Metal Roof and Walls Help Home Reach Lofty Design Goals

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Project Takes Wing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTOS: CHIP ALLEN ARCHITECTURAL IMAGES

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A Bermuda-style Roof Composed of Aluminum Includes Intricate Hips, Ridges, Vents and Gutters

Sometimes the most interesting roofing jobs don’t start out as planned. That was the case for Iain Fergusson, owner of Highland Roofing Co., Wilmington, N.C., when he bid on an asphalt shingle reroof for an 11,000-square-foot ranch-style home located along a coastal creek in Wilmington.

Initially bid as an asphalt-shingle reroof, this 11,000-square-foot ranch-style home located along a coastal creek in Wilmington, N.C., features an aluminum Bermuda-style roof. PHOTO: Chris Fisher

Initially bid as an asphalt-shingle reroof, this 11,000-square-foot ranch-style home located along a coastal creek in Wilmington, N.C., features an aluminum Bermuda-style roof. PHOTO: Chris Fisher

After he submitted his bid, the architect, Michael Kersting of Michael Ross Kersting Architecture, Wilmington, asked for an option for standing-seam metal roofing, which is the specialty with which Fergusson established Highland Roofing in October 2005. Although Fergusson was confident about his crew’s ability to install an exceptional metal roof, he became a little nervous when the next request came from the architect.

“We were asked to price out an option for Bermuda-style metal roofing,” he recalls. “Of course I knew what a Bermuda roof was but I had no experience with it; you don’t get much opportunity to do that here.” However, Fergusson put the price together and won the job.

On the island of Bermuda, roofs are constructed of rectangular slabs of local limestone that are mortared together in a stepped pattern over a hip roof frame. The distinctive beauty of these roofs has begun to enter the U.S. though traditional stick-frame housing doesn’t lend itself to heavy limestone. The Wilmington residence consists of a wood-framed roof and brick veneer walls that would not support the weight of limestone, so Kersting opted for metal—specifically aluminum, ensuring the roof would be fully warranted in the coastal environment.

Once the team began moving forward with the Bermuda-style roof, a final set of plans made Fergusson even more anxious. “The plans had all kinds of details that came out of left field—built-in gutters and EPDM sections of the roof,” he says. “The big curve was that the architect wanted to make a feature out of the hips and ridges, because traditional Bermuda-style roofing is wrapped seamlessly around the hips and looks really neat and clean. Kersting knew that it wouldn’t be possible with sheet metal; it would have to be cut and mitered on the corners, so he had the idea of putting raised 2 by 4s on all the hips and ridges and having us wrap that.”

These details are what make this home’s roof impressive and where most of the work came in for Fergusson, who acted as project manager, and his team, which consisted of Roofing Superintendent Richard Hill, Sheetmetal Fabricator Michael Mai and a four-man install crew led by Foreman Marvin Mungia. After considering different panel sizes to ensure oil canning would be avoided, Kersting and Fergusson settled on 0.032 aluminum in 12-inch panels, and Fergusson’s crew was ready to put its skills to the test.

The architect wanted to make a feature out of the hips and ridges; traditional Bermuda-style roofing is wrapped seamlessly around the hips.

The architect wanted to make a feature out of the hips and ridges; traditional Bermuda-style roofing is wrapped seamlessly around the hips.

PROFILES IN COMMUNICATION

Although Fergusson established Highland Roofing in 2005 with a focus only on residential metal roofing, he expanded into all types of steep-slope products within the first couple years. In 2009, Fergusson began moving into the commercial roofing market; today, 70 percent of his revenues are commercial. In the residential sector he has a good mix of reroofing and custom new construction. It’s the custom side that Fergusson takes most pleasure in. “I really enjoy custom residential so much because it’s challenging and so different and it’s generally the most aesthetically appealing project we get to do,” he says.

Because of the firm’s focus on custom work, Fergusson’s crew already was proficient in good communication with each other. But the complexities of the Wilmington job would put Fergusson in direct communication with Kersting, which is unusual. “A lot of times the architect is insulated from the roofing contractor by the GC on the job,” Fergusson explains. “Communicating directly with the architect was a good thing. We could explain which of his ideas would and wouldn’t work.” In addition, Fergusson brought roofing samples to Kersting’s office where they were tweaked before 1-square mockups were tested onsite to see how the installation would be completed along the hip.

Photos: Chris Fisher, unless otherwise noted

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