Regular Roof Inspections Help ‘Keep the Door Open’

A roof inspector makes field observations. Photo: Kemper System America Inc.

Regular roof inspections give consultants and contractors a chance to maintain relationships with building owners and managers and create value beyond any immediate repairs.

Commercial roofs should be inspected at least twice a year, typically in the spring and fall. Roof inspections are also advised after major weather events, though contractors may already be deluged with repair requests. Of course, building managers will be more receptive to discussing regular inspections during such times, even though time is short. A service flyer and readily available letter-of-agreement can help quickly close the deal, and be used after any major job throughout the year to create recurring business. Customers should clearly understand the service offer and any special provisions for emergency repairs or exceptions such as during wider emergencies.

Common Sources of Roof Leaks

  • Cracks in or around flashings and penetrations
  • Breaks in and around gutterways and drains
  • Poor drainage or debris-clogged drainage systems
  • Storm damage, tree branches, ice dams, etc.
  • Incidental damage by other trades during construction or maintenance
  • Excessive foot traffic at rooftop access points and around HVAC units and other rooftop infrastructure
  • Old or deteriorating roofing materials

While roof leaks can be caused in several ways, many common sources of leaks can be prevented with liquid-applied coating and membrane systems that fully adhere to substrates and are both self-terminating and self-flashing. Membrane systems are fully reinforced and create a seamless surface. High-quality systems are designed to withstand ponding water, ice, snow, UV light, as well as most chemicals. Unreinforced roof coatings can be used for repairs or complete restoration of the roof surface.

If only a small area is damaged, a limited repair is best, and usually possible with compatible materials over an existing system in good condition.Check if a warranty is in place, and if possible contact the manufacturer before the repair. Perform any repairs within the guidelines of the warranty.

For wider areas, a roof recovery is often possible right over the existing roofing. If interior leaks from a field area are evident, core samples can verify the condition of the existing roof assembly down to the deck. Built-up roofs (BUR), in particular, are susceptible to sun and temperature cycling. Tiny spider cracks and micropores can develop in the surface, and the layers below can absorb moisture and deteriorate. Water always travels to its lowest point and, if left unchecked, will damage the underlying structure.

On low-slope roofs, areas of ponding water are a prime target for inspections. If the roof is covered by aggregate or overburden, it must be cleared from around the lowest point of any low-lying areas, and other areas of suspected damage. A visual inspection can locate the source of an active leak, but there may be more than one source or a larger issue that may not always be visible. Broader sampling is needed to evaluate the general condition of the roof and the scope of any deterioration.

Quality workmanship and materials help avoid callbacks and ensure long-term relationships. After completing any necessary repairs, a PMMA, polyurethane or elastomeric membrane or coatings system can be installed to extend the service life of an existing roof. Elastomeric-based coatings are generally the best value for straightforward repairs and can be ideal for recovering metal roofs. Roof restoration, in general, can enhance building performance with “Cool Roof” products, especially those with a high solar reflectance index (SRI).

At the end of the day, an ounce of prevention and a prompt response to issues can help building owners avoid expensive headaches. People remember expert advice and quality service, especially in times of need. They also may tell others — which is another way regular inspections can help keep the door open to recurring business.

New Roof Provides Security at Senior Living Complex

Photo: Johns Mansville

The Preserve At Palm-Aire is a landmark senior living community in Pompano Beach situated on 13 acres of lush, beautiful grounds in South Florida. Offering both independent living and assisted living programs, the health care facility’s primary focus is on preserving residents’ quality of life in every way possible.

The independent senior lifestyle at The Preserve At Palm-Aire is all about maintenance-free living, and that philosophy influenced the choice of a new roofing system for the facility.

The re-roofing of The Preserve At Palm-Aire was complicated by Mansard-style roofs and 5-foot to 6-foot high parapet walls that greatly restricted access to the existing roofing system, which was installed on a lightweight structural concrete deck. The use of trash chutes was impossible, so a large crane and dumpster were used to remove the roofing debris.

“What concerned us most was using such a large crane around an immaculately landscaped property fully occupied by tenants especially sensitive to excess noise and vibration,” says Geo Madruga, commercial project coordinator for A-1 Property Services Inc., the Miami-based roofing contractor on the project. Another important concern was that the low-slope roof had numerous penetrations, including those for 30 large HVAC units and various pipes and stack vents.

