Using Engineered Geofoam for Garden Roofs

For most of the past century, the rooftops of commercial and institutional buildings have largely been places to locate unsightly mechanical systems. Architectural treatments, such as parapets and screens, provide visual relief from such equipment. Now, roofing professionals and building owners increasingly look at the roof as “found space”—a place to be planted and used, instead of hidden.

Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed MPK 20 building sports a 9-acre green roof using EPS geofoam from Insulfoam.

Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed MPK 20 building sports a 9-acre green roof using EPS geofoam from Insulfoam.

Throughout the U.S., garden roofs (or living roofs) are growing in popularity with more than 5.5 million square feet installed in 2014, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Most of that total was for private rather than public projects, indicating this is not just a government trend. In addition to providing attractive and usable open space, garden roofs offer environmental benefits, such as helping to slow and filter urban run-off.

Some of America’s largest companies have installed green roofs. Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., truck plant final assembly building sports one of the world’s largest living roofs at 454,000 square feet. In 2015, Facebook opened its MPK 20 office building in Menlo Park, Calif., with a 9-acre living roof featuring a 1/2-mile walking trail and more than 400 trees.

If you haven’t worked on a garden roof yet, it is likely only a matter of time until you do.

Addressing the Challenges of Garden Roofs

Weighing a fraction of soil, EPS geofoam fill creates ultra-lightweight landscaped features on Facebook’s garden roof.

Weighing a fraction of soil, EPS geofoam fill creates ultra-lightweight landscaped features on Facebook’s garden roof.


Adding plants and park-like amenities to a roof increases the complexity of the roofing assembly. Garden roofs present two primary challenges for roofing professionals to solve: minimizing the dead load and preventing moisture intrusion.

The project team for the Facebook MPK 20 building’s green roof met this two-fold need—and more—with expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam.

Weighing considerably less than soil, EPS geofoam is an ultra-lightweight engineered fill that can be used to create contoured landscape features, such as hills and valleys. The material weighs from 0.7 to 2.85 pounds per cubic foot, depending on the product type specified, compared to 110 to 120 pounds per cubic foot for soil.

Despite its low weight, EPS geofoam is designed for strength and has better load bearing capacity than most foundation soils. Geofoam’s compressive resistance ranges from approximately 2.2 psi to 18.6 psi (317 to 2,678 pounds per square foot) at a 1 percent deformation, depending on the product.

The garden roof on Facebook’s MPK 20 building provides ample open space and a half-mile walking trail for employees.

The garden roof on Facebook’s MPK 20 building provides ample open space and a 1/2-mile walking trail for employees.

EPS geofoam is also effective at addressing the second challenge of garden roofs: managing moisture absorption. The moisture performance of the various components in a green roof assembly is critical; retained water imposes additional loads on the roof and increases the risk of water damage to the roof assembly. EPS geofoam meeting ASTM D6817 standards works well here as it only absorbs 2 to 4 percent moisture by volume, even over long-term exposure, and it dries quickly. The moisture performance of EPS has been demonstrated in extensive in-situ applications and real-world testing, including research conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. After burying EPS in wetted soil for nearly three years, the lab found that the material absorbed only 1.7 percent moisture by volume.

In addition to enabling lightweight, durable landscape features and helping to defend against water, EPS geofoam provides thermal insulation in garden roofs. Roofing professionals have used EPS insulation in roof assemblies for decades because it offers the highest R-value per dollar among rigid foam insulations.

Expect More Demand

Although green roofs currently account for a small portion of the billions of square feet of roofs in the U.S., expect to see more demand for them given their aesthetic and environmental benefits. High-performance materials, like EPS geofoam, can help provide a long-lasting, durable green roof assembly.

PHOTOS: Insulfoam

NRCA Partners with The Review Solution to Collect Customer Reviews

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has announced its partnership with Franklin, Tenn.-based The Review Solution in order to provide members with the added benefit of collecting customer reviews at the point of service. These customer reviews can be posted to leading review websites such as Google+, Yelp, Houzz, Home Advisor, BBB and Angie’s List.

The platform centers on an app that works on all iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets. The service requires no long-term contract.

Features of The Review Solution include mobile and job-site readiness, reviews collected by email from past satisfied customers, and the ability to facilitate the posting of reviews to major online review sites. Additionally, multiple users from multiple locations can use the app, and business owners can receive real-time text and email notifications for all submitted reviews. Positive reviews for the members’ businesses can be automatically syndicated to their Facebook and Twitter pages.

NRCA’s affinity program offerings are a benefit of membership that offers products and services from affinity program partners at significant member discounts.

