About Christopher K. King

Christopher K. King is an editor and writer who has covered the construction industry for more than 15 years.

Roofing Contractor Brings Community Together to Help Homeowners in Need

Gwen Maechling

Gwen Maechling of Professional Restoration and APEX Home Solutions rallied members of the greater St. Louis community to help a family in desperate need of a new roof.

There is an old saying that goes, “A good deed is its own reward.” Sometimes one good deed can lead to another with amazing results. This is one of those stories. In the end, members of the greater St. Louis community came together to achieve something that once looked almost impossible: helping neighbors restore their home.

The community service project was spearheaded by Gwen Maechling. Maechling has been passionate about construction since her first project, a custom home she helped build in the St. Louis area when she was just 20 years old. “I was out there every single second during construction,” she recalls. “It was so exciting. It was different than any job I’d ever done. It just lit a fire in me. I’d been searching for that passion, and I found it.”

She later moved to Florida, earned her real-estate license and worked on several residential development projects. When she returned to the St. Louis area, she took a job selling residential roofing, siding and gutters for a company specializing in storm restoration work. She now manages production and sales training for another storm restoration company, Professional Restoration in St. Charles, Mo. She also is the owner and founder of St. Louis-based APEX Home Solutions, which handles residential roofing and remodeling projects.

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER

Maechling has overseen so many roofing projects in Glendale, Mo., that one realtor jokingly refers to it as “Gwendale.” In February 2014, she was working on a roofing project there and saw an elderly couple taking advantage of a break in the winter weather to rake leaves. She noticed the gutters were overflowing with leaves and debris, and she brought over a ladder and offered to clean the gutters out.

AFTER: Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the new roofing and siding.

AFTER: Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the new roofing and siding.

As she spoke with the couple, Charles and Jennie Blank, she realized they were both hearing impaired. At first, communicating was a bit difficult, but Maechling realized they could read lips very well, and they indicated they did not want any help. Maechling persisted, and while cleaning the gutters she noticed the home was in need of several repairs. The roof was old and leaking in several places, and the soffits, fascia board and window sills were rotting. The old three-tab shingles and siding showed evidence of extensive hail damage. “It was one of the worst homes I’ve seen,” she remembers.

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An Oceanfront Elementary School Poses Tough Problems, but a Coated Aluminum Standing-seam Roof Passes the Test

Elementary school students sometimes find themselves staring out the window, but few have a view to rival that of the students at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School in Sullivan’s Island, S.C. The school is located on oceanfront property, and when it was time for the original building to be rebuilt, the site posed numerous challenges.

The standing-seam roof is made up of 0.040-inch coated aluminum panels that are 18-inches wide.

The standing-seam roof is made up of 0.040-inch coated aluminum panels that are 18-inches wide.

The original school had been built in the 1950s. It had been designed for 350 students and built on grade. The new school would have to be elevated to conform to modern building codes and service 500 students. The structure would not only have to withstand high winds, severe weather and a salt-air environment, but it also would have to fit into its surroundings. Many residents feared the larger building would look out of place in the cozy beach community. It was architect Jerry English’s job to figure out a way to make it work.

English is a principal at Cummings & McCrady Architects, Charleston, S.C., the architect of record on the project. He worked with a talented team of construction professionals, including Ricky Simmons, general manager of Keating Roofing & Sheet Metal Co. Inc. in Charleston, to refine his vision and bring it to life. English and Simmons shared their insight on the project, and they both point to the building’s metal roof as a key element in the project’s success.

CHALLENGING DESIGN

Cummings & McCrady Architects handles a broad range of commercial, institutional, religious and historic work—new construction and renovation. The firm had done a lot of work with the Charleston County School District over the years, including a small library addition for the original Sullivan’s Island Elementary School after Hurricane Hugo passed through in 1989, and it was awarded the new construction project.

The building’s foundation system had to meet strict regulations regarding resistance to storm surge. The building is elevated on concrete piers, which were topped with a 6-inch reinforced concrete slab. Metal framing was constructed above the slab. “With our building, we had to raise the underside of the structure almost 7 feet above the grade,” English recalls. “What we did is we built it a little bit higher than that so the underside could be left open and used for playground.”

For English, coming up with a design that would reflect the character of the local community was the biggest challenge. To achieve that goal, he broke up the building into four sections and spread them across the site with the tallest sections in the center. “We have four linked segments that transition down on each end to the height of the adjacent residences,” he says.

The roof was also designed to blend in with the neighboring homes, many of which feature metal roofs. “The idea of pitched roofs with overhangs became a strong unifying element,” English explains.

English checked with several major metal roofing manufacturers to determine which products could withstand the harsh oceanfront environment and wind-uplift requirements. “Virtually every one of them would only warranty aluminum roofing,” he says. “The wind requirement and the resistance to the salt air were what drove us to a coated aluminum roof.”

