Single-Ply Roofing Best Practices: Doing Everything Right the First Time.

Figure 1: Designing resilient roof systems is the best of practices. When developing details, we find it very helpful to draft out the roof system (for each different system), noting materials and installation methods. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

Single-ply membranes have risen from being the “new guy” in the market in the early ’80s to become the roof cover of choice for most architects, consultants and contractors. Material issues have for the most part been resolved, and like no other time in recent history, the industry is realizing a period of relative calm in that regard. Whether EPDM, TPO or PVC, the ease of installation, the cleanliness of the installation (versus the use of hot or cold bitumen), the speed at which they can be installed, and the material costs all blend to make these materials a viable option for watertight roofing covers. But with this market share comes issues and concerns, some of which are hurting owners, giving forensic consultants such as myself too much business, enriching attorneys, and costing contractors and, at times, designers dearly.

Following are some of my thoughts on various issues that, in my opinion, are adversely affecting single-ply membrane roof systems. Paying attention to these issues will bring about best practices in single-ply applications.

Specifying the Roof by Warranty

OMG, can architects do any less? Don’t get me started. The proliferation of “canned” Master Specs which call for a generic 10-year or 20-year warranty and then state to install the product per manufacturer’s guidelines is disheartening. Do

Figure 2: Coordinating with the mechanical engineer in the detailing of the pipe penetrations is critical. Here you can see all the components of the curb, penetrations, roofing and waterproofing are noted. We recommend that the same detail be on the mechanical sheets so that at least an 18-inch curb is known to all. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

designers realize that manufacturers’ specifications are a market-driven minimum? When architects leave out key details, they are simply relying on the roofing contractor to do what is right. This deserves another OMG. The minimum requirements for a warranty can be very low, and the exclusions on a warranty quite extensive. Additionally, a design that calls for products to be installed based on achieving a warranty may result in a roof system that does not meet the code. Owners are often oblivious to the warranty requirements, and all too often fail to ensure the standard of care until the service life is shortened or there is storm damage — sometimes damage the roof should have withstood if it were properly designed and detailed.

If one is not knowledgeable about roof system design, detailing and specification, then a qualified roof consultant with proven experience in single-ply membranes should be retained. Roof systems and their integration into the impinging building elements need to be designed, detailed and specified appropriately for the building’s intended use and roof function. By way of example, we at Hutchinson Design Group typically design roof systems for a 40- to 50-year service life (see Figure 1); the warranty at that point is nice, but almost immaterial. Typical specifications, which are project specific, cover all the system components and their installation. They are typically 30 pages long and call out robust and enhanced material installations.

More Than the Code

I recently had a conversation with a senior member of a very large and prominent architectural firm in the Chicago area and inquired about how they go about designing the roof systems. The first thing he said was, “We do what is required by code.”

Photo 1: The roof drain sump pans shown here were provided and installed by the plumbing contractor, not the steel deck installer. Having the roof drain level with the top of the roof deck allows for a proper integration of the roof drain and roof system.

What I heard was, “We give our clients the absolute poorest roof the code allows.” An OMG is allowed here again. Does it really need to be said again that the code is a minimum standard — as some would say, the worst you are allowed to design a building by law? Maybe you didn’t realize it, but you are allowed to design above the code. I know this will shock a few of you, but yes, it’s true. Add that extra anchor to prevent wood blocking from cupping. Add extra insulation screw fasteners to improve wind uplift resistance; if too few are used, you may meet the code, but your insulation will be susceptible to cupping. Add that extra bead of polyurethane adhesive. (If I specify 4 inches on center, then perhaps by mid-day, on a hot and humid day, I might get 6 inches on center — as opposed to specifying 6 inches or 8 inches on center, and getting 12 inches on center in spots.) Plan for construction tolerances such as an uneven decks and poorly constructed walls. Allow for foot traffic by other trades. These types of enhancements come from empirical experiences — otherwise known as getting your butt in the ringer. Architects need more time on the roof to observe what goes on.

