Expert Tips For Shingling A Cone-Shaped Roof

Cone-shaped roofs are one of those projects that contractors either love to do or avoid like the plague.

A prominent architectural feature on Queen Anne- and Norman-style homes, cone-shaped roofs are also found on Armenian and Georgian churches and medieval towers and castles. Their sloping and curved geometric surfaces can be difficult and labor intensive to shingle, especially for roofers who are accustomed to working only with straight lines.

Whereas a simple pitched roof typically has two or more sides and a hip roof has at least four sides, a conical or turret-style roof can appear to have an infinite number of sides. Some cone-shaped roofs have three to eight flat sides that create more of a geometric shape, such as a pyramid.

So, the challenge is: How do you install flat shingles on this intricate, rounded surface?

The underlayment should be applied vertically, perpendicular to the eave, as shown in this figure from the ARMA Technical Bulletin titled “How to Shingle a Cone Roof.” (Copyright Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, reprinted with permission.)

Getting Started

Thanks to their flexibility, modern asphalt shingles can be installed on roofs of any shape.

To begin shingling a cone roof, you need to know three measurements: the length of the rafter, the diameter of the cone and the widest piece of shingle you’ll be using.

To determine the distance around the base of the cone, multiply its diameter by 3.14. For example, if the diameter is 20 feet, the perimeter would equal 62.8 feet. With a 12-inch-wide shingle, you would need 63 shingles in each row around the cone.

Precise calculations are necessary because shingle pieces will need to change shape and become narrower as you move from the base of the cone up to its peak.

Cutting the shingles is a task you can do ahead of time, by creating a template, or when you get to a particular part of the installation.

Safety Concerns

Because cone-shaped roofs are usually steep and high off the ground, consider hammering footholds into the roof for stable support while you work. Better yet, use scaffolding, which not only provides a platform for leaning a ladder onto the roof, it also serves as an easily accessible shelf for your roofing materials and tools.

On a flat-sided cone roof, use the standard hip and ridge installation method. (Copyright Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, reprinted with permission.)

Underlayment and Ventilation

With preparations complete and safety equipment in place, you’re ready for the fun part: installation.

First, start by applying a good quality underlayment to the deck per the manufacturer’s instructions.

The underlayment should be applied vertically, perpendicular to the eave, following the flow pattern from the cone’s peak to its base. This process will help to prevent the material from wrinkling or buckling. You should end up with an overlap near the peak, which can be trimmed during underlayment application and before installing shingles.

Continue to overlap the underlayment vertically as you progress up the cone and use asphalt plastic cement to cement the lap edge. Alternatively, you can use a peel-and-stick underlayment. A self-adhering underlayment protects the eaves and flashing from wind-driven rain and covers any possible gaps between abutting shingles.

Next, check the ventilation. If the cone is open to the attic area, it should be part of the ventilation system. To accommodate static ventilation in the main portion of the attic, increase the requirement for the net-free area by the same square footage as the cone-shaped room. If the area is open to the living space, a ceiling fan can help force moisture and heat from the cone-shaped room to the main living area for dispersal. Using a room dehumidifier may also be helpful.

When working with a completely circular cone, use an off-peak, roll-type ridge vent at the peak for positive ventilation. The formula for cone-shaped rooms is consistent with any other residential area:

  • Equal intake and exhaust vents: 300 square feet of attic area = 1 square foot of net-free vent area
  • Exhaust vents only: 150 square feet of attic area = 1 square foot of net-free vent area

In cases with no ventilation, make the homeowner aware of potential issues with accelerated wear and how it can affect the product’s warranty. For more specific requirements, contact the shingle manufacturer.

Shingling Flat-Sided vs. Rounded Cones

After installing underlayment and addressing ventilation, you can start applying shingles.

When shingling a rounded cone roof, divide the roof into three distinct zones. (Copyright Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, reprinted with permission.)

If you’re working with a flat-sided cone roof, you can use the standard hip and ridge installation method. Snap vertical chalk lines from the cone tip to the eave center on each of the flat sides. Then apply shingles to the flat areas, cutting at the hips or joints. Use a standard hip and ridge shingle to complete the hip joints.

To ensure a continuous roofing line, snap horizontal chalk lines around the cone so that shingles will line up on adjacent sides.

Shingles on steep-sided cone roofs — those greater than 21/12 slope — may need to be hand sealed with asphalt plastic cement. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for steep-slope application.

When shingling a rounded cone roof, you won’t have a horizontal line to follow because of the curvature. If you try to create a line, butting the sides of the shingles together, the shingles will gradually curve downward and won’t correctly align when you encircle the cone.

