New Roof System Addresses Challenges at Clarkson University’s Athletic Facility

When the existing roof on the athletic center began to leak, Clarkson University needed a flexible but durable roof system to stand up to harsh winters. A fully adhered EPDM roof system from Carlisle SynTec Systems was chosen for the re-roofing project. Photos: RSI Roofing, Inc.

How do you put a new roof on a 66,300-square-foot hyperbolic paraboloid?

It takes a lot of skill, a lot of attention to safety, and the right choice of a roofing membrane — especially when the roof has to protect a full-service fitness center that serves thousands of college students and includes a swimming pool, locker rooms, a Jacuzzi and saunas. But we’re getting a little ahead of our story.

Faced with the combined threats of a global pandemic and major storms served up by the 2020 hurricane season, school buildings, their designs, and their resilience are being scrutinized now more than ever. School boards, university administrators, parents, students and teachers are looking at these structures with an eye to their impact on the health of the people who work and live there. Additionally, entire communities may be counting on school buildings to house and protect their citizens during a cataclysmic weather event.

When Clarkson University embarked on a project to rehab the roof of its Indoor Athletic Facility three years ago, to most of the American public, pandemics were something that happened in other countries, preferably distant ones. But given Clarkson’s location, in northern New York state, energy conservation during the harsh winters was a dominant concern. Just as important, the new roof needed to stand up to freezing temperatures and frequent ice storms. Winters in Potsdam, New York, where Clarkson is located, can serve up average lows of 9 degrees. A “warm” winter day might see a high temperature of 26 degrees.

The Clarkson staff was spurred to action by the deteriorating conditions of the existing roof, resulting in multiple leaks. They were working on a very tight time frame, and wanted to complete the work during the three-month window between the end of the fall semester and beginning of the spring semester. And, as a university committed to focusing on sustainable energy solutions and environmental technical innovations, they wanted the most energy efficient roof available for their climactic conditions. The design of the roof itself — the 66, 300-square-foot hyperbolic paraboloid referenced above — presented additional challenges.

The roof system included two layers of 2.6-inch polyiso insulation and a half-inch layer of cover board.

Initially, the design team considered reflective roofing but were soon convinced that a dark membrane would offer maximum energy efficiency in the northern climate, and keep energy costs down during the cold winter months. Additionally, given the installation challenges presented by the building’s structure, the membrane needed to be flexible but durable in the face of winters that promised snow and ice. Given those parameters, the team chose EPDM membrane to be installed in a fully adhered system. This meant that the membrane could be fully fastened to the underlying insulation, leaving no unsightly metal fasteners protruding through the membrane and detracting from the rooftop’s appearance. But this choice was about more than aesthetics: the fully adhered system increased the roofing system’s wind uplift resistance due to the strength of the adhesive and the reduced number of membrane seams present on the fully adhered system (as compared to a mechanically fastened system).

Demanding Installation

RSI Roofing from nearby Gouverneur, New York, served as contractor for the job, working through a series of special challenges presented by the building itself and the site of the structure. Temporary roads were installed to accommodate the use of manlifts and forklifts. Given the slope of the roof surfaces, all workers on the job needed to be tied off using harnesses and lanyards for fall protection. To ensure that the roof was aesthetically pleasing, membranes needed to match all the way around the building with laps and sheet length going the same way on each section.

The first step in this installation was tearing off the existing roofing membrane and installing new perimeter wood blocking around the existing wood deck. The crew then installed a vapor barrier directly to the wood deck, followed by mechanically installing two layers of 2.6-inch polyiso insulation, and a half-inch layer of cover board.

Crews from RSI Roofing installed approximately 66,300 square feet of EPDM membrane on the project.

The final step was installation of the new 115-mil FleeceBACK EPDM roof system from Carlisle SynTec Systems. The installation crew applied adhesive to the cover board, and then rolled out the EPDM membrane. The use of the adhesive added thermal efficiency to this already energy-efficient system for even greater environmental protection and reduced energy costs. Once the membrane was in place, RSI installed perimeter sheet metal with new gutters and downspouts.

The Clarkson gym was designed to shelter students as they engaged in a wide variety of physical activities. But with its durable and energy efficient EPDM roof, like many other educational buildings throughout the country, it could most likely provide a resilient shelter during a cataclysmic storm or other natural disaster.

While there may be debate about the cause, global statistics confirm the increasing frequency of more extreme weather: intense tornado outbreaks, record-setting heat, catastrophic wildfires, heavy downpours, longer droughts, and more frequent hurricanes. These extreme weather events are assaulting the built environment with record-setting strength and intensity, creating an urgent need for more resilient structures. Since the roof of a building is a first line of defense, any discussion of resilience must include careful consideration of roofing systems.

In June 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that many of the nation’s fifty million school children are at risk because of aging school buildings, or buildings that do not meet basic resilience standards to withstand a natural disaster. The FEMA report, “Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety,” points out that “many of our nation’s school buildings are older unreinforced masonry structures that are vulnerable to severe damage and collapse in the next earthquake, or are of lighter frame construction that is vulnerable to other types of natural hazards such as a tornado, hurricane, high winds, or flash flooding.”

The FEMA report noted that the average public school building at that time was 44 years old. And while some of these schools have undergone major renovation, “the original construction of numerous school buildings predates many of the modern building code requirements protecting occupants from natural hazards.” In other words, millions of schoolchildren are being educated in buildings that are using 20th century construction standards to meet 21st century hazards. And those 21st century hazards are becoming more and more of a threat.

Given these challenges, FEMA is offering extensive specifics on upgrading school structures to improve safety and notes the critical importance of roofing systems to protect the integrity of a school building. It warns that a roof that is damaged in a hurricane “will result in significant interior damage due to water leakage” and any roofing system that is “extremely susceptible to wind damage … should be mitigated as soon as budget permits.”

Whether your focus is a new gymnasium for college students, the renovation of a high school, or the repair of an elementary school, the roof is an essential component of a resilient building. If the roof fails, the structure as a whole will be compromised. The occupants of the building, students or members of the community who are literally seeking shelter from the storm, will be exposed to the potentially deadly impact of severe weather.

To assist the educational community in creating resilient buildings, the EPDM Roofing Association has published its second edition of Building Resilience: The Roofing Perspective. This report includes excerpts from the FEMA School Safety Report, as well as links to the complete report. The report as a whole provides insights on how to create a resilient roof, and the contributions that EPDM can make to a resilient roofing system. You can find the ERA report at https://epdmroofs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Building-Resilience-051320-3.pdf

About the author: Louisa Hart is the director of communications for the Washington-based EPDM Roofing Association (ERA). For more information, visit www.epdmroofs.org.