It’s About Doing What is Right

Doing it right the first time isn’t all that difficult, and it’s certainly less stressful than dealing with the aftermath of doing so little. The cost of replacing the roof in the future could easily be more than double the original cost. Twenty years ago, I

Figure 3: Coordinating with the plumbing engineer, like coordinating with the mechanical engineer, is a requirement of best practices. In this drain detail, we can see the sump pan is called out correctly, and the roof drain, integration of the vapor barrier, extension ring, etc., are clearly defined. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

chaired an international committee on sustainable low-slope roofing. At that time, the understanding of sustainability was nil, and I believe the committee’s Tenets of Sustainability, translated into 12 languages, helped set the stage for getting designers to understand that the essence of sustainability is long-term service life. That mantra seems to have been lost as a new generation of architects is at the helm. This is unfortunate, as it comes at a time when clients no longer ask for sustainable buildings. Why? Because they are now expected. The recent rash of violent and destructive storms — hurricanes, hail, intense rain, high winds and even wildfires — have resulted in calls for improvement. That improvement is called resiliency. If you have not heard of it, you are already behind. Where sustainability calls for a building to minimize the impact of the building (roof) on the environment, resiliency requires a building (roof) to minimize the impact of the environment on the building. This concept of resiliency requires designing a roof system to weather intense storms and to be easily repaired when damaged. (Think of Puerto Rico and consider how you would repair a roof with no power, limited access to materials, and manpower that might not be able to get to your site.)

Achieving resiliency requires the roof system designer to:

  1. Actually understand that roofs are systems and only as good as their weakest link. Think metal stud parapet and horizontal base anchor attachment; only forensic consultants and attorneys like to see screws into modified gypsum boards.
  2. Eliminate your old, out-of-date, incorrect details. Lead vent flashing and roof cement cannot be used with single-ply membrane.
  3. Design the roof system integration into associated barrier systems, such as where the roofing membrane (air/vapor retarder) meets the wall air barrier. You should be able to take a pencil and draw a line over the wall air barrier, up the wall and onto the roof without lifting it off the sheet. If you cannot, you need to redesign. Once you can, you need to consider constructability and who may get there first — the roofer or air barrier contractor. Then think material compatibility. Water-based air barrier systems don’t react well when hit with a solvent-based primer or adhesive.

    Photo 2: This roof drain is properly installed along with 6 inches of insulation and a cover board. The drain extension ring is 1/2 inch below the top of the cover board so that the water falls into the drain and is not held back by the clamping ring, resulting in ponding around the roof drain.

    Perhaps the roofing needs to be in place first, and then the air barrier brought over the top of the roofing material. This might require a stainless-steel transition piece for incompatible materials. Maybe this requires a self-adhering membrane over the top of the roof edge prior to the roofing work, as some membranes are rather rigid and do not bend well over 90-degree angles. You as the designer need to design this connectivity and detail it large and bold for all to see.

  4. Design the roof system’s integration into the impinging building elements, including:
  • Roof curbs for exhaust fans: Make sure they are insulated, of great enough height, and are not installed on wood blocking.
  • Rooftop unit (RTU) curbs: The height must allow for future re-roofing. Coordinate with the mechanical engineer regarding constructability – determine when the curb should be set and when the HVAC unit will be installed. Roof details should be on both the architectural and mechanical drawings and show the same curb, drawn to scale. Be sure the curb is insulated to the roof’s required R-value. Avoid using curb rails to support mechanical equipment. The flashing on the interior side of the rails may be inaccessible once the equipment is placed. Use a large curb where all four sides will remain accessible.
  • Piping penetrations: Detail mechanical piping penetrations through the roof and support of same, where insulation and waterproofed pipe curbs are needed (see Figure 2). If you are thinking pourable sealer pocket, stop reading and go sign up for RCI’s Basics of Roof Consulting course.
  • Roof curbs, RTU, pipe curbs and rails: Coordinate their location and show them on the roof plan to be assured that they are not inhibiting drainage.
  • Roof drains: Coordination with the plumbing engineer is essential. Sump pans should be installed by the plumbing contractor, not the steel deck installer (see Photo 1), and the location should be confirmed with the structural engineer. Be sure drains are located in the low point if the roof deck is structurally sloped — and if not, know how to design tapered insulation systems to move water up that slope. Do not hold drains off the deck to meet insulation thickness; use threaded extensions. Be sure any air/vapor barrier is integrated into the curb and that the insulation is sealed to the curb. I like to hold the drain flange a half-inch down below the insulation surface so that the clamping ring does not restrain water on the surface. Owners do not like to see a 3-foot black ring at the drain, where ponding water accumulates debris (see Figure 3 and Photo 2).
  1. Understand the roof’s intended use once the building is completed. Will the roof’s surface be used for anything besides weather protection? What about snow removal? Will there be excessive foot traffic? What about mechanical

    Photo 3: Gaps between the roof insulation and roof edges, curbs and penetrations are prevalent on most roofing projects and should be sealed with spray foam insulation as seen here. It will be trimmed flush once cured.

    equipment? Photovoltaic panels? Yes, we have designed roofs in which a forklift had to go between penthouses across the roof. Understanding how the roof will be used will help you immensely.