To make installation easier, divide the roof into three distinct zones. Start applying shingles to zone one, at the bottom of the cone, and then work your way up to zones two and three.

While you are nailing, have another crew member help hold the shingles down around the curve so they are flush against the surface.

Side overlap of shingles is more noticeable in the upper portions of each cone. Trim shingles at an angle to make the joint parallel to water flow. (Copyright Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, reprinted with permission.)

Because the cone shape tapers from the base to the peak, succeeding courses require less material.

The degree of horizontal offset and varied shingle cutouts will create a random appearance. When using standard three-tab shingles, trim each shingle for proper vertical alignment. A simpler alternative would be to use a randomly applied shingle that doesn’t need to be vertically aligned.

Shingling a cone-shaped roof may be challenging, but with the proper knowledge and execution, you can restore this architectural focal point to its full glory.

For more information from Atlas Roofing, including technical bulletins, installation instructions and product data sheets, visit atlasroofing.com.

Roof Vent Designed Specifically for Clothes Dryers

The DryerJack is the first roof termination designed for the demanding needs of venting clothes dryers. Made in the USA of Galvalume and available powder coated in black, brown or white, DryerJacks are built tough. Building code disallows screens and requires that dryer terminations have a backdraft damper. With a patented curved damper, the DryerJack meets code requirements and goes further. To safely vent dryers, airflow restriction must be minimized to prevent lint blowback and the fire hazard that creates. A passageway of 21 square inches delivers nearly zero airflow restriction, allowing the dryer to operate at peak performance.

The 26-gauge Galvalume DryerJack is available in two models. Model 466, at less than 5 inches tall, delivers safe venting through the roof and low-profile aesthetics. When you need room for high-profile tile or to accommodate heavy snowfall, select model DJK486. It’s as efficient as model 466 but provides more clearance above the roof.

For more information, visit www.dryerjack.com.

Fire Protection Safeguards Are a Key Focus of New Cold Storage Facility

Two years after a fire destroyed its old complex, Dick Cold Storage decided to build a new facility in Columbus, Ohio. Designed by Tippmann Innovation, the building offers the most up-to-date technology, as well as additional fire protection safeguards. Photo: Ryan Leasure

When the executive leadership at Dick Cold Storage decided to build a brand-new facility, the company made certain that the new structure would have increased fire protection — especially with its roofing system.

Dick Cold Storage opened a new facility in June, less than two years after a fire completely destroyed its previous facility in Columbus, Ohio. The new building, designed by Tippmann Innovation, offers the best equipment and most up-to-date technology for cold storage facilities. There are also additional fire protection safeguards, such as fire access doors, horns and strobes, additional pull stations at doors, linear heat detection in freezers and automatic smoke vents.

The roof of the building includes 18 BILCO automatic smoke vents that allow firefighters to bring a fire under control. The vents allow for the escape of smoke, heat, and gasses in a burning building. The Dick Cold Storage building where the 2016 fire occurred was not equipped with automatic smoke vent protection.

“Two of the biggest challenges we face in fighting any fire are heat and smoke,’’ says Steve Martin, Battalion Chief for the Columbus Fire Department. “The heat of the fire radiates on everything surrounding it, causing the flames to spread and causing rapid degradation of structural elements.”

A Ferocious Blaze

More than 400 firefighters battled the fire at Dick Cold Storage, which broke out at approximately 9 p.m. on a Friday. No one was hurt in the fire, but residents in the neighborhood evacuated the area for fear they would be exposed to chemicals used to refrigerate food in the warehouse. The cause of the fire was not determined.

“At that time, you just feel completely lost,’’ Don Dick, the company President, says about his thoughts as he watched the blaze roar through the building where his family had done business for nearly a century. “You have no idea what will happen to your business.”

The building is topped with a single-ply roofing system featuring 45-mil and 60-mil TPO. Photo: Ryan Leasure

Because the building lacked smoke vents, firefighters were stymied. Martin said the smoke impeded visibility, made it difficult to assess damage to the structure and find the origin of the fire. Even with tanks of fresh air on their backs, the brave Columbus firefighters could do little more than watch the blaze burn itself out. The fire was contained within 18 hours but had not been completely extinguished for days.

“Buildings that do not lend themselves to ventilation, such as cold storage buildings, are especially dangerous to firefighters. If there is no known life-safety issue, firefighters will retreat to a defensive position and fight the fire from outside the building instead of going inside,’’ Martin notes.

The fire at Dick Cold Storage would not have been prevented with smoke vents, but the devastating property loss could have been minimized. Firefighters may have been able to aggressively attack the blaze, but because of the lack of visibility and uncertainty of the structural damage within the building envelope, Martin and his crew had no other alternative other than to wait for the fire to die.

