The Best Sealants For Metal Buildings

Butyl tapes come in various widths and thicknesses to match panel manufacturers’ requirements. Photo: MCA

Sealants represent a relatively small cost in metal construction, but the price to pay if the right sealant and proper application methods aren’t used could be substantial. Sealants used in metal construction are not easily repaired or replaced without potential damage to panels or other parts. When the wrong sealant is used for a metal roof, the overall roof itself could fail. To avoid sealant failure and achieve a long service life on any metal building’s roof or wall component, professionals need a firm understanding of the sealant options available and the application guidelines to follow.

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has released an important new Technical Bulletin, “Best Practices: Metal Building Sealant Types and Application Guidelines.” The document details the benefits, features, and limitations of the most commonly used sealants in metal construction: butyl, polyurethane, and silicone, as well as the most effective procedures for utilization.

Sealant Failure and the Consequences

Removing the ridge cover of a roof that was at least 34 years old at the time reveals properly applied butyl copolymer sealant with retention of all proper performance characteristics. Photo: Rob Haddock

When sealants fail, metal roof panels can often be damaged severely enough in order to require replacement. Incorrect sealant application, inadequate surface preparation, and early or excessive joint movement can also result in a cracked sealant. That can be expensive and labor intensive.

Sealant Options

Butyl, polyurethane, and silicone are three of the most commonly used sealants for metal roofing. When properly applied, they can all provide long life and should accommodate normal movement through the design of the joint itself.

The chart in Figure 1 compares the products’ characteristics and limitations.

Best Practices

Just as important as using the right sealant is applying the sealant properly. Best practices include:

· Use only what is needed. Although it may appear harmless to add more sealant than required, this can cause issues of separation and buckling of the connection and expansion joints long after the sealant has been installed. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully.

· Set it on site. Sealants should be applied at the building construction site, at the moment required to continue construction. Doing so ahead of time can lead to deformed, damaged, or contaminated sealants. (Note: Some manufacturers design and engineer sealants to be pre-applied to substrates at the time of production.)

· Dry + Clean = Success. A dry surface is required for sealants to adhere properly. Inspect surfaces for liquid or frozen moisture before applying the sealant. Even a small amount of moisture could compromise the performance of the sealant over the life of the material joint or lead to mold and mildew that may further compromise any sealant over time. Likewise, ensuring the surface is clean and free of any residue or dust or debris is also important.

· Set your standards. Standardized test results are preferable to manufacturer data to determine the fitness of a particular sealant type. ASTM, UL, and AAMA are internationally recognized standards that generally require third party independent laboratory testing. Frequently, there are regional and local test standards that must be completed to show the sealant material meets the project performance requirements.

Sealants are an excellent example of the old saying, “Everything counts in large amounts.” When sealant fails, roofing can become damaged to the point of requiring an expensive replacement.

The full technical bulletin is available at

About the author: Miguel Pena is the Vice President of GSSI Sealants, Inc., a manufacturer of premiere butyl rubber sealants for the metal building industry. GSSI Sealants has been a member of the Metal Construction Association for more than a decade.

Metal Building Manufacturers Ceco Building Systems and Garco Building Systems Unite

Ceco Building Systems, a national manufacturer of metal building solutions, announces its integration with Garco Building Systems, a regional manufacturer of metal buildings in the Western United States.

“Our team is excited to welcome the Garco team and customers to Ceco Building Systems,” said Scott Schroer, director of engineering, who has been with the company for 10 years and part of the metal building industry for 30 years. “Together, these brands bring 135 collective years of unparalleled expertise—and we will continue to build on this legacy with our collaborative approach, passion for innovation and uncompromising commitment to customer success.”

Ceco Building Systems is a nationally recognized brand with access to nationwide manufacturing and distribution, which means former Garco customers can expect reduced lead times and expedited project completion.

“Our vast experience and manufacturing footprint make us uniquely positioned to collaborate with builders throughout the country. Together we create state-of-the-art solutions across a wide variety of sophisticated design styles and at the highest levels of complexity,” said Schroer. 

According to the company, the entire Ceco Building Systems team is committed to working with customers across the project lifecycle — from planning to building and beyond— to successfully get the job done. As part of this, all Ceco Building Systems customers will have the opportunity to become part of the Ceco Authorized Builder network, which includes tools and resources to design, price and track projects efficiently.

 “One of these cutting-edge tools is a proprietary online portal that provides builders with a real-time access to their account,” said Schroer. “It also enables us to anticipate customer needs and proactively respond with informed solutions.”

Ceco Building Systems is committed to customer success through a collaborative approach, so the network also connects builders with business leads and provides marketing support.