  2. Understand the construction process and how the roof might be used during construction. It is amazing how few architects know how a building is built and understand construction sequencing and the impact it can have on a roof. I firmly believe that architects think that after a lower roof is completed, that the masons, carpenters, glazers, sheet metal workers, welders, pipe fitters, and mechanical crews take time to fully protect the newly installed systems (often of minimal thickness and, here we go again, without a cover board — OMG) before working on them. I think not. Had the architect realized that temporary/vapor retarders could be installed as work surfaces, getting the building into the dry and allowing other trades to trash that rather than the finished roof, the roof system could be installed after those trades are off the roof.
  3. Coordinate with other disciplines. Roof systems cannot be designed in a vacuum. The architect needs to talk to and involve the structural, mechanical and plumbing engineers to ensure they realize the importance of essential details. For example, we cannot have steel angle around the drain whose flange rests on the bar joist, thus raising the roof deck surface at the roof drain. Ever wonder why you had ponding at the drain? Now you know. I attempt to always have a comprehensive, specific roofing detail on the structural, mechanical and plumbing sheets. I give the other disciplines my details and ask that they include them on their drawings, changing notes as required. That way, my 20-inch roof curb on the roof detail is a 20-inch curb on the mechanical sheets — not a standard 12-inch curb, which would more often than not be buried in insulation.
  4. Detail, detail, detail, and in case you glossed over this section, detail again. Make sure to include job-specific, clearly drawn details. Every condition of the roof should be detailed by the architect. Isn’t that what the client is paying for? Do not, as I once saw, indicate “RFO” on the drawings. Yes, that acronym stands for “Roofer Figure Out.” Apparently, the roofer did not figure it out. I enjoyed a nice Hawaiian vacation as a result of my work on that project, courtesy of the architect’s insurance company. How do you know that a condition works unless you design it and then draw it to scale?

    Figure 4: Insulation to curbs, roof edge and penetrations will not be tight, and to prevent a thermal short, the gaps created in construction need to filled with spray foam, as noted and shown here in this vent detail. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

    I’ve seen roof insulation several inches above the roof edge because, OMG, the architect wanted gravel stop and forgot about camber. Not too big a deal (unless of course it’s a large building) to add several more layers of wood blocking and tapered edge strips at the now high wood blocking in the areas that were flush, but now the face of the roof edge sheet metal needs to increase. But what if the increase is above the allowable ANSI-SPRI ES1 standard and now a fascia and clip are required? You can see how the cost spirals, and the discussion ensues about who pays for what when there is a design error.

  5. Develop comprehensive specifications that indicate how the roof system components are to be installed. This requires empirical knowledge, the result of time on the roof observing construction. It is a very important educational tool that can prevent you, the designer, from looking like a fool.

Components

Best practices for single-ply membranes, in addition to the design elements above, also involve the system components. Below is a listing of items I feel embodies best practices for single-ply roof system components:

  1. Thicker membranes: The 45-mil membrane is insufficient for best practices, especially when one considers the thickness of the waterproofing over scrim on reinforced sheets. A 60-mil membrane is in my opinion the best practices minimum. Hear that? It’s the minimum. You are allowed to go to 75, 80 or 90 mils.
  2. Cover boards: A cover board should be specified in fully adhered and mechanically attached systems. (Ballasted systems should not incorporate a cover board.) Cover boards have enhanced adhesion of the membrane to the substrate over insulation facers and hold up better under wind load and hail. Cover boards also protect the insulation

    Photo 4: The greatest concern with the use of polyurethane adhesives is that the insulation board might not be not fully embedded into the adhesive. Weighting the boards at the corners and center with a minimum of 35 pounds for 10 minutes has proven to work well in achieving a solid bond.

    from physical damage and remain robust under foot traffic, while insulation tends to become crushed. Cover boards are dominated by the use of mat-faced modified gypsum products. Hydroscopic cover boards such as fiberboards are not recommended.

  3. Insulation: Now here is a product that designers seldom realize has many parts to be considered. First, let’s look at compression strength. If you are looking to best practices, 25 psi minimum is the way to go. The 18-psi insulation products with a fiber reinforced paper facer can be ruled out entirely, while 20 psi products are OK for ballasted systems. Now let’s look at facers. If you think about it for a second, when I say “paper-faced insulation,” you should first think “moisture absorbing” and secondly “mold growth.” Thus paper-faced products are not recommended to be incorporated if you are using best practices. You should be specifying the coated glass-faced products, which are resistant to moisture and mold resistant. A note to the manufacturers: get your acts together and be able to provide this product in a timely manner.

