Award-Winning Re-Roofing Project Showcases Quality Workmanship

Photo: Duro-Last

Replacing the roof on an occupied building with multiple tenants means not only meeting the needs of the building owner but several other businesses as well. When the roof is high above a busy metro area, the job can be even more demanding, but when the failing roof on a CBRE Group high-rise in Cambridge, Massachusetts, needed to be replaced, Commonwealth Building Systems was up to the challenge.

Located near the Longfellow bridge across the Charles River from downtown Boston, the building houses a variety of business and retail tenants. RMX Northeast Inc., the consultant on the project, specified the use of a PVC roofing system from Duro-Last to replace the existing stone-ballasted system and invited local contractors to bid on the project. Commonwealth Building Systems of Rockland, Massachusetts was awarded the job.

Photo: Duro-Last

Commonwealth is a commercial roofing and sheet metal contractor that focuses on the Boston and Cambridge area. Daniel Hulverson, principal at Commonwealth Building Systems, knew the logistics on the project would be a challenge. Due to construction taking place on the Longfellow Bridge at the time of the project, traffic in the area was diverted around the building, and use of a crane was limited to Saturdays. The Commonwealth team commissioned the use of a 300-ton crane on two consecutive weekends to remove the stone ballast, pavers, and existing EPDM membrane from the 180-foot-tall, multi-level roof.

“The ballast removal was probably the hardest part of the project,” Hulverson recalls. “We couldn’t do any work doing the week because of the tenants for one, because of the noise, and the Longfellow Bridge was under construction at the time. It was actually closed, so traffic was pretty much a nightmare.”

R.K. Hydrovac was called in to remove the stone ballast. The crane was used to hoist the vacuum hoses to the roof. “It was quite an undertaking on their end,” Hulverson says. “We got the stone ballast off and got all of the stock up there on two consecutive weekends. Actually, after the first weekend we were able to get started roofing. We stockpiled all of the trash and got most of the trash off on the second weekend. We had a couple more crane days to get trash out at the end, so we had maybe four of five crane setups in all.”

A Custom Solution

The new roofing system was designed to stand up to the area’s high winds. Leaving the existing insulation in place, the Commonwealth crew covered each roof area with 2 additional inches of Duro-Guard ISO II insulation, which was mechanically attached. The upper roof was above a steel deck, and the lower roof covered a concrete deck, so different fasters were used, but the fastening patterns were identical.

After the existing ballasted EPDM system was removed, crews installed a thermoplastic roof system manufactured by Duro-Last. Photo: Duro-Last

After the insulation was in place, the Duro-Last PVC membrane was attached using the Duro-Bond induction welding system. The membrane is delivered custom fabricated to fit the site. “Duro-Last comes out and pre-measures the job with our assistance, and then the sheets are made,” Hulverson says. “They give you a map and tell you where the sheets go. They measure around all of the penetrations, and everything is pre-cut. It’s pretty cool how it comes out. The rolls are listed A, B, C, D, and so on, and you just kick out the rolls and weld them in place. The sheets are pre-welded at any laps, so it reduces the amount of welding you are doing on the job and saves time.”

The Duro-Bond system uses specially coated plates that are screwed down to the deck before the membrane is put in place. The membrane is adhered to the plates using an induction welder.

Work began on the upper level and moved down to the lower level. “We went from side to side, working our way toward where the crane setup was going to be,” Hulverson explains

The upper roof was constructed over a mechanical room, so crews could work any time without fear of disrupting the tenants. Work hours were restricted on the lower level because it covered occupied business space. “We had to switch to very early hours in the morning because of the noise,” Hulverson notes. “We were starting at three in the morning so we didn’t disrupt the tenants.”

Commonwealth’s dedication to quality workmanship on the project earned the company Duro-Last’s Edge-to-Edge & Deck-to-Sky Award. Photo: Duro-Last

Staging areas were moved as the project progressed to limit the possibility of damage to the completed sections of the roof. On the last day, the roof membrane was protected by tarps and plywood as the final loads of debris were removed.

The safety concerns were straightforward. “There was a parapet wall that was above 42 inches high around the whole perimeter of the building, so safety-wise, this job was fairly easy for us,” Hulverson says.

Custom-fabricated curbs and stacks were utilized to help reduce rooftop labor. “All of Duro-Last’s curbs and pipe seals come pre-made, and they are all listed on that diagram,” Hulverson says. “You just unfold them and weld them. The corners are already pre-done. It’s a very nice system.”

Commonwealth’s sheet metal division installed all of the edge metal, which was custom fabricated by EXCEPTIONAL Metals. “Again, Duro-Last measures everything along with our superintendent, and it’s all sent out prefabrication,” Hulverson says. “The pre-assembled wall cap was installed on top of the walls.”

During the last phase of the project, Walkway pads were welded down in high-traffic areas.

Luckily, weather wasn’t a key factor. “There were some challenging windy days, as there always are in Boston, but nothing I can really remember that slowed us down to the point we couldn’t work,” says Hulverson. “The weekend crane setups and the size of the crane were unusual, but other than that it was a pretty smooth job. And the views are beautiful — you’re looking across the Charles River into Boston, so it was pretty nice.”

Commonwealth’s dedication attention to detail on this project earned the company Duro-Last’s 2018 Edge-to-Edge & Deck-to-Sky Award, which was presented in 2019. “Duro-Last was impressed by the neatness of the job, especially the wall flashing,” Hulverson says. “They were impressed with our workmanship. If there were any challenges or changes, we just met them head on and moved forward, like we typically do. The customer is always first.”

Hulverson believes the key to ensuring quality workmanship is dedicated employees, from top to bottom. “Our foremen are well trained, as are our superintendents, and I actually look over the jobs in the field as one of four owners,” he says. “We make sure the quality and craftsmanship are done the right way.”

TEAM

Roof Consultant: RMX Northeast Inc., Milford, Massachusetts, www.rmxne.com

Roofing Contractor: Commonwealth Building Systems, Rockland, Massachusetts, www.commonwealthbuildingsystems.com

MATERIALS

PVC Membrane: Duro-Last, www.duro-last.com

Insulation: Duro-Guard ISO II, Duro-Last

Edge Metal: EXCEPTIONAL Metals, www.exceptionalmetals.com

Copper Accents Complement Synthetic Shake Roof System

This home in Northfield, Illinois, features custom copper dormers, four copper gable vents and four small flat standing seam copper roofs that tie into the synthetic shake roof system. Photos: Davinci Roofscapes

What makes a re-roofing project truly stand out? According to Chad Janisch, owner and President of Shake Guys, it’s the ability to aesthetically and functionally blend copper accents with synthetic shake to create a one-of-a-kind roof. The home they re-roofed last year in Northfield, Illinois, perfectly illustrates his point.

“The Mayberry home project had numerous custom copper dormers that had to be tied in with the DaVinci Roofscapes system,” says Janisch. “Most re-roof projects in this market that have this much custom copper work choose to reuse the existing copper metals. However, for this project the owners approved the use of new copper.

“We created eight custom copper roof dormers, four copper gable vents and four smaller flat standing seam copper roofs. The various roof dormers and sharp angles of the roof all added to the value of capturing the beautiful details of the Bellaforté Shake roofing system.”

Prior to hiring Shake Guys, homeowner Trent Mayberry knew his real cedar shake roof was in poor condition. Hail, wind damage and severe weather had taken its toll on the roof. When he inspected the roof, Chris Paulus, a field representative for Shake Guys, found that the cedar shakes were in the beginning stages of cupping and curling. Even worse, numerous cedar shakes were starting to fail and slide off the roof. Due to the amount of damage and overall poor condition of the roof, it was determined that a replacement roof was needed.

The various roof dormers and sharp angles of the roof accent the detials of the Bellaforté Shake roofing system by DaVinci Roofscapes. Photos: Davinci Roofscapes

“Shake Guys helped me from the initial roof assessment to coordinating all aspects of the estimates,” says Mayberry. “They worked with the insurance company to get a replacement roof approved, provided references so I could see their other projects, then did a professional installation job and great follow-up. This was a responsive, knowledgeable and caring team that I would highly recommend. Overall they provided great ‘end-to-end’ service.”