TEAM

Architect: LaBella Associates, Rochester, New York, www.labellapc.com

Roofing Contractor: RSI Roofing, Inc., Gouverneur, New York, www.rsiroofing.com

MATERIALS

Roofing System: 115-mil FleeceBACK EPDM membrane fully adhered with FASTTM Adhesive, Carlisle SynTec Systems, www.carlislesyntec.com

Omaha Re-Roofing Project in Historic District Wins Top Honors From ARMA

When the Molly Jenkins Carriage House was damaged by hail, a new roof system featuring CertainTeed Carriage House shingles was installed to protect the home and recapture its classic look. Photos: Everlast Exteriors

The Molly Jenkins Carriage House is located in the historic Country Club District of Omaha, Nebraska. The home, originally built in the 1920s, needed a new roof after it sustained hail damage and multiple leaks were discovered. The homeowners wanted an aesthetically pleasing, durable roof system that would be true to the style of the neighborhood and capture the look of the house as it was originally designed.

Omaha-based Everlast Exteriors was called in to consult on the project after the storm. “Their insurance agent recommended us to the homeowner,” says Brent Hall, co-owner of Everlast Exteriors. “The Country Club historic district is an early 20th century Omaha neighborhood that was marketed to attract homebuyers who expected an exceptionally high level of quality. The community was added to the National Register Of Historic Places in 2004. On this home, the existing asphalt shingle roof had to be replaced, as did the inlaid gutters, which were also damaged.”

Hall recommended asphalt shingles due to their beauty and performance. After consulting with the homeowner, the company installed CertainTeed Carriage House shingles, which are a Class 4 impact resistant shingle.

The first step was to replace the gutter system. “We had to remove the first 3 feet of the roofing and put down a high-temp ice and water shield,” explains Hall. “We installed it within the inlaid gutters, and then ran it 3 feet up the roof. Then we fabricated and installed the inlaid gutter, before we went back and roofed it. We had to do it that way because the gutter system extends under the shingles and underlayment.”

The gutters were custom fabricated out of 24-gauge pre-finished galvanized steel and installed in the existing wood frame. “We also re-flashed the chimneys using the 24 gauge pre finished steel color to match shingles.” Hall says.

The new shingles were installed over a synthetic underlayment and ice and water shield. New accessories included lead boots for the plumbing vents, a new gutter apron, drip edge and exhaust vents.

Standout features included a custom-fabricated turret cap and a new weather vane. “We fabricated a copper turret cap that might be the biggest one we’ve ever made,” says Hall. “She also purchased a copper weather vane, and we installed that for her, too.”

The copper turret cap was the final touch on the project. According to Hall, the homeowner really wasn’t sure what she wanted, so the project was put in the hands of Todd Sterba, a top metal fabricator at Everlast Exteriors. “Executing something like this takes the right tools and the right fabricator,” notes Hall. “He worked on it in our shop and even took it home to his own workshop to put some finishing touches on it. We never even saw the final product until he brought it out to the job. The homeowner really loved it.”

The style of shingle was chosen because it fit in with the character of the area. “It’s an old house in a historic neighborhood, and that asphalt shingle really has a timeless look,” says Hall. “It’s made to emulate a slate roof, and it looks like something they might have installed in the era when the home was built.”

Everlast Exteriors submitted the project to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association for the ARMA Excellence In Asphalt Roofing Awards program, which recognizes industry professionals for their high-performing steep-slope and low-slope asphalt roofing projects across North America. The Molly Jenkins Carriage House received the Gold Award in 2020. The company received a check for $2,000 at the 2020 International Roofing Expo.

“We were really happy to learn that we won,” Hall recalls. “We try and just knock out the coolest, best roofs around. We use the best products out there and provide the best workmanship. That’s our goal. Our top priority is to put out the best product not get the biggest profit — so it’s nice to get recognition.”

According to Hall, the award-wining project showcases the company’s strengths. “We match high-end material with high-end labor,” he says. “We try to bring together the best shingles and accessories, with the best labor practices to install the best product we can while meeting every customer’s budget. We provide a transferable lifetime labor warranty so we make sure every roof we do is aesthetically pleasing and maintenance free.”

Submissions are being accepted for ARMA’s 2021 Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards. For more information or to apply, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Everlast Exteriors, Omaha, Nebraska, www.everlastexteriorconstruction.com

MATERIALS

Shingles: Carriage House Gatehouse Slate, CertainTeed, www.certainteed.com

After Devastating Fire, Couple Designs Home with Fire Resistant Roof

For the roof of their new home, the designers selected Inspire Classic Slate by Boral, a durable roofing system offering a Class 4 Impact rating for hail, and a 110-mph wind uplift rating, and a Class A system fire rating. Photos: McKinley & Associates

Their original home in idyllic Stonington, Connecticut, was designed in the Arts and Crafts style and was a place of fond memories and milestones for the family of four. Architect Michael McKinley, owner of McKinley & Associates, designed the home about 25 years ago specifically for his family. But a few years ago, on a very dry and windy afternoon in March while he was home with one of his two daughters, the house was ravaged in a fire.

“It didn’t sound so much like a fire, but instead like a bunch of squirrels running across the roof,” said McKinley.

Unfortunately, the sound wasn’t squirrels. The fire tore into the roof, destroying it as well as the whole second floor of the home. Extensive water damage plagued the ground level as a result. Luckily, nobody was harmed. But the fire completely uprooted the family — who immediately relocated into a rental — and set the couple into motion.

Sustainability was a key focus of the design. The home features a geothermal system and rooftop solar power.

Michael, along with wife Kathy, an interiors expert who also works for the firm, ultimately set out to rebuild; however, they decided not to build a replica of the first home. The couple instead forged a completely different design direction, ultimately deciding on another aesthetic altogether while addressing a responsibility to build more sustainably and with fire safety top-of-mind.

As was the case with the McKinley’s first home, fire can erupt on the roof when embers hit the surface and one or more ignite. When trees and brush pair with fire and wind, the dangerous concoction enables the embers to blow onto the roof.

The McKinleys knew the roof material chosen would be incredibly important in reducing the risk that future embers could ignite the surface. For their new abode, the designers selected Inspire Classic Slate by Boral, a durable roofing system which mimics the beauty of natural slate and that integrates cutting-edge environmentally conscious technology. The roof is resilient to harsh weather conditions, offering a Class 4 Impact rating for hail and a 110-mph wind uplift rating. Perhaps most important to the family, the Classic Slate provides a Class A system Fire rating, the industry’s highest.

The Roof Installation

JSD Home Improvements of Waterford, Connecticut, was contracted to install the roof. “The family had already decided to use a material with a high fire rating,” says Jeff Dennison, owner and installer with JSD Home Improvements. “Hail can also occur anytime where this home is located. They considered standing seam metal roofing, but ultimately went with the Classic Slate, not only because of the performance benefits, but because it gives the look of Vermont slate, which better complemented the architecture and look of the home.”

Moving away from the Arts and Crafts genre of the damaged home, the couple instead designed their new abode to pay homage to the region’s historic 200-year-old farm heritage. Evoking a modern rendition of the traditional farmhouse, the home integrates the gabled roof concept. The roofscape features multiple gables and pitches.

“A mix of Olive, Ash Grey, Evergreen and Red Rock hues were combined to create an authentic look,” adds Dennison. “The trick during installation was to take two of the colors and use them as accents, weaving them into the other three colors. We had to stand back numerous times to get the visual right and make sure the accent colors stood out.”

