Soft, Diffused Natural Light Transforms Eagles Nest Outfitters’ Office

VMS Northlights bathe the design and sales work areas in diffused natural light. Photos: VELUX

For years the staff of Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) worked in cramped, dark offices in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Their second office didn’t even have any windows, which isn’t ideal for an outdoor equipment company specializing in portable hammocks and camp chairs.

So, when it came time to move from downtown to a location that could accommodate both the office and a warehouse, the company’s leaders challenged architects to connect the new space to the outside.

“We’re an outdoor company, and we’d all rather be outdoors each and every day,” says Lane Nakaji, general manager with ENO. “No one wants to work in darkness.”

Challenge: Opening Up a 1970s Building

The new building was at first not very promising. Located in a business park with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it dated back to the 1970s with a red brick exterior and a cedar shake mansard roof.

“It was a rabbit warren of an office,” says Charles Krekelberg, the project manager on the ENO project for Samsel Architects. “They had perimeter windows behind arbor vitae trees, so it was oppressively dark.”

“They wanted to radically transform the space,” Krekelberg adds. “They wanted open spaces for people to collaborate, planters and natural light.”

The building was gutted down to the exterior walls and a new roof constructed. Inside, the maze of hallways and offices became open space. And to solve the lighting problem, architects turned to two VELUX products: VELUX Modular Skylights (VMS) – Northlight Configuration and Fixed Curb Mounted skylights.

The VELUX Modular Skylight system eliminates the need for on-site glazing and can be installed quickly in varying weather conditions, which for this project included freezing rain and snow.

Ridgelights 25-40° have the classic A-frame look: two rows of self-supporting skylights mounted on standard steel profiles. The skylight installer, JP Ross & Co., installed 320 Ridgelight modules on the Burkert building configured into four rows over the center of the manufacturing space.

“We only turn the lights on when it’s raining or very cloudy,” says Allison Ettinger, ENO’s credit manager. “Natural light is generally more relaxing. It’s definitely softer than turning on the electric lights.”

The skylight units are all fixed with dimensions of 39.4 inches in width by 47.2 inches in height and high-efficiency glazing. The LowE3, argon-filled dual paned glazing assembly consists of a high-strength outer tempered pane and an inner laminated pane. The system is equipped with electrically controlled shades, which employees say are only drawn on weekends to optimize the building’s energy efficiency.

The office also has nine VELUX Fixed Curb Mount skylights (FCM 2246) with LowE3, laminated glazing and solar-powered remote controlled shades installed over offices, hallways and conference rooms. The building is topped by a 24-gauge standing seam metal roof system manufactured by Englert Inc., which was installed by DLV Roofing.

Quick Installation

Like other VMS configurations, the Northlight system arrives on the jobsite palletized for easy staging. Its plug-and-play installation method takes less time than custom, site-glazed skylights. It took the crew from JP Ross & Co. one week to complete the installation.

“We focus only on skylight design, sales and installation and have over 20 years of experience,” notes Jason Peterson, project manager with JP Ross &Co. “The only difference with the Northlight was that the panels were installed vertically.”

A vapor barrier wraps around the skylight modules and lines the interior roof rough opening for an airtight seal between the skylight modules and the building, creating a very energy-efficient building envelope.

Natural light bathes the sales department and product development area throughout the day, and employees are happy to have it. “When we don’t have that glare from artificial lights, it creates a calm,” says Julia Schell, manager of e-commerce at ENO. “Things get hectic round here. Sometimes when we come in after the weekend and the blinds have been closed, we forget and turn the lights on and it’s like ‘What’s wrong?’”

The Northlights also give the building’s exterior a unique look. “The owner wanted the skylights to be as much of an exterior expression of the design as an interior lighting device,” Krekelberg says. “They truly liked the look of the skylights and wanted them on the roof.”

TEAM

Architecture/Design: Samsel Architects, Asheville, North Carolina, https://samselarchitects.com

General Contractor: Heritage Restoration & Construction, Asheville, North Carolina, www.heritage-restoration.com

Roofing Contractor: DLV Roofing, Asheville, North Carolina, www.dlvroofing.com

Skylight Installer: JP Ross & Co., Charlotte, North Carolina, www.jprossskylights.com

MATERIALS

Skylights: VELUX Modular Skylight system – Northlight Configuration and Fixed Curb Mounted skylights, VELUX, www.veluxusa.com

Metal Roof: 24-gauge mechanically fastened standing seam roof system in Charcoal Gray, Englert Inc., www.englertinc.com

Installing Tubular Skylights on Cement and Clay Tile Roofs

Elite Solar Systems installed six tubular skylights and solar-powered attic fans, incorporating them into the existing tile roof of this 3,900-square-foot Gilbert home. Photos: Elite Solar Systems

Installing tubular skylights, or solar tubes, can add a profit niche for any roofing company and provide a lifestyle enhancement for existing and new clients.

“Tubular skylights allow natural light in to brighten rooms and offices during the day without the need for an electrical light source,” explains Jovane Estrada, general manager for Elite Solar Lighting & Fans, based in Chandler, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix. “They can be retrofitted into any existing roof system and placed where windows or traditional skylights are not options.”

In the desert Southwest, cement or clay tiles on pitched rooftops are a popular choice by owners of upscale homes. Recently, Estrada’s team installed six tubular skylights and solar-powered attic fans on a 3,900-square-foot two-story home built in 2009 with cement tiles in Gilbert, Arizona.

In 2001, the company began offering high-quality residential and commercial tubular skylights, solar-powered attic fans and garage exhaust fans. The parent manufacturing company, Southwest Metal Spinning, was founded 26 years ago by Estrada’s father, Saul, and brother, Juan. The components for the Elite product are made in the same location.

Typical tubular skylight components include a high-impact acrylic dome, which locks into a ring on the 1100-O aluminum flashing; this seals to a flat or pitched rooftop, protecting against rain and cracking. Beneath this, an acrylic diffusing lens connects to highly reflective anodized tubing leading to the ceiling, where it fits into a three-glazed polycarbonate diffuser.

For the Gilbert home, Elite installed a 10-inch-diameter tubular skylight with a bathroom exhaust fan kit and light kit; a 10-inch-diameter tubular skylight through the garage into a downstairs bathroom where the skylight was installed on a wall; four 13-inch-diamter tubular skylights with synchronized dimmers, which open and close the solar lights at the same time and position; two solar-powered attic fans; and a solar-powered garage exhaust fan.