Enhanced Curb Appeal

Pleased with his selection of a roofing team for his home, Mayberry next had to make a decision on a roofing material. He wanted an alternative cedar shake that enhanced the curb appeal of his home. At the same time his top desire was to find a roofing product that would not deteriorate over time and put him in a similar situation for replacement.

“We’ve installed DaVinci synthetic shake roofs for the past three years,” says Janisch. “During that time, we’ve seen a very sharp increase and demand for alternative shake roofs and have installed more than 70 DaVinci roofing systems. Real cedar shake shingles just can’t hold up long-term against our Chicago-area weather conditions.”

Janisch points to some key benefits for homeowners. “The synthetic shake tiles are Class A fire and Class 4 impact rated, they withstand high winds and severe weather, plus they resist insects, algae and decay,” he notes. “With the Lifetime Limited Warranty on the DaVinci product and low maintenance appeal, you can’t beat the return on investment.”

Photos: Davinci Roofscapes

Shake Guys, whose primary focus is to replace real cedar roofs with an alternative composite roofing system, worked with Mayberry to select the Tahoe color for the Bellaforté Shake shingles. The new color and refreshed roof has added substantially to the curb appeal of the home.

“This roofing project took about 10 days to complete due to the custom copper work, but it was well worth it,” says Janisch. “The house looks stunning. I believe this will serve as a showpiece house to other residents in the area who are considering a new roof.”

“The investment that the Mayberry family made in this new synthetic shake roof gives them instant added curb appeal and value for their home,” he concludes. “Over time, this low-maintenance roof will also save them money and headaches. They’ll no longer have to invest in preserving real cedar tiles and maintaining them.”

Re-Roofing a Busy Hospital Poses Logistical Challenges

At Holmes Regional Medical Center, Advanced Roofing replaced 32,000 square feet of roofing on four different levels. Photos: Smith Aerial Photos

When leaks on the existing roof on the Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, became too much to bear, the need for a new roof on four levels of the building was obvious. But so were the numerous difficulties posed by removing and replacing the roof on an active hospital. To make matters more complicated, the areas affected were directly over the hospital’s main entrance and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which cares for premature infants.

It would take a talented team of roofing professionals using the right products to install a durable roof system without disrupting patient care. Advanced Roofing Inc. was up to the challenge.

Advanced Roofing is a full-service commercial roofing contractor based in Florida. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale, with offices in Sanford, Tampa, Miami, Jupiter, Fort Myers and Jacksonville. According to Jason Carruth, branch manager of the Sanford location, the company installs almost every type of low-slope and steep-slope roof system. “We do production, service, maintenance — anything to do with commercial roofing,” he says. “Our specialty is re-roofing occupied buildings.”

For Holmes Regional Medical Center, a two-ply modified system with a reflective coating from Tremco was specified. This was an ideal fit for the re-roofing application at the hospital, notes Carruth, as it was a cold-applied system with low VOCs. “As a certified Tremco applicator, we were invited to bid on the project, and we were successful with the contract,” says Carruth.

High Degree of Difficulty

The project involved the complete tear-off and replacement of the roofs on the four lowest levels of the hospital, totaling approximately 32,000 square feet. These included two of the most sensitive areas on the building. “We did the whole section over the main entrance where everyone drops people off,” notes Carruth. “Another section was directly over the NICU center. We did the staging and handled personnel coming in and out on four roof levels over that area. The entire roof section also surrounds an open-air atrium below, so we had to roof around not only the main entrance, but an atrium as well.”

No torches could be used on the project, so cold-applied modified system from Tremco was specified. It was topped with a reflective coating. Photos: Advanced Roofing Inc.

Safety was the top priority, both on the roof and on the ground. “We had to have full-time supervision on the ground,” Carruth says. “We had ground safety monitors that worked for us, and they had to coordinate traffic at the drive-through and the turnaround, as well as the pedestrian walkway, which was right at the edge of our staging area.”

The site posed numerous challenges, as the lone staging area was limited and the schedule was subject to change at a moment’s notice due to emergency surgeries. “Work over the NICU unit was a little more involved due to the fact that we were almost continually on call,” Carruth explains. “On days we were able to work, we had to be ready to stop if there was anything critical going on.”

Work began in the areas with the most problems. “We started in different sections based on the priorities of the hospital,” Carruth notes. “We initially focused on the areas where the leaks were the worst.”

After the problem areas were fixed, work proceeded in sections, working from the back to the front to minimize traffic on completed areas. The process involved tearing off the existing built-up roof down to the concrete deck and installing a temporary roof to keep everything watertight. Then tapered insulation was applied in cold adhesive, followed by a cover board and the two-ply smooth modified system. The last step was the application of the Alpha-Guard MT coating, which was set in a polyester mat.

Logistics, loading and disposal of debris was a complicated process, as crews could only load the roof at one point accessible to a telehandler — a 10K Lull. This meant much of the material had to be moved a long way across the roof. “We had to haul all of the material and all of the debris from the old roofs across a level, down a level, and up a level to one spot,” Carruth explains. “Mobilization was a little bit difficult on it because we were only allocated one staging area.”

Tear-Off and Installation

Advanced used a 10-man crew on the project, doing most of the demolition work at night and installation work during the day. The fall protection plan included Raptor tie-off carts and anchor points at higher levels of the building.

Photos: Advanced Roofing Inc.

Mechanical roof cutters were used to tear off the existing built-up roof. In some sections, lightweight concrete also had to be removed. Debris was placed in a custom-fabricated trash box with a lid that had special forks for use with the telehandler. “We cut the old roof into small sections and just used hard elbow grease to pop them off the bottom,” Carruth says. “We utilized a Lull and a trash box to dispose of the that debris, driving it over to the dumpster, which was in the parking lot.”

After the temporary roof was installed, tapered insulation was set in a low-rise foam adhesive. This was topped with half-inch Securock cover board and the modified sheets. The two-ply Tremco system consisted of a PowerPly HD base sheet and Composite Ply HT top sheet, both set in PowerPly adhesive. Before the coating was applied, all of the edge metal and trim were installed. “We put all of flashings in, put all of the sheet metal on, we put the counterflashing in,” notes Carruth. “All metals were installed on this project were stainless steel, as it was in Melbourne and pretty close to the coast.”

The Alpha-Guard MT base coat and Alpha-Guard MT top coat were set in Permafab polyester fabric. The coating was applied using a squeegee.

The system supplies the benefits of solar reflectance, which include lowering the roof temperature and minimizing utility costs, but the roofs also had to be aesthetically pleasing. “There are patient rooms that look down in this roof, so that’s why we went with the light gray coating, which still supplies the necessary SRI [Solar Reflectance Index] value,” Carruth points out.

Minimizing Disruptions

The work areas also necessitated other considerations for patients and staff. “We had guest rooms where we had to hang tarps up so people couldn’t see us working at the time,” notes Carruth. “There were passive air louvers that we had to cover to keep debris from the tear-off from getting inside the building. We also had to put charcoal filters in all of the air intakes.”

The work schedule could change on a moment’s notice, so the roofing crews kept in almost constant contact with facility managers. “We’d provide them with a weekly schedule and every day we let them know where we would be working and what we’d be doing. If anything changed, we’d hear about it from their facility people and adjust on the fly.”

The project was completed on time, despite numerous weather delays and interruptions because of surgeries in the NICU. “The communication between the manufacturer’s rep, the owners and ourselves was excellent,” Carruth says. “Pre-planning is everything. When the key players on a job are all on the same page, that’s when a project ends up being successful.”

Success on this project meant protecting the patients and pleasing the owner with a top-quality system. The roof system was designed for high-priority, high-sensitivity projects, and there are few areas that are more sensitive than a neonatal intensive care unit. But these types of projects are familiar territory for Advanced Roofing.

