Michigan Homeowners Embrace Composite Shake Roofing

The cedar shake roof on this Michigan home was replaced with composite shake by Butcher and Butcher Construction Co. Photos: Butcher and Butcher Construction Co. Inc.

Homeowners can be faced with difficult decisions when it’s time to replace their roof. That’s when knowledgeable, dedicated contractors can provide crucial assistance by explaining the best options for their particular circumstances. Mark Dalrymple, president of steep roofing operations for Butcher and Butcher Construction Co. Inc., headquartered in Rochester Hills,Michigan, points to one homeowner’s decision to replace their cedar shake roof as an example.

“Ten years ago, our company maintained and restored the original cedar roof on this house because the homeowners loved their real cedar shake so much,” says Dalrymple. “The goal was to get it to last another decade, which was achieved. However, now it’s 10 years later. The homeowners came back to us because they knew their old cedar shake roof had reached the end of its lifespan.”

At the client’s request, Dalrymple explained other roofing system options. “They wanted a recommendation for a roof alternative that would outperform real cedar, but still give the authentic appearance of cedar shakes,” he recalls. “We recommended composite shake roofing from DaVinci Roofscapes.”

The contractor installed Multi-Width Shakefrom DaVinci Roofscapes on the roof and turret. Photos: Butcher and Butcher Construction Co. Inc.

According to Dalrymple, the homeowners immediately approved of the DaVinci Multi-Width Shake product suggested by Butcher and Butcher.“They were impressed with the authentic look of the composite shake tiles,” he says. “The Autumn color was a great match for the weathering effect they were seeking. These homeowners were also extremely pleased with the features of the DaVinci tiles and liked the idea that long-term roof maintenance will be much easier than with real cedar shakes.”

Roofers That Care

Butcher and Butcher completed the massive re-roofing project in July of 2018. The project included installation of 85 squares of roofing material with special applications around a turret and multiple chimneys.

The roof on this Michigan home was replaced with composite shake manufactured by DaVinci Roofscapes. Photos: Butcher and Butcher Construction Co. Inc.

“We’ve been installing DaVinci composite roofs for 18 years so we’re very familiar with the product,” says Dalrymple, whose company has locations in both Michigan and Florida. “For this project, we used extra caution to protect the home’s meticulously manicured landscaping, courtyard and pool area. We were careful in both removal of the old roof and installation of the new roof. Everything from flowering shrubs around the house to flowers in window boxes had to be protected.”

Located in the prestigious area near Cranbrook Schools, a National Historic Landmark site, the newly re-roofed home sits in the Bloomfield Hills community of Michigan. Butcher and Butcher has worked in this area since the company started in 1972.

“This is a neighborhood of quiet, rural residential properties,” Dalrymple notes. “For us it’s an honor to help these homeowners have composite roofing installed on their homes. We know that this roofing material will help both protect the home from severe weather and add distinct curb appeal value to a property.”

According to Dalrymple, the homeowners were very pleased with the end result. “For this project, the homeowners truly love the fact that the composite shake looks so much like natural cedar roofing,” he says. “They’re excited with the roof’s performance so far and the idea that this DaVinci roof will far outlast their old natural cedar roof.”

Talented Team Helps School District Get the Most Out of Its Roof Assets

Roofs in the Milwaukee School District are inspected annually and undergo a five-year cyclic maintenance program. Photos: Atlas Roofing Corporation

When Dennis Fula took over the roofing shop for the Milwaukee Public School District more than 20 years ago, many of the school’s roofs were failing, and some buildings were in danger of being condemned. He reached out to a manufacturer to help him institute a program to inspect and prioritize roof repairs and replacements — and set up specifications to ensure the roofs he installed would last longer and need fewer repairs. 

Today, Dennis Fula’s son, Ryan Fula, is now in charge of the roofing shop at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), and he’s realizing the benefits of the program his father helped set up more than two decades ago. 

The Milwaukee Public Schools facilities management team includes (from left) John Linn, MPS Manager of Design and Construction; Dennis Fula, the previous crew leader of the MPS roofing shop; and Ryan Fula, the current crew leader. Photos: Atlas Roofing Corporation

According to Ryan Fula, his father teamed up with Dan Dalle Nogare, an independent representative of Atlas Roofing Corporation, to address the school district’s roofing issues some 23 years ago. The pair convinced the school system to adopt a comprehensive program to evaluate and maintain the district’s roofs. A key part of the plan was the implementation of theAtlas Roofing Corporation Certified Drainage Program (CDP), a low-slope tapered insulation design service that focuses on eliminating ponding water on a roof’s surface to extend the service life of the system. 

“Atlas Roofing came in and did a presentation on how they can save money in the long run working with Milwaukee Public Schools by offering the Certified Drainage Program,” Ryan Fula recalls. “So, we decided to take a shot at it and see how it might work out.” 

When it is time for a roof replacement, the specifications call for using tapered insulation designed by the team at Atlas Roofing’s Certified Drainage Program to ensure proper drainage. Photos: Atlas Roofing Corporation

According to Fula, the results over the last two decades have been impressive. “It’s been working out great ever since,” he says. “It helps us with the budget, it’s paying off now, and it will continue to pay off into the future.”

The program has been embraced by the school district, the roof system manufacturer, and the contractors who work on the projects. Ryan Fula and others currently involved with the program — most of whom represent the second generation of employees at their companies working under the arrangement — shared their insights on how the program works and why it’s effective. All of them cited it as a role model for other school districts across the country to follow. 

The School District

According to Ryan Fula, Milwaukee Public Schools encompasses more than 160 buildings with approximately 9 million square feet of roofing. The first priority of Fula and his roofing team is to fix and repair leaks, but their overall strategy involves taking a long-term approach to managing roof assets. The MPS roofing crew conducts annual inspections of each roof, and crew members clean up debris and check for problems. Every summer, the team conducts a five-year cyclic review, which includes routine maintenance, repairs, cleaning roofs and sometimes applying an aluminum roof coating. After 25 years of service, each roof is fully evaluated.

“We’re all about planning for the future and preventative maintenance,” Fula says. Most of the roofs in the school district are BUR or modified bitumen systems. “We like to keep our roofs smooth,” Fula notes. “As a rule, we don’t like gravel or ballast. The reason why is we only have four employees, and with the amount of square footage we have we don’t have time to spud or remove ballast.” 

The roof on the 88thSt. School was replaced with a modified bitumen system utilizing plan tapered insulation with a four-way slope. Photos: Atlas Roofing Corporation

Each year, Fula goes over his list and determines which roofs need to be repaired or replaced. When a building needs a full roof replacement, the process works like this: The Atlas representative visits the project, meets with Fula, and takes field measurements. The CDP team puts together a budget and preliminary plan, and the project is sent out for bid. Once the job is awarded, the contractor chosen removes the existing roof system and installs a temporary roof to keep the building watertight. The rep then conducts a detailed auto-level survey that maps out the entire deck, recording any deck deflection and high and low areas. Then the team at CDP comes up with a tapered insulation plan to ensure proper drainage.