Finding a Solution

A-1 Property Services Inc. competed with several other contractors on an open spec bid. With the help of JM Sales Representative Lewis Buckner, A-1 advised the property owner that a 60-mil fleece-backed PVC membrane with DuPont Elvaloy KEE would provide the longevity, energy efficiency and chemical resistance required for the project. “We really pushed the PVC fleece backed as the superior roofing system and a unique solution for this building,” says Madruga. “We also felt more comfortable with JM’s PVC membrane due to our long track record with the product.”

Adhered directly to the concrete deck with a water-based adhesive, the fleece-backed PVC exceeded Broward County’s 175-mph wind resistance requirement. The PVC membrane’s high reflectivity also earned an energy efficiency rebate from Florida Power & Light Company. The product was also easy to install, depite the numerous penetrations, notes Madruga. “While there were definitely many unique penetrations, our 10-man crew had no problems with the heat-weldable PVC membrane,” he says.

Madruga’s concerns — and his company’s name — both reflect A-1’s desire to create long-term relationships with clients that include expert maintenance services. “We met the expectations of the owner’s roof consultant, but with offices in Washington D.C., the client placed a tremendous amount of trust in the roofing manufacturer and contractor,” adds Madruga. “We are specialists, and we don’t just walk away from any roofs that we install.”

TEAM

Building Representative: CRP Preserve Palm-Aire LLC, Washington, D.C.
Roofing Contractor: A-1 Property Services Inc., Miami, Florida

MATERIALS

Roofing System: 60-mil Fully Adhered Fleece-Backed PVC, Johns Manville, www.JM.com

GreenSlope’s New and Improved Formula Provides an Environmentally Friendly Solution to Ponding Water

GreenSlope is a roof leveling compound that helps eliminate ponding water on flat rooftops by filling in low areas, returning the roof to its original slope to achieve positive water flow to desired drainage areas. Following advanced in-house innovation and successful market testing, GreenSlope has been re-engineered for 2018 and now ships with a new and improved formula.

GreenSlope’s new formula features an improved adhesive, dramatically shortening the curation period from 24 hours to 2 hours, which allows for same-day topcoating. GreenSlope has also upgraded to finer-grade EPDM granules, which are less porous, easier to work with, and offer superior UV resistance and longevity. GreenSlope’s robust adhesive forms an exceptional bond with a wide variety of roof systems including single-ply, modified bitumen/BUR, metal and foam roof systems. The cured material is similar to a professional running track or premium playground surface, able to withstand extreme climates and as well as foot traffic.

At 20 percent the weight of concrete alternatives and half the weight of ponding water, GreenSlope reduces stress on the roof system by facilitating proper water drainage to extend the lifespan of the roof at a fraction of the time and cost it takes to install a new drain or tapered insulation. GreenSlope’s UV-stable compound can endure frequent freeze/thaw cycles and resists wear and tear while remaining flexible to absorb surface stresses. Highly malleable, GreenSlope can be used in a wide variety of practical scenarios including around low drains and scuppers, as walk pads and pitch-pan filler, for protection around curbs, HVAC units and more.

The product can be easily applied over low areas using a trowel and straightedge to smooth and level. For best results, additional topcoat application is recommended to achieve reliable waterproofing and match the aesthetics of the existing roof. GreenSlope is compatible with most topcoats including white acrylic, aluminum mastic, modified mastic, elastomerics, emulsions, and membranes.

The problem of ponding water offers service divisions an opportunity to open new doors with prospective clients. Ponding water can be found on eight out of 10 flat roofs and is one of the most commonly reported concerns of contractors and building owners as it can cause leaks, structural damage, membrane damage, algae and mold growth, slip hazards, insect problems, voided warranties, and premature failure of roof systems. Conventional options to deal with ponding include installing a new inner drain or adding tapered insulation, but these options are often expensive for building owners and not always necessary. GreenSlope’s preventative approach helps building owners maintain their roof asset while maximizing rooftop ROI. Additionally, going green offers potential LEED credits.