“Experienced professionals can install a tubular skylight with any roof penetration,” Estrada says. “If they can cut and seal roof flashing on the tile roof, they should know or learn how to install the tubular skylight fairly easily, and your clients can enjoy new light and the peace of mind knowing the job has been done right.”

Cement Tile Challenges

The tools required for a cement or clay tile installation are minimal: safety googles; gloves; stud finder; measuring tape; pencil; drill gun; ladder; reciprocating saw to cut wood deck; grinder to cut roof tiles; caulk gun for sealant; drywall saw; tin snips; utility knife; and plumb bob/laser.

Of course, installing tubular skylights through cement tiles requires following the basic steps for any roof breach.

To avoid damage to clay tiles, unless a roofer has a great deal of experience walking on them, Estrada recommends that the tiles be removed from walk areas on the roof up to where the tubular skylight will be installed.

“Make sure the install is possible — and sometimes it isn’t, at least exactly where the client wants it — and have the appropriate tools and materials available,” Estrada says.

Next, mark where the tubular skylight is to be placed and check in the attic or crawl space for plumbing pipes and vents, wires, trusses, HVAC heat pumps and ductwork, water pipes and roof valleys that might be obstructive. “If there is an obstacle, the challenge is determining if using tubular skylight adjustable elbows will allow the install to be completed,” he says.

With the attic inspection and cuts done, an aluminum tile skirt and pitched flashing must be installed properly to the deck. “Most roofers do not use a tile skirt for tile roofs, and later a leak can damage the paper underneath the tiles,” Estrada says. He recommends applying a premium flexible sealant (supplied) to the flashing.

In this home, the central challenge was installing the tubular skylight on the roof through and into the first-floor bathroom, without disturbing the second floor just above it. “We knew we had to go through the side wall of the bathroom, but we had to make sure we had the room in the attic and inside the adjacent garage to install the tube on the sidewall,” he explains.

To do this, the 90-degree adjustable elbows were needed to be able to make the turn from having the tube travel straight down into the inside of the garage and then shift direction into the bathroom, Estrada says.

“This kind of installation requires more effort and time,” Estrada says, “but the result is that a lower level, even a basement, can be enhanced with more natural light.”

All Ups, No Downs, for Roofers, Clients

For the roofer and the homeowner, the best time to install a tubular skylight (other than at construction) is during a roof replacement or repair. The attic space and roof are open and accessible and can be sealed along with the new roof or repair. But as this case study shows, most retrofits can be easily completed, too.

“It’s an extra income stream and an incentive for customers to choose your company,” Estrada says. For example, one of Elite’s roofer clients offers a free 10-inch tubular skylight with each signed re-roofing contract.

With these, home- and business-owners light up their homes, garages, offices, hallways, bathrooms and warehouses. And, tubular skylights also offer lifestyle benefits for pets, plants and people, Estrada says. “They’ve been reported to improve a person’s mood, and the owner of this home in Gilbert told us they’ve simply changed his life.”

About the author: David M. Brown has been writing books and articles for newspapers, magazines, ezines, websites and businesses for many years. A graduate of LaSalle University and Temple University in native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is the father of two grown children, Shaun and Sheena, who live near him in the Phoenix area.

TEAM

Tubular Skylight Installer: Elite Solar Systems, Chandler, Arizona, www.elitesolarsystems.com

MATERIALS

Tubular Skylights: 10-inch Elite Tubular Skylight, 13-inch Elite Tubular Skylight, Elite Solar Systems

Attic Fans: 20-Watt Elite Solar Attic Fan

Tips for Tubular Skylights

Once the vertical pitched flashing is sealed and fastened properly on the roof deck, place the aluminum tile flashing over the pitched flashing, with the EPDM rubber facing down toward flashing. Fold the sides of the aluminum tile flashing and make sure flashing goes over the bottom tiles.

1. Follow the step-by-step instruction manual, supplied with the tubular skylight. Call the manufacturer and ask questions, if necessary.

2. Use all of the parts included with the tubular skylight kit. “Typically, when a part is left out, it is because the installer or roofer does not know its function,” Estrada says. “Leaving out a part can cause condensation issues, dust or bugs to enter the unit, a rainbow (distracting prism) effect on the interior of the home or other issues down the line.”

3. Quality and safety are paramount: Tested and certified products ensure your clients that the units will last through the harshest weather. Check products for certification by the International Code Council (ICC). Secondly, quality products offer UV-protection plastic, which inhibits fading of interiors. And, for installers, find out if the tubular skylights adhere to OSHA fall-protection standards.

The roof install is complete, with the tiles back in place. Notice that you can see the aluminum tile flashing toward the bottom of the tiles. Both the flashing and the aluminum tile flashing can be painted to blend in with roof.

4. For condensation control, the skylight must breathe, so don’t place sealant between the dome assembly and the roof flashing. This will cause condensation buildup.

5. For condensation, dust and bug issues, seal any gaps between the ceiling kit and the light tube as well as the light tube and the flashing with tape or spray-foam insulation, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

6. Offer no-leak guarantees to fully back your work for your customers. As a respected roofing company, you offer warrantied materials and installation. Look for that, too, in the tubular skylights you install.

Roof System Protects Health Care Facility in Northern Saskatchewan

The roof system specified for the William Charles Health Centre was a two-ply modified bitumen roofing system manufactured by IKO. Photos: IKO

When the $11.5 million William Charles Health Centre was built north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, durability and longevity were key considerations in the design and construction. The facility provides a variety of health care programs to meet the needs of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation.

The roof and walls were designed to last, even in tough weather conditions. The roof system specified was a two-ply modified bitumen roofing system manufactured by IKO. IKO’s Aquabarrier AVB was selected as an exterior peel-and-stick air and vapor barrier to support the facility’s exterior insulated wall system.

Oakwood Roofing& Sheet Metal Co., headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, installed both the roof and wall systems. Founded in 1977, Oakwood Roofing is a full-service roofing and sheet metal contractor handling all types of commercial and residential projects including new construction, roof replacement, service and maintenance. The company also has a Building Division.

“We do all types of roofing and repairs,” notes Brett Laing, an estimator and project manager with Oakwood Roofing. “We do infrared scans, roof reports and assessments, budget pricing for new and re-roof projects, as well as metal cladding and composite panels. We also provide custom roof maintenance programs for companies, property owners and property managers.”

The company was invited to bid on the William Charles Health Centre installation by NDL, the construction manager on the project, and emerged as the low bidder. The roof on the new construction project was approximately 18,500 square feet. On either side of a slight peak, the metal deck slopes to the exterior, where gutters were installed for drainage. The slope on one side of the roof was 13.9 percent, and on the other it was 21.8 percent.