Fula is involved at every stage of the process and serves as the construction liaison to the administrators and teachers at the school. “I work directly with the schools and the construction contractor from start to finish as the roofing work takes place,” Fula says. “I’ll be the inspector on the job. I’m there on a daily basis. Our biggest priority is to make sure that we don’t disrupt the school.” 

The Rep

One of the first people Fula contacts when it’s time for a roof replacement is Brett Kaehler, his Atlas representative. Kaehler works at Adroit Marketing Inc., headquartered in Slinger, Wisconsin, which has represented Atlas since 1988. Working alongside Dan Dalle Nogare, who helped launch the program, Kaehler has worked on more than 20 projects with MPS.

Consultation typically begins in the budgeting stage. “If a roof needs a full replacement, they would already have plans for that roof, so we would go out and field measure the roof to verify the overall measurements, noting any penetrations or drains,” Kaehler says. “We field verify everything and send that report down to our tapered team in Atlanta.” 

Six contractors are approved to bid on MPS projects, and they receive the preliminary roof plans and scope of work to help them prepare their bids. Once the job is awarded, the tear-off process begins. After the tear-off is complete and a temporary roof is installed, Kaehler meets with Fula to conduct the auto-level survey of the roof. “We grid out the roof in either 12-foot or 8-foot sections,” Kaehler explains. “We shoot heights in each individual quadrant. If there are areas of concern with low spots, we might even tighten it up to a 6-foot or 4-foot grid. We take pictures and include those with the heights in our report to CDP.” 

The reports are turned around very quickly, notes Kaehler; the final plans are usually received within two days. The tapered insulation plan is logical and easy to follow, even for a new contractor, according to Kaehler. “It’s like a puzzle,” he says. “We give you the layout and tell you where to place each puzzle piece. It’s pretty cut and dried. There is minimal waste. We try to keep it as simple as possible.”

Every member of the team has the same end goal in mind. “At the end of the day, we want a perfectly pitched roof for Milwaukee Public Schools for their longevity,” Kaehler says. “We want the contractor’s name to be well represented. We want Atlas Roofing’s name to be well represented. It’s a complex process, but we have it so fine-tuned it doesn’t seem so complex. We all know it and understand it very well. There are a lot of moving parts, but it moves very smoothly. It’s a well-oiled machine.” 

Kaehler commends Milwaukee Public Schools for their proactive approach. “They do a great job with preventative maintenance,” he says. “Sometimes with an owner, a roof will be out of sight, out of mind — they won’t look at it until it is leaking. Milwaukee Public Schools doesn’t look at it that way. If something does come up, they nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.”

Kaehler monitors the project through completion and conducts a final inspection. “I’m on the site regularly,” he says. “We do a roof inspection to make sure everything is draining properly, preferably after a good rain to ensure there is no ponding water.”

The Tapered Design Team

Shaun Kerschen is the director of Private Label and Tapered Services for Atlas Roofing, based in Atlanta, Georgia. He joined the company in 2002 and began designing tapered polyiso insulation systems for commercial projects in 2003. Some of his first projects were for the Certified Drainage Programon MPS buildings. He’s since been promoted to oversee the tapered insulation design team, which has four full-time designers, including Jennifer Tyree, who has handled MPS projects since 2008. “We review the plan sets and work up quotes for tapered insulation systems,” Kerschen notes. “After the project is sent out for bid and the job is awarded, we work up shop drawings and installation plans. The material is delivered to the jobsite and installed by the contractor.”

Measuring the actual roof deck is critical, notes Kerschen, as there can be surprises that emerge as the tear-off is executed, especially on older buildings. “Over the last 16 years I’ve seen some pretty crazy things,” he says. “On one section of roof that had been involved in several additions over the years, we found five different deck heights. We had to fill in several sections with insulation before we could even begin to install the taper.”

The tapered insulation plan has some typical design requirements. “As part of the certification process, we agree to provide a tapered insulation system to provide positive drainage and void substantial ponding water within 24 hours,” says Kerschen. “The system has to be designed with four-way slope. We do not allow two-way slope with saddles or crickets, except in very unusual circumstances. The minimum requirement is a 3/16 inch per foot slope; that allows us to correct a lot of issues. In some cases, we will require 1/4 inch per foot slope.”

Once the tear-off is executed, the final plan must be completed very quickly, according to Tyree, but the detailed reports and advance planning help speed the process. “The reps are my eyes in the field,” Tyree says. “They’ll identify the drains and anything that might be an issue. They’ll point out anything I need to know, such as height issues on windows, for example. Then I work up the plan. The biggest thing is to take meticulous notes, keep everything organized, and turn it around very quickly when the time comes.”

Everyone on the team knows their part in the process, notes Tyree. “The goal is putting on a good roof that lasts, with quality workmanship from certified contractors,” she says. “Our reps are out there, hands-on, from the very beginning. They check how the roof performs after a rain. We provide more peace of mind for the owner.” 

The Contractor

The program also makes life easier for the installing contractor, notes Doug Biggar, project manager for Langer Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., a union-affiliated commercial roofing contractor headquartered in Milwaukee.Langer Roofing is one of the companies approved to work on MPS projects. Biggar took over as the point man on MPS projects after the retirement of Dave Novak a few years ago, and he is another admirer of the smooth-running system his predecessors put in place. 

“The biggest benefit of the Certified Drainage Program is that it provides a higher-quality product in the end,” Biggar says. “It’s a great team, and it also makes it easier when you are working with a more involved owner. If we are working over an occupied building, I don’t have to sit down and explain everything to the principal; that’s all handled by the MPS people. We have one point of contact, and it’s Ryan. Every day our foreman connects with Ryan at the beginning of the day and they go over the plan. Ryan lets the principals and the teachers know what’s going on. It makes our lives so much easier.” 

The plans from CDP ensure the quality and longevity of the system, and the communication of every member of the team saves the contractor time and minimizes confusion. “Ultimately, it’s a higher-quality product, and the process streamlines things,” Biggar explains. “When the roof is put on, we don’t have punch-list items, and we don’t have ponding water.” 

Biggar credits his company’s experience and union training as the keys to quality workmanship. “It’s a great team from top to bottom,” he says. “We’re a union shop, so we are all well trained. I have the ability to sell any type of system, any type of service work. We’re certified with every major manufacturer out there. It all boils down to the ability of our guys in the field and our equipment. We have a full-time safety director. There are a lot of years of experience in our project management team. We do things right around here.”

