and pulling cool air in without any fans or electricity.

Many churches and other large buildings used the same principle to control the air inside, using either the steeples or large towers to act as chimneys as well as architectural and design focal points on these buildings. Problems often begin when we try and upgrade buildings to modern standards without taking into consideration how the changes will affect the design and operation of the building. Addressing these large, complicated buildings will be the subject of another article, but right now I want to specifically address the needs of residential houses built from the ’20s up through the late ’70s.

Homes Built From 1920-1979

There are millions of them. Before World War II, most were built with perhaps some minimal insulation or some aluminum foil to act as a radiant barrier, but energy was cheap and to do more would have been a waste of money. Without much insulation, there was little need for ventilation, as the house was drafty and, by definition, a drafty house is ventilating itself. After the war, the ranch-style house was the rage and I worked on thousands of them growing up. I have home movies of myself on the roof with my father when I was only four years old. By the time I was 10, I could lay out a roof and knew exactly what I was doing up there. Today, they would call that child abuse, but back then it was life. The point is that I lived and worked through this transition. In the ’50s, 2 inches of insulation in the walls was common and 3-1/2 inches in the ceilings. We would install some roof louvers in the attics and they would install some 3 inch vent strips in the wooden soffits for an intake. It was not much, but it was enough. Then the oil embargo occurred in the early ’70s and energy prices jumped.

It may be necessary to remove the bottom sheet of plywood to access the area from above. Often insulation will be found blocking the soffit.

Demand for insulation to save energy skyrocketed, and suddenly there were six pages of ads in the Yellow Pages for insulators. If some insulation was good, then more was better, and they blew insulation everywhere. Some was installed in the walls, but the biggest bang for the buck was in the attics, and it seems that all of the soffits were filled and the opening at the plate was blocked. Without this intake, the only thing that the roof louvers could do was let out some heat; the air movement stopped. The water vapor still got into the unconditioned attic space through whatever insulation was installed, and since it could not get out, it would condense in the insulation and on the wood surfaces and cause mold, rot and mildew.

Since there was no air movement at the plate, and the insulation was packed tightly against the bottom of the roof decking, in northern climates the heat would transfer to the roof surface during the winter, and ice buildup became a huge problem. In the southern climates things were reversed, and problems cropped up during the summer months when the air conditioning was running. Simply put, “You cannot fool Mother Nature!” Shingles that used to last for 25 to 30 years were now “cooked” in place in 10 to 15 years. Mold and algae became a problem on roof surfaces to a much greater extent than in years past, and most of this is and was caused by a lack of ventilation.

Tips for Avoiding Mistakes

Roofing is so much more than just installing shingles, but we have to be able to see the bigger picture to understand why. As a third-generation union carpenter, who is still working on roofs at 67 years of age, I love what I do and I am very good at it. Since I see the same mistakes being repeated again and again, I feel obligated to pass on the experience that I have accumulated over the years. I have learned some hard lessons making all of the mistakes I am talking about here, and hopefully all of us can learn from them.

Installing proper vent baffles at the soffit creates an air channel into the attic from the soffit and prevents the insulation from touching the underside of the roof deck.

Here are some tips for avoiding common ventilation mistakes at each stage of the re-roofing process:

  • Check the attic space when you figure a new roof.
  • If you can’t see light coming from the soffit into the attic, then there is no air getting in either. · At this point, you either have to become a carpenter or soffit man — or hire one.
  • Take apart the soffit as you do the roofing tear-off.
  • You may need to remove the bottom sheet of plywood to see what you are doing from above.
  • If the soffit is aluminum or vinyl, chances are that there is an original wooden soffit beneath it.
  • Tear it all out. Take out the insulation that has been blown into the soffit at the same time.
  • Replace the old soffit with a fully vented aluminum or vinyl soffit system. Vented aluminum has twice the Net Free Area as vinyl for the same square footage, but they both work.
  • Install proper vent baffles at the soffit to create an air channel into the attic from the soffit. You cannot let the insulation touch the bottom side of the roof deck.
  • Check the bathroom vents and make sure that they are vented to the outside with a flapper vent through the roof and not vented into the attic space.
  • Do the same for any kitchen vents.
  • Install new sheeting along the bottom after you have fixed all of these problems.
  • Determine how much ventilation you need to vent the attic space (square inches). Normally, this is 1/150 of the attic floor space. (For example, if the attic floor is 30 feet by 50 feet, the attic floor area is 1,500 square feet. 1,500 divided by 150 = 10 square feet of ventilation.)
  • You need this much ventilation opening at the high point of the roof, ideally at the ridge.
  • If you install a ridge vent, take out and cover over the holes of the old roof louvers, turbine vents and gable end vents. You can just install some felt or plastic sheeting over the gable vents from the inside.
  • This will give you one intake at the soffit area, and one exhaust at the ridge. Don’t worry about having too much intake at the soffit, as it will only allow as much air in as it exhausted at the peak.
  • Install the new roof as per code.

Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

Making sure the new roof system is properly ventilated will maximize the service life of the shingles installed.

We will normally erect a scaffold around the perimeter of every job we do to give us access to this important area of the roof. This may sound like overkill, but that is the area where you want to spend the most time, as that is where the problems normally occur. It can be more expensive, but what we are talking about is value as opposed to price. Quite simply, I am not interested in talking to someone whose only concern is the cheapest price. On a steeper, higher roof, you will find that this is actually a faster and cheaper way to work, too. With a catch platform around the building, you have a place to work and store materials, you can see exactly what you are doing, and you also don’t need to have harnesses and ropes to obstruct you and still meet OSHA standards. Since I sell the jobs but also work on them, this is what I prefer. It is also impressive for the homeowner and it sets us apart from most of the competition. We have been doing it like this since 1986, so I know that it is a viable option. Scaffold is expensive initially, but when you have used it once, you will wonder how you did the work without it. It is also a line item on all of my bid forms, and after it has been paid for it is a profit center, too. That is the best of all worlds.

I have read that experience is what you get when you are looking for something else. I have many years invested in looking for “something else,” so I hope that this article helps you avoid just some of the mistakes that I have made in my lifetime.

About the Author: John R. Crookston is a roofing contractor and consultant located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has more than 60 years of experience in the roofing industry and has written technical articles for a variety of publications under the pseudonym “Old School.”

New Test Protocol Provides Deeper Insight Into Performance of IR Shingles Against Hail

Hail impact testing takes place at the IBHS Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina. Manufactured hailstones are launched using a hail cannon designed to create an impact with the same kinetic energy as naturally occurring hail. Photos: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

Consumers deserve to have confidence that shingles labeled as impact resistant live up to their resilient expectations. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has dedicated years to collecting data and identifying unprecedented insights into the performance of impact resistant-labeled shingles.

IBHS is a non-profit, scientific research organization funded by the property insurance industry as a tangible demonstration of its commitment to resilience. Charged with advancing building science, influencing residential and commercial construction and creating more resilient communities, IBHS recreates real-world severe weather conditions to test buildings and building components, including asphalt shingles.

Background

Hail poses a threat to roofs across the country. It routinely causes more than $10 billion in insured losses each year according to a 2017 WillisRe study, and those losses have been growing. Yet, hail is not well accounted for in typical construction processes because hail-resistant products are not typically required by building codes.

There are three impact modes possible when hailstones hit shingles. Hailstones can bounce off the shingle cleanly, shatter into many pieces, or turn to slush leaving a residue behind on the shingle.

Impact-resistant (IR) asphalt shingles are marketed to consumers to perform better in hailstorms. Currently, those products are tested according to Underwriter’s Lab UL 2218 test or FM Approvals FM 4473 test, which use steel balls and pure water ice balls, respectively. They are based on diameter to kinetic energy relationships from the 1930s, and both tests launch projectiles at the roofing products and assume the damage severity is directly tied to the kinetic energy of the projectile. These tests evaluate products on a pass or fail basis using human evaluation to judge whether a crack has occurred, and in the case of the UL test, the damage is viewed from the backside — the side of a shingle a homeowner, roofer or insurance adjuster can’t see. Neither test, however, accurately replicates both the type and severity of damage found on rooftops after hailstorms.

Missing in the development of these test standards was an understanding of the material properties of natural hail. Historical studies had quantitative data on mass, diameter, and density, but qualitatively described the strength or hardness of hailstones. There were no quantitative hailstone strength data from which to base a laboratory test.

Filling a Knowledge Gap

IBHS began laying the foundation for what would become the IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles by collecting quantitative data on hailstone properties to expand understanding of the phenomenon itself in 2012. Researchers in the field have followed severe thunderstorms and collected hailstones to measure their mass, diameters, and strength. These data provided a deeper understanding of the kinetic energy with which hailstones fall, their mass to diameter relationship, and the strength of the hail itself.