A Better Approach

Dick Cold Storage executives made sure to include smoke vents in its new building. Manufactured by The BILCO Company, the custom-made vents measure 7 feet by 18 feet and include a quad leaf design. Tippman worked with Spohn Associates to procure the vents. The size of a building, among other factors, determines the number and size of vents required for a building. The vented space must comply with fire codes.

The roof of the building is equipped with 18 BILCO automatic smoke vents that allow smoke, heat, and gasses to escape from a burning building. Photo: Ryan Leasure

Tippmann worked with Spohn Associates, The BILCO Company’s Indiana based sales representative, to determine the number of vents used for the new building.The vents include a Thermolatch II positive hold/release mechanism designed to ensure reliable operation when a fire occurs. It also automatically releases vent covers upon the melting of a 165°F (74°C) fusible link. Gas spring operators are designed to open the covers against snow and wind loads and include integral dampers to ensure that the covers open at a controlled rate of speed.

“Vents will allow for the removal of heat and smoke will potentially slow the spread of fire,’’ Martin says. “They will also permit firefighters to see and enter the building, to possibly extinguish the fire early, preventing the entire building from becoming a loss.”

Roofing Solutions for Cold Storage Buildings

Like the rest of the materials used in building a cold storage facility, architects need to choose roofing components carefully. The thermal properties and unique usage of cold storage buildings require extra attention to detail in choosing the construction materials.

One of the most critical is constructing vapor-tight and energy efficient roof systems. Tippmann used a single-ply roofing system with 45-mil and 60-mil TPO, which serve as excellent vapor barriers. Single-ply systems also minimize air leaks. Those leaks can lead to thermal loss and excess moisture.

Tippman also paid extra attention to the vapor barriers, which are used to prevent moisture from damaging the fabric of the building. It’s also incumbent on roofing contractors to choose the proper insulation to maximize energy efficiency.

When fire engulfed the facility, firefighters could do little more than watch the blaze burn itself out. The fire was contained within 18 hours was not completely extinguished for days. Photo: Walker Evans, Columbus Underground

Improperly installed or inefficient roofing materials could lead to disastrous consequences for cold storage buildings. Vapor leaks and excess moisture could create bacterial growth. Other side effects could include structural damage from ice buildup on walls and slabs, higher utility costs, safety issues for workers and equipment that may require more maintenance or not reach its expected lifespan.

Tippman Innovation served as the architect, general contractor and roofing contractor for the project. “Tippmann Innovation’s experience and reputation in cold storage building is well-known and respected,’’ Don Dick notes. “After touring one of Tippman’s newly-completed projects, we were very impressed with the company’s commitment to quality, design, and technology. We’re confident that our new facility will be at the cutting edge of cold storage innovation.”

State-of-the-Art Facility

The new facility for Dick Cold Storage incorporates the latest in cold storage technology. The ceilings are 50-feet clear, creating six million cubic square feet of storage space. There are 15,000 pallet positions and seven multi-temperature storage rooms.

Cold storage facilities are used for keeping food products and other perishables for distribution to supermarkets and other retail outlets that sell to consumers. Dick Cold Storage’s Columbus location serves customers in a 550-mile radius, covering a geographic area that reaches Wisconsin, Alabama and New York and a population of more than 138 million people.

The new facility includes LED lighting, frozen, cooler and dry storage, and the most energy-efficient refrigeration equipment. “We want to be able to move product extremely fast,’’ Don Dick says. “We’re very conscientious of food safety and storing product, so we try to do everything the right way.”

Dick Cold Storage made a huge financial investment in its new facility, and Tippmann Innovation paid tremendous attention to all of the construction materials, especially the roofing. With a new building that can better withstand the potential of a catastrophic total product and facility loss that can be caused by fire, the business heads into its second century with new goals and new vitality.

“When you have time to think, you realize you just gotta get up and running and get back to what you are doing,’’ Don Dick says. “You have to be as efficient as you can. We thought it was dead, but you can’t think that way. You have to think what we are going to do from this day forward.”

Gravity Vent Delivers Natural Ventilation for Buildings With Single-Ply Roofs

Acme Cone gravity vent Acme Cone Company, a manufacturer of prefabricated custom and standard single-ply flashings, introduces a new gravity vent that delivers natural ventilation for buildings with single-ply roofs when windows and other ventilation solutions are not an option.

The Acme Cone gravity vent provides a natural ventilation solution that allows heat and stale air to exit the building. The vent is available in standard sizes of 12, 18 and 24 inches in white, gray and tan. It is now available for order and immediate shipment.