CertainTeed Webisode Delves into Integrity Roof System

The fifth installment in the CertainTeed 2013 Living Spaces Facebook Home Makeover Video Contest webisode series delves into the CertainTeed Integrity Roof System, designed to provide optimum performance regardless of weather conditions. The system consists of WinterGuard and DiamondDeck underlayments that offer long-term roof protection in conjunction with SwiftStart starter shingles and CedarCrest hip and ridge shingle caps.

Starring the Bielfelt family of Mentor, Ohio, the webisode details the family’s quest for a new roof to complement the natural appeal of the century-old home. The homeowners selected CertainTeed Landmark Pro Max Def Weathered Wood shingles to create the perfect look of multi-dimensional visual appeal and beautiful shadows. CertainTeed’s Max Def colors tout a richer mixture of surface granules that enhance the dimensional quality of the shingles and lead to a brighter, more vibrant appearance.

CertainTeed 5-Star Green and Master Shingle Applicator contractor, RJK Construction Co., of Willoughby, Ohio, completed the installation of the durable shingles, which will protect the home for years to come.

Grand prize winner of the $75,000 exterior makeover contest, the Bielfelts, are the subject of a series of CertainTeed Living Spaces webisodes documenting the renovation of their 100-year-old home. The series follows the family, along with CertainTeed 5-Star Green, 5-Star Fence and Master Shingle Applicator contractors, from the planning stages of the renovation through its completion.

In the last webisode, RJK Construction Co. installed WinterGuard and DiamondDeck roofing underlayment, as well as CertaWrap, CertaTape and CertaFlash housewrap products to ensure a water- and wind-tight barrier to protect the century-old home’s original structure.

To view all of the webisodes, music videos and video entries from the 2013 $75,000 Exterior Living Spaces® Home Makeover, visit the CertainTeed Living Spaces Facebook page or YouTube channel.

New CertainTeed Webisode Highlights Attic Ventilation

CertainTeed’s fourth webisode in the 2013 Living Spaces Facebook Home Makeover Video Contest, featuring the Bielfelt family of Mentor, Ohio, dives deep into the importance of superior weather-resistance and proper ventilation as part of a healthy whole-home system.

CertainTeed 5-Star Green and Master Shingle Applicator contractor, RJK Construction Co., of Willoughby, Ohio, installs Winterguard and DiamondDeck roofing underlayment as well as CertaWrap, CertaTape andCertaFlash housewrap products in the webisode to create a water- and wind-tight barrier to protect the century-old home’s original structure.

Grand prize winner of the $75,000 exterior makeover contest, the Bielfelts are the subject of a series of CertainTeed Living Spaces webisodes documenting the renovation of their 100-year-old home. The series follows the family, along with local contractors, from the planning stages of the renovation through its completion.

In the first few webisodes, the homeowner selected multiple products, including Cedar Impressions and Monogram siding, Restoration Millwork trim, EverNew decking and railing, Bufftech fence and Landmark Pro roofing. The homeowner also utilized the CurbAppeal iPad app, ColorCoach virtual swatch book and ColorView design tool, which allows homeowners to visualize how products will look on their home.

To view all of the webisodes, music videos and video entries from the 2013 $75,000 Exterior Living Spaces Home Makeover, visit the CertainTeed Living Spaces Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Choose a Winner Among Four Finalists in ‘Shake It Up’ Exterior Color Contest

DaVinci Roofscapes, a provider of polymer roofing, has announced the five finalists in the 2014 “Shake it Up” Exterior Color Contest. Public online voting is open from May 19 – June 1, 2014, to determine which finalist receives the most votes to win the $5,000 cash grand prize to help the winner add color to the exterior of his or her home.

Led by national color expert Kate Smith, judges evaluated more than 125 contest entries from homeowners across the country wanting to “shake up” the exterior of their homes with color. The five finalists, who will each receive a professionally-created color rendering and product wish list of how they can transform their home’s exterior by adding colorful products to their home, include:

Brigitte Meehan of Elgin, Ill., with “Trapped in Cookie Cutter Land”
Eric Nogami of Perkasie, Pa., with “Historic Pennsylvania Stone Farmhouse”
Marquis Cayce of Nashville, Tenn., with “LOVVE SHAKE!”
Kimberly Schwerdtfeger of Bel Aire, Kan., with “Ugliest House on the Block”
Justin and Rachel Vedder of Fort Wayne, Ind., with “White Washed in Williams Woodland”

“Again this year the judging was a challenging experience because there were so many houses that qualify as needing color exterior assistance,” says Smith, president and chief color maven of Sensational Color. “The homes of the five finalists are all beautiful properties, but they could each benefit from a colorful makeover.

“One finalist’s home is ‘white on white’ and begs for colorful accents while a ‘cookie cutter’ development home needs colorful help to make it stand out in the neighborhood. Then there’s a home that the homeowner deems the ‘ugliest house on the block’ that truly needs colorful new products to help with a transformation. All five of the finalists now have a ‘color blueprint’ to follow with product and color recommendations to give new life to their homes.”