“This is what we do. We re-roof occupied buildings,” Carruth says. “Not only are we putting on a roof system, we’re dealing with customers, we’re watching the weather forecast and making sure the roof is always watertight. The experience Advanced has roofing occupied building is why Tremco and Holmes selected us for the project. We know how to handle those situations and keep the roofs watertight on a daily basis.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Advanced Roofing Inc., headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. www.advancedroofing.com

MATERIALS

Cold-Applied Modified System: PowerPly HD and Composite Ply HT, Tremco, www.tremcoinc.com

Roof Coating: Alpha-Guard MT in Light Gray, Tremco

Cover Board: Securock, USG, www.usg.com

Working With Homeowners Associations Means Taking on Big Challenges

Glenwood Townhomes in San Dimas, California, includes 185 residential units, a clubhouse, standalone garage and park restroom building. The re-roofing project encompassed 250,000 square feet of shingles. Photos: La Rocque Better Roofs

A quick glance at the numbers reveals that Glenwood Townhomes in San Dimas, California, is not your everyday residential re-roofing project. Featuring 185 units plus a clubhouse, standalone garage and park restroom building, and requiring the installation of 250,000 square feet of shingles, the project is expansive in scope, to say the least. But for nearly 40 years, La Rocque Better Roofs has enjoyed taking on challenging roofing projects, and the team put a plan in place to take on a very ambitious and complex assignment.

With literally hundreds of homeowners impacted by the re-roofing project, the Glenwood Townhomes Home Owner Association (HOA) board of directors through its property management company, Personal Touch Property Management Company, actively sought a roofing company that had been in business for 20-plus years and, most importantly, was experienced in working with HOAs. Doug McCaulley, owner of Personal Touch Property Management Company, has managed Glenwood HOA for several years and knew he needed a company that was large enough and had the proper labor force to handle the size of the project — and would also be around to honor its warranty.

La Rocque Better Roofs has served customers throughout Southern California since 1981, and approximately 80 percent its business is focused on HOAs. The company has developed a process for effectively managing the multiple parties and considerations involved in HOA remodeling projects. Beyond the HOA board, other parties commonly involved in re-roofing projects include property management companies, roofing consultants, and maintenance and service organizations. From a project management perspective, challenges involved in HOA remodeling projects include dealing with any structural or code-related discoveries that arise once the project begins and minimizing inconvenience to residents.

The HOA board selected the Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration shingle in Desert Tan. Members desired both the aesthetics and the benefits of solar reflectivity. Photos: La Rocque Better Roofs

Labor availability is a key consideration for HOA projects, as such projects require a sizeable labor pool to be available for an extended period. Rory Davis, vice president of HOA Sales at La Rocque Better Roofs, says a readily available roofing team was a key factor in the selection of La Rocque Better Roofs for the project. “We do not subcontract our workers and work with a team of 75-110 people, depending upon the time of year, so that the project stays on schedule,” says Davis.

While project management skills, logistical know-how and labor are all required for HOA projects, the most important element in a re-roofing project is satisfying the homeowners living in the community. All these considerations went into La Rocque Better Roofs’ approach to the re-roofing of Glenwood Townhomes.

A Customized Approach to Roof Removal

The design of the Glenwood Townhomes community presented some structural challenges. Detached garages adjacent to each building blocked access for workers during the removal process. La Rocque Better Roofs found a way to resolve this challenge, investing in customized, extra-wide, sturdy walk boards to bridge the distance between the homes and garages. The walk boards allowed roofers to remove roofing from the home and then walk the removed materials directly into the truck. “Walking the debris right to the truck was a big plus, because materials didn’t touch the ground and didn’t come into contact with mature shrubs and landscaping,” says Guy La Rocque, president and CEO. “It was reassuring to homeowners to know that nails and debris wouldn’t be dropped in their yards and exterior living areas.” The system also supported efficiency. La Rocque estimates the walk boards reduced tear-off time by four to five hours per building.

“Safety and efficiency on all of worksites are key factors in being a successful and sought-after company,” La Rocque states. “The rules and requirements are constantly changing with OSHA, and it’s our responsibility as the management team at La Rocque Better Roofs to make sure all our employees are always up to date with the latest information. Our weekly Tailgate Safety Meetings as well as our monthly safety and education meetings help us maintain a level of awareness. It’s one thing to be educated in OSHA’s safety requirements; it’s another thing to implement and monitor these safety procedures on our jobsites.”

Surprises are not uncommon when remodeling mature properties. During the re-roofing project, some fireplaces in the community were found to be unstable. La Rocque Better Roofs worked with city permitting officials and engineers to retrofit the fireplaces so that they remained safe and functional without requiring a complete tear-down and rebuilding of the fireplaces.

Communication and the “Contractor Bubble”

Among the many steps La Rocque Better Roofs employed to simplify the process, Guy La Rocque says communication with residents was especially valuable. “We scheduled after-hours meetings with the residents to keep them informed about the project, answer their questions and let them know what to expect,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve found the best thing you can do is get homeowners involved. You can never communicate enough, so we let residents know what time our crews would be on site, where the crews would be working and what we expected to accomplish. “

Crews from La Rocque Better Roofs made sure to protect the landscaping as the project progressed. The company has made working for HOAs its primary focus. Photos: La Rocque Better Roofs

From La Rocque’s perspective, too many contractors operate in a “contractor bubble,” losing sight of other opportunities to add value to both homeowners and the contractor’s business. Listening to homeowners helps open up opportunities that may exist for additional work. “When you get homeowners involved, you get a different perception of what needs to happen,” La Rocque says. “The majority of us are homeowners, but many times we forget the most important thing we want from a contractor is communication.” He adds that the construction industry has suffered from a perception that too often contractors show up and leave whenever they want, leaving the customers in the dark. No one likes to be surprised. Keeping the homeowner informed can go a long way toward achieving more satisfied customers and generating more referrals.

Davis says that communication has never been more important than today, in the era of social media. “Yelp has become the new Better Business Bureau,” he says. “Social media provides more opportunities than ever before for consumers to either pat us on the back or criticize us.”

 Changing it Up

The Glenwood Townhomes community was built in 1973, and the roof replacement provided an opportunity to introduce trending colors and technology improvements to residents’ roofs. The HOA board wanted to select a color that would lighten up the overall look of the community and also take advantage of solar reflectivity. The HOA selected the Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration shingle in Desert Tan.

Asked about the shingle manufacturer’s involvement in the project, Davis says manufacturers’ reps can make a big difference. “Availability is key, and a willingness to bring samples onsite or address any problems that come up is critical. You learn a lot by how a manufacturer deals with any problems that arise. We may go years without a problem, but when something happens, we want someone who will step up,” he says. He also likes the Owens Corning Sure Nail technology and says the strip that ensures optimal placement of each nail is a plus.

HOA projects are not for every contractor. But through planning, establishing strong relationships with engineers, permitting organizations and other partners, thoughtful approaches to on-site challenges and most importantly, listening to customers, HOAs present an opportunity for contractors to take on projects of size and style.

Coordination Is the Key to Re-Roofing Active Port Terminal

Owned by the Port of New Orleans, the Nashville Ave. Terminal Complex offers more than a million square feet of cargo space. When the structure’s original built-up roof reached the end of its service life, a standing seam metal roof was manufactured and installed by Ray Bros. Inc. on the vast majority of the building. Photo: Aero Photo.

Construction projects on active jobsites can mean coordinating a lot of moving parts. Projects don’t get much more complicated than the recent roof replacement at the Nashville Ave. Terminal Complex, owned by the Port of New Orleans. The scope of work was multifaceted, the schedule was daunting, and everyone entering the facility had to have the proper security credentials. All of the work was performed next to the Mississippi River on top of an active wharf building, with cargo coming in and going out on trucks and forklifts as ships were loaded and unloaded. Materials housed inside the building were sensitive to moisture, dust and debris — and often had to be moved as work progressed.