In all, it took Dennison and two other team members eight days to complete the roof. No real challenges interrupted them, with the exception of a couple of rainy days.

“This roof material is extremely durable, strong, and easy to work with,” Dennison adds. “Working with Bob Wood Construction on this project was also great. They are a general contractor known for orchestrating a jobsite well and keeping everything moving.”

The roof adorns a home designed by the McKinleys to protect the environment while functioning well. The McKinley’s daughters, now in their early twenties, have left to pursue their own paths, and the new home is much smaller than the original at 3,200 square feet, yet still encourages regular visits and stays. At four bedrooms and three baths, the home’s functionality is also improved as compared to the last home, with many spaces designed to be multifunctional. Michael notes that in the decades since designing the family’s first home, his skills have been refined. “I’ve become a lot more creative with designing smaller spaces that are more efficient,” he says. “This is a key part of the new home’s sustainability story.”

Eco-friendly it is. The home features large windows, making use of abundant natural sunlight, and incorporates radiant floor heating. Closed cell spray polyurethane foam insulates the home, ensuring a dramatic reduction in energy usage. The home also makes use of a geothermal system and solar power.

Waldo Renewable, an Old Lyme, Connecticut-based electrical contractor specializing in solar system design and installation, led the photovoltaic install. The 6.4 kW grid-tied rooftop system includes 20 LG 320 solar panels and SolarEdge 7600H with a DC optimizer. The Waldo Renewable team utilized flashing for a seamless installation with the Inspire Classic Slate.

The McKinleys designed one additional intuitive feature into their roof. An elaborate drainage system collects water from the roof and stores it underground in a cistern for use in the garden where Kathy grows vegetables.

Michael and Kathy McKinley created an incredible new home. The combined materials and systems ensure optimized performance and return on investment for the long term, with fire safety to boot. And one glance at the home proves curb appeal wasn’t sacrificed for that performance. The home is ultimately a testament to the meaningful material and construction advances of the past two decades.

“We are 25 years into the future,” says Michael, speaking of his home’s vast improvements over the last one. “No matter how well you did it then, it’s not the same. All the factors have changed.”

About the Author: Rick Hackett is product manager with Boral Roofing, a leading provider of durable and energy-efficient new and retrofit roofing solutions. He can be reached via email at Rick.Hackett@boral.com. For more information about Boral Roofing, visit www.BoralRoof.com.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: JSD Home Improvements, Waterford, Connecticut

Solar Contractor: Waldo Renewable, Old Lyme, Connecticut, www.waldorenewable.com

MATERIALS

Roof System: Inspire Classic Slate, Boral Roofing, www.boralroof.com

Solar System: 20 LG 320 solar panels, www.lg.com/us, and SolarEdge 7600H, www.solaredge.com/us

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design Lives Up to its Name

The Kendeda Building is engineered to produce more energy than it consumes and capture rainwater for collection in an underground cistern for reuse. Photo: Jonathan Hillyer

When the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) decided to design its new building as a “Living Building,” the project team knew they had to be extremely thoughtful in their design choices and building materials selections. The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most ambitious green building program and requires that projects meet 20 rigorous performance requirements throughout the construction process and for a full year after completion. Made possible through a partnership with the Kendeda Fund, the new Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design is the first academic and research building in the Southeast to attempt this certification and is designed to use one-third the energy of a comparable building.

With a combination of great insulation, energy-efficient systems, and a rooftop solar array, the 46,800-square-foot Kendeda Building is engineered to actually produce more energy than it consumes. The roof is also designed to capture rainwater for collection into a 50,000-gallon underground cistern where it is filtered for reuse throughout the building, including as drinking water. The building’s roof is also host to a 1,000-square-foot accessible roof deck and a 4,300-square-foot rooftop garden with a honeybee apiary, pollinator garden, and blueberry orchard.

The photovoltaic array is comprised of 913 solar modules covering approximately 15,860 square feet of area, with a total capacity of 330 kW. It forms a floating canopy above the building. The panels will tilt from the horizontal plane by 5 degrees to face south. This slight adjustment increases solar exposure and improves drainage.

Multi-Functional Roof

As you can imagine, a roof with so many functions demands the use of only the most exacting roofing products. The project team chose a 3-inch base layer of non-halogenated polyiso roof insulation to cover nearly the entire roof and approximately 13,000 square feet of thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane. GAF supplied the polyiso insulation and 60-mil EverGuard Extreme TPO roof system for the project, and it was installed by Roof Management Inc., headquartered in Norcross, Georgia.

The solar array forms a floating canopy above the building. The panels tilt to increase solar exposure and improve drainage. Photo: Vertical River

The design team also chose to direct rainwater into capture systems by the judicious use of tapered insulation over the flat material, which created the proper rooftop slope and drainage.

Even without this water catchment system, tapered insulation can be a very beneficial design feature for low-slope roofs. Ponding or standing water can add enormous stress to a building’s roof and lead to premature failure of roofing materials if water stands on the roof surface for more than 48 hours. If unaddressed, frequent ponding of water can lead to serious problems such as structural deflections of the roof deck, the growth of bacteria or unwanted vegetation on the roof, and can ultimately cause water intrusion into the building that can be costly to remediate. That the Kendeda Building roof can use this design to also collect water for reuse is an added bonus.

The Living Building Challenge specifies that materials in Living Buildings should avoid the use of certain chemicals. Polyiso insulation products manufactured with non-halogenated flame retardants satisfy this challenge while offering superior performance.

  • Polyiso insulation offers superior performance qualities, including:
  • High R-value per inch compared to other types of insulation of equivalent thicknesses.
  • High moisture resistance.
  • Improved fire resistance.
  • Lightweight boards for easy handling and installation.
  • Blowing agents with zero ozone depletion potential and negligible global warming potential.

Beneath its carefully designed roof, the building holds classrooms, laboratories, offices, an auditorium, and a student commons. But the educational mission of the building extends beyond these learning spaces. The entire project — from its low-waste construction to its low-consumption energy use — offers unique learning opportunities for designers, builders, and building operators, such as how a building’s design can conserve energy and water while mitigating a region’s humidity and potential droughts.

Salvaged Material

The Living Building Challenge is organized into seven performance areas — one of which addresses the materials used on a project. New building projects are required to include one salvaged material per 500 square meters of gross building area, which worked out to 10 salvaged materials for the Kendeda Building. These included the following:

The building’s roof features a 1,000-square-foot accessible roof deck and a 4,300-square-foot rooftop garden. Photo Credit: Justin Chan Photography

· Slate shingles: The project acquired a number of pallets of gray slate shingles when the aging roof of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association was renovated. These singles were used as tile on the walls and floors of showers and restrooms.

· Nail-laminated floor decks: 500 10-by-6-foot nail-laminated floor decks were created from two-by-fours salvaged from movie sets, including those form the show “24” and movie “Rampage,” with support from the Georgia Works training program.

· Heart pine joists: 140-year-old Tech Tower provided heart pine joists that serve as treads for the Kendeda Building’s monumental staircase.

· Lumber from felled trees: George Tech’s ground crew helped by collecting fallen trees across the campus, which were then turned into lumber used to make counters and benches.