Additional considerations regarding insulation:

  • Insulation joints and gaps: You just can’t leave joints and gaps open. Show filling the open joints at the perimeter and curbs and around penetrations with spray foam in your details and specify this as well (see Photo 3 and Figure 4).
  • Mechanical attachment: Define the method of attachment and keep it simple. On typical projects, I commonly specify one mechanical fastener every 2 square feet over the entire roof (unless more fasteners are needed in the corners). Reducing the number of fasteners in the field compared to the perimeter can be confusing for contractors and the quality assurance observer, especially when the architect doesn’t define where that line is. The cost of the additional screws is nominal compared with the overall cost of the roof.
  • Polyurethane foam adhesive: Full cover spray foam or bead foam adhesive is taking over for asphalt, at least here in the Midwest, and I suspect in other local markets as well. The foam adhesive is great. It sticks to everything: cars, skylights, clerestories, your sunglasses. So, it is amazing how many insulation boards go down and don’t touch the foam. You must specify that the boards need to be set into place, walked on and then weighted in place until set. We specify five 35-pound weights (a 5-gallon pail filled with water works nicely), one at each corner and one in the middle for 10 minutes (see Photo 4). Yes, you need to be that specific.
  1. Photo 5: The design of exterior walls with metal studs that project above the roof deck is a multi-faceted, high-risk detail that is often poorly executed. Here you can see a gap between the deck and wall through which warm moist air will move and result in the premature failure of this roof. The sheathing on the wall cannot hold the horizontal base anchor screw, and the joints in the board allow air to pass to the base flashing, where is will condense. This is the type of architectural design that keeps on giving — giving me future work.

    Vapor/air barrier: A vapor air barrier can certainly serve more than a function as required for, say, over wet room conditions: pools, locker rooms, kitchens, gymnasiums. We incorporate them in both new construction and re-roofing as a means of addressing construction trade phasing and, for re-roofing, allowing time for the proper modification of existing elements such as roof edges, curbs, vents, drains, skylights and pipe curbs. Be sure to detail the penetrations and tie-ins with wall components.

  2. Deck type: Robust roof decks are best. Specify 80 ksi steel roof decks. Try staying away from joint spacing over 5 feet. Decks should be fully supported and extend completely to roof edges and curbs.
  3. Roof edge design: A key aesthetic concern, the termination point for the roof system, the first line of defense in regard to wind safety — the roof edge is all of these. The construction of the roof edge on typical commercial construction has changed drastically in the last 20 years, from brick and block to metal stud. Poorly designed metal stud parapets will be funding my grandkids’ college education. The challenge for the metal stud design is multifaceted: It must close off the chimney effect, prevent warm moist air from rising and condensing on the steel and wall substrate, create an acceptable substrate on the stud face in which to accept base anchor attachment, and — oh, yes — let’s not forget fire issues. Tread lightly here and create a “big stick” design (see Photo 5).
  4. Roof drains and curbs: As discussed above, there is a great need for coordination and specific detailing here. The rewards will be substantial in regard to quality and efficiency, minimizing time spent dealing with “what do we do now” scenarios.
  5. Slope: Design new structures with structural roof deck slope, then fine tune with tapered insulation.

Final Thoughts

Best practices will always be a balancing act between cost and quality. I believe in the mantra of “doing it right the first time.”

The industry has the material and contractors possess the skill. It’s the design and graphic communication arm that needs to improve to keep everyone working at the top of their game.

Designers, get out in the field and see the results of your details. See firsthand how a gypsum-based substrate board on a stud wall does not hold screws well; how a lap joint may not seal over the leading edge of tapered insulation; how the roof either ponds water at the roof drain or doesn’t meet code by drastically sumping; or how the hole cut in the roof membrane for the drain might be smaller than the drain bowl flange, thus restricting drainage. Seeing issues that the contractors deal with will help you as the designer in developing better details.

Contractors, when you see a detail that doesn’t work during the bidding, send in an RFI and not only ask a question, but take the time to inform the architect why you don’t think it will work. On a recent project here in Chicago, the architect omitted the vapor retarder over a pool. The contractor wrote an explicit explanation letter and RFI to the architect during bidding, and the architect replied, “install as designed.” In these situations, just walk away. For me, this is future work. A local contractor once told me, “I don’t get paid to RFI, I get paid to change order.” He also said, “If I ever received a response to an RFI, I would frame it!”