GreenSlope is manufactured and distributed by United Asphalt.

LEARN MORE

Visit: https://greenslope.co/
Call: (877) 356-9301
Email: team@greenslope.net

The “Roofers’ Choice” winner is determined by the product that receives the most reader inquiries from the “Materials & Gadgets” section in a previous issue. This product received the most inquiries from our September/October 2017 issue.

Efficient and Effective Construction Through Building Codes

This fire station roof assembly includes thermally efficient cross-ventilated non-structural composite insulation manufactured by Atlas Roofing and installed by Utah Tile & Roofing.   Photos: Atlas Roofing Corp

This fire station roof assembly includes thermally efficient cross-ventilated non-structural composite insulation manufactured by Atlas Roofing and installed by Utah Tile & Roofing. Photos: Atlas Roofing Corp

In a world where the bottom line is a critical concern in any construction project, conscientious design and roofing professionals look at the lifetime costs of a building instead of just the short-term construction outlay. Choices made during a building’s initial design and construction have long-term influence on the lifetime of its operation and maintenance. With so many building products and options available, building codes take on a vital role in guiding decisions about building quality, safety, and energy performance. These trusted benchmarks, compiled with input from a broad range of stakeholders, are designed to ensure that the best technologies, materials, and methods are used in construction.

Building Energy Codes 101

Model building energy codes are revised every three years to incorporate the latest research and ensure that new and existing buildings benefit from the methods and products that will produce the most value and safety over time. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE set standards tailored to specific climate zones and include options to provide flexibility in choosing the methods and materials best suited to each project’s needs while nevertheless meeting the requirements. Without regular, incremental improvements to these codes, new buildings would be dated even before their construction begins.

Indeed, while some building features are straightforward to replace and upgrade over time, some of the most vital elements of building performance need to be “designed in” at the outset. Codes are designed to lock in savings during initial construction or major renovations to promote cost-effective design and construction practices. For example, roof replacement projects provide an opportunity to cost-effectively improve the overall energy efficiency performance of buildings.

Energy-efficient design strategies are helpful to all building owners, including government and municipal projects built with taxpayer funding. Pictured here is Fire Station #108 in Brighton, Utah. Photos: Atlas Roofing Corp.

One of the major benefits of building code updates in recent years is the focus on energy efficiency and resiliency. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety writes that, “Over the centuries, building codes have evolved from regulations stemming from tragic experiences to standards designed to prevent them.” With the ongoing effects of climate change, buildings are subjected to extremes of weather and temperature that challenge the performance of their systems. Most structures built over the previous century were not designed or constructed with energy efficiency in mind and suffer from poor insulation and dramatic thermal loss. Buildings account for over 40 percent of America’s total energy consumption, 74 percent of our electricity, and cause 40 percent of our greenhouse emissions. Implementing best practices for sustainable design and utilizing highly efficient building materials like insulation could save billions of dollars a year and improve the reliability of the electrical grid systems.

Energy-Efficient Roofing

A report prepared in 2009 by Bayer MaterialScience (now Covestro), “Energy and Environmental Impact Reduction Opportunities for Existing Buildings with Low-Slope Roofs,” determined that going from an R-12 insulation level (i.e., the average R-value of roofs on older buildings) to R-30 would pay for itself in energy savings in just 12 years with an average reduction in building energy use of 7 percent. Better roof insulation also saves money on equipment, since buildings with weaker envelopes require larger and costlier HVAC systems and future upgrades to HVAC equipment that is smaller and less expensive will always be limited by this constraint.

These savings are not only confined to new construction. In renovations, the removal and replacement of a roof membrane offers the best and most cost-effective opportunity to improve a building’s thermal envelope and better position that building for energy-efficiency upgrades down the road.

Energy Efficiency in Government Buildings

While these strategies are helpful to all building owners, they are especially important for government projects built with an increasingly tight supply of taxpayer dollars. Here is another place where the building codes provide a major assist. For federal commercial and multi-family high-rise residential buildings where the design process began after Nov. 6, 2016, agencies are required to design buildings to meet ASHRAE 90.1-2013 and, if life-cycle cost-effective, achieve energy consumption levels that are at least 30 percent below the levels of the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 baseline building. These savings are calculated by looking at the building envelope and energy consuming systems normally specified by ASHRAE 90.1 (such as space heating, space cooling, ventilation, service water heating, and lighting but not receptacle and process loads not covered by 90.1).