· Granite curbs: Atlanta’s old State Archives Building provided granite that was used for curbs in the landscaping.

· Wood boards: A former church in Atlanta was the source of the wood that can be found on some of the decorative wall as well as the lobby’s ramp.

The Living Building was designed by a collaboration between Lord Aeck Sargent and the Miller Hull Partnership, constructed by Skanska, and funded through a $30 million grant from The Kendeda Fund, one of the leading philanthropic investors in civic and environmental programs in the Atlanta area with a commitment to ecological and social causes.

Certification by the Living Building Challenge 3.1 is anticipated in 2021, and the project is also pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification at the Platinum level.

About the author: Justin Koscher is the president of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), a trade association that serves as the voice of the rigid polyisocyanurate insulation industry and a proactive advocate for safe, cost-effective, sustainable and energy-efficient construction. For more information, visit www.polyiso.org.

TEAM

Architects: Lord Aeck Sargent, Atlanta, Georgia, www.lordaecksargent.com; and The Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle, Washington, www.millerhull.com

General Contractor: Skanska USA, Atlanta, Georgia, www.usa.skanska.com

Roofing Contractor: Roof Management Inc., Norcross, Georgia, www.roofmanagementinc.com

MATERIALS

TPO Membrane: EverGuard Extreme 60-mil TPO, GAF, www.GAF.com

Insulation: EnergyGuard Non-halogenated (NH) Polyiso Roof Insulation Board and EnergyGuard NH Tapered Polyiso Roof Insulation, GAF

Vapor Retarder: GAF SA Vapor Retarder, GAF

Insulation Adhesive: OlyBond500 Insulation Adhesive, OMG Roofing Products, www.OMGroofing.com

Cover Board: 1/2-inch DensDeck, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Solar Panels: X-Series X22-360-COM, SunPower, https://us.sunpower.com

Custom-Colored Metal Panels Create Standout Roof for Pennsylvania School

Approximately 18,000 square feet of 22-gauge Tite-Loc Plus panels in a custom finish help emphasize the angled gables topping the new school. Photos: hortonphotoinc.com

Latrobe Elementary School is a state-of-the-art facility featuring two-story classroom wings, a cafeteria with a stage, a full-prep kitchen, gymnasium, media center, science and technology classrooms, band/music rooms, a center for student creativity, administrative offices and support spaces designed to serve nearly 700 students.

Located outside of Pittsburgh in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the school is within easy driving distance of several popular ski areas, and the building’s design, by Monroeville, Pennsylvania-based Axis Architecture, has a bit of a Swiss chalet in its roofline.

More than 18,000 square feet of Petersen’s Tite-Loc Plus roof panels in a distinct, custom Marquis Orange finish help emphasize the angled gables topping the new school. The 22-gauge panels, along with 3,800 square feet of .032 gauge PAC-750 soffit, complement the classic terra cotta-toned brick that clads the upper two-thirds of the school’s façade.

The roof also features low-slope sections where a hot asphalt roof system from The Garland Company was installed.  

Installing the Roof Systems

The roof systems were installed by Pennsylvania Roofing Systems (PRS), headquartered in Bakerstown, Pennsylvania. PRS handles all types of commercial roofing, including slate, tile, hot asphalt, built-up, single-ply and sheet metal.

The new construction project was appealing to the company for several reasons, including the size and the scopes of work that included metal and hot built-up roofing.

Crews from Pennsylvania Roofing Systems installed the metal panels, along with 3,800 square feet of .032 gauge PAC-750 soffit.

Two different crews tackled the metal roofs and flat roofs as the sections were being built by the general contractor, The Foreman Group.

On the low-slope sections, one crew installed the Garland hot asphalt roof system, consisting of insulation, base plies, and Garland’s modified cap sheet. Another crew tackled the metal roof, installing 16-inch-wide PAC-CLAD Tite-Loc Plus panels, which were mechanically seamed.

Pennsylvania Roofing Systems faced quite a challenge on this project as the acoustical deck for approximately half the building was running in the wrong direction. This posed a problem, as attaching the clips for the metal panels would perforate the acoustical deck. PRS came up with a solution to the problem. The company fabricated a 16-gauge hat channel that was installed over the acoustical decking, and the clips were fastened to it.  

The roof panels were rolled on the site. PRS used its own Series 1100 National Crane and a Skytrak to lift material to the roof. Crews also installed 3,800 square feet of .032 gauge PAC-750 soffit.

The Snow Guards

School administrators were concerned about mounting snow on the new metal roof and the safety of schoolchildren down below, so material supplier Brock Associates suggested installing ColorGard snow retention by S-5! The S-5! system is exclusively recommended by both Petersen, the roof manufacturer, and Brock Associates, the panel supplier.

The S-5! ColorGard snow retention system installed on 10 sections of the metal roof perfectly matches the roof color.

Manufactured from certified, high-tensile aluminum and extensively tested for load-to-failure results, ColorGard controls roof snow migration and dramatically reduces the risks associated with rooftop avalanches.

PRS installed the snow retention system on 10 sections of the metal roof. The non-penetrating system was easy to install and perfectly matches the roof color. After the panels are mechanically seamed, the non-penetrating S-5-V Clamps are installed. The ColorGard system features a continuous extruded aluminum crossmember, and strips of prepainted metal are slid into the face of ColorGard to match the roof.

Great Teamwork

The complicated project went smoothly, according to PRS, thanks in part to excellent coordination between the general contractor and various trades. PRS management noted the company selected Petersen’s PAC-CLAD products because of the manufacturer’s excellent local representation, including distributor Brock Associates. Petersen’s reputation for good field support also played a role in this selection.

TEAM

Architect: Axis Architecture, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, www.axisarchitecturepc.com

General Contractor: The Foreman Group, Zelienople, Pennsylvania, www.foremangroup.com

Roofing Contractor: Pennsylvania Roofing Systems, Bakerstown, Pennsylvania

Supplier: Brock Associates, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, www.brock-assoc.com

MATERIALS

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

Low-Slope Roof System: Three-Ply Mineral Mod Bit System in hot asphalt with two plies Type IV Felt and Stressply FR Mineral, The Garland Company, www.garlandco.com

Snow Retention System: ColorGard, S-5-V Clamps, VersaClip and SnoClip II, S-5! www.s-5.com

New Roof Systems Top University of Minnesota’s Renovated Pioneer Hall

Pioneer Hall was renovated by the University of Minnesota in 2019 at cost of $104 million. Photo: Central Roofing Company

Pioneer Hall is a central fixture on the University of Minnesota campus. Built in 1934, the five-story structure serves as a freshman dormitory and dining hall. The building was almost totally rebuilt as part of a $104 million renovation project in 2019.

A key goal of the project was to keep the distinctive, highly visible brick facades on the four outer wings in place while totally replacing the main section of the building. Work included entirely renovating the interior, replacing all mechanical systems, and installing a new roof.

Working along with McGough Construction, the St. Paul-based general contractor on the project, Minneapolis-based Central Roofing Company installed the new roof systems on the building, which included 47,000 square feet of synthetic slate, as well as built-up roofs, EPDM roofs, and a garden roof.