Investment Pays Off

According to Fula, the investment in the roof asset management program is paying big dividends. The team effort helps ensure the roofs meet their maximum life cycle while minimizing emergency repairs. Fula’s advice for other school districts is to determine the full life-cycle cost of a roof system — not just the initial cost. 

“We are making the investment up front,” he says. “When these roofs are coming around to be replaced, we are completely ripping them off down to the deck. We’re installing a vapor barrier. Atlas will come in with the Certified Drainage Program, and they will guarantee that the water will be off our roof in 24 hours. So now we are energy efficient, we are up to code, but we also have the guarantee that the water is gone. If we do have a leak, we won’t have standing water there to cause further damage to the system.”

“Ponding water is the number one cause of problems for low-slope roofs,” notes Fula, “so making sure the roofs have proper drainage is critical.” He has seen the proof with his own eyes. 

“Now, with the Certified Drainage Program in place, we are really able to see how the roofs are doing and how our investment is paying off there,” Fula says. “The roofs we designed and installed are lasting longer. In the past, just about every 25-year-old roof was put into our deferred maintenance program to be repaired or replaced. Now I’m looking at 20-year-old roofs, and they look brand new.”

South Carolina Resort’s Metal Roof Complements Classic Low Country Architecture

The new Inn at Palmetto Bluff was inspired by a mansion built on the property in the early 1900s. Photos: Nurnberg Photography, www.nurnbergphotography.com

The recently expanded Palmetto Bluff Resort in Bluffton, South Carolina, now boasts a new 74-room inn designed by Dallas-based HKS Architects. The new Inn at Palmetto Bluff sits alongside an expanded lagoon waterway and was inspired by the R.T. Wilson Jr. mansion built on the property in the early 1900s. Located in the Low Country between Charleston and Savannah, Palmetto Bluff is one of the largest waterfront properties on the East Coast. The resort is set within the 20,000-acre Palmetto Bluff community and conservation preserve that features an array of Southern-style residential neighborhoods ranging from multi-million-dollar legacy family compounds to more traditionally sized single-family homes.

The inn is finished with artisan James Hardie siding on the exterior façade, and a Petersen standing seam metal roof was chosen to complement the classic Low Country architecture. The roof features PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad panels finished in custom color Patrician Bronze. Approximately 75,000 square feet of the 24-gauge Galvalume panels were installed on a tight deadline.

Don Harrier, principal at HKS, said one of the greatest challenges was complying with a long list of restrictions designed to keep additions within the scope of the original buildings, such as a mandated three-story height limit and rules regarding waterways.

The inn is topped with a standing seam metal roof featuring Petersen’s PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad panels. Photos: Nurnberg Photography, www.nurnbergphotography.com

“It’s easy to get into a site like this for construction, but in our world we have staging areas for materials, contractor trailers, etc., and because of the environment, we had to build another building first to house back-of-the-house areas, maintenance, administration and parking,” Harrier says. “There were a lot of logistics involved as far as taking care of the site.”

Installation of the Snap-Clad panels on the 154,000-square-foot luxury inn was done by Southern Roof & Wood Care in Hardeeville, South Carolina. “It was a complicated job with three adjoining sections of the roof and lots of different elevations and planes and dormers. The flashing details were complex,” says David Swanson, president of SRWC.

Southern Roof & Wood Care has considerable experience with Petersen’s PAC-CLAD profiles. “We like Snap-Clad because it doesn’t require mechanical seaming. We use it whenever we can and when it meets the wind uplift requirements,” Swanson notes. “Of course, we also install a lot of Tite-Loc and Tite-Loc Plus, too. We like using the PAC-CLAD products and we can be competitive in the marketplace. We’re really happy with the Petersen relationship. They stand behind their products.”

The Snap-Clad panels were manufactured at Petersen’s plant in Acworth, Georgia. The general contractor was Choate Construction in Savannah, Georgia. The Petersen distributor was Commercial Roofing Specialties in Savannah, Georgia.

TEAM

Architect: HKS Architects, Dallas, Texas, www.hksinc.com

General Contractor: Choate Construction, Savannah, www.choateco.com

Roofing Contractor: Southern Roof & Wood Care, Hardeeville, South Carolina, www.southernroof.com

Distributor: Commercial Roofing Specialties, Savannah, Georgia, www.crssupply.com

MATERIALS

Roof Panels: PAC-CLAD Snap-Clad panels in Patrician Bronze, Petersen, www.pac-clad.com

Metal Panels Highlight Rooftop Area of Washington Apartment Building

Reed Row apartments in Washington features a rooftop common area that provides residents with social space and great views of the city. Photos: Rheinzink

The brand-new Reed Row apartments in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., offers an eclectic, urban sophistication that is reflective of the area. Adams Morgan is well known for its broad mix of cultures and activities. The five-story apartment community includes 132 residential units in 100,000 square feet of space.

The site, located about 1.5 miles from the White House, was previously a parking garage. The developer demolished everything above grade but was able to retain portions of the below-grade structure.

The exterior expression of the architectural design, created by R2L:Architects, Washington, D.C., is influenced by the materials and scale of the traditional masonry buildings found in nearby districts. “We wanted to pay homage to the historic neighborhood with a material palette that offered the proper aesthetic fit,” says Donrico Washington, R2L project designer/manager.

Approximately 3,000 square feet of Rheinzink Flat Lock Tilesand 1,000 square feet of Rheinzink Standing Seam Panelswere used to highlight the rooftop amenity. Photos: Rheinzink

Two different Rheinzink profiles were specified for application in an “intimate, exterior amenity space,” Washington notes. The area is an inviting rooftop common area that provides residents with social space and a great view of the city. Approximately 3,000 square feet of Rheinzink prePATINA graphite-greyFlat Lock Tiles and 1,000 square feet of Rheinzink Standing Seam Panels highlight the rooftop amenity. “In the early stages of our design process, we noticed that numerous nearby buildings had mansard roofs with diamond-shaped tiles and shingles. That’s what led to our selection of the Rheinzink Flat Lock Tiles,” Washington says. 

The Rheinzink Standing Seam Panels were used to clad sloped roofs over stairways in the units below the roof deck leading up to outdoor terraces. “The reaction to the Rheinzink from the residents has been outstanding,” says Washington. “Everyone loves it because it’s a material that’s not typically seen.”

Installation of the panels was done by MSM Roofing, Hampstead, Maryland. David Peterson, owner of MSM, described the installation as “a piece of cake.”