Photos: Atlas Roofing Corp.

Changes in the 2013 edition of ASHRAE 90.1 clarify the insulation requirements of various low-slope re-roofing activities. New definitions of “roof covering” (the topmost component of the roof assembly intended for weather resistance, fire classification, or appearance) and “roof recovering” (the process of installing an additional roof covering over an existing roof covering without removing the existing roof covering) were added and the exceptions to the R-value requirement for roof replacements were clarified to include only “roof recovering” and the “removal and replacement of a roof covering where there is existing insulation integral to or below the roof deck.” In all other instances, when a roof membrane is removed and replaced, the insulation must be brought up to current R-value requirements, which range from R-20 to R-35, depending on climate zone. In addition, the prescriptive R-value requirements for low-slope roofs under 90.1-2013, as compared to previous version (90.1-2010), are higher. For instance, in populous climate zones 4 and 5 the R-values for these roofs increased from R-20 to R-30.

The Department of Energy is preparing to start a rulemaking process to update the federal building energy standard baseline to the 90.1-2016 Standard, which will provide about an 8 percent improvement in energy cost savings compared to 90.1-2013. However, no changes were made to the R-values for low-slope roofs. Managers of federal buildings are working to comply with updated directives that impact new construction and building alterations, including:

  • “Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings”
  • GSA PBS-P100 “Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service”
  • DOD’s Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC).

The instructions in these publications coupled with Executive Order 13693, issued on March 15, 2015, and “Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings,” require new and existing federal buildings to adopt improved energy efficiency and “green building” attributes. New buildings are expected to “employ strategies that minimize energy usage” and existing ones must “seek to achieve optimal energy efficiency.” These directives require:

  • Regular benchmarking and reporting of building annual energy use intensity.
  • Annual 2.5 percent improvement in energy use intensity every year through the end of 2015.
  • All new buildings be designed to achieve net-zero energy use beginning in 2020.

Good Practice in Action

At the end of the day, the success of building codes in producing the cost-savings, weather-resiliency, and energy efficiency is determined by how they are adopted and enforced locally. If the most current codes were universally adopted and enforced,

Photos: Atlas Roofing Corp.

there would be no competitive advantage to inferior building construction practices. Incremental upgrades would provide a steady stream of work that would increase competitiveness for building professionals and suppliers. Updated job skills would increase market value for construction professionals and enable innovation in the construction sector and increased market share for innovative products and processes that would improve economies of scale and lower their cost differential.

Building codes provide a comprehensive and reliable standard that contribute to local economies and improve building performance. Knowledge of code requirements help designers and contractors deliver more value to their clients. Finally, a bit more of an investment during design and construction can yield significant savings in building operation and tangible benefits to the environment and economy of areas that adopt higher building standards.

Re-Roofing of Shopping Center Poses Logistical Challenges

Southgate Shopping Center: Sebring, Florida

The re-roofing project of the shopping center totaled 79,556 square feet.

The re-roofing project of the shopping center totaled 79,556 square feet.

Roofing contractors often find themselves tackling re-roofs at shopping centers in piece-meal fashion, doing sections over the years as the budget allows. When property manager Southern Management and Development decided to remodel the entire Southgate Shopping Center in Sebring, Fla., in conjunction with Publix Markets’ replacement of their existing store at the location, they looked to Advanced Roofing to get the job done.

The scope of work included re-roofing three large sections of the retail plaza and a drugstore on the property. The roofing portions totaled 79,556 square feet.

Roof System

The roof specified was a two-ply modified bitumen system from Johns Manville. In the three large sections of the plaza, the existing built-up roof was completely torn off, while the drugstore was a re-cover project, notes Andrew Vik, estimator and project manager with Advanced Roofing’s Tampa branch, which operates under branch manager Michael Landolfi.

Roofing work started in November 2016 and was completed in February 2017. After the existing roof was removed, crews installed 2-inch polyiso to the steel deck. “We mechanically fastened that with a half-inch USG SecuRock cover board through the steel deck,” notes Vik. “The two plies of modified bitumen were then torch applied, a smooth base sheet and a white granulated cap sheet.”