Now that the finalists have been selected, their “before” house image along with the artist’s rendering of what the home could look like, are all posted on the DaVinci Facebook contest page. From May 19 – June 1, people can visit the site and cast their vote for the grand prize winner. The finalist generating the most online public votes will receive the $5,000 cash grand prize.

The artist renderings of the finalist’s homes showcase a variety of color hues recommended by Smith along with colorful polymer Slate and Shake roofs from contest sponsor, DaVinci Roofscapes. Additional colorful products from the product partners of the contest (including Fypon urethane millwork and Therma-Tru entry doors) are also specified on the renderings. The combination of the products and color expertise of Smith showcase how each home can be transformed.

The 2014 “Shake it Up” Exterior Color Contest grand prize winner will be announced on June 10, 2014.

CertainTeed Launches Second Webisode Featuring Facebook Home Makeover Contest Winner

CertainTeed launched its second webisode in the 2013 Living Spaces Facebook Home Makeover Video Contest featuring the Bielfelt family of Mentor, Ohio. In this webisode, the family is empowered by CertainTeed’s digital design and color tools, allowing them to take a more active role in designing their home’s exterior makeover.

Using the CurbAppeal iPad app, ColorCoach virtual swatch book and ColorView home visualization design tool, the family takes you along as they view and try on roofing, siding and trim color and profile options, and see them applied to a photo of their own home before installation. This, along with guidance from their 5-Star Green and Master Shingle Applicator contractor, RJK Construction Co., of Willoughby, Ohio, helped them choose a winning combination of products to create a vibrant exterior.

Grand prize winner of the $75,000 exterior makeover contest, the Bielfelts are the subject of a series of CertainTeed Living Spaces webisodes documenting the renovation of their 100-year-old home. The series follows the family, along with CertainTeed 5-Star Green, 5-Star Fence and Master Shingle Applicator contractors, from the planning stages of the renovation through its completion. In the first two webisodes, the homeowner selected multiple products, including Cedar Impressions and Monogram siding, Restoration Millwork trim, EverNew decking and railing, Bufftech fence and Landmark Pro roofing.

This summer, yet another lucky homeowner will be eligible to receive $75,000 worth of exterior building products, including installation. To enter the contest, homeowners need to round up their cast of kin, show off their acting talents and upload their most entertaining 30- to 90-second video to the CertainTeed Living Spaces Facebook page. Videos should creatively explain why the home needs a makeover using CertainTeed¹s expansive selection of polymer, insulated and vinyl siding, roofing, housewrap, decking, railing, fence and trim. Find more information and complete contest details.

CertainTeed offers Freedom of Choice through its portfolio of roofing, long-lasting polymer, insulated and vinyl siding as well as fence, railing, decking and exterior trim. CertainTeed offers the advantage of using exterior products from a single source that are designed to mix-and-match with each other and feature authentic textures, versatile styles and rich color combinations, for a beautifully coordinated look. As the result of a strong commitment to environmental responsibility, CertainTeed is the first manufacturer to issue and publish third-party validated life cycle assessments (LCA) for its vinyl and trim product lines.

Professional Roofing Contractors Donates a New Roof and So Much More

Matt Brinck (left) and Jonathan Price plan Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook roof giveaway with Dawn Holley of United Way of Bedford County. The giveaway would not only provide a free roof to a family in need, but also would contribute funds to United Way of Bedford County for every Facebook “like” on Professional Roofing Contractors’ page during the promotion.

Matt Brinck (left) and Jonathan Price plan Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook roof giveaway with Dawn Holley of United Way of Bedford County. The giveaway would not only provide a free roof to a family in need, but also would contribute funds to United Way of Bedford County for every Facebook “like” on Professional Roofing Contractors’ page during the promotion.

Everyone should have the charitable spirit of Jonathan Price, vice president of Professional Roofing Contractors, Shelbyville, Tenn. Price prides himself in giving back to the community he grew up in and that supports his business. His roofing contracting company, which was established in 1996 and has a 70 percent commercial focus, has donated roofs to charitable entities like Habitat for Humanity, and Price is a member of the local Rotary Club and United Way of Bedford County’s board of directors.

Shelbyville is not a large town—20,105 residents per the 2010 census—and Price, who manages the contracting company’s marketing, found Facebook easily facilitates conversation between Professional Roofing Contractors and the community. “I hear daily from people in the community who say it was awesome that we did this or that,” Price says. “They’re picking up our activities from Facebook.”