Manufacturers, too, can raise the bar. How about prohibiting loose base flashings at all times, and not allowing it when the salesman says the competition is allowing it. Have contractors on the cusp of quality? Decertify them. You don’t need the hassles. Owners don’t need the risk.

Seek out and welcome collaboration among contractors, roof systems designers, knowledgeable roof consultants, and engineers. Learning is a lifelong process, and the bar is changing every year. Too often we can be closed off and choose not to listen. At HDG, I am proud to say we have the building owners’ best interests at heart.

By all working together, the future of single-ply membranes can be enhanced and the systems will be retained when the next generation of roof cover arrives — and you know it will.

Liquid-Applied, Vapor-Permeable Air Barrier Is NFPA-285 Fire Rated

KARNAK launches K-NRG Seal VPKARNAK launches K-NRG Seal VP, a high-performance vapor-permeable air barrier for above-grade wall application. The seamless elastomeric membrane seals the building envelope, preventing air passage while allowing vapor permeability. The product is designed to provide the building envelope with superior energy efficiency and mold resistance.

According to the manufacturer, the new liquid-applied, fire-rated vapor-permeable air barrier, evaluated by the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), meets the highest industry standards. K-NRG Seal VP has been tested by UL Laboratories and passes NFPA 285 Fire Test, making it compliant with IBC 2012 and allowing flexibility in choice of insulating materials. It also exceeds ASTM E2357 and ASTM E2178.

The liquid-applied air barrier strongly adheres to most wall construction materials, including exterior gypsum boards, CMU, stone, wood, metal, and damp or dry concrete, making it ideal for multi-story applications. K-NRG Seal VP requires easy spray application using standard spray equipment. When combined with KARNAK sealants and accessories, K-NRG Seal VP forms a complete vapor-permeable wall air-barrier system.

According to the company, With K-NRG Seal VP, building owners can reduce energy costs, improve overall building functionality and safety, as well as contribute to potential LEED certification. “We are proud to launch an air barrier product that offers long-term sustainability and durability in building envelope protection. From architect or specifier, to installer, to building owner and building occupant, K-NRG Seal VP is a product that will benefit everyone,” said Chris Salazar, Chief Operating Officer of KARNAK.

For more information, visit www.karnakcorp.com.

Georgia-Pacific Introduces DensElement Project Map

Georgia-Pacific has introduced the DensElement Barrier System Project Map. This online, interactive map identifies the location of projects using DensElement, in addition to each project’s architect and general contractor.

The map showcases the growing number of job sites adopting DensElement Barrier System as their preferred sheathing solution across the United States. Using the project map, online visitors can explore projects by location, or project type (e.g., sports/recreation, education, healthcare, government/municipality, etc.).

This new tool creates a visual way for architects, engineers, contractors and building owners to gain perspective on the accelerating adoption of DensElement Barrier System on high-profile projects across the country. “DensElement is an innovative, proven solution progressive architects and contractors can rely on, and we want to share the successes that these customers are experiencing,” said Jason Peace, Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management for Georgia-Pacific Gypsum.

The DensElement Barrier System, with AquaKOR Technology, integrates the water-resistive and air barrier (WRB-AB) directly into its gypsum core, beneath the fiberglass mat to create a consistent, performance-tested WRB-AB. According to the manufacturer, the product eliminates the need for building wrap, fluid-applied membranes or peel-and-stick membranes. It’s faster to install and can be installed when it’s wet outside, saving time and labor. The all-in-one Dens brand system is finished with PROSOCO R-Guard FastFlash liquid flashing to fill and seal joints, fasteners, openings, penetrations and transitions. DensElement Barrier System is ABAA listed and WRB-AB approved, and has a customized MasterSpec® specification – 061656 Air and Water Resistive Sheathing Board.

For more information, visit DensElement.com/map.

Acrylic Air Barrier Lowers Installed Costs

The acrylic air barrier resists air and water infiltration, saving energy and preventing moisture build-up.

The acrylic air barrier resists air and water infiltration, saving energy and preventing moisture build-up.

Kemper System America Inc. offers Wall Guardian FW-100A, a liquid-applied fibered acrylic air barrier that also acts as a water/weather barrier and vapor retarder. Evaluated by the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), it delivers air barrier performance – and value.

Wall Guardian FW-100A exceeds ASTM E2357 (Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies) with an air leakage rate of just 0.0004 cfm/ft2 @ 1.57 psf – 100 times better than the test requirement. Notably, the liquid-applied air barrier exceeded the standard in a single coat at 40 mils wet film thickness.