The majority of the panels were factory-made, but the manufacturer supplied the rollforming machine and the operator to handle the onsite rollforming of the largest panels.

The majority of the panels were factory-made, but Petersen Aluminum supplied the rollforming machine and the operator to handle the onsite rollforming of the largest panels.

The standing-seam roof is made up of 0.040-inch coated aluminum panels that are 18-inches wide. Metal trusses give the roof system its shape. English tapped the resources of roof consultant ADC in Charleston and the metal roofing manufacturer to iron out all the details. English wanted to avoid any cross seams in the metal roofing, so he worked with Dave Landis, the manufacturer’s architectural/technical sales manager, to arrange for the longest panels to be formed onsite.

The roof also includes two decks that serve as outdoor teaching areas. These sections were covered with a two-ply modified bitumen roof system and protected with a multi-colored elevated concrete paver system.

Another standout feature is the school’s entry tower, which is topped by a freestanding hip roof featuring curved panels. This roof was constructed with panels that were 12-inches wide. “We found other examples on the island where the base of the roof flares a little bit as a traditional element, and with the closer seamed panels they were able to get those curves,” English says. “It’s a refinement that’s a little different than the rest of the roof, but it’s the proper scale and the fine detailing pulls it together and sets if off from the main roof forms that are behind it.”

PHOTOS: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

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Metal Roof and Walls Help Home Reach Lofty Design Goals

When Ilhan Eser and his wife Kamer decided to build their new home in Woodland, Calif., they had some ambitious criteria in mind. They wanted the home to not only be energy efficient, but to produce enough energy to be self-sustaining. They also desired a home with great aesthetics that fit in with the beautiful countryside and minimized impact on the environment.

Ilhan and Kamer Eser decided to design and build their own home on 80 acres of land in the California countryside. Their goal was to have a LEED-certifiable house powered by solar energy and protected by a highly insulated metal wall and roof system.

Ilhan and Kamer Eser decided to design and build their own home on 80 acres of land in the California countryside. Their goal was to have a LEED-certifiable house powered by solar energy and protected by a highly insulated metal wall and roof system.


As the CEO of Morin, a Kingspan Group company, Eser had another key design goal: to showcase his company’s metal roof and wall systems. “We wanted to do something that was good for the environment and the country,” Eser recalls. “So we said, let’s do a LEED-certifiable, net-zero house that will be a house of the future, if you will, using our company’s products. Our company is all about being environmental and being green and being sustainable, so that was the starting point.”

The result is a home that provides more than enough energy to meet its own needs with solar panels. It also captures graywater (gently used household wastewater) to use for irrigation and features a cutting-edge geothermal heating and cooling system that does not burn fossil fuels. All the household systems can be operated with a smartphone. “I believe in the future every house will be built like this, with your energy on top of your roof, basically,” Eser notes.

The metal roofing and wall systems are made of durable, highly recyclable materials and provide a high level of insulation to help keep energy costs down. The roof design features stunning angles, including an inverted “butterfly” roof over the great room to bring in the maximum amount of natural light.

As he began the project, Eser soon realized that he was breaking new ground in more ways than one. He found most residential architects and general contractors were unfamiliar with metal framing, roofs and walls, so he decided to tackle the design himself. He also served as his own general contractor, tapping into his 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial applications.

“I decided to look at it as if it were a light commercial building, and then I started finding people,” he says. “It was an interesting experience. I designed the house myself—although my wife had the overriding power, as always. She had to approve whatever I did, and when we had an argument, you probably can imagine who won.”

The Project Takes Wing

When it came time to discuss installing the roof and wall systems, Eser called Rua and Son Mechanical Inc., headquartered in Lincoln, Calif. According to President Louie Rua, the company focuses on metal roofing and wall panels—and that’s all they’ve done for the last 25 years. “We are very specialized in what we do,” Rua says. “We’re certified installers for most if not all of the metal roofing systems out there, and we also do our own custom fabrication. It’s become a niche market, so we travel around quite a bit.”

The roof of the Eser residence features unconventional angles, including a large section over the great room with an inverted butterfly design that required an internal gutter system.

The roof of the Eser residence features unconventional angles, including a large section over the great room with an inverted butterfly design that required an internal gutter system.

The company has made a name for itself by excelling on high-end, intricate and cutting-edge metal projects that transcend typical warehouse applications. “We’ve found that when we go outside the box and take on the real difficult projects, the ones that are a little bit intimidating for other companies, that’s where we excel,” Rua says. “We’ve been doing it so long, and our team has a wealth of experience. When the trickier jobs come around, we are well equipped to handle them.”

This project was right up the company’s alley. “Ilhan was pretty adamant he wanted us to do it,” Rua recalls. “This was his personal house, so it was quite a compliment. I took on the challenge, and we took it very seriously. We worked through what it would cost, how long it would take, all the dynamics. His design team did all the preliminary design and then our team got in there and played with it a little bit and made a few tweaks. We put a lot of thought into those details.”