“As more property owners are looking for improvements in their buildings’ airflow and energy efficiency, we’ve seen the need for a non-powered ventilation solution increasing,” explained Business Development Director Logan Silver.

According to the company, contractors using Acme Cone’s prefabricated flashings benefit from more efficient and productive crews who aren’t spending unnecessary time flashing in the field. This leads to more efficient crews who don’t sacrifice quality for speed, provides crews with the ability to get more work done without additional labor and can deliver increased revenue from additional jobs that can be completed due to time savings.

For more information, visit www.acmecone.com.

Historic Home Gets a Refresh with a Striking New Copper Roof

Anyone who spends time in Connecticut finds themselves in a place with deep historical roots that stretch back to colonial times. It is an inherent part of the charm of the state and something in which residents take great pride.

Along with delivering the performance desired by the homeowners, the copper roof maintains the traditional look and feel of the house.

Along with delivering the performance desired by the homeowners, the copper roof maintains the traditional look and feel of the house.

There is a real, tangible window to this rich historical tradition in many of the historic homes and buildings all across the state. Great care has been taken to preserve the look and operation of many historic structures and to integrate them into the architectural fabric of communities all around Connecticut.

Like many places and institutions in the state, Litchfield County has a history that goes back to pre-Revolutionary days. Established as a county in 1719, Litchfield County was home to Harriett Beecher Stowe and was also where Sarah Pierce established in 1792 the Litchfield Female Academy, one of the first major educational institutions for women and girls in the U.S.

Today, Litchfield County has 166 properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Staying true to the architectural heritage of the state is very important to the people who live there. However, just because a home or building looks like it did a few hundred years ago doesn’t mean it has to operate that way, too. Many owners of historic homes want to bring the function of their houses into modern times while still keeping the look and feel of the past.

This was the case for homeowners in Litchfield County who wanted to make some modern improvements while still preserving the traditional look and feel of their home in Sharon, Conn. For this work, the homeowners turned to the professionals at Anderson Enterprises, a general contracting building and renovation firm in Sharon. The project started with modest goals in mind but quickly grew.

“We were initially hired to replace four oak floors,” recalls Ellen Burcroff with Anderson Enterprises. “That was then extended to changing the mouldings, re-plastering, painting, renovating the third floor and master bedroom, as well as rebuilding the chimney and replacing the roof.”

Anderson Enterprises won the job after an interview. “Our goal was to get the homeowners into a more pleasing interior,” Burcroff says.

The entire home features a brass snow-retention system. PHOTO: MetalPlus LLC

The entire home features a brass snow-retention system. PHOTO: MetalPlus LLC

As part of the interior overhaul, the project included providing the home with proper ventilation and insulation. Along with delivering the performance desired by the homeowners, maintaining the traditional look and feel of the house was extremely important. Performing this kind of retrofit on a historic home without damaging the exterior often means going in through the roof, which was what was decided upon for this project. Removing the old wood shake roof meant installing a new one. The contractor believed this was a perfect time for a change.

“The customers wanted a historically authentic look,” Burcroff explains. “We strongly recommended not using wood shingles again. Ultimately, we all decided on using copper for the new roof.”

A copper roof was a perfect solution for this project for many reasons. On a performance level, the homeowners were interested in the durability and energy efficiency of copper. Aesthetically, copper delivers a striking curb appeal that is still in keeping with the historic nature of the home. And its natural patina will only enhance the look of the home over time.

GETTING IT DONE

With the appropriate decisions made, Anderson Enterprises’ team started work on the home. The wood shakes and wood lath were removed, exposing the rafters underneath. Fiberglass insulation was installed with about a 2-inch space left above the rafters for airflow.

PHOTOS: VLC IMAGES MOBILE STUDIO, COURTESY MARIO LALLIER, unless otherwise noted

Pages: 1 2

Improve Attic Ventilation Airflow

GAF has made available its Cobra IntakePro Rooftop Intake Vent, which promotes energy efficiency and helps guard against roof system rot, ice damming and mildew growth.

GAF has made available its Cobra IntakePro Rooftop Intake Vent, which promotes energy efficiency and helps guard against roof system rot, ice damming and mildew growth.

GAF has made available its Cobra IntakePro Rooftop Intake Vent, which promotes energy efficiency and helps guard against roof system rot, ice damming and mildew growth. It can also improve attic ventilation airflow by up to 20 percent when installed with existing soffit/undereave vents in a properly balanced ventilation system (based on GAF ASHRAE airflow testing at 5-mph wind speed). The vent, which rolls out and fastens with included 1 3/4-inch coil nails, is fully tested to withstand wind-driven rain, snow and ice-dam infiltration (under controlled GAF laboratory testing).