The engineered system is designed to resist air and water infiltration, saving energy and preventing moisture build-up that can lead to mildew and mold. Compared to house wraps and mechanically-fastened weather barriers, Wall Guardian FW-100A can be applied to building material surfaces with a sprayer, roller or brush.

The liquid-applied air barrier offers unified substrate protection, even on curved or other unconventionally shaped walls. The water-based coating is a low VOC product and meets LEED intent at 25 percent recycled content. The applied coating is also Class A fire rated.

In addition to Wall Guardian FW-100A, Kemper System also offers related air barrier component products through its STS Coatings line acquired in 2016. These include GreatSeal LT-100 polyether Liquid Tape for board-to-board joints, windows, doors, masonry, roof flashings, etc., and UT-40 Universal Tape for sealing cracks, transitions, penetrations and seams in exterior substrate and insulation board.

For over 60 years, Kemper System has been a leader in cold liquid-applied, reinforced roofing and waterproofing, having invented the technology. The company offers a full range of Building Envelope solutions to protect against weather, preserve the integrity of surfaces, and enhance the comfort and value of buildings. This encompasses Wall Guardian fibered acrylic air barrier, Roof Guardian Technologies elastomer-based roof coatings, and HeatBloc-ULTRATM radiant heat barrier. Other brands include COLEAN traffic coating systems, and the company flagship for exterior and interior waterproofing, Kemperol reinforced membrane systems.

To learn more, contact Kemper System at inquiry@kempersystem.net or call (800) 541-5455.

Vapor-Permeable, Liquid-Applied Technology Provides Continuous Air Barrier

Soprema introduces SOPRASEAL LM 204 VPSoprema introduces SOPRASEAL LM 204 VP—a one-component, 98 percent solids content, low-odor, vapor-permeable, liquid-applied polyether air barrier product. According to the manufacturer, this new, hybrid STPE technology provides excellent air infiltration and moisture protection while also offering ease of use in low- and high-temperature applications, superior elastomeric performance and tie-in compatibility.

A fully adhered, monolithic membrane option, SOPRASEAL LM 204 VP offers a continuous air barrier that works well even in applications where conformity to complex geometries is a must. It is ultra-low-VOC and moisture curable in low relative humidity and low-temperature applications, while exhibiting excellent freeze-thaw characteristics. It does not shrink and requires less wet film to achieve dry film thickness, according to the company.

The product can be applied in temperatures down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of additional additives. It is also available in an accessory product, SOPRASEAL® Liquid Flashing—a high-quality, 100 percent solid, low-odor, STPE membrane designed to provide air and water protection to critical rough openings while sealing joints and creating a seamless transition to air barrier membranes.

“We are pleased to offer customers even more choices when waterproofing wall systems with the latest expansion of our SOPRASEAL liquid membrane product line,” says Sara Jonas, Marketing Manager, Soprema. “We want to make it as easy as possible for contractors to keep structures energy efficient and comfortable year-round, and with SOPRASEAL LM 204 VP air barrier technology, they now have a strong option for moisture protection behind wall claddings ranging from brick to siding to metal panels, EIFS and stucco.”

Kemper System Announces Acquisition of STS Coatings Inc.

Kemper System America Inc. announces that it is building on its strength in liquid-applied waterproofing with the acquisition of STS Coatings Inc. and its four major brands to address more than waterproofing across the building envelope.

“Specifiers want to work with suppliers that can solve multiple building envelope challenges, including walls and foundations, and this extends our range,” says Richard Doornink, president and managing director, Kemper System America.

“These brands offer cost-performance advantages, and will continue to be available through existing and new distribution channels, including retail. Liquid-applied products are easy to transport to the jobsite, are economic to install, and can be applied to a variety of surfaces.”

  • Wall Guardian Air Barrier – This spray- or brush-applied water-based liquid air barrier system offers three benefits in one — air barrier, water barrier, and vapor retarder. It is for use in cavity-wall constructions, including CMU/brick veneer, steel stud, insulated (continuous insulation), and insulated tilt-up construction.
  • Roof Guardian Technologies (RGT) – These liquid-applied elastomeric roof coating systems help prolong the life of roofs, including metal, smooth-surfaced BUR, polymer-modified asphalt and single-ply roof systems. The RGT line includes 12 products including two Cool Roof rated systems, and two ENERGY STAR certified systems.
  • HeatBloc Ultra Radiant Barrier – This low-emissivity, water-based (low-e) aluminum coating is engineered for attic spaces. Applied to interior underside of the roof deck, it can block over 80 percent of radiant heat to reduce cooling requirements.
  • GreatSeal Construction Sealants – This premium line of caulks and sealants is used on doors and windows, masonry, roofing and siding. All products in the GreatSeal line are 100 percent solids, with no solvents and very low VOCs, and formulated for performance even in damp, dry or cold conditions down to 40F.