“The roofing wasn’t too difficult,” says Laing. “It’s a conventional two-ply mod bit system, but some of the components are not used that frequently. We use Z-girts to hold the insulation in place in high-wind applications.”

The first step was mechanically fastening 5/8-inch DensDeck Prime to the steel decking. Then a vapor barrier was torch-applied to the cover board. Two 4-inch layers of IKOTherm insulation were installed using Z-girts. Oakwood Roofing fabricated the Z-girts in the company’s sheet metal shop and installed them spaced 24 inches on center. The two layers of insulation and Z-girts were installed perpendicular to each other.

The insulation layers were topped with a layer of half-inch DensDeck Prime. “We used torch tape on all the laps, and ultimately torched the TP 180 FF base sheet from IKO over the top, and then torched the cap sheet to that.”

Oakwood Roofing also installed the wall systems. “We also installed the vapor barrier and longboard siding on this project,” says Laing. “It was a pretty good project for us.”

The remote location posed some difficulties, as crews stayed near the site. Weather is always a concern, and it can be even more problematic when crews are working remotely, but there were no delays on the project. The weather was mild and coordination of trades at the jobsite was excellent, according to Laing.

“NDL was the construction manager on the project, and they are very well organized with their scheduling,” he notes. “It was nice to work with such a professional team, and there were no issues. Everything went smoothly.”

The roof system was specified for its durability and ability to withstand severe weather conditions. “IKO put their name behind it and warranted the roofing system for 15 years,” Laing says. “They came out and made sure it was installed by us to their requirements. The project qualified for a no dollar limit warranty for 15 years, so that says it all right there about how durable the system is.”

Safety First

The fall protection plan incorporated warning lines at the perimeter and personal fall arrest equipment. “Everyone was tied off at all times on the roof,” Laing says.

For torch-down applications, the company’s policy it to institute a two-hour fire watch every time a torch is turned off. “We basically go around and test areas with a thermal gun,” Laing says. “Obviously, if temperatures are dropping, then we are headed in the right direction. We want to ensure that no hot spots are getting hotter, there is no fire risk, and that everyone is safe.”

Oakwood Roofing bears a Certificate of Recognition (COR), a nationally trademarked and endorsed program instituted by participating members of the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations (CFCSA). “We are COR certified at Oakwood Roofing, so we hold our degree of standing to the highest for everyone involved — the workers, the owners of the building, the other trades,” Laing says. “Safety is at the very top of our list when we get into a project.”

For Oakwood Roofing’s experienced crews, this project was just another day at the office — even if the jobsite was 11 hours from home. “We’ve done a lot of work in the Prairie Provinces, in Ontario and into the Northwest Territories,” says Laing. “We are a special company. We wouldn’t have survived for 44 years if we weren’t. We’ve developed special skills and methods to overcome any obstacles that come our way, including extreme weather.”

TEAM

Architect: Patrick R. Stewart Architect, Chilliwack, British Columbia

General Contractor: NDL Construction Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, www.ndlconstruction.com

Roofing Contractor: Oakwood Roofing& Sheet Metal Co., Winnipeg, Manitoba, www.oakwoodroofing.com

MATERIALS

Cap Sheet: Torchflex TP-250-CAP Heat Welded Cap Sheet, IKO, www.iko.com 

Base Sheet: Torchflex TP-180-FF-Base Heath Welded Base Sheet, IKO

Insulation: IKOTherm Commercial Roof Insulation, IKO

Wall Vapor Barrier: IKO AquaBarrier AVB Vapour Barrier, IKO

Cover Board: DensDeck Prime, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Innovative Solution Serves Up Perfect Blend of Color and Strength for Restaurant

A barrel-vaulted canopy made up of Pentaglas panels in a rainbow of hues lends a festive flavor to the outdoor dining area at Mexican Radio Restaurant. Photos: Kingspan Light + Air

Located in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District, Mexican Radio specializes in two things: tacos and cold drinks. The newly opened concept restaurant conceived by A Good Egg Dining Group occupies a lively, fun space.

The property’s major restoration includes a covered outdoor dining area. There, a translucent vaulted canopy crowns the space in a swirl of bright colors. Inspired by a colorful fine art glass installation, the owners and architect collaborated to find the right solution.

The canopy adds more than just a bright accent for diners: It creates an additional dining space that protects diners from the elements and makes the space useful nearly year round.

Style and Substance, on Budget

During the renovation, the outdoor dining area was demolished down to the existing steel tube structure. Kingspan Light + Air manufactured a fully engineered, customized and prefabricated vaulted canopy to fit the existing steel structure. Kingspan provided a clear anodized aluminum structure, and six unique glazing colors designed to bring the owner’s vision to life.

“We knew colored glass wouldn’t work on this budget,” says Zack Woods, AIA, with Gardner Architects. “But with the Kingspan product, we could get the bright tones of color the customer wanted, and we could cover more square footage, spanning a full patio instead of a very small area.”

Mindful of the project budget, Kingspan provided a variety of color panels with no high setup costs. Non-standard “off the rack” hues lend a lush, custom-job look. “The tones of colors used give this a unique feel and kept the budget on track,” Zack says.

The canopy provides a durable, inviting and comfortable venue for diners. Because one end of the canopy is open to the street and the other is connected to the building, the space is largely sheltered from the elements. Ceiling and attic fans circulate air and pull heat out in the warm summer months; patio heaters create a cozy space in the winter.

Providing more than just a comfortable environment, the Kingspan Light + Air Pentaglas canopy system is built to last. The system has undergone rigorous 10-year testing to ensure both color stability and impact durability over time. Should the need arise, the unique KLA system allows spot replacement of single panels, so the entire canopy does not have to be replaced.

TEAM

Architect: Gardner Architects, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, https://gardner.studio

Contractor: J&R Windows, Goldsby, Oklahoma, http://www.jandrwindows.com

MATERIALS

Barrel Canopy: 12mm Pentaglas in six colors, glazing, purlins and rafters, Kingspan Light + Air, www.kingspanlightandair.us

Re-Roofing a Frank Lloyd Wright Home

The Thomas P. Hardy House in Racine, Wisconsin, was designed and built in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Frank Lloyd Wright. Just the name brings to mind images of beautiful homes. So, when the team at Allrite Home & Remodeling had the opportunity to work on one of Wright’s creations, they jumped at the chance. A year later, the newly-added DaVinci Single-Width Shake roof brought the team industry recognition along with praise from Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts.