Manufacturer Donates Roofing Materials and More to Camp that Assists Veterans Suffering from Brain Trauma

Rick Briggs is in his element. The retired Air Force major has just spent the better part of the afternoon chatting with a steady stream of military veterans and their families, all of whom have come to get a closer look at Camp Liberty, a rehab facility of sorts designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Camp Liberty, Brooklyn, Mich., is a rehab facility designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Camp Liberty, Brooklyn, Mich., is a rehab facility designed to help wounded soldiers and those suffering from brain trauma.

Now, he’s enjoying a drive through the property’s northwest end in a Polaris multi-seat ATV. He is away from the crowds. Away from the rumblings of the nearby roads. Away from the jack-hammering of the nearby construction. All that can be heard now is the gurgling of the nearby Raisin River and the wind gently bending the wildflowers in a vast field within the 137-acre complex. Briggs points to a landmark in the distance and begins to tell one of his favorite stories. It’s apparent that he’s told this tale many times in the past year.

Just last year, Briggs recalls, Britani Lafferty, a 29-year-old veteran who spent time in Iraq as a combat medic, visited the Camp Liberty site. Suffering from debilitating physical and mental wounds from her tour, Lafferty tried countless medical treatments to no avail. Desperate for something that might work, Lafferty turned to the healing power of nature. Invited to spend time at Camp Liberty, Lafferty tried her hand at deer hunting. From a blind overlooking the Raisin River, Lafferty bagged her very first buck. And for Camp Liberty, it marked the first successful hunt for their program.

To Briggs, the moment symbolized that Lafferty could overcome her own afflictions, that she was still able to do things without the help of others. This is the sort of therapy Briggs and the Camp Liberty project hope to impart. “I know vets who are really dealing with severe difficulties,” Briggs says. “They don’t want to be around people. They won’t go to a mall. They won’t go to a movie. We have actually gotten them out here and back to where they can get out and start doing stuff.”

And that’s Camp Liberty’s ultimate goal. “When we get out here doing recreation with guys, it gives them the opportunity to listen and realize that PTSD is treatable,” Briggs adds. “These guys don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to think about it. They don’t want to admit they’re dealing with it. ”

The story of Lafferty is just one example of what Briggs thinks could be a new way to tackle the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to the body and mind. With the construction of a new program facility, scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, the full vision of Briggs and his childhood friend Allan Lutes is within reach.

Lutes and Briggs aim to construct a wilderness recreation facility focused on helping military veterans recover from debilitating injuries, brain trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Frustrated by the lack of attention paid to veterans (just two years ago, Michigan ranked dead last in the U.S. in military spending on vets), the two vowed to make a difference. And after years of planning, preparation and fundraising, the project, which is located just a few miles from the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, is nearly complete.

From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans a quiet, tranquil location where rehabilitation can flourish.

From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans a quiet, tranquil location where rehabilitation can flourish.

With the help of volunteer crews, Lutes and Briggs are overseeing one of the last steps of the project, the construction of a 2,880-square-foot, handicapped accessible lodge that has taken shape over the past five months. Upon completion, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom structure will allow injured veterans and their families to lengthen their stay and take advantage of all of the outdoor activities the massive site has to offer—and it won’t cost them a cent.

Amidst this huge habitat stand 10 state-of-the-art hunting blinds and wildlife observation towers, all fully handicapped accessible. Along with guided hunting expeditions, the veterans can fish in the nearby Raisin River, hike along numerous nature trails, and enjoy the serenity of a reflection area and outdoor chapel. From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans—particularly those who have suffered injuries in combat or are challenged by traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder—a quiet, tranquil location where rehabilitation can flourish.

“Hunting is just a small part of what we offer here,” Lutes notes. “Every inch of this facility has been thought through as a way of something that is going to make someone feel comfortable, feel at peace, feel part of nature, and be able to reflect on their life.”

An ambitious project like this doesn’t just happen, of course. The financial barriers would be too daunting for most people, even if they were smart enough to come up with such a unique vision. Briggs, Lutes and the Camp Liberty team have raised close to $300,000 toward their building projects and have recruited volunteers to help with completing the site’s projects. The primary contributor, Lutes adds, has been the Eisenhower Center, the country’s leading brain injury facility, which has donated more than $200,000 to the project. Among a bevy of donors, Atlas Roofing Corp. has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility, including the ThermalStar Radiant Comfort in-floor heat panels that will regulate heating within the complex, ThermalStar LCI-SS insulated structural sheathing, AC Foam Crossvent Insulation roofing product, WeatherMaster Ice and Water Shield, Gorilla Guard EverFelt Underlayment and Pinnacle Pristine Green Shingles.

