Federal Agency Relies on Silicone Coating System to Protects its Roof

The coating forms a seamless membrane. DLA chose to cover the previous gray coating with a white coating finished with granules to minimize heat absorption. Photos: GE Performance Coatings

The coating forms a seamless membrane. DLA chose to cover the previous gray coating with a white coating finished with granules to minimize heat absorption. Photos: GE Performance Coatings

The cold, snowy winters and hot, wet summers in Scotia, New York, put immense stress on local buildings’ roofs. A damp climate with conditions that often involve standing water can take a toll on conventional roof coatings. That was the reason the federal Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) first chose a waterproof silicone roof coating for its Scotia facility in 1996.

“Most building owners in this area spend thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, each year keeping their roofs intact,” says Dave Landry, director of operations for DLA, adding, “After using Enduris by GE, we spend almost nothing in comparison.”

More than two decades later, the coating’s 15-year extended warranty had long run out and DLA was ready to reapply. As in 1996, the alternative to resealing would have been a costly and intrusive tear-off. “We had a terrific first experience with Enduris roof coating,” says Landry. “Twenty-two years later, there was no question about who we’d use.”

Efficient Installation

The GE Performance Coatings team inspected the roof for damage before the work began. After more than two decades of punishing conditions, on average less than five mils of the original 21.5-mil coating surface had worn away. Because silicone coatings are seamless, the roof was also protected from expansion and contraction cycles caused by temperature

More than 20 years after applying a silicone roof coating on the roof of the Defense Logistics Agency in Scotia, New York, PUFF Inc. returned to conduct another installation.

More than 20 years after applying a silicone roof coating on the roof of the Defense Logistics Agency in Scotia, New York, PUFF Inc. returned to conduct another installation. Photos: GE Performance Coatings

fluctuations, which can tear apart dissimilar materials where they overlap. In the end, only 5 percent of the 275,000-square-foot roof required repair—the rest just needed a few more mils of coating. DLA chose to cover the previous gray coating with white coating finished with granules, helping to lower the amount of heat absorbed by the roof and add further protection.

The applicator, PUFF Inc., also experienced the benefits of the silicone coating. “During the seven-week project, we lost only one day to rain,” says Bill Rush, operations manager at PUFF Inc. and an approved applicator for GE Performance Coatings. “If it had been an acrylic coating, we would have likely lost a week to predicted rain delay. Additionally, there were two days that rain came unexpectedly from over the mountains, when the forecast was a 10 percent chance of rain.”

A quicker installation meant savings for the PUFF Inc. team—hotel rooms, per-diem expenses, and the opportunity cost of missing other jobs add up fast. Rush also felt a personal connection to the DLA’s positive experience. “I led the installation 20 years ago,” he says. “It’s a matter of great pride to see how well the system held up.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: PUFF Inc., Charlottesville, Virginia, Puffinc.com

MATERIALS

Coating System: Enduris by GE, GE Performance Coatings, GE.com/silicones

Students Take the Lead on Roof Restoration Project

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating. The system was chosen because it would extend the life of the existing roof and cut utility costs for the building. The system was approved for a 20-year warranty.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Thomas Portaro is the owner of NTEC Systems, a company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., that specializes in roof restoration projects. Portaro owns the company, but on a recent project on the campus of Georgia Tech, it was definitely the college students who were in charge.

Portaro was contacted by students who were researching different roof systems as part of a class project. Members of the class had been tasked to come up with ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the school’s Atlanta campus.

Students were exploring all sorts of environmentally friendly building systems, including LED lighting and HVAC equipment. One group of students explored various building envelope modifications, eventually narrowing their focus to the roof system.

“This particular group of students showed the school and their professors how they were going to reduce carbon emissions and the energy footprint of the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building by doing a roof restoration,” Portaro said.

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

Portaro, a Georgia Tech graduate, was contacted by the group to provide some insights on the potential benefits of coatings. “I was asked to come down to the campus and give a brief lecture on the values of roof restorations, the types of coatings I was familiar with, how they were applied, and how they could restore this particular roof.

The building was built in 1998, and its roof was the original modified bitumen system. When students learned how a cool roof system would extend the life of the roof and save on utility costs for the building, they not only presented their findings to their professors but officials at the university. The school ultimately decided to fund the project.

NTEC Systems completed the installation of a high-solids silicone roof coating manufactured by GE. “The students pioneered all of this,” Portaro says. “This is an amazing group of kids. To be invited back to my alma mater and to execute this project really hit a chord with me. The project really worked out well, and it was really cool because I got a check from Georgia Tech. Think about all of the money I’ve paid them over the years. It was nice to get a little bit of that money back.”