IBHS partnered with Accudyne Inc to design the hail machine to manufacture hailstones in the laboratory to mimic the properties of natural hailstones.

After collecting thousands of data points, IBHS was able to fill the gap in the fundamental properties of hail that would affect damage. The data revealed that natural hail is slightly stronger than pure ice and current test methods overestimate the mass, fall speed and impact energy of hail. This was a significant breakthrough in hail science.

Recreating Hail in the Lab

Armed with these new insights, IBHS researchers could begin to replicate the properties of natural hail and achieve the right impact energies in the laboratory to develop a new test for impact resistance that would produce damage representative of natural hailstorms. Seltzer water was initially used to create the density observed in natural hail. Later, IBHS and Accudyne Systems Inc. developed and patented a hail machine to mass-produce manufactured hailstones for testing. The hail machine allows researchers to configure the density and strength of hailstones to mimic the variety that occurs in natural hail.

Figure 1. Hail causes three distinct types of damage to shingles. Hail can deform a shingle with dents, dislodge the protective granules on the surface of the shingle, and cause cracks or tears that breach the material.

Variations in strength and density led to the identification of three impact modes, or types of impacts, that occur when manufactured hailstones are launched at asphalt shingles. The hailstones may result in a “hard bounce” off the shingle remaining nearly intact, a “hard shatter” with the hailstone fracturing into numerous small pieces leaving no ice residue behind, or a “soft” impact where the hailstone turns to “slush” on the surface of the shingle.

The hard impacts typically caused granule loss and deformed the shingles, leaving dents and creating breaches. The soft, slushy impacts produced a larger area of granule loss, but left less noticeable deformations. These damages are reflective of damages observed on real roofs after hailstorms and may diminish a shingle’s water-shedding capabilities. Deformations to shingles can allow water to penetrate and get into the roof, which may damage the interior of a home. Loss of granules on shingles exposes the asphalt to UV radiation, which can cause them to become more brittle and prone to further damage and shorten the service life of the roof.

The Test Protocol

The IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles uses a hail cannon to launch 1.5- and 2-inch manufactured hailstones at roofing test panels. Unlike existing test methods, IBHS requires the shingles be purchased from distribution channels as a roofer or contractor would purchase the product.

Figure 2. An example of the Roof Shingle Hail Impact Ratings chart found ibhs.org. Each product recieves an overall rating in addition to a rating by damage type ranging from excellent to poor performance.

The test panel follows the UL 2218 method with a 3-foot by 3-foot frame with a middle structural member to simulate the presence of a roof truss. The panel has a plywood roof deck and underlayment. Shingles are installed according to each manufacturer’s instructions. Impacts are focused on the main portion of the shingles avoiding edges, joints, corners, the outer frame and the middle structural member.

When testing three-tab shingles, 20 impacts per hailstone size are required. When testing architectural shingles, 40 impacts per size are required — 20 on the single layer portion of the product and 20 on the multiple layer portion of the product. For each hailstone size, an equal number of hard and soft impacts are required. However, some variation is allowed between hard shatter and hard bounce.

Damage Assessment and Ratings

As part of the new test protocol, IBHS needed an objective tool to assess damages and improve upon the human judged pass/fail ratings of the existing test methods. IBHS partnered with Nemesis Inc. to create a cloud computing tool to measure the volume of deformations and the area of granule loss. The application runs on a computer or mobile device and uses at least 13 photos to generate gridded 3D data of the impacts. The 3D mesh allows the application to precisely measure deformations, including both the depth of dents and the height of the ridge surrounding each dent, as well as granule loss individually and in patches. The quantitative data allows for the severity of the damage to be evaluated, rather than treating all damage as equal. The third mode of damage, breach, is assessed by expert judgement to visually determine the severity level.

The damage severities for each of the 20 impacts for three-tab shingles or 40 impacts for architectural shingles are used to calculate the overall performance evaluation rating of a product for a given test size. IBHS publicly released results of the initial testing in June 2019. The published ratings provide the overall performance evaluation rating in addition to performance ratings by damage category.

The initial release included eight of the most widely-sold IR shingle products on the market. As part of the release, IBHS committed to retest the products every two years and to test new products introduced to the marketplace within six months of release. In October 2019, IBHS issued an update to the performance evaluation ratings, adding three newly released products to the list.