“Our goal is to partner with our customers to create the buildings of tomorrow, together,” said Schroer. “If our customers are successful that will enable us to continue delivering proven, high-quality products and the leading-edge design tools they need to help their visions come to life.”

This reciprocal relationship creates thriving communities, which is the purpose of the Ceco Building Systems parent company, Cornerstone Building Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CNR), the largest manufacturer of residential and commercial exterior building products in North America.

 “We believe every building we create, and every part of that building, positively contributes to communities where people live, work and play,” said Jessica Navascues, president, engineered building systems, Cornerstone Building Brands. “We are excited about our investments to unify and strengthen these brands so we can deliver the best products and services to meet the evolving needs of our customers and our communities.”

For more information, visit

Retrofit MBI System for Insulating Metal Buildings

rFOIL introduces the Retrofit MBI System for insulating metal buildings. According to the company, the patented clip and pin system combined with rFOIL’s reliable insulation provides a cost-effective and energy-efficient way to insulate all types of metal buildings. The MBI Retrofit clip is installed to the bottom of the exposed roof purlins and inside the wall girts. The system allows for the addition of insulation mass. The Retrofit MBI System is lightweight, easy to handle and easy to install. With its unique attachment system, it can be quickly installed with minimal interruption to the facility’s operation.

rFoil insulation is a single or double layer of polyethylene bubbles bonded to and sandwiched between a highly reflective surface and a white polyethylene sheet. According to them manufacturer, rFOIL is recognized for its thermal performance, easy installations, versatility and environmental friendliness and offers a number of advantages over traditional insulations. Its unique construction is specially designed to reduce radiant heat gain or loss in residential, commercial, post-frame, metal frame and HVAC applications. 

For more information, visit

New Course Instructs Architects About Wind Uplift on Metal Roofs

“Improving Wind Uplift on Metal Roofs” is a new AIA continuing education course, developed by S-5! and MBCI to help architects discover the art and science of wind control and wind uplift on metal roofs and metal structures.

This is a one hour AIA Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) learning unit course. It offers architects the opportunity to learn about wind uplift requirements, testing and proper wind mitigation specification techniques as well as metal roof options and accessories to improve wind uplift characteristics.

Architects and firms requesting a presentation of this course will learn about:

  • Current wind uplift tests and how they are performed
  • Wind uplift ratings, wind zones and specific wind uplift requirements
  • Specific metal roof products, panel profiles and applications that perform best for wind uplift
  • Methods and accessories to improve wind uplift characteristics for metal roofs
  • Wind control value engineering techniques and refer to project specific examples
  • The proper selection and specification techniques of wind-rated roofs and accessories to meet uplift requirements

Keith Lipps, vice president of sales and marketing for S-5!, described the course as being critical for design professionals to understand how wind forces act on a structure. “This is a critical topic for projects being designed in high wind areas, especially those structures that are being built in tornado and hurricane prone regions,” Lipps says.

The course can be scheduled as a live presentation through S-5!. Call 1-888-825-3432 or email for more information.

MBMA Releases Continuing Education Series

The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA), in cooperation with Architectural Record magazine, has released a continuing education series titled, “The Benefits of Metal Building Systems from a Whole Building Perspective.” Specifically targeting architects and building professionals, the course discusses the benefits of using metal building systems by highlighting their flexibility, economical and sustainability attributes.
Participants will receive one AIA LU/HSW credit for completing the online course. The course is available through Architectural Record’s Continuing Education Center website.

“Metal building systems are a part of today’s architecture because they can be used for many applications. The process of creating a successful structure starts with understanding the various elements and options available, including energy, sustainability and acoustical considerations,” says Dan Walker, PE, MBMA’s associate general manager. “This course was designed around a whole-building approach to educate industry professionals about the benefits of utilizing modern metal building solutions for almost any low-rise application.”
The continuing education series includes an overview of the AC472 quality assurance program developed by the International Accreditation Service (IAS); the use of Athena Impact Estimator software to perform a whole-building, cradle-to-grave life-cycle analysis; and framing systems illustrations. Learning outcomes include the participant’s ability to:

  • describe the advantages of metal building systems
  • examine the benefits of writing specifications that require the IAS AC472 quality assurance program
  • identify metal building structural components and their corresponding applications
  • explain how the Athena Impact Estimator can be used to determine the sustainable benefits of metal building designs
  • analyze current metal building design options and construction processes in terms of quality, versatility, sustainability and constructability

Atlas Bolt & Screw Company LLC President Retires After 32 Years

Randy Ridenour retires after 32 years with Atlas Bolt & Screw Company LLC.

Randy Ridenour retires after 32 years with Atlas Bolt & Screw Company LLC.