Central Roofing has been in business since 1929, and the company is a fixture on the University of Minnesota campus. “We do a wide variety of different types of commercial roofs, ranging anywhere from flat to steep to sheet metal roofs,” says Michael Mehring, vice president of commercial sales for Central Roofing. “We also have a metal panel division. There is no system that we cannot do in regard to flat roofs. On steep roofs, we do both tile and shingle as well as sheet metal. In addition to that, we have one of the largest service divisions in the Midwest.”

The building’s 93 dormers posed some detail challenges. The dormer roofs were topped with synthetic slate, and the sides were clad with it as well. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

The project involved multiple scopes of work, including the DaVinci Roofscapes synthetic slate on the steep-slope sections, Johns Manville built-up roofs on the main roof and green roof area, as well as sheet metal work, gutters and downspouts. Central Roofing developed a detailed plan to bid on all the scopes of work — and execute everything.

“The project was interesting in the sense that approximately 75 percent of the building was demolition,” notes Mehring. “That included all of the internal parts of the building. The four bays around the perimeter were saved because of historical ramifications. The university wanted to try and keep those four bays because of the distinctive windows and the brick. The middle portion of the structure was pretty much demoed out. So much internal work was needed on the mechanical and electrical systems that they couldn’t save it.”

Synthetic Slate Roof

Central Roofing worked closely with McGough Construction and the project architect, St. Paul-based TDKA Architects, to ensure the new synthetic slate roof system would closely replicate the structure’s original slate roof. According to Henri Germain, project manager/estimator with Central Roofing, the DaVinci Multi-Width Slate product was approved for the project because it so authentically duplicates real slate.

DaVinci Multi-Width Slate in a custom color blend was chosen for the steep-slope sections of the roof.

“We started by making presentations of product options to the project architect,” says Germain. “The architect moved forward with the DaVinci product because of the aesthetics, value, and long-term benefits to the university.”

Selection of a roofing color was also a critical factor. DaVinci created a custom color blend of dark purple, medium brown, dark stone, medium green and dark green for Pioneer Hall. “The capability of DaVinci to develop the custom color blend was amazing,” says Germain. “The roofing colors really complement the dormitory plus other structures on campus.”

Installation Begins

Work began on the steep slope sections with the installation of the synthetic slate system on the brand-new metal deck. “From a scheduling standpoint, the first thing that we did was the tile areas,” Mehring recalls. “In order to maintain the milestones that McGough had, we had to essentially get them watertight within 60 days. To do that, we did the tile work in phases utilizing 15-20 workers every day.”

The men were split into three crews. A crew of six to seven roofers began installing the substrate board and Grace Ice & Water Shield, which served as the vapor barrier. The second crew came in behind the first to install the wood blocking and insulation, which was capped with plywood and covered with Grace Ice & Water Shield and GAF FeltBuster synthetic underlayment.

Crews from Central Roofing Company installed RG 16 Snow Guards from Rocky Mountain Snow Guards.

A third crew of four or five technicians then installed the DaVinci synthetic slate tiles. The product was easy to install, notes Germain, but the numerous details — including some 93 dormers — posed some challenges. Crews also installed RG 16 Snow Guards from Rocky Mountain Snow Guards Inc.

“There were many details, and because of the extreme difficulty in accessing the area after the scaffolding was removed, everything was treated as if it would never be returned to in the lifetime of the roof — not for caulking, not for anything,” Germain says. “The thought was to make sure it was done once and done right.”

As the tile work progressed, the sheet metal crew started installing the gutters. The waterproofing, gutter installation and tile application had to be coordinated carefully to make sure everything was tied in perfectly. “It was a sequencing nightmare,” says Mehring.

Central Roofing crews installed the wood blocking, sheathing and waterproofing in the decorative cornices, which had been recreated out of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) by another subcontractor. Central Roofing then fabricated and installed the copper internal gutters, as well as the downspouts, which were constructed of pre-finished steel to match the window frames.

On the smaller flat roof areas abutting the steep-slope roof, a 60-mil EPDM system from Johns Manville was installed. These areas were completed as work progressed on each section.

Built-Up Roofs

On the low-slope sections of the main roof, crews applied a four-ply built-up roof system manufactured by Johns Manville. Approximately 31,500 square feet of JM’s 4GIG system was installed and topped with a gravel surface.

Central Roofing’s sheet metal crew installed custom fabricated gutters. The waterproofing, gutter installation and tile application had to be carefully coordinated.

The built-up roof areas were bordered by parapet walls, which were east to tie into, notes Mehring. “What made this project a tad bit easier is that the other scopes of the work — the flat roofs — didn’t have too many sequencing issues with the tile work and the gutters,” he says. “The built-up roofers were on their own and had their own schedule.”

On the 13,000-square-foot area for the green roof, a Johns Manville three-ply system with a modified cap sheet was installed. The green roof features a built-in leak detection system from International Leak Detection (ILD). “The leak detection system is encapsulated between the polyiso and the cover board,” notes Mehring. “We installed a JM modified cap sheet. All of the seams had to be reinforced with their PermaFlash liquid membrane to maintain the warranty because of the green roof.”

Installation Hurdles

Challenges on the project included a tight schedule and difficult weather. “Essentially we had a 40-day schedule to get all of the built-up roofing on,” Mehring says. “The challenge with not only the built-up but the tile as well is that the work started in the late fall and we had to work through the winter. You can imagine the problems with the Minnesota weather.”

Days were lost to rain, snow, cold temperatures and high winds. The green roof system couldn’t be completed until May, near the end of the project, when Central Roofing installed the growing medium and plants. After a drainage layer was installed over the cap sheet, crews applied engineered soils and sedum mats supplied by Hanging Gardens, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Access at the site was also difficult. Central Roofing used its Potain cranes to get materials on and off the roof. “Those self-erecting stick cranes can go 120 feet up in the air and they also have the ability to deliver materials 150 feet from the setup location,” Mehring explains. “That was critical because we only had two locations we could set up: on the south side, in between the opening of the two wings, and on the north side, also in the opening between the wings. We had to have the ability to get material to the middle section and the corners of all four wings, and that was the only way to do it.”

Another logistical challenge was posed by a large tree at the southeast corner of the building — the oldest tree on campus. Great care had to be taken to avoid damaging it. “The tree goes as high as the steep roof, and you had to work right by it,” notes Germain. “While working and using the crane, we couldn’t touch it. The guys were very careful and very conscious of it. Adam Fritchie, the foreman on the project, did a great job communicating with the university and the crews to make sure everyone understood the project goals.”

Safety Plan

As part of the site-specific safety plan, crew members were tied off 100 percent of the time on the steep-slope sections — even with scaffolding in place for the project. The flat roof areas were bordered by parapets, but they were only 2 feet high, so safety railing systems were installed. “We used Raptor Rails all the way around, and when we were installing the railings, we used Raptor carts,” Mehring says. “Our men were fully tied off while installing the railings — and taking them down.”