The home, on the shore of Lake Michigan, is located in Racine, Wisconsin. It was designed and built in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright for attorney Thomas P. Hardy. The stucco finished front, intricately detailed windows and breathtaking waterfront views make this a home like no other in the neighborhood.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Wisconsin, the Thomas P. Hardy House has changed hands seven times. In 2012, the then-homeowner began working to restore the home to its former beauty.

The exterior was repainted to the original terracotta color. The foundation was jacked up and rotting beams were replaced. And, original light fixtures and pocket doors were all restored. As the restoration progressed, Allrite Home & Remodeling was brought in by the home’s newest owner to tackle the roof.

Selecting the Right Shake Roof

“The homeowner had three very important priorities for this historic renovation project,” says Randy Miller, owner of Allrite Home & Remodeling. “First, they wanted cedar shake, just as Frank Lloyd Wright had intended for the roof. However, they wanted to take advantage of modern advances in materials. Second, they wanted to be environmentally responsible. And third, they wanted the roof selection to please Frank Lloyd Wright loyalists.”

Many years prior, previous owners had asphalt roofing installed on the home, which was not consistent with Frank Lloyd Wright’s style. After reviewing a variety of products, the current owners decided on a composite shingle that simulates a cedar shake roof.

Single-Width Shake from DaVinci Roofscapes in the natural Aged Cedar color was chosen to restore the original appearance to the home’s exterior.

“The DaVinci product has the right quality, texture, color and warranty that the owners wanted,” says Miller. “The Single-Width Shake in the natural Aged Cedar coloring brought back the original appearance to the home exterior. As an added bonus, the composite shake shingle has a longer lifespan and will require far less maintenance.”

Soon after the team started removing the old roof, they noticed significant fire damage to the rafters above the kitchen area. Apparently a fire in the early 1960s extensively damaged the inner structure of the roof.

“The current owners had no idea so much harm had occurred,” says Miller. “We proceeded to replace the damaged wood. That was important so the home will be structurally sound and able to support the new roof.”

According to Miller, safety was also a concern. The home is located on a steep bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. High winds were a challenge as the team worked to keep materials, tools and technicians secure.

Another challenge was the location of the home on a busy road. There was also a walled-in yard. This meant there was not a good staging location for materials or a dumpster. They were able to squeeze a dumpster onto the property, but neither the placement nor the access was ideal.

Finishing Touches

After the installation of the composite shake roofing came the finishing touch: copper accents. The area around the chimney had previously been plain brown flashing. It was decided to update it with copper flashing that will continue to add character to the home as it ages and patinas.

“Installing the copper without it rippling required our expert technicians to be extremely precise as they worked,” says Miller. “Then there was the added pressure of knowing that every step of this project was being scrutinized.”

Copper accents were added, including copper flashing around the chimney.

“There are Frank Lloyd Wright fans and enthusiasts both online and in our community who watched our progress closely,” Miller continues. “They wanted to make sure every step of the way that we honored the original design of the home.”

For their successful efforts, the team at Allrite Home & Remodeling won an award in the 2019 National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Milwaukee Remodeler of the Year Awards competition. The home received a Silver Award in the category of “Residential Historical Renovation/Restoration.”

“Our company has installed many DaVinci composite roofs during the past 15 years,” says Miller. “We’re proud of all of them. However, this project was a true labor of love. We’ve now added our mark to a beloved historical home in our community. Our entire team takes great satisfaction in knowing we were able to help bring a longer life to this Frank Lloyd Wright home.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Allrite Home & Remodeling, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, https://allriteremodeling.com

MATERIALS

Composite Shingles: Single-Width Shake, DaVinci Roofscapes, www.davinciroofscapes.com

Skylight Design Lets Glass Take the Spotlight

Good skylight design and project integration can mean a product not only provides light and possible ventilation — it also can make a statement as a strong aesthetic component.
Photo: Wasco

Skylights continue to gain recognition as energy-efficient daylight harvesting devices. When properly specified, proportioned, located and installed, skylights can meet the latest editions of national model energy conservation and green building codes and rating systems. Beyond the concerns of daylighting and thermal performance, skylights also must serve as a viable element of the building envelope.

Consequently, given the growing use of large, complex sloped glazing systems, design criteria for skylights and sloped glazing  are undergoing rapid creative evolution, as are the codes — primarily the International Building Code (IBC) — governing their application. In some cases, best practice can be to consider requirements in excess of those in the codes. Sloped glazing is defined in building codes as those where glass is inclined 15 degrees or more from vertical.

Potential Breakage is Key

Proper glass selection and system design is intended to meet specified design load(s), with the primary goal of reducing the probability of glass breakage, which can pose risks to people and property.

Breakage may occur due to several factors, either alone or in combination, some of which are noted below:

  • Loads in excess of the specified design loads
  • Large thermal stresses
  • Damage to the glass during handling or installation
  • Forces exerted by the framing system
  • Vandalism
  • Wind-borne gravel or other debris
  • Large hailstones
  • Impurities in the glass causing spontaneous fracture
Proper glass selection and system design must meet specified design load(s), with the primary goal of reducing the probability of glass breakage, which can pose risks to people and property. Photo: CrystaLite

The differences in design considerations between vertical and sloped glazing must be considered. For example, sloped glass is more susceptible to impact from falling objects than vertical glass. Sloped glazing is also more likely to fall from its opening when it breaks than vertical glass.

Typically, the preferred practice for glass selection in skylights and sloped glazing is to provide firm support for all edges of the glass for both inward (positive) and outward (negative) loads. This is mandatory for insulating glass units. The support may be by conventional channel glazing or by structural retention with a silicone sealant.

Design Considerations

Glazed systems require special glass design considerations. Designers and architects must orchestrate the use of such industry and regulatory standards and guidelines, as ASTM E1300-16,Standard Practice for Determining Load Resistance of Glass in Buildings,” ASCE/SEI 7,Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures,” and others, as well as the IBC and International Residential Code (IRC).

Glazed systems of skylights often require special glass design considerations when designing for things like structure, thermal design and control of solar heat gain. Designers and architects must orchestrate the use of industry and regulatory standards and guidelines. Photos: FGIA

Once the 2021 edition of the IBC is adopted, new code language in IBC Section 2405.1, 2405.3 will clarify that screens are not required below skylights and sloped glazing when 30-mil interlayer laminated glass is used. The use of 30 mil-laminated glass in skylights improves daylighting, aesthetics, and helps protect building occupants, along with eliminating the need for screens.

Other design considerations are outlined below.