“I think the right word [to describe his reaction to the financial support] would be overjoyed,” Lutes says. “Overjoyed that other people have bought into our vision, that other people have seen the value and need for helping our veterans and to help people who have mobility issues enjoy the outdoors. I mean, that is really heartwarming.”

Atlas Roofing Corp. has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility.

Atlas Roofing Corp. has provided almost $30,000 in building products for the construction of the program facility.

To Charlene Zezawa, the project would have been stalled from the outset had it not been for Briggs’ uncanny ability to advocate for the camp’s vision. She was so taken by a presentation by Briggs at a golf fundraiser several years ago, Zezawa signed on to help out. Before she knew it, she was asked to serve on Camp Liberty’s board of directors as its secretary. Briggs’ passion is contagious, she said. “Rick is the best fundraising person I have ever met in my entire life,” Zezawa states. “He will go after it. You have to have heart and Rick has heart. That’s what drives him.”

Zezawa is among a steady stream of volunteers who have lent a hand. Throughout the summer, members of the Jackson County Habitat for Humanity jumped on board to lead the construction of the program facility’s foundation, structure and roof. The crew, ranging in age from 60 to 93, spent the better part of the summer in what crew chief David Behnke called “a wonderful experience”. “If you can’t get behind this project, you can’t get behind anything,” he says.

A.J. Mikulka is a 33-year old Army National Guard veteran who has been hunting since she was a kid, learning how to carry a shotgun from her father. She is not unlike many of the veterans that Lutes and Briggs hope to help. On Aug. 9, 2007, Mikulka, serving in Mosul, Iraq, was in the midst of helping to train Iraqi police when the station started taking enemy fire. When she stepped out from behind a barricade, insurgent forces launched a rocket-propelled grenade. “It was a direct hit. It took my leg clean off,” she recalls. Mikulka now walks with a prosthetic, which is attached to her leg just below the knee.

Her physical recovery didn’t take nearly as long as the emotional recovery, though. Mikulka believes the mental recuperation offered by Camp Liberty will have a “profound effect” on wounded veterans like herself. “There’s always going to be stuff that you deal with [emotionally],” she says. “I know a lot of [injured veterans] who are still dealing with it years later. The hard part for me was [dealing with] the loss of career.”

Lutes and Briggs hope that Camp Liberty will be a place that people like Mikulka can come to heal and feel “normal again.” Research supports their hunch. A 2013 study by the University of Michigan indicated that time spent in nature can improve cognitive abilities, particularly for those who suffer from post-deployment issues. “The research clearly shows that extended outdoor recreation helps combat-injured veterans,” Briggs notes. “And the more severe their injuries, the more significant the outcomes.”

It’s nearly impossible to not come away impressed by what has happened in this remote area in southeastern Michigan. Roger Barnett, a 66-year-old veteran, who was “in the mud” in Vietnam, spent an afternoon with his wife Dottie chatting with other visitors at a recent Camp Liberty open house. “It’s just really great to have for these guys with disabilities,” Barnett states. “It’s all set up for them. It’s all set up for recreation, for them [to have] some kind of an outlet and get together and spend time in front of the fireplace and relax. It’s great. It’s just what they need.”

Now, Briggs and Lutes are just antsy to get the construction completed. While they enjoy bringing attention to Camp Liberty, raising funds and chatting with the press, they’re eager for the property to begin hosting those who need it the most. “We hope to be able to help the veterans realize that they may have a TBI issue or a PTSD issue and that there is a treatment option that can improve it without them sacrificing their jobs, their military rating or their relationships,” Lutes says. “We’ve proven to ourselves that what we do can change lives for the better.”

Black EPDM Roofing Helps Multifamily Buildings Achieve the Passive House Standard

Two years ago, the three low-rise apartment buildings at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Benning Road in Washington, D.C., stood derelict and abandoned, uninhabitable reminders of 1960s brick and block construction. Today, the buildings—now known as Weinberg Commons—represent a landmark effort to provide clean, secure and energy-efficient shelter to low-income families. For the scores of people—architects, energy consultants, contractors and experts in housing finance, to name a few—who helped repurpose Weinberg Commons and bring it back to life, this project represents an unparalleled achievement in retrofitting. For the families who now live here, it means a giant step toward a more secure future.