Gino Ray Sr., president of Ray Bros. Inc., the roofing contractor on the project, likened it to a giant, three-dimensional puzzle. “It was almost like a Rubik’s Cube,” he says. “They had to move a section of material, and then when we finished a section, they slid the material over there so we could move on the next one. The whole time, the port was in operation. There was a lot of dancing involved.”

The Terminal

The Nashville Ave. Terminal Complex, operated by Ports America Louisiana Inc., offers more than 1 million square feet of storage space. Built in the 1960s, the structure was a rigid-frame, iron building with a ballasted tar and gravel roof over a heavy tongue-and-groove wooden deck. Decades of problems had seriously deteriorated the wooden deck, as well as the four-by-four wood nailers that were bolted to the rafters and purlins.

Key members of the team on the project included (from Left) N. Guy Williams of ECM Consultants, Kevin Haslauer of Glendale Enterprises, Gino Ray Sr. of Ray Bros. Inc., Craig Clark of Gulf Coast Service Group, and Curtis Shinogle of Gulf Coast Service Group.

The structure’s failing roof was replaced in three phases. During Phase 1, undertaken about a decade ago, a new built-up roof system was installed on one end of the building. When that section experienced performance issues, the owners looked for other options. Ray Bros. had the answer: an architectural metal roof.

Ray Bros. has been in business in New Orleans since 1996, when it was founded by Gino Ray Sr. The company has always focused primarily on metal roofing, and in the late ’90s it began roll forming and manufacturing its own panels and systems. “Today we manufacture everything we install,” Ray notes. “We’re kind of a hybrid — a manufacturer/contractor.”

The company’s metal panel system had been installed on several other port buildings, and the owners specified it for Phase 2 of the project, which covered a 230,000-square-foot section near the center of the building on either side of the firewall. Phase 2 was completed in 2014. Phase 3 encompassed 420,000 square feet to complete the sections on either side of Phase 2. Work began in August of 2016 and completed in May of 2017.

Ray Bros. manufactured and installed all of the metal roofing on the building — a total of 650,000 square feet — and served as both the prime contractor and the roofing contractor on the third phase of the project. Ray credits his dedicated team, the cooperation of all of the companies involved, and an innovative strategy for coping with the project’s many hurdles as the keys to a successful outcome.

Beefing Up the Structure

The standing seam metal roof system recommended by Ray Bros. was specified for its durability and low maintenance. The new system would give the port the long lifespan the owners desired, but it would necessitate some structural changes.

“Before we put the metal roof on, we had to beef up the existing trusses and reinforce the existing structure because it was such a light building now,” Ray notes. “There was an enormous amount of welding to the exiting trusses and existing purlins that had to be done before we could begin to put the roof on.”

Metal panels were roll formed directly onto the roof for installation. The panels on one side of the roof were 180 feet long. Photo: Ray Bros. Inc.

The plan was to beef up the structure from the inside and install the new gutters. Then the old roof could then be torn off and the new metal roof installed. The roof installation would be completed in sections, with crews moving from one area to the next in sequence.

Gulf Coast Service Group served as the structural steel and demolition contractor. Crews on man lifts set up inside the building reinforced the existing steel structure. New angle irons were welded to the bottom of the purlins. The existing sprinkler system had to be reconfigured, as it was attached to the four-by-four wood nailers that had to be removed. Work on the sprinklers was performed in conjunction with S & S Sprinkler Company. “We didn’t have to dismantle the sprinkler system, just move it,” Ray explains. “New hangers were mounted to the steel. We had to put a hanger on, take a hanger off. That was part of the tango dance as well.”

After the welders completed their work, crews from RK Hydrovac vacuumed the ballast off the roof. Prior to the demolition work, approximately 4,100 linear feet of gutters were installed. Oversized gutters were manufactured from 16-gauge stainless steel in the Ray Bros. metal shop, and all of the joints were welded together. Gutter sections were raised into place with a lift and secured with stainless steel brackets and hangers. “That gutter weighed about 11 pounds per running foot, and we made it in 21-foot lengths,” Ray notes.

The Roof Installation

The demolition crews and installation crews then swung into action. After sections of the deck were removed, metal panels were roll-formed on the site and installed. “The demo people would tear out a bay — which is a 20-foot section — all the way up to the ridge,” Ray explains. “On one side of the roof, the panels were 180 feet long. So, they would tear out a 20-foot-by-180-foot section, and we would come in right after that and put a 20-foot section of 180-foot panels down.”

Crew members on lifts reinforced the existing steel structure before the new roof was installed. Photo: Ray Bros. Inc.

Panels were made from 22-gauge galvalume. Zimmerman Metals supplied roll forming machines to Ray Bros. Inc. so the company could manufacture its proprietary product. The RBI MT-240 panels were 18 inches wide and interlock using continuous clips. A batten cap was installed over the top and then mechanically seamed using a machine manufactured by D.I. Roof Seamers.

The roll-up bay doors along the sides of the building and at the gable ends of the warehouse qualified it as a partially enclosed structure, which necessitated strict engineering standards. “In order to meet engineering standards, we had to use continuous clips,” Ray notes.

Every third bay had a skylight system to light the interior. Skylights used on the project were manufactured by CPI Daylighting Systems and installed by Glendale Industries. Custom-made curbs and crickets were fashioned by Ray Bros.

When skylights could not be installed right away, the openings were covered with plywood and felt to eliminate safety hazards and keep the interior of the building dry. “When the Glendale Industries people would show up, we’d remove the plywood and they would put on their system,” Ray notes. “As the job progressed, we’d re-use the same plywood and temporary coverings as we went along. We’d just leapfrog the plywood from curb to curb.”

After the roof was completed, the last step was to replace the wall panels in the interior that were designed to trap the smoke in the event of a fire. The old corrugated smoke panels were wired to the steel, but that system would not comply with today’s standards, so Ray Bros. created a sub-framing system to attach new ones. “We had 500 squares of smoke panels to install beneath the roof system,” Ray states. “We put in some16-gauge furring channels and attached the panels with screws. We manufactured all of that in house.”

After the roof was installed, 50,000 square feet of new corrugated smoke panels were installed. Photo: Ray Bros. Inc.

The demo crews, installation crews, and skylight crews kept moving in sequence under the direction of Jobsite Superintendent Robert Sinopoli, a 30-year industry veteran who has been with Ray Bros. ever since the company was founded. Sinopoli monitored everyone’s progress on the site and made sure everyone knew their assignments each day. “Everybody leapfrogged everybody else,” Ray notes. “Everyone had their own song and dance, and if one person got out of rhythm, it would domino back.”

Everyone involved on the project also needed to have a dance card, as security on the site was tight. Workers needed to have a background check and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). Every vehicle had to have proper registration, insurance and inspection tags. The jobsite did not allow personal vehicles, and this posed a problem for Ray Bros., as the company routinely had 40 to 50 workers on site. “Everybody had to be on a company vehicle in a seat with a seat belt,” Ray notes. “I had to buy a used bus to transport workers in and out. We painted it, put our logo on it and made it look pretty. We just drove it 1.5 miles a day. At the end of the job, I sold the bus.”

Big Chunks

The project was wrapped up ahead of schedule, and it was the sequencing of work that was the key its success, according to Ray. “We didn’t want to tackle this project one bay at a time; we were looking at big chunks at a time,” he says. “We were able to develop a rhythm quicker that way. Instead of changing hats several times in the course of a day or a week, we put a hat on, let it stay on, got a big section done and moved on to the next. We didn’t want to change tools and change personnel. We wanted to look at it like a monolithic application.”

In the end, it all boiled down to pride — no one wanted to be the one to falter. “We self-perform a lot of our work, and we have existing relationships with all of the subcontractors we use,” Ray says. “I’m never going to let them down or leave them hanging, and I know they are going to do the same for me. That’s what made that job go — no one wanted to be the weak link. Everybody had a job to do and they did it. It worked out great.”

It was a true team effort. “This was like our Super Bowl, and we won,” Ray concludes. “I’m real proud of my company, our people, and all the people we worked with. I know that on our next job, I can count on them and they know they can count on me.”