Rua admits the high-profile nature of the client and the complexity of the project were daunting. “Any job when you first jump into it and see it’s outside the box can be intimidating,” Rua says. “But then as you get familiar with it and start breaking it down and working through it, it gets easier. One of my lead superintendents, Fernando Huizar, was knee-deep in it, and he and Ilhan really hit it off, which is important. The relationship with our clients is our first priority, and on every job we strive to meet and exceed their expectations. It couldn’t have gone any smoother.”

Rua and Son Mechanical installed the double-layered roof and wall systems, which consisted of insulated metal panels (IMPs) and aluminum finish systems. The 7,500 square feet of exterior walls are made up of 4-inch-thick IMPs, topped with concealed-fastener panels. The mechanically seamed roof incorporates 8,000 square feet of 6-inch IMPs. The custom finish is Kameleon Dusty Rose, which changes color from green to yellow to silver to bronze to brown, depending on the amount of sunlight hit-ting it and angle from which it is viewed.

PHOTOS: CHIP ALLEN ARCHITECTURAL IMAGES

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A Metal Roof Crowns a Residential New-construction Project

When Charles Callaghan purchased the two vacant lots next to his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., he thought they would form the perfect location for his family’s dream home. A team comprised of architects, contractors and manufacturers worked together to bring his ideas to life in the form of a new 7,500-square-foot residence. The building’s crowning feature is a metal roof system that was designed to complement the aesthetics of the home and stand up to the harsh oceanfront environment for decades to come.

The roof of the Callaghan residence in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., features 12,000 square feet of Petersen Aluminum’s Snap-Clad in Slate Gray.

The roof of the Callaghan
residence in Ponte Vedra
Beach, Fla., features 12,000 square feet of Petersen Aluminum’s Snap-Clad in Slate Gray.

“With the larger lot, we thought we could do something unique to the neighborhood,” Callaghan says. “When we first met with the architect, there were a few keys we wanted to stress. First, we didn’t want a boxy-looking house. We also wanted shingle-style siding and a metal roof. We like the look of the metal roof, we like the durability, and we thought it would be a good way of complementing the shingles on the house.”

At every phase of the project, the team of construction professionals ensured the project was executed with precision, down to the last detail of the metal roof.

THE DESIGN

The house was designed by Jaycox Architects & Associates, Jacksonville, Fla. According to William R. Jaycox, principal, the plan made the backyard pool the home’s focal point. “They wanted to do a casual, shingle-style beach house that wasn’t like everyone else’s house,” Jaycox notes. “We designed the house so it was mostly single-story and spread it out around the pool, which made for an interesting roof design. It’s all in small modules.”

The L-shaped home features a master-bedroom suite on one side while the other side contains the living room, dining room, kitchen, family room and guest bedroom. “This one also has a four-car garage under the main roof, and, because the house wraps continuously around the pool, you get a fun little foyer in the front with a little cupola up above, you get the dormers for the bedrooms in the attic, and the master suite is a little pod unto itself,” Jaycox adds. “The back has a pool pavilion separate from the house. When you put all of those elements together, you get a very interesting structure, and the metal roof was perfect because it accentuates the lines.”

The roof system specified included 12,000 square feet of aluminum panels in the cool-color Slate Gray. “This house is only a few blocks from the ocean, and in those cases we typically use aluminum,” Jaycox says. “We’ve had great success with that system. It’s absolutely bombproof from a corrosion standpoint with stainless fasteners, heavy-gauge aluminum and the Kynar finish.”

Thorne Metal Systems installed a high-temperature, self-adhered underlayment beneath the metal roof, as specified.

Thorne Metal Systems installed a high-temperature, self-adhered underlayment beneath the metal roof, as specified.

When applied by a certified installer, the system can qualify for a 20-year Oceanfront Finish Warranty from the manufacturer. In addition, the roof meets all Florida’s tough building-code requirements. The system, consisting of 0.040-gauge aluminum, 16-inch-wide panels with fastening clips spaced at 24-inches on-center, carries a Miami-Dade NOA with a -110 PSF uplift. (The UL 90 uplift is -52.5 PSF.)

THE INSTALLATION

The roofing contractor on the project was Thorne Metal Systems of Middleburg, Fla. Owner Bill Thorne has been installing metal roofs since 1989. He formed his own company 13 years ago, and it has become the go-to metal roof installer for Jaycox Architects
& Associates and the general contractor on the project, C.F. Knight Inc., Jacksonville.

Thorne has a lot of experience installing this particular aluminum roof system. “The system is a very easy system to install,” he says. “It’s very user- friendly. The panels have male and female joints that snap together and are held in place with stainless-steel clips.”

PHOTOS: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

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