In 2013, Price decided to take the lead on a charitable roofing giveaway that he would run through Facebook. “We basically asked for a photo of the existing roof and a 100- to 200-word explanation about what was going on, why they needed a roof and why they should win,” Price recalls. He enlisted United Way of Bedford County to help with promoting the giveaway and offered the organization $5 for each Facebook “like” Professional Roofing Contractors received during the promotion.

John Morris (left), the local rep for Atlas Roofing, and Matt Brinck, residential sales for Professional Roofing Contractors, congratulate Jo Gentle, winner of Professional Roofing Contractors’ roof giveaway. Based on the success of the contest, Professional Roofing Contractors plans to make the roof giveaway an annual event.

John Morris (left), the local rep for Atlas Roofing, and Matt Brinck, residential sales for Professional Roofing Contractors, congratulate Jo Gentle, winner of Professional Roofing Contractors’ roof giveaway. Based on the success of the contest, Professional Roofing Contractors plans to make the roof giveaway an annual event.

“We were excited about the opportunity,” says Dawn Holley, United Way of Bedford County’s executive director. “Not only would there be a family that truly needed but couldn’t afford a new roof, but contributions from the ‘likes’ would come back to United Way to be divvied out among 20 agencies that provide valuable services throughout the area.”

In addition to promoting the giveaway on Facebook and their websites, Price and Holley recorded commercials for a local radio station; the station’s hosts also talked about the giveaway on air. Holley promoted the giveaway to United Way of Bedford County’s 20 partner agencies, and the local newspaper wrote several articles about the giveaway before and after the winner was chosen.

During the month-and-a-half-long promotion, Professional Roofing Contractors received 20 entries on its Facebook page. Price chose a panel of judges—Holley; Laurrie Batey, Professional Roofing Contractors’ accountant; and John Morris, the local Atlas Roofing rep—to narrow the entries to three finalists. “We kept narrowing them down; it was a challenge because we could see the need in every one of the entries,” Holley notes.

Dawn Holley, executive director of United Way of Bedford County, receives a check for $500 from Larry Price (middle), president, and Jonathan Price, vice president of Professional Roofing Contractors, Shelbyville, Tenn. The roofing contracting company donated $5 to United Way of Bedford County for each “like” added to its Facebook page while collecting entries for a charitable roof giveaway.

Dawn Holley, executive director of United Way of Bedford County, receives a check for $500 from Larry Price (middle), president, and Jonathan Price, vice president, of Professional Roofing Contractors. The roofing contracting company donated $5 to United Way of Bedford County for each “like” added to its Facebook page while collecting entries for a charitable roof giveaway.

“After the three finalists were chosen, we opened the contest up to a vote on Facebook,” Price says. “To vote, visitors had to ‘like’ our page. Then we counted up the votes.” The winner of the free roof—valued at $5,000 with materials donated by Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, and labor provided by Professional Roofing Contractors—was Jo Gentle of Brownsboro, Ala. (The other two finalists also received prizes donated by the local Sears, United Grocery Outlet and Victory Nissan.)

Professional Roofing Contractors’ giveaway not only gave Gentle the roof her family’s home desperately needed, but it also provided $500 to United Way of Bedford County based on 100 likes added to the roofing contracting company’s Facebook page during the promotion. That money was distributed among United Way of Bedford County’s 20 partner agencies.

“When you have a small United Way like ours, partnerships like the one with Professional Roofing Contractors are vital,” Holley says. “When you give to United Way, those dollars are going to so many different organizations and touching so many lives. This promotion did so much more in our community beyond helping the family that received the roof. I just want to give a big thank you to Jonathan and Professional Roofing Contractors for including us in the promotion.”

Jo Gentle’s roof was about 20 years old and had many leaks, resulting in rotten decking. In her Facebook entry, Gentle uploaded a photo of a giant hole in her ceiling’s sheetrock, with which Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook followers obviously sympathized when they selected her the winner of a new roof.

Jo Gentle’s roof was about 20 years old and had many leaks, resulting in rotten decking. In her Facebook entry, Gentle uploaded a photo of a giant hole in her ceiling’s sheetrock, with which Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook followers obviously sympathized when they selected her the winner of a new roof.

Jo Gentle's new roof with materials donated by Atlas Roofing and labor donated by Professional Roofing Contractors.

Jo Gentle’s new roof with materials donated by Atlas Roofing and labor donated by Professional Roofing Contractors.

PHOTOS: Professional Roofing Contractors

OMG Roofing Products Is on Facebook

OMG Roofing Products has established a Facebook page.

The new page is designed to provide ongoing news and updates to the market. Planned content includes all information that supports the company’s brand promise of proving products and services that improve contractor productivity and enhance roof system performance.

As such, the page will focus on product and installation tips, upcoming webinars, trade shows and company activities, OMG field team information, as well as a variety of product and marketing programs and announcements.