On the drugstore, the roof was vacuumed, and the cover board and two plies were installed over the top of the old roof system.

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork. “We had our own HVAC people working with our roofing crews, so it was easy to coordinate everything,” notes Vik. “We had HVAC installations on three of the buildings, and we remounted existing units on two of the buildings. There was also a lot of demolition on the south building, as there were several derelict units that
had been sitting there for quite some time. Those had to be hoisted off there and taken out.”

A Challenging Project

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork.

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork.


Logistics are often a challenge with a shopping center that remains open to the public, notes Vik. “You have to load and unload multiple levels of the roof at different times,” he says. “Customer relations is also a challenge; you have to keep everyone happy and ask a lot of questions. The construction manager has to do a lot of P.R. when he’s there.”

Demolition portions of the project were done at night and application during the day, so business at the mall was never disrupted. Traffic in the parking area was also a key concern.

“Setup areas had to be barricaded and marked off while we were loading and unloading,” Vik says. “There was even a drive under bridge connecting two buildings that had to be re-roofed, so we always had to be mindful of people below.”

Parapet walls did not surround all portions of the roof, so safety precautions included a safety perimeter; employees outside the perimeter had to be harnessed and tied off to a portable fall protection anchor system by Raptor.

The project went off without a hitch, according to Vik. “The mall was 100 percent open during the entire project,” he says. “Things went very smoothly— especially for everything that was involved. One of our mottoes is, ‘The harder the job, the better.’ We like a challenge. We take on a lot of projects other companies shy away from.”

The keys to his company’s success are coordination and versatility, states Vik. “We do it all,” he says. “We didn’t have to get anybody from outside the company to work on the project. We did all the roofing, all of the HVAC, and all of the hoisting was done in-house. We’ve also got lightning protection inhouse, and we have a solar division. We have a great team. Everyone does their part to get the bids out and get the jobs done. It’s the best team I’ve ever worked with.”

Team

Roofing Contractor: Advanced Roofing Inc., Tampa, Fla.
Consultant: CBA Roof Consulting LLC, Lake Worth, Fla.
Roof System Manufacturer and Technical Support: Johns Manville, Denver

Vivint Solar Inc. and Renovate America Collaborate to Offer Rooftop Solar to More Homeowners

Vivint Solar Inc. and Renovate America are collaborating to expand access to rooftop solar for homeowners. By offering Renovate America’s HERO program as its PACE financing option, Vivint Solar is enabling more homeowners to purchase solar systems and lower their utility bills.

Under this business agreement, homeowners will be able to use HERO financing to purchase Vivint Solar systems and pay for them over time through their local property taxes. Payments are made at a fixed interest rate for terms of five to 20 years, and the interest on the payments may be tax deductible. Since it is expected that the system will stay with the home and provide utility savings into the future, any remaining balance on the assessment may be able to transfer to a new homeowner at the time of sale.

The announcement of this relationship comes at the same time as the Federal Housing Administration’s recently issued federal policy guidance that endorses PACE financing.

“We are excited to work together with Renovate America to provide this solar financing product that will make solar available to a range of consumers, including those who either do not have the upfront capital for a solar energy system or for whom traditional loans, Power Purchase Agreements or Solar System Lease Agreements are not viable options,” said Vivint Solar Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Thomas Plagemann. “We are pleased with the new FHA guidelines that open the door to wider acceptance of the PACE financing product throughout the United States.”

Since its launch at the end of 2011, HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity, has financed more than $1.5 billion of improvements such as solar, energy-saving roofing, windows, and doors, more efficient HVAC systems, and building insulation. About a quarter of the home energy improvement projects – around 19,000 – have been rooftop solar installations.

“More than 67,000 homeowners have invested in the efficiency of their homes,” said Greg Memo, executive vice president of business development and product strategy at Renovate America. “Vivint Solar and Renovate America are able to provide more families the ability to go solar and lower their utility bills.”

Vivint Solar is rolling out the HERO Program throughout California, and both companies are working with state and local governments to expand this product offering nationwide.