Contractor Overcomes Challenging Logistics to Re-Roof 16-Story Westin Savannah

The Westin Savannah site posed logistical challenges, as it is bordered by the Savannah River, a canal and the Savannah Convention Center. Photo: SOPREMA

Were you to visit Savannah, Georgia, the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa would be tough to miss. This landmark property, known for its 18-hole PGA golf course, secluded beach access and on-site spa, is the tallest building in the city at 16 stories. The aura of luxury surrounding the building was threatened, however, when Hurricane Matthew moved through the region, inundating the city with rainwater and causing the aging Westin Savannah roof to fail. With leaks resulting in the closure of a major portion of the hotel’s upper floor, it was clear the building owners would need to move quickly to restore a waterproof seal atop their building.

The job would not be easy. The Westin Savannah is surrounded by the Savannah River on one side, a canal on another and the Savannah Convention Center on a third. The only feasible area left to stage and load the roofing material onto a crane was the front parking loop and valet area — an area that would typically be avoided with any other roofing project. “We only had one spot where we could set up, and that was the biggest challenge,” says Larry Hoffman, the superintendent who oversaw the installation of the roof at the Westin Savannah on behalf of Whitco Roofing, the Westin’s chosen contractor. “We were very limited with regard to any mobility around that hotel, not to mention the fact that we had to get materials onto a roof that was 270 feet from the ground.” 

Envisioning an Approach

The Whitco Roofing team also had to deal with challenging application conditions, given that the roof had many penetrations due to the presence of air conditioning units, towers, exhaust vents, lighting, walkways, ladders, staircases and other equipment. Special care would have to be given to the installation of the flashing to ensure no opportunities for leak formation remained after the roofing job was done. Recognizing that the use of a liquid flashing material was the best bet to keep the roofing layer monolithic despite all the penetrations, the Whitco Roofing team set about selecting the right compatible materials for the job.

SOPREMA’s SENTINEL P150 60-mil PVC-based roofing membrane was selected for the projectbecause we wanted a durable roofing product that was compatible with a liquid flashing material for difficult base flashings encountered during this project,” explains Henri Brickey, director of business development for Whitco Roofing. “We recommended the SOPREMA PVC membrane for several reasons, the first of which is the superior chemical and UV resistance PVC offers over TPO. Since we also intended to wrap the large quantity of concrete and metal support column bases with SOPREMA’s ALSAN RS 230 Flash polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) liquid resin, we made sure the PVC membrane was compatible and that we could include those areas under the roof’s warranty.” 

The Installation Commences

The complex coordination required for a successful roofing installation began on the ground. One week’s worth of material was staged at a time, then a crane was brought in to upload materials to the roof on the same day trash was being downloaded from the old roof tear-off process. All debris had to be carefully bagged and secured with tarps to avoid pollution in the nearby Savannah River, and the delivery and removal of four dumpsters at a time had to be carefully coordinated so that no dumpster was left on the premises overnight, blocking entry to the building. “You had to be out of there by five o’clock with everything, and it had to be done in a particular sequence, further complicating matters,” explains Hoffman.

On the rooftop, existing asphalt-based roofing materials were stripped down to the concrete deck. SOPREMA SOPRA-ISO3.5-inch polyisocyanurate insulation was adhered using SOPREMA DUOTACK 365 foam adhesive to provide improved R-value to the building. Next, the PVC membrane was bonded onto the insulation, providing both a reliable waterproofing layer and a reflective white finish that would help diminish heat absorption compared to the older materials. The liquid resin coating was then applied to prevent water intrusion at all exposed concrete column bases — extending up and coating metal base plates — and at vertical flashing points where air handling units tied into the building’s walls. New tapered crickets were also installed between drains, improving the overall flow of water on the roof and reducing the opportunity for ponding water.

Safety and Communications Prioritized

Throughout the project, OSHA guidelines had to be followed carefully on the rooftop and on the ground to ensure both workers and bystanders entering and exiting the hotel were safe. Flagging and ground guides were used around the staging area, and strict adherence to timelines for deliveries and mobilizations were also critical to the safe execution of the project. The Whitco Roofing team worked closely with the hotel management throughout the process to prevent interference with hotel operations and to minimize risks to guests. 

The building now benefits from a superior roofing membrane that is Energy Star-compliant, upgraded insulation, a strong foam adhesive that helps resist uplift pressure during storms and a monolithic waterproofing layer thanks to the liquid flashing installed around all penetrations. “SOPREMA’s single-ply membranes have a reputation for strength and durability,” notes Brickey, “and especially with the inclusion of the liquid flashing system to deal with difficult flashing details, we were able to provide a long-lasting, warranted waterproofing solution for the Westin.”

In all, more than 14,000 square feet of roofing material was replaced over the course of roughly a month by a large team of installers. In part because the hotel staff was so pleased with the way the job was planned, managed and executed, Whitco Roofing was brought back to install a new roof on a lower section of the building as well. That project was recently completed, positioning the Westin Savannah to resist the elements while serving as a relaxing getaway for the foreseeable future.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Whitco Roofing, Atlanta, Georgia, www.whitcoroofing.com

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: SENTINEL P150 PVC, SOPREMA, www.soprema.us

Insulation: SOPRA-ISO, SOPREMA

Adhesive: DUOTACK 365, SOPREMA

Liquid Flashing: ALSAN RS 230 Flash, SOPREMA

Contractor Shows Versatility During Spectrum Field Restoration

Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida, is home to the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training and its minor league affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers. TarHeel Roofing replaced the main roof and restored and waterproofed the walls. Photo: TarHeel Corporation

TarHeel Corporation was founded as TarHeel Roofing in 1981. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, the company specializes in commercial work including roofing, waterproofing, cladding, damp proofing, exterior renovations, lightning protection and sheet metal. According to John Looney, president and owner of TarHeel Corporation, the company’s name was changed to better reflect its ability to work on the entire building envelope, including above- and below-grade waterproofing. 

When nearby Spectrum Field needed roofing and waterproofing work, Looney saw the project as a perfect opportunity to show off the company’s versatility. The stadium is home to the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training, and it also serves as the home field for the team’s minor league affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers. “We’ve done a lot of sports complexes in the past,” notes Looney. 

TarHeel Roofing restored the roof two years ago, and this year the company waterproofed the walls. The scopes of work included cold-applied roofing, waterproofing, caulking, and glazing, as well as repairing the tie-ins to pedestrian deck areas. “There were a lot of little pieces here that were right in our wheelhouse,” Looney says. 

Roofs and Walls

When the stadium’s existing modified bitumen roof reached the end of its service life, the decision was made to restore it with Garland’s Energizer K Plus FR. “We used Garland’s Energizer system, a cold-applied system with polyester mesh and granule surfacing on it,” Looney notes. 

The roof was restored with Garland’s Energizer K Plus FR system, a cold-applied roofing restoration system with granular surfacing. Photo: The Garland Company Inc.