TEAM

Architect: ECM Consultants, Metairie, Louisiana, www.ecmconsultants.com
General Contractor and Roofing Contractor: Ray Bros. Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana, www.raybrosinc.com
Structural Steel and Demolition Contractor: Gulf Coast Service Group, Harvey, Louisiana
Skylight Installer: Glendale Enterprises, Norco, Louisiana, www.glendaleinc.com
Sprinkler Repair Contractor: S & S Sprinkler Company, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, www.sssprinkler.com

MATERIALS

Metal Roof Panels: 18-inch wide, 22-gauge galvalume MT-240 standing seam panels, Ray Bros. Inc.
Skylights: CPI Daylighting Systems, www.cpidaylighting.com
Roll Former: Zimmerman Metals Inc., www.zimmerman-metals.com

Ultra-Steep Slope Roof Poses Challenges in Historic Church Re-Roofing Project

Century Christian Church is a landmark building in Owensboro, Kentucky. Completed in 1963, the church is included on the Kentucky Historic Register and recognized for its unique architectural style.
Photos: Owens Corning

At Century Christian Church in Owensboro, Kentucky, it is not the steeple that points toward the heavens above, but rather the entire roof. The church’s 50/12 pitch roof has become one of the most distinguishing features in the local landscape.

Completed in 1963, Century Christian Church is included on the Kentucky Historic Register and recognized for its unique architectural style. In fact, the roof is so eye-catching that it has been incorporated into the church’s website message which reads, “Our roof reaches up; our hearts reach out.” The roof ascends 40 feet and is divided into four quarters or “bows,” with each symbolizing one of the four Gospels in the Bible.

In 2016, the church’s building committee realized it was time for a new roof. Located in an open field apart from other structures, the roof had been struck by lightning on several occasions. The protective cable that ran down the sides of the church as a conduit for lightning strikes had been eroded and just one section of cable was intact. The building’s location also presented airflow challenges. Storms and strong winds crossing the field had caused shingles to loosen and fly off the building.

According to Harold King, a member of the Century Christian Church building committee, the church considered several criteria when selecting All American Home Improvement, LLC in Evansville, Indiana, to complete the re-roofing project. “We wanted a reputable company who was experienced in doing steep slope work, had an excellent safety record, and had a workforce equipped to meet the needs of this labor-intensive job,” he says, adding that the

The roof ascends 40 feet and is divided into four quarters or “bows,” with each bow symbolizing one of the four Gospels in The Holy Bible. Photos: Owens Corning

company’s Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Contractor certification provided additional confidence. “Our Owens Corning area sales manager, John Sabbak, explained the warranty for the re-roofing project and that was very important for us in selecting the materials for the project,” King says, noting that Sabbak also stopped by at different times during the installation to check in on the progress.

A Daunting Task

What were the challenges the roofing contractor faced in tackling the project? “What wasn’t a challenge?” asked Josh Long, Western Kentucky Sales Manager at All American Home Improvement. The metal capping required to protect the building from lightening, and the scorching summer heat during the installation were just a few of the challenges. By far, however, the two most daunting challenges were the safety concerns associated with the pitch and the wind issues that challenged shingle adhesion.

To help foster safety on the steep slopes, teams were assigned to cover each of the four “bows” comprising the roof. The teams used a precisely calculated system of ladders and walkboards to safely navigate and scale the roof. “Roofers getting home to their families safely every night will always be a top priority at Owens Corning,” says Sabbak, noting that All American Home Improvement teams were outfitted with personal protection equipment and participated in advance walk-through processes to safely tackle the project.

Installation teams from All American Home Improvement participated in advance walk-throughs to ensure everyone was well versed in the safety plan. Photos: Owens Corning

The building committee at Century Christian Church also wanted to avoid the safety and aesthetic concerns associated with shingle fly-off. That’s where Owens Corning SureNail Technology and Duration Shingles came into play. Developed to provide exceptional wind resistance, the system can qualify for a 130-mph wind warranty. “The Duration shingle delivered both the performance and the warranty we needed for a job with this kind of pitch and exposure to airflow,” says Long. According to Long, the shingles were also hand sealed as required by Owens Corning for the building’s pitch. “The SureNail Technology made it easy for the teams to install the shingle correctly because the white strip in the middle of the shingle leaves no doubt as to where the nail should go and facilitated a smooth installation,” he says.

As the roofing project progressed, so did public interest. The local newspaper stopped by to capture photos of residents watching the re-roofing spectacle from lawn chairs on the church lawn. The combination of re-roofing a challenging structure, improving the aesthetics of a historic building and scaling a very steep roof made it a memorable project according to Long. “It was a very unusual project from our daily jobs, and the challenges were part of what made the project so fun,” he notes.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: All American Home Improvement, LLC, Evansville, Indiana, 1shingleatatime.com

MATERIALS

Steep-Slope Roof System: Duration Shingles with SureNail Technology, Owens Corning
Underlayment: ProArmor, Owens Corning

North Carolina Legislative Building Restoration Poses Unique Challenges

The North Carolina State Legislative Building was the site of a renovation project that included asbestos abatement in the interior and a complete restoration of the building’s roof systems.

The North Carolina State Legislative Building was the site of a renovation project that included asbestos abatement in the interior and a complete restoration of the building’s roof systems. Photos: SkySite Images

Some of the variables that can make a project difficult include a variety of complex, interconnected systems, unique design elements, and a tight schedule. These challenges are heightened on a highly visible, historic building, where the goal of keeping the design historically accurate must be balanced with making improvements to the structure and functionality of the systems. All of these elements and more were in play during the restoration of the one-of-a-kind roof on the North Carolina State Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina. It took a talented team of design, engineering, and roofing professionals to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

Originally designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, the building has been the home of the state legislature since 1963, but water intrusion under its copper pyramids and at windows and doors on the promenade level precipitated a complete restoration project. Renovation work conducted in 2016 and 2017 included asbestos abatement in the interior and a complete restoration of the building’s roof systems.

The roofing phase of the project included removing and replacing the metal roof systems on the five copper-clad pyramids, as well as re-roofing the low-slope sections adjacent to the pyramids with a two-ply modified bitumen system. A liquid-applied waterproofing system was installed in the planter areas and under the pavers in the promenade section. The project also involved the removal and replacement of windows, doors, and skylights, as well as repairing and coating the concrete surfaces at the perimeter of the roof.

The design of the quilted flat lock copper panel system involved 17 different panel profiles. A false batten was added after the panels were in place.

The design of the quilted flat lock copper panel system involved 17 different panel profiles. A false batten was added after the panels were in place. Photos: SkySite Images

Companies involved in the project included Raymond Engineering, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, which provided engineering and architectural services; Owens Roofing Inc., also located in Raleigh, which served as the general contractor on the roofing phase of the project and installed the low-slope systems; and The Century Slate Company, headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, which removed and replaced the copper roofs on the five pyramids.

Some of the key players in the project shared their insights with Roofing, including John Willers, a senior engineer with Raymond Engineering; Bert Owens, president of Owens Roofing; and Mike Tenoever, president of Century Slate.

“This is an iconic state building with a unique roof system which the owner and designer required to be aesthetically replicated,” Tenoever notes. “At the same time, some functionality and technical improvements were incorporated. This is a very high-profile project with a lot of complexity, particularly given the schedule. There were a lot of details compressed into a very short period of time.”

Design and Pre-Construction

Raymond Engineering conducted testing on the existing roofs and specified systems designed to match the originals and provide some necessary improvements, including added insulation and ventilation under the pyramids. Willers worked closely with Jason Mobraten, the senior architect on the project. “We provided the engineering and architectural services, beginning with design and then assisting with bidding and managing the construction phase of this project,” says Willers. “We engineered the copper roof, all of the detailing for the modified asphalt roof, and the detailing for the drainage, the pavers, and the sealants for the promenade.”

Crews from Owens Roofing removed the existing plants, media and drainage system from four 42-foot-by-42-foot fixed planters with skylights. After the substrate was cleaned and primed, a liquid-applied waterproofing system was installed.