Thermal conductivity, air infiltration and exfiltration, and solar gain were important to the team working on Weinberg Commons

Thermal conductivity, air infiltration and exfiltration, and solar gain were important to the team working on Weinberg Commons.

One of the keys to that secure future will be very low or no energy bills. From the beginning, the team that oversaw the retrofitting of these buildings, each with almost 8,000 square feet of rentable space, was committed to ensuring that all three would show greatly reduced energy use and at least one would achieve Passive House (PH) certification.

The criteria to become a passive structure are rigorous and focus on three specific design elements to reduce energy. (The requirements and certification observed by the Weinberg Commons team are set by Chicago-based PHIUS, the Passive House Institute U.S.)

The first requirement is airtightness to ensure the building minimizes the amount of heated or cooled air it loses (0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure).

Second, a Passive House cannot use more than 4.75 kBtu per square foot per year. This is specific heating energy demand (or cooling in cooling climates).

The third requirement caps the peak total amount of energy the heating and cooling system and appliances in the building can use per year, including domestic hot water, lighting and plug loads. It cannot exceed 38 kBtu per square foot per year.

three low-rise apartment buildings at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Benning Road in Washington, D.C., stood derelict and abandoned, uninhabitable reminders of 1960s brick and block construction.

Three low-rise apartment buildings at the intersection of Southern Avenue and Benning Road in Washington, D.C., stood derelict and abandoned, uninhabitable reminders of 1960s brick and block construction.

Michael Hindle, a Baltimore-based Certified Passive House Consultant who is current president of the Passive House Alliance U.S. Board of Managers, helped with the retrofit design of Weinberg Commons. (Passive House Alliance U.S. is a PHIUS program designed to advance passive building.) He points out these three pass/fail criteria are measures of success, not design principles to help a team achieve the energy savings that lead to PH certification. However, Hindle highlights five design principles have been identified as important guides in the design of Passive House projects:

  • Continuous insulation through the building’s entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
  • An extremely tight building envelope, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
  • High-performance windows and doors, typically triple-paned.
  • Balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation and a minimal space-conditioning system.
  • Solar gain is optimized to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes and minimize it in cooling seasons.

Although only one building at Weinberg Commons has achieved PH certification, all three buildings were designed to the exact same specifications and technically could be PH certified as long as the rigorous airtightness threshold is met. Several factors influenced the decision, made at the outset of the project, to focus on just one building for PH certification. The design team’s perception was that airtightness would be the most challenging aspect for the contractor. Matt Fine, an architect with Zavos Architecture & Design, Frederick, Md., who led the project, explains: “The intention was to proceed with the first building, test its airtightness and improve on that scope of work for the next building. Repeat, refine and finally apply to the third sequential building.”

Fine points out the first two buildings actually achieved “super” airtightness results relative to any new-construction project built today but did not cross the 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure threshold of Passive House. Given the budget-conscious nature of the Weinberg Commons project, resealing and retesting of the first two buildings was not an option for the team, but lessons learned from these two buildings were applied to the retrofit of the third building. “In retrospect, all three buildings would have been able to meet the PH threshold with relatively little extra effort,” Fine says. “But the dynamics of construction sequencing, along with imposed schedules for occupancy, complicated our ability to be flexible with scope change once the contracts were executed and limited dollars were allocated.”

Pages: 1 2 3

Mobile App Determines Amount of Roofing Ventilation Products Needed

CertainTeed has made available its Roofing Ventilation Calculator mobile application.

CertainTeed has made available its Roofing Ventilation Calculator mobile application.

CertainTeed has made available its Roofing Ventilation Calculator mobile application. The free digital tool gives building professionals a fast and accurate way to determine the amount of ventilation products needed to outfit an attic space with balanced ventilation. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app includes the complete line of CertainTeed Roofing ventilation products—ridge vents, rolled ridge vents, intake vents and static exhaust vents. Find the app on iTunes and Google Play.

A Magnificent New England Home Receives a Roof that Will Stand up to Harsh Winters

New England winters can be brutal, and the winter months of 2014-15 were ones for the record books. Roofs throughout New England suffered extensive damage from the crushing weight of snow and ice accumulation, including the nearly 7,000-square-foot Waterford, Conn., waterfront estate owned by John Antonino.

For a roof of this size and a home of this value—roughly $1.7 million—we knew we needed a very durable, reliable and proven combination of products to ensure a prolonged service life of maximum resistance to harsh weather.

For a roof of this size and a home of this value—roughly $1.7 million—we knew we needed a very durable, reliable and proven combination of products to ensure a prolonged service life of maximum resistance to harsh weather.