Some perimeter areas of the roof were removed and repaired after an infrared scan was used to detect any moisture, and then the entire roof surface was cleaned and primed. The fluid-applied system is installed in two coats with a polyester or fiberglass scrim sheet fully adhered into it. Immediately after the second coat, granules are broadcast over the entire surface. “The finished product is very good-looking,” says Looney. 

Work on the vertical surfaces began in September 2018. The complex features walls clad in an exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), as well as concrete and concrete masonry unit (CMU) walls. “The EIFS, concrete, and CMU walls each required a different application, but the basic scope of work is the same for each, with some variations,” Looney says. 

The walls were first cleaned and repaired. After the walls were pressure washed, crews repaired and replaced caulking at windows, doors and other penetrations. Cracks were filled using Garland’s Green-Lock Sealant XL, a polyether joint sealant with no VOCs. “We took care of cracks in the concrete and any breaks, including damage from baseballs hitting it,” Looney says. “Once the surface was repaired, we moved on the coating application.”

Crews applied Garland’s Tuff-Coat acrylic architectural wall coating. The coating can be applied with either a sprayer or rollers. Both methods were used on the project, but the majority of the work was done with rollers. The tan color was a crucial concern for the owners, and up-front testing ensured the tint would match up perfectly on the various substrates. “There was also some striping involved for aesthetics,” notes Looney. “We put on a band of a darker accent color.”

Crews from TarHeel Roofing cleaned and repaired the walls and waterproofed them with Garland’s Tuff-Coat acrylic architectural wall coating. Photo: TarHeel Corporation

The schedule was sometimes adjusted to accommodate concerts and other events. “The most unusual thing is the actual use of the building, obviously, being a baseball park with a lot of public access,” he says. “It takes a beating from all of the use and people there.”

Accessing some of the wall areas on the site was the biggest challenge on the project, according to Looney. “If you can picture the typical ballfield, you’ve got anything from ground-level vertical walls up to walls tucked behind seating up in the grandstand,” he explains. “Logistically, the challenge was getting access to all of the areas, extending from public concourses all the way up to the owner’s boxes and suites. A lot of that work was done from ground level, actually out on the field, reaching up with big Hi-Los that extended over two or three sections of seating.”

When figuring out the best approach, safety is always the primary concern. “Safety is a big part of any project, beginning with preparation and layout,” Looney says. “Once we were awarded the job, we weighed working from ladders, swing stages, and man lifts. In this project, we opted to do most of it from man lifts because of the safety concerns inherent in working from ladders, swing stages, or even scaffolding in some of these areas.” 

Major-league workmanship is the key to earning repeat business, says Looney. “We don’t do much advertising,” he says. “To us, that means every job has to be done well enough to be asked back. We pay a lot of attention to the details, including safety and the setup. To us, the finished product has to be great — that’s a given — but also the journey, from the start to the completion, is important as well. We do a lot of work on hospitals, health care areas, and industrial sites where us being in the way really isn’t an option. We are very familiar with working around the needs of businesses. So from a logistics and detail point of view, we are very sensitive to making sure the ride is as good as it can be.”

TEAM

Roofing and Waterproofing Contractor: TarHeel Corporation, St. Petersburg, Florida, www.tarheelcorp.com

MATERIALS 

Roof Restoration System: Energizer K Plus FR, The Garland Company Inc., www.garlandco.com

Wall Coating: Tuff-Coat, The Garland Company Inc.

Joint Sealant: Green-Lock Sealant XL, The Garland Company Inc.

Wave-Inspired Canopies on Convention Center Pose Challenges

The Prince Edward Island Convention Centre features distinctive curved canopies inspired by its waterfront location. The roofs of the canopies were covered with a coating to match sections of the walls. Photos: IKO

When the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre was put out for public tender, Ashe Roofing jumped at the chance to work on the high-profile new construction project on the waterfront near the company’s headquarters in Charlottetown. 

Ashe Roofing has been in business for 27 years, specializing in commercial and industrial low-slope roof systems. When their bid was selected, the company got ready to install the roof systems for the structure’s 42,000-square-foot main roof, as well as 10,000 square feet of canopies. 

A two-ply, torch-applied modified bitumen system from IKO was specified for the main roof. According to Boyd Corcoran, general manager of Ashe Roofing, the system was chosen for its durability and its ability to withstand the areas tough winter weather. “It suits our climate,” he notes. “It can stand up to snow and ice dropping from higher roof sections to lower ones.” 

Photos: IKO

The building’s distinctly shaped canopies would be visible from the ground, and the architect insisted the canopy roofs match the EIFS wall color. Initially, a tan single-ply roof membrane was specified for the canopy roofs, but the schedule dictated that construction took place during the winter months, so the decision was made to use the same modified bitumen system used on the main roof. A smooth surface APP cap sheet was used so that the proper color could be attained using an elastomeric roof coating application.

The Installation

The first phase of the project included setting up safety systems. “We used a railing system, and when we were doing the perimeter work, we had to tie off with a personal fall arrest system outside the rails,” Corcoran notes. 

Material was loaded with a telescopic fork lift. Work on the main roof began with installing the vapor barrier, which was covered with Trufoam EPS insulation and 1/4-inch protection board. The system was topped with IKO’s Torchflex TP 180 FF base sheet and finished with the Torchflex TP 250 cap sheet in Frostone Grey. 

The main roof was installed in sections. Crews mechanically installed as much insulation and cover board as they could each day, and each section was topped off with the base sheet. “We’d make sure each section was watertight, and we kept going, one section at a time.”

The cap sheet was installed after all of the roof sections were completed. The roof was installed over both metal and concrete decking. Portions of work over the concrete deck needed special care, as the area was designed to accommodate future expansion. “We could not use any adhesive,” Corcoran explains. “They didn’t want anything on the cement at the end of the day, foreseeing a time in the future when they might take the roof off and use that roof deck as a floor when they added hotel rooms.”

Corcoran cited mechanically fastening these sections as the biggest challenge on the project. “We also had to install a tapered system on the whole thing because it was flat,” he notes. “We ended up with a 10-inch base layer and then the tapered insulation, and had to drill an inch and a half into the cement, so it was hard to find bits long enough to do the job. It was pretty slow going.” 

After the main roof was dried in, crews tackled the canopies, which were made of wood. “There are wavy-style canopies on two sides, and there is a big canopy that goes up at a bit of an angle over the water,” Corcoran explains. “In some sections of the canopies, the flashing had to be cut into 4-foot sections because of the curves. We put a restorative coating on top of the canopies to make sure the color matched the walls. The coating was applied with rollers.”

The job went smoothly and finished on schedule, notes Corcoran, who credits his experienced crews for the orderly progress at the jobsite. “Installing the system on the uphill and downhill portions of the canopies posed a little bit of a challenge, but we have guys that have been installing these systems for 20-plus years,” he says. “They get pretty good at it.” 