It was a complicated project, but executing complicated projects with multiple scopes of work is one of the company’s strengths. “Overall, I think we had more than 20,000 hours on this project,” Mehring says. “So, I think that a roofer having the ability to garner 20,000 hours on a project speaks for our ability to finish large and challenging projects within the milestones required — as well as keeping safe protocols and paying the bills. The tile, the copper, the sheet metal, the built-up roofing, the green roofing, the EPDM — all of those were self-performed by our guys.”

“This was such a special project,” Germain says. “Aside from the sheer size, it captures the heart. When we look at the finished structure we’re extremely proud. Our team, which also included Lloyd Carr, Matt Teuffel and Corey Degris, played a big part in re-establishing Pioneer Hall as a key building on the University of Minnesota campus.”

TEAM

Architect: TDKA Architects, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.tkda.com

General Contractor: McGough Construction, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.mcgough.com

Roofing Contractor: Central Roofing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, https://www.centralroofing.com

MATERIALS

Synthetic Slate: DaVinci Multi-Width Slate, DaVinci Roofscapes, www.davinciroofscapes.com

Built-Up Roofs: Four-ply 4GIG system and, Johns Manville, www.JM.com

EPDM Roof: 60-mil EPDM, Johns Manville

Vapor Barrier: Grace Ice & Water Shield, GCP Allied Technologies, www.gcpat.com

Underlayment: FeltBuster synthetic underlayment, GAF, www.GAF.com

Leak Detection System: International Leak Detection, https://leak-detection.com

Snow Guards: Rocky Mountain RG 16 Snow Guards, Rocky Mountain Snow Guards Inc., www.rockymountainsnowguards.com

Green Roof: Sedum mats, Hanging Gardens, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, www.hanging-gardens.com

Horsepower Has a New Meaning on Historic Roofing Project

Mackinac Island’s historic Chippewa Hotel was built in 1902. Its existing 13,000 square-foot roof was covered with a PVC roof system manufactured by IB Roof. Photos: IB Roof

Mackinac Island, Michigan, is a community that takes you back to the older, golden days of the past. There are no vehicles allowed on the island so visitors and residents must use horse-drawn carriages, walk or ride bicycles to get where they want to go. The only access to the island is via a ferry and that shuts down in the winter when ice forms in the channel.

With no vehicles and limited access to the island, imagine how challenging it would be to re-roof one of the island’s waterfront hotels — not to mention doing it as winter was right around the corner. That is the challenge that Traverse City, Michigan-based Bloxsom Roofing took on when they were hired to re-roof the Chippewa Hotel.

The historic hotel was built in 1902 and had several renovations over the years. Its existing 13,000 square-foot EPDM roof was failing, and the owners called Craig Bloxsom at Bloxsom Roofing for assistance. “We received a call in the fall of 2018 asking us to look at the project, but it was too late in the year and we didn’t have resources available to take on the work,” explains Bloxsom. “They called back after the first of the year because they still had not had their roof looked at and they wanted a price for re-roofing it.”

It was mid-March when Bloxsom visited the island. With ferry service unavailable due to ice, he had to take a small plane to get there. He was met at the airport by a horse and carriage that took him to the hotel.

No motorized vehicles are allowed on the island, so materials were transported by ferry and delivered to the jobsite using a team of horses.

His first impression when he saw the jobsite was not good. He noted that AT&T had two transmission towers that were non-penetrating, but each took up a 12-foot-by-12-foot area and had a large trunk line running across the roof between the towers. There were also two very large HVAC units along with two shed-like structures in the center of the roof that each had a 10-foot-by-10-foot footprint. This left Bloxsom wondering how they were going to get underneath the structures. “You couldn’t go more than three or four feet in any direction without there being some penetration,” he says.

Beyond the penetration challenges, Bloxsom was worried about logistics. The roof was 50 feet high, and with no vehicles allowed on the island and restrictions on other equipment, he wondered how he would be able to get the materials and equipment onto the roof.

After inspecting the existing EPDM membrane that was fully adhered over cover board, Bloxsom determined that he would be able to leave it in place, eliminating the challenge of removing the old roof and getting it off the island. Wanting to make sure that the new roof would provide strong protection from the elements and from all of the inevitable roof traffic, Bloxsom recommended an IB Roof 80-mil PVC Fleeceback system that would be mechanically attached over the existing roof. Because the roof was vented, with open air space underneath, there was no need for insulation.

Bloxsom said that in addition to IB Roof’s strong track record of performance, another reason he thought that the IB Roof PVC membrane was more ideal for the job is because it comes in 6-foot-wide rolls. “Most manufacturers have 10 or 12-foot rolls and between having to lift the rolls to the roof height and all the penetrations on the roof, the six-foot rolls would be much easier for my crew to work with,” explains Bloxsom.

Numerous penetrations and multiple HVAC units made the roof installation a challenge.

The owner liked the proposal and hired Bloxsom Roofing to perform the work. With work set to begin in November, Bloxsom began the challenge of figuring out the logistics of the project. The property owner was able to find an apartment for the crew that was located just across the street. “It was kind of like a bunkhouse for our guys,” Bloxsom notes. “It had a kitchen for them to make food since most of the restaurants on the island were closed for the season. I became a shopper, making weekly trips to the island to deliver food and supplies for them.”

Now that the crew had quarters, Bloxsom needed to worry about how to get the equipment and materials to the island and up onto the roof. He found a company that was dedicated to getting freight over to the island and they were able to ship the job trailer to the island and leave it parked at their dock. The membrane and job materials were transported to the hotel by a team of horses.

The property owner had a Skytrak lift that would go as high as 80 feet, so crews were able to use it for much of the roof loading, but the lift wouldn’t be able to handle the weight of the membrane rolls and the generator. Fortunately, there was one crane on the island, and they were able to arrange to use it to get the membrane and the generator loaded onto the roof.

Once the job began it was not all smooth sailing. The crews discovered that someone had cut a sort of trench into the roof to direct water at either end where two large scuppers were located. “Every direction you turned there seemed to be a challenge,” says Bloxsom. “The trenches were 3 to 4 feet deep, 10 inches wide and about 12 feet long. We ended up removing the scuppers and installing roof drains.”

Getting underneath the HVAC units and shed-like structures was challenging for the crew as well. “We found that the HVAC units had roof curbs, so we were able to drill through the curbs and raise the units using floor jacks,” explains Bloxsom.

Cold weather comes early in northern Michigan and there were a few days of sub-zero temperatures not to mention the 10-inches of snow that fell the week before they were set to finish. Fortunately, the crews had installed a good portion of the roof before the snow and were able to shovel the snow over to the finished parts in order to complete the installation.

The Chippewa Hotel is now watertight, with a brand-new roof backed by a 15-year IB Roof Total System Warranty.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Bloxsom Roofing, Traverse City, Michigan, www.bloxsomroofing.com

MATERIALS

Low-Slope Roof System: 80-mil PVC Fleeceback, IB Roof, www.IBroof.com

Complex Metal Roof Replacement Becomes Award-Winning Project

The main roof on the historic Dilley-Tinnin home was made up of multiple roof planes and featured an internal gutter. Photos: Texas Traditions Roofing

Located just outside of Austin in Georgetown, Texas, the historic Dilley-Tinnin home dates back to 1879. When it was struck by lightning, the main roof was damaged beyond repair. The original soldered, flat panel roof would have to be removed and replaced as part of a restoration project that posed numerous challenges.