Summary

The IBHS Test Protocol differentiates the performance of widely-sold IR shingles currently on the market by replicating the properties of natural hailstones and providing a quantitative evaluation of performance. Moving beyond pass/fail testing provides more detailed performance information for consumers looking to purchase a better performing product, roofers looking to sell a better product and manufacturers who wish to improve their products.

As hail-related losses continue to rise, the IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles and its ability to more effectively determine which shingles may be more resilient to hail will help raise the level of performance and arm consumers in hail-prone regions with more information when selecting a roofing product.

To view the latest shingle performance ratings, visit www.ibhs.org/hail/shingle-performance-ratings.

About the author: Dr. Tanya Brown-Giammanco is the Managing Director of Research at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and has overseen the IBHS hail program since its inception in 2010. For more information on hail research, please visit ibhs.org.

Talented Team Designs and Installs Multiple Roof Systems for Dickies Arena

Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, hosts the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo as well as concerts and sporting events. Photos: Trail Drive Management Corp.

The new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, was designed to echo the iconic Will Rogers Memorial Center, a historic landmark built in 1934. The site of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo as well as other concerts and sporting events, Dickies Arena was designed to provide a modern entertainment experience and configurable event spaces that would stand the test of time. The multiple roof systems on the project — including the plaza deck surrounding the arena — were essential in delivering on these goals.

Dickies Arena features a domed main roof with a cupola at the top that pays homage to its historic neighbor. “One of the major themes, especially of the dome roof structure itself, was to have a kind of throwback to the original Will Rogers Center, which is still there,” says Eric Nelson, AIA, RID, CCCA, vice president at HKS, the architect of record for Dickies Arena. “The Will Rogers Center was one of the first buildings of its type to have a long-span steel truss roof system. We used that existing structure as the inspiration for the roof structure inside the arena. We have these very thin, elegant looking trusses that are very art deco.”

The new structure’s domed roof is surrounded by low-slope roofs and complemented by two towers topped with metal roofs. Dickies Arena also features a pavilion with a standing seam metal roof, which sits on a plaza deck that serves as an outdoor event space as well as a giant roof system covering exhibit space and areas for housing rodeo livestock. The venue is also designed to provide excellent acoustics for concerts and features luxurious millwork and finishes throughout to provide a touch of elegance. “I like to say that it’s a rodeo arena, but it’s designed like an opera house,” Nelson says.

It took an experienced team of design and construction professionals to envision and execute the project, including HKS, the architect of record; David M. Schwartz Architects, the design architect; The Beck Group, the general contractor; Jeff Eubank Roofing Co., Inc., the roof system installer; and Sunbelt Building Services LLC, the insulation distributor and installer of the plaza deck.

The Dome

The roof system specified for the dome featured an 80-mil PVC system with decorative ribs manufactured by Sika Sarnafil. “The roof system is one that we use pretty regularly on our large sports projects, the Feltback PVC,” notes Nelson. “It’s a lot more durable than other single-ply roof membranes, so we really like it a lot. Dickies Arena is an arena that wasn’t just built for the next 20 years; it’s meant to be there for the next 100 years, so we wanted to make sure we used nothing but the highest-quality materials, especially with all of the hailstorms that we can get out there in Fort Worth.”

The pavilion has a Fabral double-lock standing seam roof system.

The roof system installer, Jeff Eubank Roofing Co., Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, tackled the dome roof first, followed by the low-slope sections and the metal roofs. Work on the dome roof began in July of 2018. “The project progressed pretty quickly,” says Jeff Eubank, vice president of Jeff Eubank Roofing Co. “The dome in and of itself was like two different projects. The top half of the dome is pretty workable and walkable, and the bottom 40 percent of the dome is almost vertical.”

The Sarnafil Decor system was installed over an Epic acoustical deck, which posed some logistical and safety challenges. “We had to engineer special anchors because a typical tie-off anchor could not be used,” Eubank explains. “Before we could set foot on the job, we had to engineer special tie-off anchors which nested into the acoustical deck.”

Eubank and a structural engineer worked with Epic Deck to construct anchor points that would meet requirements for fall arrest. The half-inch aluminum, F-shaped anchors were designed to rest in the flutes of the acoustical deck and featured a ring provide a tie-off point. They were set in place using a crane.