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Ashe Roofing, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, www.asheroofing.com

General Contractor: Brighton Construction, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, www.brightonconstruction.ca

Architect: Chandler Architecture, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, http://wcarch.com

MATERIALS 

Roof Membrane: Torchflex TP 180 FF base sheet, Torchflex TP 250 Frostone Grey cap sheet, IKO, www.iko.com

Cover Board: Protectoboard, IKO

Insulation: Trufoam EPS, IKO

Vapor Barrier: MVP Vapour Barrier, IKO 

At the Ace Hotel, Versatile Rooftop Terraces Capture the Imagination

Located in Chicago’s Fulton Market Historic District, the Ace Hotel features several vegetative roofs and a rooftop bar. Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

The Ace Hotel is located in Chicago’s Fulton Market Historic District. It features 159 guestrooms and amenities including rooftop event spaces with stunning views of the city. The complex features several vegetative roofs, including a large fifth-floor terrace and a seventh-floor rooftop bar. The fifth-floor terrace incorporates a sculpture that visitors can climb on and areas that can easily adapt to host a variety of events, from corporate meetings to yoga classes.

The team at site design group ltd., the Chicago landscape architect on the project, worked closely with the lead architect, GREC Architects, and the Ace Hotel team to determine the key design goals for the rooftop spaces. Hana Ishikawa, design principal at site design group, notes the client was looking for an understated design. “In this project, what they really wanted was a prairie that kind of got left on the roof,” she says “So, that’s where the project got started.”

The fifth-floor terrace incorporates a sculpture created by artist Jonathan Nesci that visitors can climb on. An area topped with pavers is used to host a variety of events. Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

On the fifth-floor terrace, the materials and plants chosen are meant to evoke a natural prairie landscape, while a section topped with pavers serves as a versatile event space. “We were really focused on creating a space that was super flexible,” Ishikawa says. “You’ll notice there’s a really large pavement area in the front, and they hold all kinds of interesting events there. That’s used pretty frequently, whether it be yoga or the little markets they hold up there. One of the primary functions we needed was a lot of flexibility, and that area works well for that.”

Other roof sections that were not open to the public had different needs. It took a talented team of design, manufacturing and construction professionals to turn the vision for the hotel’s rooftop spaces into reality — and provide the single-source warranty the architect and owner desired. 

A Versatile Roof System

The roof system specified for every roof level was a variation of Hydrotech’s protected membrane roof (PMR) assembly. According to Dennis Yanez, American Hydrotech’s national marketing manager, the foundation of the PMR assembly consists of Hydrotech’s Monolithic Membrane 6125, a hot fluid-applied rubberized asphalt membrane, which is applied directly to the deck and topped with Dow Styrofoam insulation. The system can then incorporate a variety of options including pavers, ballast, and extensive and intensive roof gardens. “The basics — the roofing/waterproofing membrane and the Dow Styrofoam — don’t change,” Yanez says. “One of the advantages of this system is once you apply the membrane and insulation in the field, you can mix and match all of these options and you aren’t changing the integrity of keeping that structure watertight.” 

Kevin Serena, Hydrotech’s garden roofing technical sales coordinator for the central region, worked with the building owner and design team to select the products and systems for each rooftop section. 

The materials and plants chosen for the roof terrace are meant to evoke a prairie landscape, with a trail leading to seating areas. Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

“They have a few different roof levels, and there was a different design intent for each area,” Serena says. “There are a few upper roofs that only the occupants of adjacent buildings will see, so what they wanted there was low-maintenance vegetation with good coverage. They went with a sedum mat material. It’s pre-grown outside for over a year, so it’s a very hardy material, and once it becomes established it needs little to no maintenance. That was a goal of theirs for those upper roofs since not a lot of people would be accessing those areas.”

For the large podium deck that was open to the public, the owners wanted to add more interesting vegetation along with other features. “They integrated stone walkways, and they used a more expansive plant palette,” Serena notes. “They used the same sedum carpet as a base planting, and then added some different perennials and grasses throughout the mat to give it some vertical interest and add some biodiversity to the roof.”

Serena also worked closely with the roof system installer, Bennett & Brosseau Roofing Inc., of Romeoville, Illinois, an authorized Hydrotech applicator. “Bennett and Brosseau is one of the best contractors in the area,” Serena says. “They have taken a real interest in doing not only the membrane but all the way up through the growing media and vegetation. They are really into doing the green roof, so they are exciting to work with. They really like doing this type of work, and they do a great job.”

The Installation

Bennett & Brosseau Roofing installed all of the roof systems on the project, as well as the material for the garden roofs. The company also fabricated and installed four custom colors of sheet metal on the project. 

“We had grade-level to roof-level waterproofing on this project,” notes Jim Brosseau, CEO and owner of Bennett & Brosseau Roofing. “On the grade level, we installed pavers and drainage components. We also planted plants and trees in the planters on the plaza and at the grade level as well.”

Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

The hotel was constructed at the site of a former cheese-making factory in the Fulton Market District. A part of the existing building was retained, including a wall with a historic mural, but the majority of the project was new construction with a concrete roof deck. “It was in a tight area where access was very limited at the jobsite,” Brosseau notes. “All of the roofs were new, but the owner wanted to tie into an existing wall for historical value.”

Bennett & Brosseau Roofing worked closely with Hydrotech to coordinate material deliveries, and access to the jobsite was eased by a couple of fortuitous events. “One of our vendors actually had some property behind the jobsite, so we were able to stage some material there,” Brosseau recalls. “They also closed the street for some work at a building across the street, so we took advantage of that and were able to stage some material on the street and lift it up with our hoists.” 

Elevators did not reach every level, complicating the logistics. “Safety was a challenge,” Brosseau says. “They had elevators at certain levels, but the rest we had to stage a second time for a double hoist. We had to have certified riggers and an approved lift plan. Every pallet is marked, and Hydrotech does an excellent job packaging material, so that helps the process.” 

Crews installed fall-protection barriers, which included the company’s own engineered bracket system with two-by-fours, as well as a Garlock safety rail system. Roofing work began on the penthouse roofs and the tops of the elevator shafts. “All of the roofs received Hydrotech’s hot fluid-applied rubber,” says Brosseau. 

Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

The membrane is installed in two coats. The first coat is 90 mils with fabric reinforcement on top. The second coat is 125 mils, for a total of 215 mils. The hot rubberized asphalt, which is heated to 350-375 degrees, and cools as a solid, forming a monolithic membrane. “The membrane is adhered directly to the deck, and it forms one contiguous layer from parapet to parapet,” Yanez says. “They basically make a bathtub up on top of that roof, and then with all of the other design elements, you can do structural construction on top of the Styrofoam. It’s a much simpler, easier system, and the reality is there are fewer opportunities for it to fail because it’s a very simplistic approach.”