Randy Ridenour, president of Atlas Bolt & Screw Company LLC, has decided to retire at the end of 2016 after 32 years with the company. Ridenour joined Atlas in 1984 as Central Region branch manager and held positions of increasing responsibility leading to his promotion to president in November 2009. “Throughout his career, Randy has made a positive impact not only on Atlas but also on numerous industry associations where he is respected for his service,” said Michael Hartley, president of the Marmon Construction Fasteners Group. Ridenour will continue to support Marmon as a consultant on various initiatives during 2017.
“To say that Randy will be missed would be an understatement,” Hartley said. “At the same time, he has built a management team that will enable a seamless transition in leadership and continued exemplary service to Atlas customers.”
With Ridenour’s retirement, Scott Bowers, Atlas business unit manager for metal, and Don Bratcher, business unit manager for wood, will each have full autonomy to run their business and both will report directly to Hartley. “With their knowledge and experience, Scott and Don will provide leadership as Atlas builds on its reputation and market position,” Hartley said.
Atlas Bolt & Screw Company, a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway company, offers a range of construction fasteners that reduce installation costs and extend the lives of metal buildings worldwide. Its broad product line serves both metal to metal and metal to wood applications. Founded in 1896, Atlas is one of the oldest companies in the fastener industry.
In addition to Atlas, the Marmon Construction Fasteners Group includes Robertson, Pan American Screw, and Western Builders Supply, which together serve the construction, industrial, and other markets with a variety of fasteners. The group is part of Marmon Engineered Components Co., a subsidiary of Marmon Holdings Inc. Marmon Holdings, part of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is an industrial organization with 2015 revenues of approximately $8 billion.

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.

Allied Steel Buildings Expands into Utah

Allied Steel Buildings recently opened an office in Utah. Conveniently located in Summit County, the branch expansion currently provides elite service for industrial projects in the planning phase that are central to the area.

At the new Allied Steel Buildings’ Utah Design Center, experienced and efficient Project Managers are teamed with high-level Estimators specializing in pre-engineered and structural steel building projects. The new location is complete with industry leading software and set to provide comprehensive building solutions for a variety of applications.

Allied Steel Buildings forecasts a 50 percent increase in local business for 2015. Vice President of the Western Region, Benjamin Meister noted, “We are looking forward to the convenience the expansion will add for our customers. The new facility features consulting and design space where clients can discuss building details and features while working on actual renderings of their building project.” Additionally Meister said, “Our expansion will allow for in-house design of projects from commercial to equestrian while providing additional space for Project Managers to service this clientele. In an industry where customer service sets you apart, we focus on assisting our clients from concept to completion, by providing the best service possible and this expansion will only better our efforts.”

The company selected the location in part due to the expansion of the Salt Lake International Airport. Logistically, the ease of travel to current Allied Steel Building projects in construction throughout the western United States and Canadian Provinces was a draw, but the reality of the Salt Lake City International Airport expansion signifies the economic growth and stability of the region. The 1.8 billion SLC terminal redevelopment program which broke ground July 2014, will bring an estimated 24,000 jobs and $1 billion in wages to the area over the next eight years. Meanwhile, throughout the region new construction in the industrial and commercial sectors are booming.

Allied Steel Buildings expects to generate three more positions before the end of 2014 and five new jobs during the first quarter of 2015. Industry specific Project Managers will oversee new building fabrications, focusing on the needs of the individual client while providing a wealth of knowledge for each building application.

NCI Metal Depots Opens Raleigh, N.C., Location, Grand Opening Wednesday, Feb. 12

NCI Metal Depots, a national network of retail outlets providing metal buildings and roofing to everyone from homeowners to contractors, recently opened a store in Raleigh, N.C., at 5115 New Bern Ave.

Metal Depots offers a wide range of products ideally suited for residential, commercial and agricultural applications. The showroom offers consumers an opportunity to browse its many offerings as well as work in the design center to create the perfect roof for their home or a new building for their property.

Chris Pettis, vice president of Metal Depots, says, “Raleigh was the perfect site for us to open a new store. The market is here, and the people that we’ve worked with thus far have been fantastic, which gives us a positive outlook. We’re really looking forward to providing a unique shopping and buying experience for our customers, something that is not typical in our industry.”

Metal Depots is currently open to the public and will be having its Grand Opening on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Stop by during the hours of noon to 2 p.m. EST for a chance to win some great prizes.

NCI Metal Depots is an NCI Group Inc. company, which has headquarters in Houston. With 37 manufacturing facilities located throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, NCI is one of the largest designers, manufacturers and vendors of metal coatings, components and buildings in North America.