Safety concerns included the Texas weather. “Our biggest challenge came with the heat,” says Eubank. “Summers in North Texas are brutal enough, but at the end of last summer, a high pressure system just stalled over Fort Worth. We were in the middle of a drought, with temperatures up to 110 degrees. You’re up on a deck with nowhere to hide, and with it was pushing 200 degrees up there. From a life safety standpoint, we ended up pushing the dome installation to night work.”

The main roof on the arena’s dome was topped with an 80-mil PVC system with decorative ribs manufactured by Sika Sarnafil.

Crews applied approximately 250,000 square feet of material on a near vertical application at night, with lighting provided by six tower cranes. The project required 100 percent tie-off of men and equipment.

The original plan for the dome was to work top to bottom, but as work began, the cupola was incomplete, so the safety and logistical plans had to be radically changed. “We ended up basically making two rings around the dome, doing the near-vertical portion — the bottom 30 or 40 percent — first,” Eubank says. “We moved up and did another 360-degree loop around the top half of the dome once the cupola was done.”

The roof system was installed over the acoustical deck and loose-laid filler. After a 5/8-inch DensDeck Prime substrate board was installed, crews mechanically fastened two layers of Sarnatherm polyiso and 1/4-inch DensDeck Prime. They adhered the Sarnafil G-410 20 Feltback membrane, which was produced in a custom color called Agreeable Gray.

After the membrane was installed, the PVC ribs were heat welded into place to give it the look of a standing seam roof. “We installed over 16 miles of custom-color Decor ribbing,” notes Eubank.

The Logo on the Roof

The dome roof also prominently features the Dickies Arena logo, which took some advance planning. “We left an area of the ribs out on the east side anticipating the logo up there,” Eubank says. “That’s in another custom color. Sarnafil ran the custom color and templated the letters. The logo is roughly 130 feet by 10 feet, so we received a giant D, a giant I, a giant C, and so forth. Once these things are installed, there is no pulling them up — your only option is to tear the roof off. So, imagine working with a 10-foot letter, 200 feet up in the air, on a slope, and making sure it’s level.”

Eubank Roofing came up with a plan to use a section of 60-mil PVC membrane as a backer sheet. “We laid out this big backer sheet in Agreeable Gray and stenciled all of the letters across it,” Eubank explains. “We took the backer sheet up, got it lasered and leveled, and installed the solid backer sheet on the dome. It already had the stencils on it, so we were able fall back and install the individual letters. We didn’t need to line them up — we just had to fill in the blanks.”

The last steps in the dome installation included installing ribs in a second custom color to go through the letters. Helicopters also brought in three large Dickies signs, which were placed atop concrete pedestals treated with a Sarnafil liquid membrane.

Flat Roofs and Metal Roofs

On the low-slope sections that surround the dome, the Sarnafil G-410 Feltback was installed over structural concrete and fully tapered polyiso. “There is a tremendous amount of masonry work on this project, and it is gorgeous,” Eubank notes. “It was important, though, on the low-slope portions to let the brick work and stone work wrap up before any roofing membranes were installed.”

The design of the arena echoes the iconic Will Rogers Center, which was the inspiration for the thin, elegant steel trusses.

A vapor barrier was installed over the structural concrete deck. After masonry work was completed, crews installed a fully tapered polyiso system in ribbons of OM Board adhesive, then adhered 1/4-inch DensDeck Prime and the 80-mil PVC membrane.

The complex also features two different metal roof systems from Fabral. On the north side of the building, the two towers were capped with a flat-seam panel. Down at the plaza level, the pavilion was topped with a double-lock standing seam roof system featuring Fabral 24-gauge Galvalume Power Seam panels.

According to Nelson, an area underneath the pavilion serves as a warm-up arena for horses during the rodeo, so the design was meant to evoke a rustic effect. “The cladding on that building is all quarter-inch steel with rivets on it,” Nelson points out. “Galvalume is finished to look like galvanized sheet steel, but it won’t tarnish or turn white or black like galvanized steel would — which is why they selected it — but it still has that kind of throwback look of a barn.”

Out of the Gate

Dickies Arena is now open to the public and is gearing up to host its first rodeo. The experienced team that built it has moved on to other projects, but they look back on their work on the new landmark venue with pride.