Crews from Owens Roofing removed the existing plants, media and drainage system from four 42-foot-by-42-foot fixed planters with skylights. After the substrate was cleaned and primed, a liquid-applied waterproofing system was installed. Photos: SkySite Images

The schedule was an obvious challenge, as the majority of the work had to be completed while the legislature was in recess, and there were substantial financial penalties that would come into play if the work was not completed on time. “The client also required that the asbestos abatement be completed before re-roofing the copper-clad pyramids to avoid the risk of dislodging the asbestos-containing textured ceiling finish. However, doing the work in two phases allowed the asbestos contractor to get started while the rest of the job was designed and bid,” Willers states.

The building houses legislators’ offices, and it was open and occupied during construction, with the exception of the areas undergoing asbestos abatement. The schedule had to be carefully adjusted as the job progressed. “In addition to our role in monitoring the technical aspects of the construction, we closely monitored the construction phasing and sequencing, as it was directly driven by the schedule of the state legislature,” Willers notes. “We had to take a lot of care in developing the schedule and monitoring it.”

Willers and Mobraten knew that the details on this project would be crucial. “There were previously some issues where the copper and the low-slope membrane roofs met,” Willers says. “We detailed that very carefully so that we had redundancy in keeping that watertight.”

Extensive mock-ups of the copper pyramids were constructed and tested to ensure the quilted pattern could be exactly replicated while avoiding the leaks that plagued the existing structure.

Photos: SkySite Images

Photos: SkySite Images

As designers looked for ways to improve construction, they explored the design and construction of the quilted panels. “From a design standpoint, we wondered why we had this odd diamond-shaped pattern,” Willers recalls. “After we played with the dimensions a bit, we realized that if you fly over the building, from above all of those diamond sections look like squares.”

The key was to replicate the design with its false battens while avoiding leaks. “We were concerned about how to detail out the joining of the copper sheets that formed the diamond-shaped panels,” Willers says. “What had been done was susceptible to windblown rain getting in. We did two things differently: the little clips that supported these battens were secured by forming the clips with hooks that would be integral with the single-locked seams and soldering the clips to the top surface of the copper panels. Previously they were held in place by pop rivets, which went through the copper.”

The Secrets of the Pyramids

Century Slate was well prepared to tackle the copper roofing on the project. The company has been in business more than 20 years, and it specializes in historic restoration projects including slate, tile, wood, copper and other historical metals.

Crews from Century Slate removed the existing copper panels. The copper was salvaged and recycled.

Crews from Century Slate removed the existing copper panels. The copper was salvaged and recycled. Photos: SkySite Images

Tenoever knew the design of the original quilted flat lock copper panel system needed to be replicated exactly. “There were 17 different panel profiles, each within a very particular location within the roof’s quilted pattern,” Tenoever notes. “Proper placement of each different profile was essential to the whole system working correctly and looking like the original.”

The first step was to remove the existing copper roofs. “We tore off the entire system down to the deck,” Tenoever explains. “We then installed a semi permeable a vapor barrier, insulation, and a vapor retarder.”

Along with added insulation and Carlisle WIP 300HT self-adhering underlayment, crews also installed a vented nail base from Hunter Panels. “The Hunter Cool-Vent is a vented nail base that gets screwed down,” Tenoever says. “The goal was to have a breathable air cavity. All of the hip caps are actually vented to allow the air to get out.”

With the addition of the insulation and nail base, the roof was built up approximately 6 inches from the previous configuration. This added height necessitated changes in the custom flashing at the base of the pyramids but did not change the configuration of the copper panels.

In all, 22,500 square feet of copper panels fabricated by K&M Sheet Metal in Durham were installed. Each of the 17 different panels was labeled with a letter code. “When they were out at the site, we could just grab an A panel or a B panel, as needed, and bring them to that layout,” Tenoever explains. “Four of the pyramids were the same, and the center one was different, as that was the one that had skylights built into it.”

The areas between the pyramids were covered with a two-ply modified bitumen roofing system. Photos: SkySite Images

The panels feature flat-lock clips that were screwed down to the nail base. “It’s a typical flat seam panel system, and the panels interlock together,” says Tenoever. “You can see the batten panel above it, which is an aesthetic feature. The battens and the clips that held them were amazingly intricate, for what they were. They were cut out with a CNC machine and soldered onto the copper panels prior to installation. Later we came back and installed the batten system over the top.”

Century Slate built new curbs in the center pyramid for the new skylights, which were manufactured by Wasco. “The skylights were one of the last things to go on,” says Tenoever. “They were custom made because even though they look square, there isn’t a square angle on them.”

Custom copper flashings were installed at the bases. “One of the trickier parts for us probably would have been the tie-in of the modified roof, because Owens Roofing had to do their bit, and we were also replacing all of the wood blocking and everything all along the bottom edge before we could put our flashing on,” Tenoever recalls. “It took a lot of coordination between the two trades, but it all worked out.”

The Low-Slope Roof Systems

Owens Roofing served as the general contractor on the project and installed the low-slope roof systems. The company was established in 1986 in Raleigh, and focuses on commercial and institutional buildings, almost exclusively re-roofing. Much of its work is on historic buildings, so Owens was confident he could execute the project and complete it on schedule.

A scaffolding system offered secure roof access, but material had to be loaded and removed from one access point, so logistics had to be carefully mapped out.

A scaffolding system offered secure roof access, but material had to be loaded and removed from one access point, so logistics had to be carefully mapped out. Photos: SkySite Images

Crews from Owens Roofing installed 18,900 square feet of modified bitumen roofing from Soprema over concrete decks, including the areas between the pyramids. Tapered polyiso and half-inch DEXcell cover board from National Gypsum were installed using Duotack adhesive, followed by the two plies of modified bitumen membrane.

A liquid waterproofing system from Sika was specified for the large planter areas. Crews from Owens Roofing removed the existing plants, media and drainage system from four 42-foot-by-42-foot fixed planters with skylights. After the substrate had been cleaned and primed, the Sika RoofPro system was installed.

“Once it’s cleaned and primed, it’s pretty simple,” says Owens. “The product is one part, and you don’t even have to mix it. We applied it with rollers on this project. You embed fabric sheets in the system and then topcoat it. It was a cold-weather job, but fortunately we caught a break last winter in that it wasn’t as cold as usual, and we didn’t miss as much time as we might have.”

The 30,000-square-foot promenade section was originally covered by white granite pavers native to North Carolina. The old pavers were removed and replaced over a new roof system, which was comprised of modified bitumen sheets beneath the liquid-applied waterproofing system. “The concrete deck was primed and a modified bitumen base ply heat welded to the deck,” Owens explains. “This surface was primed in preparation for the Roof Pro system, which was then installed.”

Innovative Roof Services of Raleigh was called in to conduct a high-voltage electrical testing to ensure there were no voids in the system before the pavers were re-installed. The pavers had originally been set in a bed of mortar, and they had to be removed and cleaned, which revealed a problem. “When we took the pavers up, we found out that they ranged between 1-1/8 and 1-3/4 inches thick,” Owens notes. “That wasn’t a problem when they were set in a bed of mortar, but over extruded polystyrene, they would have been all up and down. We put in a change order and had the pavers set in a bed of sand on top of one layer polystyrene.” The sand was adjusted by hand to ensure the pavers were level. New pavers were added to replace those broken over the years.

On the roof’s concrete eyebrows, damaged areas of concrete were repaired, joints were sealed, and a cold-applied waterproofing system from Sika Sarnafil was used to cover 8,800 square feet of concrete.

Numerous Challenges

Important considerations on the project included safety and logistics, as well as the tight schedule. Safety was paramount, and a third-party safety monitor was on the site to ensure the safety plan was designed and executed properly. During the time between when the original skylights were removed and when their replacements installed, the voids in the roof deck needed to be cordoned off and covered according to OSHA regulations. Personal fall arrest systems were used on the pyramids and outside of the safety perimeter, which was marked with flags. “With the promenade, you had a wide concrete eyebrow, so it made it easier to set up the safety lines and keep everyone safely away from the edge,” Owens notes.