Strength

At base, the selection of glass for skylights and sloped glazing begins with the use of ASTM E1300, which uses a failure prediction model with the glass strength based on weathered glass. This takes into account a rational reduction in glass strength from initial production to in-service use. The procedure determines if the proposed glass type (annealed, heat-strengthened, fully tempered or laminated) will meet the specified load, allowing it to be determined whether to consider either a thinner or thicker glass.

A skylight is an integral part of the building envelope, controlling the movement of moisture and air. Photos: FGIA

ASTM E1300 supplies load resistance charts for a glass probability of breakage of eight per 1000, as this is considered practical and reasonable for most glass applications. The designer should aim for a low probability of breakage, but if breakage does occur, the consequences must be acceptable.

ASCE/SEI 7 lists formulas for calculating the equivalent combined pressure due to a combination of dead, wind, snow and other loads, as does Chapter 24 of the IBC. For common shapes of buildings, background guidance on design wind velocities may be found in ASCE/SEI 7 — with a caveat: buildings of unusual shape or geometry may render that standard inadequate for defining loads on sloped glazing and skylights.

Load Duration

The strength of glass is a function of load duration. Long duration loads, or any load lasting approximately 30 days, such as snow loads, must be treated differently than short duration loads, defined as any load lasting three seconds or less, such as wind loads.

Surface Damage

Mechanical damage to the surface of glass, as opposed to weathering, can cause a significant reduction in glass strength.

Thermal stress happens where there is a mix of heavy sunlight and shade. Glass must accommodate these changes. Photo: CrystaLite

Flat glass surfaces inherently have numerous, randomly occurring, microscopic flaws, resulting in widely varying strengths among otherwise identical lites. (A lite is a pane of glass or an insulating glass unit used in a window, door, tubular daylighting device, roof window, secondary storm product or unit skylight.)

So, the strength of glass exposed to transient and static loads must be analyzed on a statistical basis. This may be expressed in various ways, one of which is the coefficient of variation, a measure of the distribution of the glass strength for a large number of lites. It is influenced by the degree of heat treatment of the glass, being highest (0.25) for annealed and lowest for fully tempered glass (0.10) due to surface compression of the latter. This minimizes the tendency of surface flaws to propagate under load and cause glass breakage.

Impact From Wind-Borne Items

Limiting deflection of the frame is important. Care should be taken not to bow or distort the frame due to over-compaction of insulation. Photos: FGIA

The ability of fenestration of all types to resist such impacts is especially important in areas where high wind events, such as hurricanes, regularly occur. Building codes or other regulations in these areas frequently require that fenestration products either be rated as impact-resistant or be protected by impact-resistant devices. Resistance to hail impact — especially applicable to skylights — is a special case of impact resistance. Here, FM 4431, “Approval Standard for Skylights,” is often the governing standard.

Thermal Stress

Differential thermal expansion between framing and glazing, as well as between exposed and shaded areas of a given lite, must be accommodated through appropriate glass bite dimensions and selection of proper sealant, as well as glass type. For most orientations, the temperature that sloped glass may reach is usually higher than for vertical glazing due to the sun’s radiation being oriented more directly to the glass surface. Consequently, thermal stresses created in the glass most often require heat treated glass (heat-strengthened or fully tempered).

Edge Strength

Both the design of the skylight system and the integration into the structure of the building take careful consideration to ensure water is controlled and drained away properly. It is imperative in all glazing systems that water infiltration and condensation be drained or weeped away from edges of the glass and away from the skylight system.

The quality of the glass cutting and the edge finish are critical variables. For example, good quality, clean cut glass edges have an average strength of about 4650 psi (32 MPa) and a predicted failure of 1 percent at about 2,400 psi (16 MPa). For very poorly cut, nipped or damaged edges, the average strength may be in the range of 1,200-1,500 psi (8-10 MPa).

Frame Deflection Limits

A supported glass edge should have an edge deflection limited by the framing member to no greater than L/175 where “L” is the length of the glass edge and the deflection is determined by the displacement of the framing member along the edge.

Water Drainage

It is imperative in all glazing systems that water infiltration and condensation be drained or weeped away from the edges of the glass. This is to prevent detrimental freezing of the water or deleterious effects of moisture on edge seals of insulating glass, or possible debonding of interlayer material in laminated glass. The framing system must always drain the water from the lowest point of the glazing channel and the lowest point of the framing system.

All these design considerations and more, as well as guidance in applying them, are detailed in AAMA GDSG-1, Glass Design Guide for Sloped Glazing and Skylights, published by the Fenestration and Glass Industry Alliance (FGIA). Other published FGIA resources include the following.

  • AAMA SDGS-1-89, “Structural Design Guidelines for Aluminum Framed Skylights”
  • AAMA TIR-A7-11, “Sloped Glazing Guidelines”
  • AAMA TIR-A11-15, “Maximum Allowable Deflection of Framing Systems for Building Cladding Components at Design Wind Loads”
  • IGMA TB-3001, “Guidelines for Sloped Glazing”

All are available at aamanet.org/store.

About the author: Glenn Ferris is the Fenestration and Glass Industry Alliance’s (FGIA’s) Fenestration Standards Specialist. He began his career with the association in 2018. He has extensive experience in the fenestration industry dating back to 1992. Ferris is a liaison for many councils, committees and study/work/task groups guiding them in the completion of the scope of each group.

Carefully Engineered Metal Roof System Now Protects Cancer Center

Garland’s R-Mer Loc standing seam metal roof system provides the health center with proven watertight performance. The panels lock into one another, allowing for quick and easy installation. Photos: The Garland Company, Inc.

The original standing seam metal roof over the Cancer Center at CHI St. Joseph Health in Bryan, Texas, was peppered with white repair material at the seams, in the valleys, at transitions and around penetrations. At flashings or other complex details, sealants and single-ply membranes had been used to stop water intrusion. But the repairs, which appeared to have been done numerous times over the years, didn’t work. The roof continued to leak into the cancer treatment center, making it all the more critical to find a permanent solution.

Physicians Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust company, purchased the facility in 2016, and part of the purchase agreement required the real estate company to fix various issues within two years. The roof was given the highest priority. The building was constructed in 1996 and it had been added onto at one point, with the original roof tied into the new roof — creating additional waterproofing challenges. At the time of purchase, the original standing seam roof was only 20 years old, well under its expected service life.

A building envelope expert conducted a thorough inspection of the roof and deemed it beyond repair due to its faulty design and poor installation that had led to years of water intrusion. The roof was removed down to the wooden deck, revealing even more issues of rotted wood and wet insulation. Problem areas were cut out and replaced to provide a solid foundation for the new roof.