“I’m very proud of the people that I work with and the thought and care that they put into the project and the time that we take,” Eubank says. “A lot of our work is negotiated re-roofing, and I think that’s in large part because we take the time to think through a problem and come up with the best solution. I think that’s really highlighted here. You’ve got to take your time and do it right — and do it efficiently.”

Eubank commends the general contractor, H.C. Beck, for a smoothly operating jobsite. “The job was very well managed from a safety standpoint,” Eubank says. “The general contractor did a fabulous job of manipulating trade work and making sure no one was working overtop of anyone else.”

Nelson agrees, crediting the teamwork at every phase of the project for the successful outcome. “The partnership with David M. Schwartz as the design architect really worked very smoothly from our side,” Nelson says. “We worked very well with a talented team of consultants and who specialize in sports design. It’s a one-of-a-kind type of project.”

“My family has been in Fort Worth for five generations, and this is a project I’m just tickled to death about for the city,” says Eubank. “To be part of its install means a lot.”

TEAM

Architect of Record: HKS Inc., Dallas, Texas, www.hksinc.com

Design Architect: David M. Schwartz Architects, Washington, D.C., www.dmsas.com

General Contractor: The Beck Group, Dallas, Texas, www.beckgroup.com

Roofing Contractor: Jeff Eubank Roofing Co., Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, www.eubankroofing.com

MATERIALS

Dome Roof

Roof Membrane: Sarnafil G-410 20 Feltback PVC with Sarnafil Decor ribs, Sika Sarnafil, https://usa.sika.com/sarnafil

Acoustical Deck: Epic Metals, www.epicmetals.com

Cover Boards: 5/8-inch DensDeck Prime and 1/4-inch DensDeck Prime, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Low-Slope Roof

Roof Membrane: Sarnafil G-410 20 Feltback PVC, Sika Sarnafil

Cover Board: 1/4-inch DensDeck Prime, Georgia-Pacific

Metal Roof

Standing Seam Panel: 24-gauge Galvalume Power Seam, Fabral, www.fabral.com

Underlayment: Fabral HT, Fabral

Plaza Deck

Waterproofing Membrane: TREMproof 6100, Tremco, www.tremcosealants.com

Insulation: Foamular 600, Owens Corning, www.owenscorning.com

Brick Pavers: Hanover, www.hanoverpavers.com

Roof of Hong Kong’s Premier Yacht Club Gets a Major Facelift

Photos: Green Tech Insulation Systems (GTIS)

Set within a premier marina and home to some of the region’s largest luxury yachts, the Gold Coast Yacht and Country Club is an opulent leisure retreat for the who’s who of Hong Kong. Nestled along the South China Sea, the club offers stunning oceanfront views and an enviable set of amenities and attractions for its members and visitors.

But even the most picturesque and well-located of properties is subject to the elements. A subtropical region, Hong Kong’s weather pattern includes an annual typhoon season spanning May to November when periodic downpours, tropical storms, and heavy winds are more commonplace. In fact, this weather is directly responsible for the necessary, recently completed retrofit of the yacht and country club’s roof.

Prior to retrofit, the existing 38,000-square-foot roof was comprised of terracotta tile, including grout lines throughout. With both a flat deck and a pitched deck, none of the tile work was actually waterproof — far from ideal in moisture-laden Hong Kong. In 2018, after several years in operation, the lack of waterproofing had led to significant leaking throughout various portions of the roof. The club ownership recognized the necessity of restoring the roof to prevent additional costly structural damage. That’s when Green Tech Insulation Systems (GTIS) was called in.

Gold Coast Yacht and Country Club in Hong Kong underwent a complete roof restoration and then added solar panels as part of a complete energy overhaul.

A Hong Kong-based roofing and insulation contractor specializing in innovative sustainable solutions, GTIS was faced with some serious challenges. The new roof system obviously had to seal and waterproof the facility and GTIS recommended spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing to the club for its abilities to do both. Additionally, SPF is a lighter weight solution that may be applied directly overtop an existing roof, eliminating the costly and time-consuming removal of the older tile roof.

But the regional weather and rains complicated the installation itself. Either rain or extreme humidity was present during at least half of the installation timeline, making it difficult to dry out the substrate prior to application of the SPF roof. To ensure proper adhesion to the substrate, GTIS utilized Lapolla Thermo-Prime. The single-component, water-based acrylic primer promotes adhesion of spray foam roofing to a variety of substrates.