This aerial photo taken before the restoration project shows the copper roofs with their green patina. Photos: SkySite Images

“Safety is a key concern as on all jobs, but this one in particular was highly visible out the windows of the nearby Department of Labor,” Owens continues. “We were paid a courtesy visit and agreed with them that an on-site safety meeting conducted by their personnel might be useful. The owner allowed us use of one of their auditoriums and we had a very productive half-day meeting for all trades. Every week we had a meeting with a state construction monitor.”

A scaffolding system was set up that offered secure roof access, but there was only one point for loading and unloading material, so logistics at the site were a concern. “We had to use wheelbarrows and roof carts to transport materials back and forth to the scaffolding tower,” Tenoever notes. “Between the removal of the original roof and the installation of the multiple layers of the new roof system, over 150,000 square feet of roofing materials were moved by hand over an average distance of approximately 200 feet.”

Loading and unloading added another wrinkle to the complicated schedule. “The schedule was based on when the legislature was scheduled to come back to town—not how long the job was supposed to take,” Owens says. “We were all concerned with the ambitious time frame and $1,000 a day liquidated damages included with this job.”

Willers cited excellent communication as one of the keys to completing the project on time. “Fortunately, the project managers for the general contractor and other trades were highly organized individuals,” Willers says. “Regular site meetings were detailed and thorough. Although setbacks did occur, communication kept the ball rolling.”

The roof system on the building’s iconic copper clad pyramids was removed and carefully recreated, matching the original design while adding a vented cavity and increasing the thermal insulation. Photos: SkySite Images

A Unique Experience

Copper removed from the existing roof was salvaged and recycled, notes Willers, with the exception of a few pieces that

were cut into the shape of the state of North Carolina to serve as mementos of the unique project. “We’re very proud of the design and the outcome—and the assistance we got from all of the contractors involved,” Willers says. “We had some pretty heavy rains after the project was completed, including some high winds, and there were no leaks.”

Tenoever also looks back on the project with pride. “A one-of-a-kind roof system was custom built and delivered on schedule and with the owner and designer’s praises,” he says. “Taking something so amazing and restoring it to the beauty it originally had—we all get a kick out of that.”

TEAM

Design and Engineering Services: Raymond Engineering, Raleigh, North Carolina, RaymondLLC.com
General Contractor: Owens Roofing Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina
Metal Roofing Contractor: The Century Slate Company, Durham, North Carolina, CenturySlate.com
Leak Testing: Innovative Roof Services, LLC, Raleigh, North Carolina, IRS-LLC.net

MATERIALS

Metal Roof System
Copper: 20-ounce copper sheet metal
Vented Nail Base: Hunter Cool-Vent, Hunter Panels, HunterPanels.com
Underlayment: Carlisle WIP 300HT, Carlisle, Carlislewipproducts.com
Skylights: Wasco Skylights, Wascoskylights.com

Modified Bitumen Membrane Roof System

Membrane: Sopralene Flam 180 and Sopralene Flam 180 FR GR, Soprema, Soprema.us
Adhesive: Duotack, Soprema
Insulation: Sopra-Iso, Soprema
Cover Board: DEXcell, National Gypsum, NationalGypsum.com

Waterproofing System

Liquid Applied Membrane: RoofPro 641, Sika Corp., USA.Sika.com
Reinforcing Fabric: Reemat, Sika Corp.
Primer: Sikalastic EP Primer/Sealer
Extruded Polystyrene Insulation: Foamular 604, Owens Corning, OwensCorning.com

Summer Means a Crash Course in School Re-Roofing Projects

Strober-Wright Roofing executed a completed a tear-off and re-roof of the entire complex of Montgomery Lower Middle School. Approximately 130,000 square feet of roofing was removed and replaced with a two-ply modified bitumen system.

Strober-Wright Roofing executed a completed a tear-off and re-roof of the entire complex of Montgomery Lower Middle School. Approximately 130,000 square feet of roofing was removed and replaced with a two-ply modified bitumen system.

Summertime is the busy season for school construction projects, and as students prepare for vacation, restoration work heats up. At Strober-Wright Roofing Inc., a full-service roofing contractor headquartered in Lambertville, N.J., going to school in the summer is a big part of the company’s business plan.

The company is owned by Mike Strober, Mark Wright and John Foy, who share more than 100 years of experience in new construction, additions and re-roofing projects. “We specialize in schools,” says Robert Shoemaker, an estimator with Strober-Wright, who points to attention to detail as the key to succeeding in the competitive bidding market. “You have to sharpen your pencil. You have to understand what your crews can do and how fast they can do it. You have to know what their skills are.”

Mark Wright has been with the company 26 years, and he points to a recently completed project at Montgomery Lower Middle School in Skillman, N.J., as an example of just what Strober-Wright can do when faced with large-scale projects and tight deadlines. “We have the men and equipment to get these types of jobs done on time with high-quality workmanship,” he says. “That’s our strength.”

Wright and Shoemaker believe building relationships is essential in this segment of the market. “We’ve done a lot of schools,” Shoemaker says. “When our bid is successful, people breathe a sigh of relief and tell us they are happy to have us on their projects.”

The Roof System

The Montgomery Lower Middle School project was a complete tear-off and re-roof of a school complex encompassing several connected roof sections totaling approximately 130,000 square feet. There were two types of existing roof systems: a fully-adhered EPDM system and a ballasted EPDM system. These were torn off and replaced with a two-ply, hot-mopped modified bitumen system.

Tapered polyiso was installed to ensure proper slope to the drains, which were surrounded by an 8-foot tapered sump.

Tapered polyiso was installed to ensure proper slope to the drains, which were surrounded by an 8-foot tapered sump.


The Strober-Wright team looked for ways to make the installation as efficient as possible in order to meet the deadline. The original specification called for removing and replacing more than 100 existing roof drains, but the company suggested using SpeedTite drains from OMG Roofing Products instead.

“My partner, Mike Strober, came up with the idea to use the OMG drains, and we submitted it to the architect,” Wright notes. “The architect approved them. The key with these drains is you don’t need another trade to install them. They install quickly and minimize disturbance in the building because the drains drop into the pipe, bypassing the bowl. You don’t have to take the old bowl out and put a new bowl in. You don’t have to take ceiling tiles out and create a mess inside the building.”

Show Your Work

On the ballasted roof sections, the stones were removed by Adler Vacuum. Then the existing EPDM roof was removed in sections. “We’d take a section out and replace it the same day so the building was watertight every night,” Wright explains.

At the end of each day, the old system was tied off to the new section. “With the existing rubber roof, we would leave a little extra material and flop it back,” Wright notes. “We’d adhere the flap using hot tar to the new system, and just peel it back the next day and go again.”

On sections of the roof with metal decking, the 4-inch base layer of flat polyiso insulation was mechanically attached with fasteners and plates. On the sections with concrete deck, the concrete was primed with a quick-drying asphalt primer and the base insulation was then adhered in hot asphalt. The tapered insulation was then adhered in hot asphalt to ensure proper drainage.

After the cover board was secured, the modified bitumen system was installed. The base ply and cap sheet were set in hot asphalt. Once the roof system had properly cured, it received two coats of an aluminum reflective coating.

Safety is always top of mind, but there were no unusual safety issues on the project, notes Wright. “We followed our standard safety protocols,” he says. “You have to make sure you’re wearing proper clothing and safety equipment with hot asphalt. We set up a safety perimeter warning with flags. If you were outside the perimeter, you had to wear a harness and be tied off at all times.”

Going With the Flow

More than 100 new drains were installed. The existing strainer domes, clamping rings and hardware were removed, but the drain bowls were left in place. The SpeedTite Drains were inserted, and the mechanical seal was tightened to provide a secure connection to the existing drain leader.

According to the manufacturer, the drains have a built-in vortex breaker to help improve water flow and a mechanical seal that meets the ANSI/SPRI/RD-1 standard (holding a 10-foot column of water for 24 hours without leaking).