The design of the new roof system was carefully and meticulously engineered to ensure complete watertight protection of the more than 25,000-square-foot facility. The roof system as installed by TeamCraft Roofing, located in Garner, North Carolina. With the roof’s numerous slopes, hips, and valleys, it was critical that even the smallest details be given the utmost attention. As an indication of the complexity of this building, there were 292 different Garland R-Mer Loc metal panel sizes manufactured for the roof — each one designed to fit seamlessly next to the other to create a watertight seal.

In addition to its strength and proven performance, R-Mer Loc panels, as the name suggests, lock into one another, allowing for quick and easy installation. The integral standing seam design of R-Mer Loc provides excellent spanning capability as well as architectural appeal. The heavy-duty, 18-gauge one-piece concealed clip design accommodates thermal movement and its internal gutter/anti-siphon feature helps protect against the elements.

Prior to the installation of the metal panels, an ice and water shield underlayment was applied to the deck to provide an additional layer of watertight protection. The panels, once sorted and organized, were lifted to the roof by a crane. The facility remained operational throughout the installation, which took about three months to complete.

Garland is a full-service manufacturer, meaning in addition to the materials provided for the project, its local representative assisted with budgets, writing specifications, contractor selection, scheduling and project oversight. These services proved beneficial to Physicians Realty Trust, as its project manager was based in Colorado and relied heavily on Garland to manage the project.

“Projects like these are extremely complex when they involve a practicing clinic with typical weekday office hours,” says Ryan Yetzer, LEED GA and Capital Projects Manager with Physicians Realty Trust. “Thankfully, the Garland team and our highly-skilled onsite contractor closely monitored the project from start to finish. As a result, the installation ran very smoothly and our healthcare providers are pleased with the results.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: TeamCraft Roofing, Garner, North Carolina, https://tcrfg.com

MATERIALS

Metal Roof System: R-Mer Loc, The Garland Company, Inc., www.garlandco.com

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Features a Striking Standing Seam Metal Roof

The roof of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab incorporates striking V-shaped sections of standing seam metal panels and a tapered EPDM system. Photos: AJBROWNIMAGING.COM

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab provides rehabilitation services to help patients recovering from severe conditions including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, strokes, and cancer. The organization’s new 25,000-square-foot outpatient facility in Burr Ridge, Illinois, features a unique, uplifting roof design incorporating angled, V-shaped sections of standing seam metal roofing.

The low points in the center of each section and other low-slope areas are covered with an EPDM roof system. At the building’s perimeter, the roof and walls frame clerestory windows that allow natural light to flood the interior.

It took a talented team of construction professionals to execute the design conceived by architects in HDR Inc.’s Chicago branch. Willie Hedrick, Division Manager of All American Exterior Solutions, Lake Zurich, Illinois, notes that he and his team worked closely with the architect and the general contractor, Krusinski Construction of Oak Brook, Illinois, at each phase of the roof installation process.

“Initially the architect had specified a very nice but very expensive Terne-coated stainless steel panel,” notes Hedrick. “The project had budget issues, so we offered the Petersen prefinished steel panel as a value engineering option. The mechanically seamed Tite-Loc panel could handle the low-slope application and also came in a variety of colors. We also offered a 20-year watertight and finish warranty. For approval, we built a mockup for the architect and owner to review and also provided several references for completed projects around the Chicagoland area that they could visit to see finished examples of the proposed panel and color.”

Three different sections of the facility sport the Petersen’s V-shaped PAC-CLAD metal roof, with the wedges on each side sloping down to a valley in the center. Within the valley, the Carlisle SynTec EPDM roof system was installed over tapered insulation to ensure water would flow properly to the roof drains.

“The EPDM was an appropriate selection on the balance of the roof,” Hedrick says. “The workability of EPDM with tight, intricate details worked well throughout the project but especially within the gutter troughs between metal panel wedges.”

After the building’s metal deck was topped with half-inch DensDeck Prime and a self-adhered vapor barrier, crews from All American Exterior Solutions installed tapered polyisocyanurate insulation and 5/8-inch DensDeck Prime cover board. They then fully adhered 8,600 square feet of 60-mil EPDM.

All American then installed 21,500 square feet of 24-gauge steel PAC-CLAD Tite-Loc standing seam panels. The metal panels were installed over Carlisle WIP 300 HT underlayment, which topped 5/8-inch fire-rated plywood and 7 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation. Finishing touches included 3,800 square feet of Petersen .032 aluminum PAC 750 soffit panels and PAC 2000 prefinished Kynar column covers.

Installation Challenges

The weather was a concern, as the roof installation began in November and typical Midwest winter weather was looming. “The metal roof would be a time-consuming installation, so initially we focused on getting the building watertight for the GC by installing the EPDM roof and the metal roof underlayment, including insulation and plywood,” Hedrick explains. “The WIP 300HT allows for a 180-day exposure time to UV, so it gave us ample time to install the metal roof while ensuring watertightness in the space being finished below.”

Communication between all of the trades involved on the project helped ensure everything went smoothly. “There were trade coordination meetings with both the carpenter and the plumber,” Hedrick explains. “With the carpenter, we had to coordinate blocking heights to accommodate the tapered insulation. Also, due to the limited height to work within the gutter troughs and because the deck came down to a true V in the valley, we did an in-place mockup with the plumber to see how low the drain bowl could physically be set. Based on that elevation, we ordered custom EPS tapered edge panels to offset the V shape and provide a flat base to begin our tapered insulation system.”

Other details needed to be refined, including roof-to-wall transitions. “We worked with the GC and other trades to modify the detail for superior performance,” notes Hedrick.

Safety was always top of mind on the project. “Fall protection was the biggest safety concern,” Hedrick says. “We set up warning lines 6 feet from the edge creating a controlled access zone. Any work outside of the warning lines required workers to have 100 percent fall protection. All of the fascia and rake trim pieces were installed from an aerial lift.”

The installation was a complicated one, but All-American Exterior Solutions was up to the challenge. “We take pride in our ability to offer a range of products with a quality installation,” Hedrick says. “Our experience with multiple systems and manufacturers gives us the knowledge to be able to advise the design team on an appropriate product based on performance expectations balanced with budget.”

“Personally, I enjoyed the complexity and challenge that came with this project,” Hedrick concludes. “By no means is it a typical application; it required some critical and ‘outside the box’ thinking. I also enjoyed the collaborative nature a project like this requires. It was really a team approach between All American Exterior Solutions, the architects, the general contractor, and the other trades. The final product really shows that.”