Roofinox Displays Its Line of Stainless Steel Roofing Products to Contractors and Architects

Roofinox displays its line of stainless steel roofing products to contractors and architects attending the Moon in June Machinery Show in Lynchburg, Va. The annual exposition is specifically developed to showcase the latest advancements in roofing machinery and materials by N.B. Handy Company, HVAC equipment and supplies.

“We appreciate Roofinox’s participation in this year’s event,” says Paul Seufer, general manager of the N.B. Handy Machinery Group. “Our goal is to spotlight sheet metal fabrication machinery and materials available in the marketplace. This includes the interactive display of services in an environment where customers can experience processes and benefits first-hand. Roofinox’s stainless steel roofing products offer forming characteristics that run through our equipment.”

“It is a privilege to work alongside N.B. Handy,” says Dave Rowe, vice president at Roofinox America. “This event provides a wonderful opportunity for building professionals to interact with experts, ask questions and actually witness how our products work with their equipment under in-field conditions.”

Roofinox provides a range of tin-plated (Terne) products designed to offer sustainability and corrosion-resistance for wall-cladding, flashing, rainware, interior design and virtually all forms of roofing applications. Roofinox Tin-plated (Terne) is specifically developed and manufactured for roll forming and fabricating.

Developed to withstand climatic conditions found in Central Europe, the Roofinox Stainless Steel product line is ideal for applications ranging from rural, urban and light industrial areas to historic and commercial sites and coastal environments. With ongoing exposure to the elements, Roofinox Tin-plated (Terne’s) surface will develop an elegant matt grey patina finish over time.

A substitute for lead-coated copper, zinc/tin-zinc coated copper, Terne-coated materials, galvalume and lead, Roofinox Tin-plated (Terne) is available in coil or sheet. Materials can be ordered by themselves so customers can do their own forming or prefabricated by a Roofinox distributor.

Adapt Existing Roof Curb to New Rooftop Unit

A Thybar Multi-Zone Retro-Mate is custom made to adapt your existing roof curb to a new rooftop unit.

A Thybar Multi-Zone Retro-Mate is custom made to adapt your existing roof curb to a new rooftop unit.

A Thybar Multi-Zone Retro-Mate is custom made to adapt your existing roof curb to a new rooftop unit. It saves time and costly roof reconstruction, preserves roofing integrity, reduces system downtime, and takes advantage of existing multi-zone ductwork. Convert a single-zone constant or variable-volume rooftop unit into a variable-volume multi-zone. Our comprehensive library of new and old rooftop specifications lets us design a matching Retro-Mate without extensive field measurements. Reduced engineering and construction time lets you bid more competitively. Licensed P.E. on staff.

Adapt Existing Roof Curb to a New Rooftop Unit

A Thybar Retro-Mate is custom made to adapt the existing roof curb to a new rooftop unit.

A Thybar Retro-Mate is custom made to adapt the existing roof curb to a new rooftop unit.

A Thybar Retro-Mate is custom made to adapt the existing roof curb to a new rooftop unit. It saves time and costly roof reconstruction, preserves roofing integrity, reduces system downtime, and takes advantage of existing ductwork. The comprehensive library of new and old rooftop specifications allows for the design of a matching Retro-Mate without extensive field measurements.

Thermal Spacers Create Continuous Insulation for Metal Buildings

SNS Thermal Spacers from Sealed “N” Safe are a cost-effective and easy-to-implement thermal bridge system between the outer shell and the inner frames of a metal building.

SNS Thermal Spacers from Sealed “N” Safe are a cost-effective and easy-to-implement thermal bridge system between the outer shell and the inner frames of a metal building.

SNS Thermal Spacers from Sealed “N” Safe are a cost-effective and easy-to-implement thermal bridge system between the outer shell and the inner frames of a metal building. Because the SNS Thermal Spacers reduce HVAC operating costs by as much as half or more, the return on investment is between 12 and 18 months. SNS Thermal Spacers are proven safe and effective, tested per AISI, ASTM, ICC and U.S. Energy Codes and structurally sound and watertight. The company provides solutions for architectural panels, standing seam panels, through-fastened panels, wall panels and complete building envelope systems.