The roof was made up of some 20 roof planes and included an internal gutter system, numerous penetrations, and multiple low-slope transitions. The new metal roof would have to be watertight and durable — and meet strict guidelines for historical accuracy.

Crews from nearby Texas Traditions Roofing were up to the challenge. They removed the damaged sections of the existing roof and installed a striking red standing seam metal roof manufactured by Sheffield Metals.

Michael Pickel, vice president of Texas Traditions Roofing, was called in to assess the damage. The original roof had a standing seam look to it in some sections, but it was comprised of metal panels that were soldered together. “It was metal 100 percent, from the fascia, to the gutter, to the flat portion, all soldered together into one piece,” he notes.

Crews from Texas Traditions Roofing removed the damaged sections of the existing roof and installed a red standing seam roof manufactured by Sheffield Metals.

The entire main roof area would have to be replaced, while the gray metal roof system on one wing was left in place. The main roof was comprised of multiple roof areas with slopes ranging from completely flat to pitches of 3:12 and 4:12. “It really wasn’t that steep, and that’s what caused us to recommend the double-lock panels,” Pickel says. “Given all of the soffits and all of the transitions, the slope required us to use a double lock.”

The Texas Traditions team worked for eight months with the local historical committee to ensure that the new roof would meet its guidelines. The committee approved the 2.0 Mechanical Standing Seam roof manufactured by Sheffield Metals, and the roof restoration work began.

The metal panels of the original roof were removed, along with most of the internal gutter. “The home was leaking pretty bad,” Pickel recalls. “There was some significant damage to the integral gutter, and we had to rebuild at least 80 percent of it. It was flat, and we added slope to it. It was a beast. We tore the whole thing off and came in with all manufacturer approved products: high-temp synthetic underlayment, high-temp ice and water, and the metal panels and butyl sealant.”

The existing roof was damaged by lightning. The soldered, flat panel roof had to be removed and replaced.

Most of the deck was in good shape, but the fascia needed extensive repairs. Extreme care had to be taken to protect the custom carpentry just below the eaves. “It was a crazy custom fascia,” Pickel notes. “We’ve never seen anything like it before.”

After the internal gutter was rebuilt, it was lined with a 60-mil TPO membrane from GAF. “We did a metal fascia, and it was also lined with TPO. It ran about 18 inches up behind the field panels to give it some added security. It was also lined with ice and water shield.”

The metal panels were roll-formed on the site. “Due to all the different lengths, we took measurements, rolled them on site, and applied them one at a time,” Pickel explains. “All of the trim and accessories were manufactured in our metal shop and brought to the site.”

Panels were lifted into place with a rope-and-pulley system and installed over Viking Armor synthetic underlayment and GAF StormGuard leak barrier. The re-roofed area was approximately 2,500 square feet, but the project was a labor-intensive puzzle. “It was a small project, but it was really cut up,” Pickel says.

Crew members were tied off 100 percent of the time at the eave and while installing the metal panels. “The nice part was it wasn’t too steep, and the lip of the integral gutter added another layer of safety as well,” Pickel explains. “From a safety standpoint, it was pretty basic; the steepest section was 4:12, and a lot of the work was done on the flat area.”

In the flat area, crickets were used provide adequate slope beneath the metal panels. The transitions made for some tricky details. “When you hit the low slope on metal — and that’s really 2:12 or less — you start to be more concerned about making sure you’re doing everything you can to get that water off that roof,” Pickel says. “If the water moves slowly, you have to do all you can to make sure that roof is fully sealed and ensure it just won’t leak.”

Crews tackled the challenges one at a time. “Just like any project, once you start to move on it, it gets a little bit easier,” Pickel says. “We learned a lot as we progressed. Each section made the next section a little bit easier.”

Texas Traditions submitted the project to Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) for its Best Residential Metal Roofing Project competition, and MRA selected Texas Traditions Roofing and Sheffield Metals as the first-quarter winners in the category.

“When we got the news, we were just ecstatic,” Pickel says. “I think roofers are very proud of the work they do, and to get that recognition is fun and exciting. It also gets the team fired up.”

Pickel credits his company’s success to a simple formula: quality craftsmanship by talented and experienced crews. “One of our owners has been in construction for 40-plus years,” he says, referring to his father, Mike Pickel. “He handled multi-million-dollar commercial projects for a very large general contractor. His experience and ability to manage our jobs, educate our crews, and educate our superintendents helps out gain knowledge beyond the roof. There’s more to it than just the roof, and being mindful of the entire building is a huge advantage.”

For more information about how to enter MRA’s “Best Metal Roofing” competition for the trades, visit www.metalroofing.com.

TEAM

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

MATERIALS

Metal Roof: 2-inch mechanical lock panels in Cardinal Red, Sheffield Metals, www.sheffieldmetals.com

Underlayment: Viking Armor synthetic underlayment, VB Synthetics, www.vbsynthetics.com

Leak Barrier: GAF StormGuard, GAF, www.gaf.com

Giving Back to Healthcare Heroes

USA Roof Masters provided free roof repairs to area healthcare workers in need of assistance.

“Showing up” and “giving back” have always been part of how Tom Kovack, owner of USA Roof Masters, approaches the business of roofing. When Superstorm Sandy struck the Philadelphia area in 2012, Kovack had just entered the roofing industry. He was heartened by how the community came together to support homeowners affected by the storm. Flash forward nearly eight years to the global pandemic, and Kovack felt compelled to help those essential workers providing healthcare and in-home care services.

He turned to Facebook and posted an offer to provide free roof repairs to any healthcare workers needing a roof repair. The community’s response was overwhelming. Within days, the USA Roof Masters team completed more than 80 repairs free of charge. And while USA Roof Masters team members declined to accept any tips, they were overwhelmed by homeowners’ gratitude.

Kovack and his team honored requests for a variety of roofing repairs. One roof simply could not be repaired and demanded a replacement. A comment from Charity Hundeyin, in Levittown, Pennsylvania, noted, “Thank you for being the hands and feet of goodness in this world, especially at this time.”

When it was determined Charity Hundeyin’s roof could not be repaired, the team at USA Roof Masters replaced her roof at no charge.

Until COVID-19 struck, Hundeyin was working two jobs as a homecare aide and worker at an adult day care center. When the virus resulted in the daycare business closing, Charity’s primary source of income was disrupted. She was also struggling to keep water from infiltrating her home whenever directional rains occurred. The intersection of her home’s siding and first level roof was leaking and she hoped USA Roof Masters could help.

After inspecting her home, it was determined that a replacement was the only option to address the issue. “The roof simply couldn’t be repaired, but we wanted to do the right thing for the homeowner,” says Kovack. The USA Roof Masters team replaced her roof at no charge. Charity selected Pacific Wave, the 2020 Owens Corning Shingle Color of the Year, and her new roof was installed on May 16.