Gerald Stefanelii, a local Waterford contractor and custom homebuilder experienced with Cape Cod architecture, built the Antonino home 15 years ago. The family wanted its residence to be nestled in a prime waterfront location and selected a build site on the bank of the 5-mile-long Niantic River in Waterford, about 10 miles west of the historic seaport and iconic village of Old Mystic. Although the average snowfall in this area is 24 inches, the blizzard of 2015 brought more than 30 inches in a single storm, and prolonged periods of record-cold temperatures kept the accumulation from thawing. As a result of this weather, the intricately fashioned architectural-shingle roof on the Antonino home became delaminated, and ice damming led to serious damage inside of the home, as well.

When Mr. Antonino—whom I have done business with in the past—contacted my company, Advanced Improvements LLC, Mystic, Conn., for an initial consultation, it was agreed that a new roof had to be able to withstand more winters like the one experienced the previous year. Following a thorough assessment of the damage and an in-depth calculation for a bill of materials by my sales and design team, we discussed our recommendations with Antonino.

For a roof of this size and a home of this value—roughly $1.7 million—we knew we needed a very durable, reliable and proven combination of products to ensure a prolonged service life of maximum resistance to harsh weather. This was to be Antonino’s first reroofing experience and, though he suggested a product line to us, we strongly recommended another line of products that we knew were more fitting for the specific needs of his home, including seaside and winter weather, as well as other environmental factors. He agreed, and the project was underway.

A Focus on Every Shingle

We brought in Don Carlson, a territory representative for the line of products we suggested. No matter which manufacturer a contractor uses, it is critical to have a solid rapport and ongoing interactive relationship with hands-on, factory-trained field personnel. Carlson has been a valued and knowledgeable resource to my company over the years. Whether my clients need to quickly see a sample or my team has installation or warranty questions, he has been there each and every time.

We estimated installation of the new roof system would call for a crew of 11 team members under my direct supervision. Because of my long-standing relationship with Antonino and his companies, I wanted to be hands-on with this important job. The bill of materials called for 95 squares of asphalt shingles and 10 rolls of underlayment. A dual-layer, laminated fiberglass shingle was chosen because of its high amount of weathering asphalt. The laminated fiberglass construction also keeps the shingles virtually impervious to deterioration and leakage. Add in a warranty and designer look that includes a multi-dimensional color (Weathered Wood was chosen) and you have a roof worthy of such a grand residence.

We began roofing work by stripping the roof, cleaning up debris and making all necessary structural repairs (the sheathing was not replaced). Ice and water barriers were put into place on the bottom of the eaves, around the roof, and on the valleys and sidewalls.

We began roofing work by stripping the roof, cleaning up debris and making all necessary structural repairs (the sheathing was not replaced). Ice and water barriers were put into place on the bottom of the eaves, around the roof, and on the valleys and sidewalls.


After obtaining the proper permit with the local municipality, our work began. Permits are a given, but my team and I have also found it very important to earn and maintain all the major manufacturer certifications possible. It is important that our clients see that Advanced Improvement’s craftsmen are fully factory trained, and we proudly display credentials and certifications from various manufacturers in our offices.

Roof Protection

We began roofing work by stripping the roof, cleaning up debris and making all necessary structural repairs (the sheathing was not replaced). Ice and water barriers were put into place on the bottom of the eaves, around the roof, and on the valleys and sidewalls. We applied a synthetic polymer-based scrim-reinforced underlayment, designed for use on roof decks, as a water-resistant layer beneath the asphalt roofing shingles. Next, F5 aluminum drip-edge was installed followed by the shingles. Finally, the ridge vents and caps went on to provide proper ventilation.

As with any job we do, the welfare of the people around the site and my personnel is paramount. The crew, keeping with OSHA requirements, used proper fall-protection equipment. Also, because of the home’s layout and complex roof angles, tarps were laid on top of plywood from the edge of the roof, extending 12 feet to prevent debris from falling around the property.

Antonino turned to my company because he had faith he would get the fairest price for the finest work with the job being completed on time and on budget. When I asked for his feedback, he provided comments that would make any contractor proud: “Advanced Improvements not only did a fantastic reroofing job, they were extremely respectful of my property,” Antonino said. “The cleanup was as thorough as the roofing job itself. Also, they actually finished ahead of schedule.” The job was completed in less than one week.

As you’re reading this article, New England’s autumn palette is giving way to blankets of white. That snow and ice will lay on the new roof at the Antonino residence. It’s highly unlikely that it will do anything but rest there until melted away. The new roof will protect the family from the elements 24/7, 365 for many, many years to come.