A Metal Roof Crowns a Residential New-construction Project

Thorne Metal Systems usually fabricates the panels on the job site. “We have the machines, and we can just order the material in coil form from the manufacturer and we roll it right there on the job,” Thorne notes. “It cuts down on freight and cuts down on damage to material. We can fabricate panels to whatever length we want. We often have panels 110- or 115-feet long, and you can’t even ship material like that.”

The structure was designed to wrap around the pool, which is the home’s focal point.

The structure was designed to wrap around the pool, which is the home’s focal point.

Challenges on the Ponte Vedra Beach project included the roof’s size and complexity. “This was a large project, and the roof is very cut up,” Thorne recalls. “It has many different angles and an extreme pitch.”

According to Thorne, the key was attention to detail. “We specialize in tough projects,” he adds. “We make sure the hips line up, the ridges line up, the panels line up from side to side. It takes extreme focus from everyone at the company, from the top down.”

Thorne credits Earl Drummond for maintaining quality control on the job site, and his own son, Cody Thorne, for managing the office and scheduling personnel. “The two of them work together to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Thorne says.

The process of ensuring all the panels line up correctly begins long before the company is on the site. “You need to address all of the issues in the layout,” Thorne asserts. “It’s all in the preparation. You also have to take into consideration the penetrations coming through the roof and make sure the penetration is in the middle of a panel and not on a rib.”

The company’s attention to detail extends to safety. “Safety is a big, big concern for us,” Thorne adds. “We are always pushing safety, and we never use subcontractors. I tell my guys, ‘You’re being paid by the hour. Do it safe and do it right. If it takes longer than we planned, don’t worry about it. That’s my problem.’”

On this project, the company used full-body harnesses and self-retracting lifelines on the roof at all times. “We make sure everyone has the proper personal-protective equipment,” Thorne says. “We also make sure everyone has sunblock to prevent skin cancer. It’s something you just have to do. And you have to remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate on the roof. It can get very hot.”

The house is only a few blocks from the ocean, which prompted the architect to specify heavy-gauge aluminum, stainless fasteners and a Kynar finish.

The house is only a few blocks from the ocean, which prompted the architect to specify heavy-gauge aluminum, stainless fasteners and a Kynar finish.

Thorne Metal Systems installed a high-temperature, self-adhered underlayment beneath the metal roof, as specified. “The architect did a great job and paid a lot of attention to waterproofing, which was a big concern,” Thorne notes. “It wasn’t even leaking before we put the metal roof on.”

Scheduling the work of the various trades can be difficult, but Thorne credits C.F. Knight with excellent management on the job site. “There was a lot of coordination necessary on behalf of the general contractor,” Thorne recalls. “We had to pre-flash for the painters so they wouldn’t overspray our panels. There was a lot of coordination handled by the superintendent on the site. Everything went very smoothly. It was a team effort.”

PHOTOS: Petersen Aluminum

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About Christopher K. King

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

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