Kovack says when it comes to safety at home, the roof is the great equalizer. “People don’t realize how important a roof is until they have an issue,” he says. “The roof is essential to protecting the home and the family and it’s very rewarding to be able to help people feel secure during uncertain times.” Kovack noted that during the pandemic, his company made repairs on homes sheltering people in a variety of life circumstances and positions – from a Senator’s house to a home that offers shelter to women leaving abusive environments. “Everyone has problems, and it’s wonderful to be part of an industry that can help make a difference,” he says.

About the author: Farasha Polk is the social media and marketing manager for Owens Corning Roofing. For more information, visit www.owenscorning.com/roofing.

SPF Roof System Solves Problems for Renovated Office Complex

Historic Pier 70 in San Francisco was a steel mill and a shipyard before it was converted into a modern mixed-use office complex. Central Coating Company applied an SPF roof system from Carlisle Roof Foam and Coatings on 88,000 square feet of the original corrugated metal roof. Photos: Central Coating Company

For more than 100 years, Pier 70 in San Francisco had a storied history, serving as a steel mill and a shipyard that produced destroyers during World War II. The site is a historic landmark, but it sat idle for some two decades before an ambitious restoration project brought it back to life as a mixed-use office complex. The facility now is home to companies including Uber Advanced Technology Group, which set up new offices in 82,000 square feet of the project’s first phase.

When the new tenants found interior temperatures became uncomfortably warm in the summer, Luke Nolan, president of Central Coating Company, was called in to consult on the roof system. With locations in San Jose and Madera, California, Central Coating specializes in spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing. The vast majority of its work consists of commercial and industrial re-roofing.

Two inches of SPF added a layer of R-13 continuous insulation, eliminated existing leaks and minimized heat gain from the uninsulated metal roof.

“California’s Title 24 doesn’t apply to historic buildings, so modern energy codes did not apply, and the renovation was completed without thermal insulation,” notes Nolan. “Modern office space was set up in a building where they used to forge steel and used natural ventilation. There was no air conditioning. With the uninsulated roof system, even in moderate San Francisco, radiant heat could cause interior temps to rise to 85 degrees on summer days.”

Nolan used infrared imaging to document the radiant heat entering the building from the roof. Temperatures on the underside of the metal roof topped 135 degrees. He recommended applying an SPF system as the only viable solution to minimize radiant heat, prevent recurring leaks, and preserve the building’s historic status.

Central Coating put together some budgets and commissioned a study by a roofing consultant to quantify the possible reduction in radiant heat. Roger Morrison of Deer Ridge consulting calculated the reduction in radiant heat from various thicknesses of spray foam. The recommendation was for at least 2 inches of SPF, which would add a layer of R-13 continuous insulation.

The next hurdle was making sure the system would meet the standards for the historic building. “The historic architect wanted to make sure that we were able to maintain the look of the corrugated metal on the existing roof,” Nolan says. “That helped us make the decision to go with a 2-inch system instead of going up to 3 inches, because at 3 inches the foam would self-level, and you’d lose the print-through of the corrugations.”

Central Coating was required to do a prototype installation on the building before the project was approved. “We basically did two 200-square-foot areas,” Nolan notes. “Talk about pressure. We knew we had to get it right.’”

After the test areas were finished and approved, the project got the green light.

Completing the Installation

The existing corrugated metal roof was comprised of multiple peaks, many featuring monitors — raised structures that housed rows of clerestory windows for daylighting.

The building was occupied and in use at the time, adding to the complexities of the safety planning. Central Coating had to erect scaffolding and pedestrian canopies to protect passers-by on sidewalks and at building entrances. Safety equipment for Central Coating’s crew members included horizontal lifeline systems on all of the ridges and temporary guardrails along all exposed edges.

The next step was substrate preparation. Crews power-washed the surface, capturing the water, which had to be filtered before it could be returned to the sewer system. The team then installed custom-designed metal flashings at the perimeter and masked the windows before the spraying began.

Working in sections, crews applied a spray foam system manufactured by Carlisle Roof Foam and Coatings. Crews covered approximately 5,000 square feet a day. The total project consisted of more than 88,000 square feet.

Carlisle GP Primer was applied with a sprayer to help increase adhesion of the spray foam. According to Nolan, it dries very quickly, usually within an hour, and the Carlisle PremiSEAL 70 SPF was then sprayed in place.

As part of the goal of maintaining the look of the corrugated metal, the SPF was applied in one application. “You can spray 2 inches in two lifts, but you are more prone to leveling out the surface,” Nolan explains. “We also sprayed the foam a little bit colder than you normally would, which somewhat negatively affected our yield, but we needed to maintain that corrugated look. It’s funny — usually we’re trying to get the foam as flat as possible, but that wasn’t the case here. However, it really worked out well. The sprayers did an excellent job. It was like an art project.”

The Carlisle SeamlessSEAL FR acrylic coating was applied in multiple passes. “The first base coat goes on the same day as the foam is sprayed,” Nolan notes. “Once we covered a certain area, we fell back to apply the mid coat and top coat.”

The top coat was produced in a custom color, Battleship Gray, to match the existing building. Granules were broadcast into the top coat.

Well-Executed Plan

The new SPF system qualified for a 20-year system warranty and achieved its goals, including minimizing heat gain. “The benefit to building comfort was absolutely huge,” Nolan says. “We reduced the temperature of the underside of the metal roof by almost 40 degrees on warm days.”

It was a challenging project, but everything went smoothly, notes Nolan. He credits detailed planning for the project’s success. “This took a tremendous amount of work just to get through the proposal and submittal process — and get the approval of the tenant, the owner, the Port of San Francisco, and the State Historic Preservation Office. And then we just had a really good plan in place for safety and logistics,” he says. “Everyone was very pleased with our process as well as the final result.”

Since the building was occupied, communicating with the tenant was crucial. “There was a lot of coordination with the people working downstairs,” notes Nolan. “The noisier steps, such as installing our metal or installing our safety equipment, we began very early — starting at 5:30 and finishing at 8:30 — so we were not bothering people in the offices during the workday. It’s one of those things that goes to show the importance of having a good plan, communicating that plan, and then executing it.”

The experience stands out for Nolan for many reasons. The project received a 2020 SPFA Annual Excellence Award from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. The Historic Pier 70 project was named the winner in the in the category of “SPF roof over 40,000 square feet.”

It was also a bit unusual. “For us as a foam roofing contractor, we typically do roofing projects that have the benefit of adding insulation to the building,” Nolan says. “What I mean by that is someone is usually calling us up because their existing roof is at the end of its useful life, and foam will have the added benefits of cutting down their energy bill and making their building more comfortable — but we’re doing it primarily because they need a new roof. This one was different in that we were doing a foam roofing project that was really an insulation job.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Central Coating Company, San Jose and Madera, California, www.centralcoatingcompany.com

MATERIALS

SPF System: PremiSEAL 70, Carlisle Roof Foam and Coatings, www.carlislerfc.com

Acrylic Coating: SeamlessSEAL FR, Carlisle Roof Foam and Coatings