Synergies

“There are synergies with distribution and our existing lines, and we intend to build these in the marketplace,” Doornink states. “For example, Roof Guardian Technologies elastomeric coatings now make us competitive on more building envelope projects with a lower price point. In addition, HeatBloc moves us into retail, which creates a trail for other opportunities.”

Doornink says the news is also in keeping with Kemper System America’s vision for 2020. “We intend to continue growing through strategic acquisitions as we become more than waterproofing for our building products customers.”

Kemper System America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kemper System GmbH & Co. KG | Holländische Straße 32-36 | D-34246 Vellmar. Kemper System is part of the IBG group of Companies, a mid-sized industrial holding company with more than 50 sales and distribution, as well as production companies all over the world.

For more information, visit STS Coatings Inc. or contact Kemper System at inquiry@kempersystem.net, or call (800)541-5455.

RCI Announces Speakers for October Building Envelope Technology Symposium

Raleigh, N.C.-based RCI Inc. has assembled a panel of expert speakers to discuss methods for designing sound building exteriors. More than 300 building designers and construction professionals are expected to be in attendance at the association’s annual Building Envelope Technology Symposium, which will be held Oct. 17-18 at the Westin Galleria Houston, Texas.

The program features 12 educational sessions presented by leading building envelope designers. Speakers offer their experience-based insight for specification of sound, durable exterior enve- lopes. Most programs focus on repair and/or sustainable design methods for strengthening and improving existing structures.

Attendees can earn up to 12 continuing-education credits from RCI and the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C. An evening reception after the close of the first day’s meeting will allow those in attendance to network and mingle with fellow professionals.

This year’s topics and speakers include:

The Performance of Weather-Resistant Barriers in Stucco Assemblies
Karim P. Allana, RRC, RWC, P.E. | Allana Buick & Bers Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.

Aluminum Windowsill Anchors and Supplemental Waterproof Flashing Design Practices
Rocco Romero, AIA | Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., Seattle

The Ideal Third-party Warranty: A Risk-managed Approach
Lorne Ricketts, P.Eng. | RDH Building Science Inc., Vancouver

Playing Against a Stacked Deck: Restoration of a Stone Fin Façade
Matthew C. Farmer, P.E. | Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Fairfax, Va.

Everyone Loves a Pool, But What’s Lurking Beneath the Surface?
Rob Holmer, P.E., GE | Terracon Consulting Engineers, Sacramento, Calif.
Michael Phifer | Terracon Consulting Engineers, Sacramento

Design Principles for Tower and Steeple Restoration
Robert L. Fulmer | Fulmer Associates Building Exterior Consultants LLC, North Conway, N.H.

When the Numbers Don’t Work: Engineering Judgement Tips for Historical Buildings
Rachel L. Will, P.E. | Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Chicago
Edward A. Gerns, RA, LEED AP | Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Chicago

Air Barrier Integration: Don’t Entangle Yourself with These Common Pitfalls
Timothy A. Mills, P.E., LEED AP, CIT | TAM Consultants Inc., Williamsburg, Va.

Upgrading the Performance of Heritage Windows to Suit Modern Design Conditions
Scott Tomlinson, P.Eng. | Morrison Hershfield, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Design Considerations for Renewing Podium Waterproofing
Bereket Alazar, RRO, LEED AP BD+C | Morrison Hershfield, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Stéphane P. Hoffman, P.E. | Morrison Hershfield, Seattle

Fully Soldered Metal Roofing: More Complicated Than You Think
Nicholas T. Floyd, P.E., LEED AP | Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Waltham, Mass.

A Case History of ETFE on Today’s Projects
Lee Durston | Morrison Hershfield, St. Paul, Minn.
Shawn Robinson | Morrison Hershfield, Atlanta

For more information, visit RCI’s website, or call (800) 828-1902.

VaproShield’s Self-Adhered System Obtains a Declare Label

VaproShield announces the WrapShield SA Self-Adhered System has completed the process of obtaining a Declare label. The Declare program was launched in 2014 by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), founder of the Living Building Challenge, to promote greater transparency in the building products industry. Referred to as a “nutrition label” for building products, Declare labels list all of the materials found in a given product, as well as its assembly site, life expectancy, and other key details to facilitate informed decisions toward positive human and environmental health. The Declare program aims to give people and businesses greater power when deciding what products to surround themselves with in their home or office.