TEAM

Architect: HDR Inc., Chicago, Illinois, www.hdrinc.com

General Contractor: Krusinski Construction Company, Oak Brook, Illinois, www.krusinski.com

Roofing Contractor: All American Exterior Solutions, Lake Zurich, Illinois, www.aaexs.com

MATERIALS

Metal Roof: PAC-CLAD Tite-Loc Plus Panels, Petersen, www.pac-clad.com

EPDM Roof: 60-mil EPDM, Carlisle SynTec, www.carlislesyntec.com

Underlayment: CCW WIP 300, Carlisle WIP Products, www.carlislewipproducts.com

Cover Board: DensDeck Prime, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Creating a Homelike Environment at Flatrock Manor

Flatrock Manor’s main roof features a mechanically fastened TPO system from Mule-Hide Products Co. Photos: Mule-Hide Products Co.

Flatrock Manor owner and chief executive officer Nicholas Burnett saw tremendous potential in the shuttered building. It was the right size. It was designed for providing health care, serving first as a hospital and later as a hospice. It was situated on 10 acres of scenic property complete with a nature trail, a gazebo and a pond that is home to swans, geese, ducks and painted turtles. Its exterior included beautiful Mid-century modern details.

Burnett had long been seeking an opportunity in Goodrich, Michigan, to open a new location for Flatrock Manor, a group of foster care centers in Mid-Michigan for adults with special developmental and behavioral needs. The empty building would fit the bill. But first, it would need some TLC and a more homelike atmosphere.

Tri-County Roofing of Flushing, Michigan, and Sedgewick + Ferweda Architects of Flint, Michigan, helped make that happen. A new TPO roofing system was installed to fix long-standing leaks and provide durable, low-maintenance performance. The additions of a mansard roof and gabled accents gave the building’s exterior a more residential aesthetic while retaining its distinctive architectural details.

The new facility opened in December 2019 and is now home to 30 residents.

Preserving the Look

The building is a fixture in Goodrich, a 1,900-resident suburb of Flint. Built in the early 1960s, the facility was originally a 53-bed, full-service hospital. In 1997 it became a hospice. That facility closed in 2013 and the building remained vacant until Flatrock Manor purchased it.

The exterior of the original 18,000-square-foot building embraced the Mid-century modern style popular in the era. Subsequent additions that brought the facility to 23,000 square feet followed suit for a cohesive look.

The building, shown here before renovation work began, was originally a full-service hospital. It was purchased by Flatrock Manor to serve as a foster care center for adults with special developmental and behavioral needs.

The existing roofing system was quintessential Mid-century modern. The built-up roof was surrounded by a slim, 1-foot-high parapet wall with an aluminum cap. A gabled front canopy shielded patients and visitors from the elements while arriving at or leaving the hospital.

While the exterior’s design perfectly suited a hospital, it was too institutional for a facility that would be its residents’ long-term home.

Happily, the task of adapting the building for its new purpose fell to Sedgewick + Ferweda Architects, the same firm that designed the original hospital nearly 60 years earlier. The team embraced the challenge of striking the right balance between preserving architecturally significant features and meeting regulatory guidelines governing the design of long-term care communities.

“Initially we tried to glorify the Mid-century style of the building,” says Michael Murphy, project manager with Sedgewick + Ferweda Architects. “We completed several elevation studies to incorporate some modern ways of dealing with the parapet. Ultimately, we had to go back to the drawing board to achieve a more residential look.”

The gabled roof above the canopy at the main entrance was the starting point from which other design elements took their cue. A mansard roof was incorporated around the building. To balance the main entrance, a gabled canopy was added at a second entryway on the building’s front. Twenty accent gables were spaced out along the building’s entire exterior and gables were added above rear and side entrances.

“We played with the value of scale when incorporating the mansard roof with the horizontal façade of the building,” Murphy says. “We made it more substantial, so it doesn’t look like a short little mansard roof that has been pushed onto the building.”

Owens Corning TrueDefinition Duration Designer shingles in Merlot were chosen for the mansard roof and gables, bringing added warmth to the façade. They were complemented by fascia and soffits from Quality Aluminum Products in Cranberry. Cultured stone in a sandy shade was added on the gable walls and around the windows to accent the original terra cotta-toned brick walls.

A Roof to Perform for the Long Haul

The building’s existing roofing system — ballasted EPDM on top of a built-up roof with fiberglass insulation — was leaking and the EPDM membrane was “in horrible shape,” according to Tim McKnight, president of Tri-County Roofing. “We found nothing but saturated insulation,” he adds. “The only reason that more water hadn’t gotten into the building’s interior was because the asphalt on the BUR roofing system kept it out.”

Both the EPDM and BUR systems would need to be torn off.

During the re-roofing process, a mansard roof was added to give the building a more residential appearance.

The steel 22-gauge B deck remained in good condition and original plans called for it to be retained, but requirements for the new HVAC system and ductwork meant that it, too, needed to be removed and replaced. Mother Nature chose to not make the process easy. Facing a month of frequent rain, the Tri-County Roofing crew worked as quickly as possible and did their best to keep the building’s interior dry; for example, tearing off the existing roof bit by bit around the edges to make space for the carpenters to frame in the new mansard roof before beginning work on the rest of the roof.

In selecting the new roofing system, longevity and hassle-free performance were the top considerations.

“The client wanted something that would last 20 years with no issues,” McKnight says, noting that such performance would require withstanding the broad spectrum of Mid-Michigan’s weather, which ranges from warm, sunny summers to cold, snowy winters.

The client’s original preference was to install a new EPDM system, but McKnight recommended a mechanically fastened TPO system for its durability, easy maintenance and cost effectiveness. A system featuring a white, 60-mil membrane from Mule-Hide Products Co. was specified.

Ensuring Positive Drainage

A new 22-gauge steel B deck was installed. It was dead level to accommodate the building’s plumbing system, which made getting the insulation right essential. Tapered expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation is designed specifically for such applications, making it the ideal choice for this project.

The building’s existing drainage system — in which water flows from the roof to storm drains in the basement — did not change in the renovations. The Tapered Solutions team at ABC Supply Co. worked from drawings to design a take-off that would provide positive drainage. Even the best drawings are not 100 percent reflective of the reality on the roof, however, so the Tri-County Roofing installation crew inevitably encountered instances where the insulation was slightly off-center from the sump or the real-life walls were not quite where they were shown on the plans. In those cases, the crew fabricated pieces of EPS or polyiso insulation on the jobsite to achieve the proper drainage.

Completing the Installation

The TPO membrane was mechanically attached for a fast, cost-effective installation. “We were able to achieve the 20-year warranty the client wanted without the added labor and materials costs of a fully adhered system,” McKnight explains.