The roof also included interior gutters, many of which were experiencing moisture intrusion through cracks. For this issue, the four-person GTIS crew used a roof torch to dry out the concrete. The GTIS team also utilized silicone for the repair and refurbishment of these gutters.

The spray-applied Lapolla spray foam system was installed over the existing tile roof, and a custom color topcoat was applied to match the previous color.

GTIS spray-applied Lapolla FOAM-LOK 2800-4G, a spray foam system notable for integrating the earth-friendly Honeywell Solstice blowing agent, which eliminates ozone depletion impacts and dramatically decreases global warming potential over older spray foam roofing systems.

“Spray foam roofing is the right product to be deployed in Hong Kong because of its superb performance in the face of our regular and somewhat harsh weather patterns,” says Chris Brazendale, managing director of GTIS Asia Limited. “The combined ability to seal, waterproof, resist high winds and reduce energy demands are major selling points here.”

Robert Grant, Icynene-Lapolla’s field service representative based in Arizona, attended a portion of the installation to provide educational training to some of the newer GTIS crew installers.

“We pride ourselves on the resources we provide to our contractors and the training I provided onsite is a good example of this,” says Grant. “When weather caused delays on the project, I also got into full gear and laid down a good portion of the roof to help GTIS meet the project timeline.” Grant himself is also a trained installer.

Club management shared its appreciation of the installation timeline being met. “From start to finish we have been impressed with the GTIS team,” says Robert Kawai, general manager of the Gold Coast Yacht and Country Club. “The project completed quickly and work was done with minimal impact to the Club’s operations.”

Energy-Saving Strategy

The owners of Gold Coast Yacht and Country Club were looking for a complete energy solution for their upscale destination. In addition to the spray foam, which guarantees significant long-term energy bill savings, they also sought a renewable energy system. Once the roof retrofit and coatings were successfully applied and in place, the owners also engaged a solar contractor to install a robust photovoltaic system. Installation of the photovoltaics took place over a one-month timeframe.

“The Hong Kong government recently introduced an initiative to provide power directly back to the grid, which the owners of the club are participating in,” notes Brazendale. “Additionally, the longer-term plan will be to install batteries to capture the solar power and to offset energy demand at the facility. An added benefit of the batteries is assurance to the owners and managers of the facility that power will be accessible to the club, even if a storm or another event affects the grid.”

A key requirement of the client was to maintain and enhance the attractive appearance of this upscale facility. To that end, the GTIS and Lapolla teams worked with the club ownership to develop custom color coatings designed to match the original tile roof, and these were applied to the completed SPF roof. GTIS recommended Lapolla THERMO-FLEX 1000 elastomeric coating for the roof and GE Enduris 3500 silicone coating for the roof perimeter.

“The custom color topcoat really helped us retain the overall original appearance of the roofs, which was important to us” says Kawai.

In addition to providing a protective layer over the spray foam material which protects it from UV rays, debris and the elements, the coatings also stand up to the humidity present at the ocean-adjacent site. The coatings also protect against biological growth, which is key as roof surfaces under solar panels typically do not dry as quickly.

“The owners are extremely proud of the retrofit,” notes James Cooper, operations director of GTIS. “With regular care and maintenance, the new roof is expected to last for decades. This combined SPF and solar roofing system is a sustainable investment in the Gold Coast Yacht and Country Club that will provide valuable ROI for a significant number of years to come.”

“We are really looking forward to the benefits of a watertight roof and lower cooling costs and are so happy with the team and SPF and coatings products we selected for the club,” adds Kawai.

About the author: Doug Kramer is President & CEO of Icynene-Lapolla, a global manufacturer and supplier of spray polyurethane foam. The company’s products are recognized for optimizing energy efficiency and performance in the envelope. Doug Kramer may be reached at dkramer@icynene-lapolla.com.

TEAM

Installer: Green Tech Insulation Systems (GTIS), Hong Kong

MATERIALS

Spray Polyurethane Foam: Lapolla FOAM-LOK 2800-4G, Icynene-Lapolla, http://icynene-lapolla.com

Primer: Lapolla Thermo-Prime, Icynene-Lapolla

Roof Coating: Lapolla THERMO-FLEX 1000 elastomeric coating, Icynene-Lapolla

Roof Coating: GE Enduris 3500 silicone coating, GE Silicones, www.siliconeforbuilding.com