“Hydrotech’s system is easy to work with,” Brosseau notes. “The liquid is a very good product to work with on tough details. Another big advantage of the Hydrotech system, especially in this case, is that it isn’t temperature sensitive.”

Living Roofs

Sections of the roof with limited access were topped with an extensive vegetative system featuring Hydrotech’s InstaGreen sedum mat. River rock was applied as a perimeter border. “We’d get them watertight, and then we’d come back and install the garden systems after the other trades were done on the roof,” Brosseau explains. 

On the fifth-floor terrace, Bennett & Brosseauinstalled pavers, wood steppers and wood benches made from reclaimed Robinia. “We put down granite for pathways,” Brosseaunotes. “We had ballast, intensive garden, extensive garden, pavers, logs and the granite walkway. On Level 5, we had a lot going on.”

The material changes and the ground changes were designed to represent an actual prairie, according to Ishikawa. “There is a little trail that goes off and creates a little circle of seating,” she notes. 

Native grasses were chosen to provide visual interest and survive Chicago’s tough winters. These plants were plugged into the sedum mat to ensure the living roof would have complete coverage at the outset. “That was important to us so that the area wouldn’t be trampled while the native grasses and flora were emerging,” says Ishikawa.

Brosseau credits the support of the manufacturer before and during the project as the key to navigating all of the many details. “We regularly consult with Hydrotech’s technical department on non-standard details,” he says. “We’ll brainstorm to determine what the best solution is. There is also a value beyond that, and that is it helps the owner and the general contractor to see Hydrotech come out and recommend different ways to attack a problem.”

Bennett & Brosseau also installed edge metal, beam wraps, expansion joints, scuppers and downspouts. “The sheet metal was probably the most difficult part of it,” Brosseau says, “We custom fabricated everything in our shop. No two details were the same. For the bar area on Level 7, we fabricated a stainless-steel bar top for them as well.” 

It’s a Jungle Gym Out There

Crowning the fifth-floor roof area is a Nesci dome, a climbable sculpture created by artist Jonathan Nesci that has been likened to an “adult jungle gym.” According to Ishikawa, the blue metal design was inspired in part by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Dome in Chicago’s Cultural Center. “That one is an absolutely gorgeous Tiffany Dome with mosaic tile and glass,” Ishikawa notes. “This one is about the exact size and shape, so it’s kind of a reference of that cultural institution on top of the Ace Hotel. It’s meant to be a climbable, playful structure.”

“This roof is really exciting to us because it’s a very playful design,” Ishikawa continues. “Our firm in general believes that playful design also makes really loved landscapes. We were very excited to work on that part of it.”

Yanez points to the versatility and durability of the roof system as the key to a successful project that provides a long service life and the peace of mind of a single-source warranty. “We are happy to be able to give the market what it wants, and a lot of that hinges on the design creativity and pushing the envelope that the architects do,” he says, “We are very good at adapting to that and offering them a rock-solid assembly that, if applied correctly, should last the lifetime of that structure.”

TEAM

Lead Architect: GREC Architects, Chicago, Illinois, http://grecstudio.com

Landscape Architect: site design group ltd., Chicago, Illinois, www.site-design.com

General Contractor: Power Construction Company, Chicago, Illinois, www.powerconstruction.net

Roofing and Waterproofing Contractor: Bennett & Brosseau Roofing Inc., Romeoville, Illinois, www.bennettandbrosseau.com

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: Monolithic Membrane 6125-EV, Hydrotech, www.hydrotechusa.com

Membrane Reinforcement: Hydroflex RB II-Hydrotech

Insulation: 60 PSI Extruded Polystyrene Insulation, Hydrotech/Dow, www.dow.com

Drainage Material: GR30 Water Retention and System Filter, Hydrotech

Flashing: Flex-Flash MB Granulated Flashing, Hydrotech

Growth Media: Litetop Intensive Media, Hydrotech

Vegetation: InstaGreen Sedum Carpet, Hydrotech

Roberto Durán Arena in Panama Poses Re-Roofing Challenges

The roof on the Roberto Durán Arena was recently replaced with a 45-mil TPO system from Firestone Building Products. Photos: Firestone Building Products

The Roberto Durán Arena is one of the most iconic multipurpose sports coliseums in the Republic of Panama. Inaugurated in 1970, the arena was named in honor of one of Panama’s best-known athletes, boxer Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Durán, world champion in four weight classes in the 1980s. One of his most acclaimed achievements was winning the 1980 world welterweight title against one of the most important boxers of the era, Sugar Ray Leonard.

The Roberto Durán Arena hosts a wide range of sporting and entertainment events. The 86,000-square-foot building was remodeled in 2009, which is when the original roof was replaced by an insulated roofing panel and modified bitumen membrane system. This system proved to be no match for the high heat, humidity and heavy rainfall in Panama summers. In 2018, Pandeportes, which governs all sports stadiums in Panama, hired SINCO Panama, a certified Firestone Building Products contractor in the country, to fortify the roof and work on the Level 100, 400 and dome slabs to ensure the arena was able to withstand local weather.

Photos: Firestone Building Products

To fix the multiple leaks, the asphalt membrane in levels 100 and 400, was completely removed, and the slopes were repaired with lightweight concrete, which was covered with a protection geotextile. On top of all of that, crews mechanically attached a 45-mil Firestone UltraPly TPO membrane to provide a durable waterproofing system that met all building requirements. A similar process was completed on the dome, including perimeter metal drains.

The unique shape of the dome and the dilapidated state of the existing drainage system made this project a unique technical installation challenge for both Firestone Building Products and SINCO Panama. The team managed the changes needed by replacing the metal gutters and drains and covering them with the same TPO membrane throughout the interior to ensure a completely waterproof system.

The metal gutters and drains were replaced and covered with the same TPO membrane used on the roof to ensure a completely waterproof system. Photos: Firestone Building Products

The 86,000-square-foot re-roof was completed in two and a half months, with four weeks of work completed exclusively on the dome. The distinct curvature of the dome required the team to tailor-cut the TPO membrane to match the domed roof, leaving no wrinkles or loose membrane.

To ensure the most efficient and effective job possible, the technical department at Firestone Building Products and SINCO Panama first developed a 3D model to ensure the orientation of the membranes were as effective as possible, reducing waste and minimizing the number of joints in the membrane.

Beyond working with a uniquely shaped building requiring complex updates, the team also faced challenging weather conditions, including almost constant rain. Panama City, located North of the Equator, features a tropical climate including hot, muggy days with temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The work coincided with the rainy season, which yields up to 60 inches of rainfall.