“While VaproShield products undergo numerous internal and external audits to ensure overall healthfulness and sustainability, finally the Declare label makes it easy to present this information in a tangible way,” says Phil Johnson, managing partner. “We are excited to give our business partners the power to know exactly what goes into the product that is held within the walls of their structure.”

WrapShield SA Self-Adhered System is the first water-resistive barrier (WRB)/air barrier self-adhered sheet good membrane system to earn a Declare label placing the system at the forefront of the transparency movement. In order to qualify for a Declare label, a building product must either be free of, or declare any harmful Red List chemicals, and meet all Appropriate Sourcing Imperatives as determined by the ILFI. WrapShield SA Self-Adhered required no changes to its formulation or material components, because it was designed to be free of harmful ingredients.

“We are excited to participate in such an innovative program,” says Johnson. “It embodies our own sustainability philosophy in that [VaproShield] believes sustainability is as much about creating positive environmental impacts as it is about reducing negative ones.”

Domestically produced in the Midwest, the WrapShield SA Self-Adhered System creates a breathable, energy-efficient, continuous air barrier system that helps prevent moisture from becoming trapped in the building envelope. This can reduce instances of mold, mildew and rot, while helping maintain better indoor air quality and a more enduring building structure. An entirely self-adhering product, WrapShield SA Self-Adhered allows for quick installation that never requires the use of chemical primers.

Air and Vapor Barrier Creates a Seal Between a Low-slope Roofing System and the Building Below

F1 Air & Vapor Barrier from Mule-Hide Products Co.

F5 Air & Vapor Barrier from Mule-Hide Products Co.

F5 Air & Vapor Barrier from Mule-Hide Products Co. allows contractors to quickly and easily create an air- and vapor-tight seal between a low-slope roofing system and the building below.

F5 Air & Vapor Barrier is compatible with a wide variety of roofing systems and can be used on primed substrates, including concrete, plywood, exterior gypsum, DensDeck Prime and SECUROCK. It also can serve as a temporary roof for up to 120 days while work on the finished roofing system is completed.

The membrane is a 40 mil-thick composite consisting of 35 mils of self-adhering rubberized asphalt laminated to a 5 mil-thick woven polypropylene film. Rolls are 39 inches wide and 75 feet long and cover approximately 244 square feet of substrate surface.

F5 Air & Vapor Barrier’s factory-controlled thickness helps ensure that the membrane has uniform barrier properties, reducing moisture movement through the roofing system and helping keep conditioned air inside the building and unconditioned air outside. The woven polypropylene film makes the membrane highly resistant to tears and punctures. The non-skid surface helps keep contractors safe on the job site and is suitable for the bonding of subsequent layers of the roofing system.

A siliconized one-piece release liner prevents the material from bonding to itself in the roll and is easily removed during installation of the barrier.

VaproShield Used on Housing Prototype Commissioned by New York’s Office of Emergency Management

VaproShield was honored to have WrapShield SA Self-Adhered Water Resistive Vapor Permeable Air Barrier Sheet selected for use on an experimental, post-disaster housing prototype located in Brooklyn, N.Y. In development since 2008, the prototype was commissioned by New York’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) with funding from FEMA. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was designated as project manager for the prototype’s construction. Designed by Garrison Architects, the “townhouse” style post-disaster housing consists of five modular units—fabricated by Mark Line Industries—which are stacked on top of each other.

“This is an exciting innovation,” comments Phil Johnson, VaproShield Managing Partner. “These [post-disaster housing] units have the potential to provide safe, reliable housing to the victims of natural disaster as they work to rebuild their communities. VaproShield is a proud contributor.”

While the post-disaster prototype will be on-site in Brooklyn for a year, the modular units are designed to be mobile. The modular units were constructed for easy installation, deconstruction and transport.

“The idea is that no matter where a disaster occurs, these modular units can be placed on a truck and taken there,” says Johnson. “The units need to perform well in every climate, as there is no telling where they may end up, and WrapShield SA Self-Adhered helps with that.”

WrapShield SA Self-Adhered Water Resistive Vapor Permeable Air Barrier Sheet helps to regulate air flow to keep units cool in the summer and warm in the winter, thus reducing energy costs. WrapShield SA Self-Adhered was selected for use on this initial prototype as it provides superior weather protection as well as the durability to withstand exposure in a wide variety of climates.