More than 100 drains had to be replaced on the school. Strober-Wright suggested using OMG SpeedTite drains, as they could be installed more efficiently than conventional drain replacement and caused less disruption in the building.

More than 100 drains had to be replaced on the school. Strober-Wright suggested using OMG SpeedTite drains, as they could be installed more efficiently than conventional drain replacement and caused less disruption in the building.


After the drains were flashed in, the clamping ring and strainer dome were installed. “The drains are flashed with the base ply and then a piece of the cap sheet over that, so it’s a two-ply flashing system,” notes Wright. “The architect here specified an 8-foot tapered sump, and that’s a nice thing because you have an 8-foot area around the drain that’s really going to flow. It works really well.”

A Tough Schedule

Work on the project began in late June and was completed in late August, just in time for the school year to begin. Crews averaged 12 people and completed approximately 50 squares of roof per day.

According to Wright, the toughest part of the project was the tight schedule, which was made even more difficult due to inclement weather. “It was a wet summer,” he says. “It seemed like we were constantly battling rain, and we had to make sure we didn’t get behind the eight-ball on the schedule. You can’t work when it’s raining. You have to just batten down the hatches and prepare to get started the next day.”

After the drains were flashed in, the clamping ring and strainer dome were installed. The drains feature an internal vortex breaker.

After the drains were flashed in, the clamping ring and strainer dome were installed. The drains feature an internal vortex breaker.

The company followed the weather report closely to plan each day’s production. “We have a weather company out of Hackettstown we use called Weatherworks,” Wright says. “When it comes to the weather—up to the minute, 24 hours a day—they are on top of it. They deal with nothing but New Jersey weather. We pay for the service, but it’s well worth it. Saving one day’s worth of work can pay for the whole year’s subscription.”

Despite the weather, work was completed on time and on budget. The project achieved the priorities the school system wanted: a durable, energy-efficient roof system with a 25-year warranty. “It’s a great system,” Wright states. “We make our bread and butter on these jobs. We hit our deadline, and now it’s on to the next one.”

TEAM

Architect: Parette Somjen Architect LLC, Rockaway, N.J., Planetpsa.com
Roofing Contractor: Strober-Wright Roofing Inc., Lambertville, N.J., Stroberwright.com

Photos: OMG Roofing Products Inc.

New Roof and Building Upgrades Provide Security for Florida Day Care Center

The Joseph Caleb Center

The Joseph Caleb Center received a building envelope upgrade that included a new modified bitumen roof for the low-slope sections and a new standing seam metal roof on steep-slope sections at the perimeter. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

The Joseph Caleb Center in Miami caters to a very young clientele, but the building housing the early childhood education center was definitely showing its age. The existing roof was failing, the concrete walls were cracked, and the window seals were broken. The restoration project was a complicated one, with several roof and wall systems that had to be tied in together. Luckily, that’s just the type of project Errol Portuondo likes. Portuondo is the owner of Florida Building & Supply in Miami, which focuses primarily on commercial restoration and re-roofing projects. The company restored the building, topping it with a new self-adhered, modified bitumen roof system and crowning it with a standing seam metal roof around the perimeter.

“We handle the whole envelope,” Portuondo notes. “That’s what sets us apart. That’s our niche. We like to go into these projects that have four, five, six items—the kind of projects other companies avoid. Most people like to handle the easy stuff—get in and get out. We like to tackle the harder type projects that require a lot of thinking.”

Complicated Scope of Work

The project required a roof system that was Energy Star rated and would comply with South Florida’s requirements for high velocity hurricane zones. Furthermore, the building would remain open during the roofing installation process, so the roof system could not give off any fumes or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A self-adhered modified bitumen roof system from Polyglass USA Inc. was chosen for the flat roof sections because of its high reflectivity, durability, and ease of installation, as well as the lack of any odor.

The existing roof consisted of a mechanically attached modified system surrounded by a standing seam metal roof. Florida Building & Supply first removed the metal roof system, as it partially covered the flat roof. After the steep-slope sections were dried in with 30-pound felt and Englert MetalMan HT self-adhered underlayment, crews began to tear off the old modified system. Everything was removed down to the lightweight insulating concrete (LWIC) that had been installed over the metal deck.

The day care center

The day care center was open during the restoration project, so the safety plan included moving the children’s playground during the roof installation. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

The specification called for adhering polyiso insulation directly to the lightweight with OlyBond 500 adhesive from OMG Roofing Products, so making sure the LWIC was in good shape was crucial. Core samples were taken of the roof and subjected to a series of adhesion and compression tests required by the county. “We passed all of the tests and got all of the approvals regarding the lightweight, and we installed the insulation and the Polyglass system on top of that,” Portuondo says. “We like using that system because it is easy to install and allows us to salvage the lightweight. It also gives you really great uplift resistance.”

Crews installed tapered polyiso insulation manufactured by Hunter Panels to a custom-designed layout provided by ABC Supply Co. Insulation ranged in thickness from more than 5 inches to a minimum of 1 ½ inches. After the existing roof system was removed, Portuondo realized that the deck could not be penetrated without potentially damaging the structure, affecting the placement of emergency overflows. “Some of the existing buildings weren’t designed like they are today, so you have to work with the existing drains and make sure you can take care of the water through emergency overflows if any drains should get clogged,” he says.

After the insulation was installed, the 20,000-square-foot low-slope section was ready for the Polyglass three-ply, self-adhered modified bitumen roof system. Elastoflex SA V, a self-adhered SBS modified bitumen membrane, was used for the base and interply sheets. The surface layer consisted of Polyfresko G SA, a white, self-adhered APP modified bitumen cap sheet manufactured with CURE Technology, a thin-film technology designed to improve the membrane’s durability, UV and stain resistance, and granule adhesion.

“What we like about the self-adhered system is that you can move on the roof quick and clean,” Portuondo says. “Sometimes the intake of the mechanical units is up on the roof, and with a hot asphalt application, you have to be careful with any fumes. That’s not a consideration with the self-adhered system. It’s very clean and very fast, especially if you are about to get a rainstorm. You can get a barrier installed very quickly on the roof as opposed to hot asphalt or a torch system.”

Details, Details

Once the new low-slope roof was installed, work began on the new standing seam metal roof manufactured by Englert. Tying in the metal roof with the modified roof was relatively easy, according to Portuondo, but other details were more problematic.

The last steps included perimeter metal trim and gutters. “We work closely with the manufacturers based on their inspection process and when there are certain details,” notes Portuondo. “In this specific project, there were a lot of details.”

Waterproofing the skylights

Waterproofing the skylights was tricky, as the glass extended under the metal roof and ended just a few inches from the new modified bitumen roof system. In these sections, Polyflash 2C, an odor free, fluid-applied flashing system from Polyglass, was used. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

Florida Building & Supply also handled repairing and painting the perimeter of the building. Hairline fractures in the concrete block walls were repaired with epoxy injections prior to painting. Crews also re-caulked and waterproofed all of the windows and skylights, including glass walls that extended under the metal roof at the top and ended at the bottom just a few inches from the modified roof system.

“That tie-in was very difficult because by the time you ended your base flashings for the modified, you were right at the glazing,” Portuondo says. “For those areas, the only solution was the Polyglass Polyflash 2C kit.” Polyflash 2C is an odor free, fluid-applied flashing system that is UV-stable.

Setting up the plan of attack in advance was crucial, notes Portuondo, but with any older building, you have to be ready to adapt as the job progresses. “You don’t really know structurally what you’re going to run into until you start to tear off,” he says. “Sometimes what you find under the roof turns out to be different than you expected, and you have to make changes in the field.”

Safety is always the top concern for both employees and members of the public, notes Portuondo. “We moved the playground area and set up a safety perimeter fence,” he explains. “We made sure the children would not be harmed while we were installing the roof, so that was a logistical problem.”

The company is used to overcoming logistical problems. “Our forte is re-roofing existing buildings, and so they are always active,” he says. “We strive to do quality work and stay on top of everything. We’ve just been doing this for so long that we know what we’re doing.”

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