New roof hatches also were installed, providing safer, easier access to the roof — both during the reroofing project and for ongoing maintenance of the roof and rooftop equipment.

For the teams at both Tri-County Roofing and Sedgewick + Ferweda Architects, the most rewarding part of the project was learning about the residents who will live at Flatrock Manor and helping provide them with a comfortable home.

“It was cool to learn about what Flatrock Manor does for people with special needs and see how they’re helping families and meeting needs that you forget are out there,” McKnight says.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Tri-County Roofing, Flushing, Michigan, www.tricountyroofingofmidmichigan.com

Architect: Sedgewick + Ferweda Architects, Flint, Michigan, www.architectsinmichigan.com

Roofing Insulation Take-Off: Tapered Solutions (ABC Supply Co.), www.abcsupply.com/services/tapered-solutions

Roofing Materials Distributor: ABC Supply Co. Inc., www.abcsupply.com

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: 60-mil white TPO, Mule-Hide Products Co., www.mulehide.com

Shingles: TrueDefinition Duration Designer shingles, Owens Corning, www.owenscorning.com/roofing

Soffits and Fascia: Quality Aluminum Products, www.qualityaluminum.com

SPF System Solves Problems for Arizona Homeowners

Overson Roofing specified a spray polyurethane foam re-roof for this Scottsdale residence to eliminate ponding issues and reduce energy costs. Photos: Overson Roofing LLC

Pat Overson has been running roofing companies since 1982. He currently co-owns Overson Roofing LLC in Mesa, Arizona, a company he founded along with his son Brett in 2005. Approximately 85 percent of the company’s work is residential, most of it re-roofing. A large chunk of that work — Overson estimates 20 percent — involves spray polyurethane foam (SPF), which is common on houses in Arizona.

“With the heat we have out here, it really helps insulate your home as well as provide good roof over your house,” Overson says. “It is the only roof out there that provides an insulation factor somewhere around R-7, which is close to about 4 inches of fiberglass insulation.”

Overson Roofing strives to recommend the best roof system for each project. Overson often finds himself recommending spray foam for existing low-slope roofs, especially those with drainage issues. He pointed to a recently completed residential project as an example. The 3,100-square-foot home in Scottsdale had a three-ply hot tar built-up roof. The homeowners noticed ponding problems, and they were also looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient. Overson felt the house was a great candidate for a Lapolla spray polyurethane foam roofing system with an elastomeric coating. The white elastomeric coating protects the SPF from ultraviolet rays and provides reflectivity to minimize temperatures on the roof.

“Sometimes customers ask us for a foam roof, and we evaluate it and make sure that it would be a good roof for their project,” he notes. “Often we recommend a foam roof when there are drainage problems because it’s a very easy system to help modify or enhance the drainage on a roof that has ponding problems. In this case, the homeowners were also very interested in the insulation factor, and they were looking to save money on electric costs and make it more economical to heat and cool.”

Roof Removal and Installation

The first step was preparing the house for the roof removal, which was done by a separate tear-off crew. The work area was covered with tarps, and the roof system was removed and taken away in a trailer. Magnets are used as part of the clean-up process to ensure nails and other debris are not left behind.

The Lapolla SPF was applied in two layers, each a half an inch thick. The system was topped with an elastomeric coating.

The substrate was then cleaned and primed before the SPF system was applied with a sprayer. When the two-part system is applied, parts A and B combine to form a closed-cell roofing system. “The result is a monolithic roof,” Overson says. “Foam roofs usually don’t have leak problems because there are no seams, and that’s a big advantage. It will also seal to almost everything. It will seal to metal, it will seal to wood, it will seal to stucco, and it will seal to almost every type of roof system.”

The keys to a successful project include proper substrate preparation and being aware of weather constraints. “It has to be, as we call it, ‘clean, dry and tight,’” Overson says. “It has to be a clean roof surface. It has to be dry — foam doesn’t adhere to any kind of moisture or water at all. And it has to be tight, which means there can’t be any bubbles or blisters in the systems you’re going over.”

After the roof is removed, the surface must be cleaned with brooms or blowers. Then the area must be secured and taped off to ensure the foam won’t be sprayed anywhere it’s not required. For example, windows and walls might need to be covered.

“It’s almost like you are a painter up there,” notes Overson. “You often have to do extensive tarping and taping. You also have to make sure it’s not windy. You don’t want winds in excess of 5 or 10 miles per hour. Preparing the area is very important step. You don’t want any overspray.”

The spray foam is applied in two layers. “You spray it on a half-inch think the first lift, and you have a second lift, also a half an inch,” Overson says. “It dries pretty quickly — often in a few minutes — so you can put on the second layer almost immediately. Similarly, after the second coat dries, you can apply the coating. We used an elastomeric coating in this project, while others might call for a polyurethane, silicone, or acrylic coating.”

In coping with different types of substrates, the skill and experience of the applicator can be crucial. “It’s an art as much as a skill,” he says. “You have to have the right rhythm and the right touch. We have really skilled applicators, and they do a great job. The techniques vary, but you are just trying to get an even surface, an even spray.”

In this case, the application was designed to eliminate drainage problems. In low areas, crews added another inch of insulation and created the proper slope toward the scuppers. “You can feather it in, and that’s where the skill of the applicator really shows,” he says. “It’s exciting that you can help people with these issues. You can’t do this with other products.”

As part of the safety plan, applicators wear white body suits that cover their skin and clothing, as well as goggles and protective breathing equipment. Proper fall protection plans must be in place for each project.

Benefits for Homeowners

Feedback from the owners has been positive, according to Overson. “We were able to enhance the drainage quite a bit and eliminate all of the ponding and drainage issues they had,” he says. “They were happy about that, and they also were excited to find out how much they saved on their monthly bills. They haven’t gone through a full cooling season yet, but many of our homeowners stay in touch with us over the years, and some find they are saving $40 to $50 a month on their electric bills.”

Overson summed up the project this way: “Around here, we say roofs have to do two things: they have to not leak and look good. And we achieved both of those things on this project. This is a nice-looking roof. It’s white, and it will reflect the sun, and that’s a big factor here in Arizona. We take pride in our jobs, our crews take pride in their jobs, and we know it’s not going to leak. The customer was very happy, and if the customer is happy, we are happy.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Overson Roofing LLC, Mesa, Arizona, www.oversonroofing.com

MATERIALS

Roof System: Lapolla Spray Polyurethane Foam and Elastomeric Coating, Icynene-Lapolla, www.lapolla.com