Practical Application

One key concern for the university was achieving a 20-year warranty, so the first step was to ensure that the existing roof was compatible with the system. “One of the big value adds of GE Performance Coatings is that their tech side is very strong,” Portaro notes. “GE has great specifications, and they make it pretty simple for me as an engineer to go up and evaluate a roof and make sure it meets certain criteria. You have to evaluate each roof to ensure it meets the criteria for a restoration.”

“A great phrase—and I forget who coined it—is, ‘We do roof restorations, not roof resurrections,’” Portaro continues. “The existing roof has to be in a restorable condition.”

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoratio

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoration for the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building after a student project detailed the energy-saving benefits of a cool roof coating.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Infrared analysis was conducted to ensure the roof system was dry. Some minor repairs were needed, but overall the modified roof was in good shape. It was cleaned with pressure washer and primed with an asphalt bleed-blocker from GE Performance Coatings. NTEC crews then spray-applied two coats of GE Enduris 3502 high-solids silicone roof coating to a minimum thickness of 40 mils when dry. The system forms a monolithic coating that is self-flashing. “We detailed it all out, the inspectors inspected it, and at the end of the day it was all done, the 20-year warranty was in place, and everyone was happy,” Portaro says.

He points out that the GE silicone coatings rarely require a primer. “This is the only type of roof that requires a primer, and the only reason it does is that asphalts tend to bleed through silicones and can tobacco-stain them,” he notes. “It’s aesthetics—that’s it. The GE system is one of our ‘tried and trues’ in part because for 99 percent of the roofs we do, it’s a primerless system. So, we save that step, which saves us time and ultimately saves the owner money.”

NTEC Systems excels at large, high-volume jobs, and the company is always looking for tools to make it more productive. “We are highly automated here,” Portaro says. “That’s our strength. It’s what we do. We have the ability to do a ton of square footage in a short period of time because we have the latest and greatest machinery. We’ve actually created our own method of going from ground to roof and getting coatings spray applied.”

The company has modified some industrial machinery to move large volumes of high-solids silicone under control, according to Portaro. “Now, it’s not robotics,” he explains. “It still takes artistry. It still takes an expert pulling the trigger. We have guys that are very talented, and now the machinery is keeping up. We can do four or five times as much work in a day as we used to do just a few years ago. Our production levels have blown up.”

A Learning Experience

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

One of the challenges on this project was taking the time to use the application as a teaching tool. “The students were there the entire time,” Portaro remembers. “We were surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world. I’ve never had so many managers on a project in my life. These students brought a passion to the building industry like you’ve never seen before. They believe they are going to change the world, and they probably will.”

Portaro also shared his passion for environmentally friendly roof systems. The students apparently took that message to heart. “These kids are something special,” he says. “They went to Washington, D.C., to present this project to the Congress of the United States. These kids weren’t happy with just affecting one building on the campus of Georgia Tech. They wanted to share the story. This project got national recognition. I was really proud of these kids, who I met for the first time on this project. My hat’s off to them.”

Portaro has installed a lot of cool roofs, but the Georgia Tech project was special. “This was certainly the coolest project I’ve ever done,” he says.

GE Performance Coatings Adds Wolfe to Increase Support for Roofing Industry

GE Performance Coatings recently welcomed Fred Wolfe as Applications Development Engineer, Commercial Roofing. This new position renews the commitment and level of service GE offers the roofing industry.

With GE, Wolfe will support the GE Enduris 100 percent silicone roof coating product line
while collaborating with the contractor base in North America and providing on-site project and technical assistance. His role represents an increased investment in this segment of
GE solutions.

Wolfe brings more than 20 years of experience in roof coating, manufacturing, installation and consultation. A NACE certified Coating Inspector, he has overseen the specification, development and application of millions of square feet of acrylic, urethane, silicone and other roofing solutions.

“Wolfe is a nationally-recognized roof and protective coating expert, with extensive knowledge of the application and quality control processes,” says Peter Friedli, Marketing Manager at GE. “His invaluable perspective and technical experience will push our products and business further.”

“My career has centered around developing innovative answers that help organizations protect the beauty and performance of their buildings,” says Wolfe. “GE is a proven leader
in this space, and I am eager to begin partnering with our customers. Please get
in touch—I’m here to help you succeed.”

Wolfe’s previous experience includes growing an organization’s roof coating division into
a multimillion dollar business, and principal ownership of a roofing consultancy and installation company.

Wolfe can be reached vie email at Fred.Wolfe@momentive.com or by calling 919-428-8823.

Fred Wolfe

Fred Wolfe