To ensure the work was completed on time, the teams worked extended hours and on weekends to take advantage of the few dry days available. The height of the dome also posed a challenge, as the team faced difficulties during installation due to high winds, but the roofing system attachment was designed to withstand winds of up to 87 miles per hour and an uplift pressure of approximately 110 psf, which made the installation possible. 

The work of Firestone Building Products and SINCO Panama resulted in a new look for the coliseum and ensured the improved performance of the roof for years to come. Despite the challenges faced during the project, the teams completed the project without sacrificing quality, durability and resistance, all of which were key factors required by Pandeportes, the building owner.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: SINCO Panama

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: UltraPly TPO, Firestone Building Products (FSBP), www.firestonebpco.com

Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Boasts One of World’s Largest Green Roofs

The Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C., has more than 550,000 square feet of green roof space. Photos: Owens Corning

Like a 550,000-square-foot sponge, the vegetative roof assembly (VRA) atop the Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C., absorbs rainfall while managing its release into the city’s sewer system. Green roofs are a storm water management “best practice” in the nation’s capital, which boasts more than 3.2 million square feet of green roof space.

Gordon Contractors installed the green roof on the 11-level, 1.2-million-square-foot headquarters, which is also home to several independent field commands including the National Pollution Fund Center and Marine Safety Center. Key performance objectives included complying with D.C.’s stringent storm water regulations, as well as federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules requiring 95 percent of storm water to be collected onsite.

Beyond complying with local and federal storm water mandates, the project team creating the vegetative roof sought to create a rooftop habitat that supports biodiversity and helps birds and other wildlife thrive. The result of a careful and collaborative approach to moisture management is a high-performing roof that ultimately received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Working as a system, the roof’s components help reduce rainwater runoff while helping to reduce pollutant loads and protect natural resources such as the nearby Chesapeake Bay.

Numerous Challenges

As every roofer knows, no two projects are alike. The location of the Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters on hilly terrain provided plenty of natural obstacles, including nine of the eleven levels being built into a hillside. The site

Gordon Contractors installed the green roof on the 11-level headquarters. Performance objectives included complying with D.C.’s stringent storm water regulations, as well as federal EPA rules requiring 95 percent of storm water to be collected onsite. Photos: Owens Corning

features a series of stair-stepped green roof terraces that help gradually move water from higher to lower levels and eventually into a pond through elevation changes of 120 feet. According to Steve Gordon, president of Preservation & Protection Systems Inc. (PPSI), the company providing design and installation support with the Owens Corning FOAMULAR extruded polystyrene insulation and Henry 790-11 Hot Rubberized Asphalt used in the VRA, the stair-step design required a complex approach to the roof’s varied elevations. To meet this challenge a complex network of expansion joints by EMSEAL tied together multiple air barriers within the system. Another challenge was the magnitude of the project, spanning more than a half-million feet across multiple levels and 176 acres. Timing was critical, as plants and vegetation required quick delivery and transplanting into their new environment, particularly during D.C.’s sweltering summers. These living materials couldn’t simply be covered with a tarp until better conditions prevailed, but had to be quickly transported, installed and irrigated.

The Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters serves 4,000 occupants, so comfort and energy efficiency were important concerns. From the outset of the project, the integrated roofing team was tasked with designing a vegetative roof assembly that would help decrease the building’s heating and cooling energy usage, lower long-term maintenance costs and extend the life of the roof.

A Solution to Achieve Performance Goals

The project team selected a Protected Roof Membrane Assembly (PRMA) to deliver the water management required to meet storm water mandates, as well as deliver energy efficiency through R-value performance and strength to support vegetation requirements. The PRMA places the insulation layer above the waterproofing membrane, a reversal of traditional roof systems. PPSI recommended Owens Corning FOAMULAR 404 and 604 extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulations for use in the PRMA. The water resistance and compressive strength of the XPS insulation provided the integrity needed for long-term roof performance and helped the Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters Building ultimately achieve LEED Gold certification.

The Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters was built on hilly terrain, and nine of the eleven levels were built into a hillside. The stair-stepped green roof terraces help gradually move water from higher to lower levels and eventually into a pond. Photos: Owens Corning

Given the sheer size of the project, it was inevitable that the roofing team would encounter several scenarios requiring strategic problem-solving throughout the installation. For example, the team adjustedthe engineered soil specification to reduce the loads within the structural tolerances for the roof structure and carefully addressed a range of pH, moisture, organic matter and nutrient levels to support the variety of plants. Not only did such careful attention deliver strength performance, it’s also achieved the objective of attracting wildlife. The terraced landscape has welcomed not only birds and butterflies, but the occasional deer wandering onto a rooftop.

Evaluating Results

Since its completion, the VRA at the Douglas A. Munro Coast Guard Headquarters has attracted widespread attention from landscaping groups, engineering firms and organizations interested in sustainability. These groups are interested not just in the building’s unique design but in its resilience and performance. Steve Gordon of PPSI says the resilience of the headquarters’ roof is reflected in its record of no leaks. “We’ve had no leaks,” Gordon says. “The reason we use hot fluid applied waterproofing on green roofs is because we want to avoid any leaks in the building. At the end of the day, the biggest liability in a roof is water.”

After successfully navigating a range of challenges and opportunities, the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters’ VRA epitomizes the convergence of aesthetics and performance and is recognizedas one of the largest green roofs in the world.According to the Landscape Performance Foundation, the headquarters’ vegetative roof retains up to 424,000 gallons of rainwater.

In a small way, the performance reflects the integrity of a hero an Act of Congress honored when naming the headquarters, according to Captain Will Smith, Commanding Officer U.S. Coast Guard Base NCR. Captain Smith noted, “The Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient, Douglas Munro earned the award for his selfless sacrifice as a landing craft pilot at Guadalcanal while evacuating marines from a beachhead under heavy fire from enemy forces.”

TEAM

Architect: WDG, Washington, D.C., www.wdgarch.com
General Contractor: Clark Construction Group, Bethesda, Maryland, www.clarkconstruction.com
Roofing Contractor: Gordon Contractors, Capitol Heights, Maryland, www.gordoncontractors.com
Independent Rep Agency: Preservation & Protection Systems Inc. (PPSI), Laurel, Maryland, www.ppsimd.com

MATERIALS

Insulation: FOAMULAR 404 and 604 extruded polystyrene, Owens Corning, www.owenscorning.com
Waterproofing Membrane: 790-11 Hot Rubberized Asphalt, Henry Company, https://us.henry.com
Expansion Joints: EMSEAL, www.emseal.com
Pavers: Hanover Architectural Products, www.hanoverpavers.com
Sedum Mats: Sempergreen, www.sempergreen.com