Retrofit Roofing Project Highlights Advancements in Building Materials and Methods

The roof was replaced on Huntsman Corporation’s Advanced Technology Center, an L-shaped, 70,000-square-foot facility housing expensive equipment and research labs. A TPO membrane roof system was installed over high-density polyiso cover board.

The roof was replaced on Huntsman Corporation’s Advanced Technology Center, an L-shaped, 70,000-square-foot facility housing expensive equipment and research labs.

Over the last few decades, computer and scientific innovations have evolved at a furious pace, with new technologies rapidly replacing only slightly older ones. In this race for the latest and greatest, it sometimes feels like the devices in our pockets and controlling our home stereos are from some virtual reality, while the building materials of our homes and workplaces are relics of a bygone age. But, looks can be deceiving, and the polyiso insulation industry is playing a role in evolving our built environment.

For example, many commercial buildings seem only superficially different from those built a generation ago when seen from a distance. But, from behind the glass curtain walls and updated building amenities, we may not notice the disruptive technologies that have substantially improved building systems in recent years. Informed by sophisticated research and utilizing advanced components, cutting-edge building materials are thinner, stronger and more resilient than traditional products. Adopting them in both new construction and renovation can appreciably improve building performance, while also decreasing environmental impact. These products are particularly attractive to forward-looking companies interested in buildings that will prove cost-effective over the long term.

A Case in Point

When the Huntsman Corporation began considering facility improvements for its Huntsman Advanced Technology Center (HATC) in The Woodlands, Texas, they decided to embrace the most innovative materials available. This four-building campus, located about 35 miles north of Houston, serves as the company’s leading research and development facility in the Americas, so it is appropriate that it be built with products as advanced as the technology it houses. Replacing the aging PVC roof on Building 1 was a key element in this upgrade.

After more than two decades of exposure to the Texas heat, the roof was approaching the end of its useful life. With expensive equipment and valuable research in labs throughout the building, Huntsman didn’t want to take any chances in modernizing the L-shaped, 70,000-square foot facility. With the added incentive of receiving the highest-level certification from its insurer, the company decided to remove and completely replace the existing roof with state-of-the-art materials.

Commercial roofs in Texas are required to have an insulation R-value of 20 or higher, so simply replacing the existing membrane and lightweight insulating concrete on a metal deck that the building had used before with the same materials would not have sufficed. In addition, current codes which say that old roofs need to be brought up to current code when doing a tear-off job. After reviewing the options, they chose to install thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane roofing over high-density polyiso cover board.

The polyiso cover boards are lightweight and easy to cut, which reduces both time and labor costs for installation. They add strength and protection to a roofing system, enhancing the system’s long-term performance. They can be shipped with approximately three times more square feet per truckload than gypsum products, so fewer trucks are needed, leading to fuel and transportation savings. Plus, they can be cut without specialized tools and workers don’t have to worry about the dust that is created when sawing, as they would with other types of cover boards. And most importantly, these high-density boards are based on proven technology.

A TPO membrane roof system was installed over high-density polyiso cover board.

A TPO membrane roof system was installed over high-density polyiso cover board.


Drawn to polyiso for its high R-value per inch of thickness, compressive strength, impressive fire-, wind- and moisture-resistance, long-term durability, and low environmental impact, Huntsman partnered with roof mechanics experienced in working with these materials and committed to both safety and quality.

If the original installers of the previous roof 22-years earlier had witnessed this new project, they would have been amazed. Instead of hoisting heavy materials up ladders, pallets are deposited on the roof by crane. Boards are attached with fasteners and plates or foam adhesives to the deck, and robotic welders seal the seams in the TPO membrane.

The new roof is resistant to ultraviolet, ozone and chemical exposure, which contributes to a lifespan of more than 20 years, while being virtually maintenance-free. Workers who access the roof to remove debris from the tall trees on the HATC campus can easily stay on the safety-taped walk pad areas. The roof materials are all recyclable later, leading to a very low environmental impact.

Increasing the thermal resistance to an impressive R-21 for the combined roof system, the building now exceeds local, state and international building codes. This added insulation and the reflective white surface of the new roof are going to lower energy consumption and lead to greater indoor comfort and a decreased load on HVAC systems. The roof is much less susceptible to the mold, mildew, and will help prevent water from pooling and ponding as it did on the old roof.

A new commercial roof is a substantial investment. Luckily, with all the cost savings inherent in both the installation process and the whole-life use of high-density polyiso cover boards, companies don’t have to forego state-of-the-art materials for financial reasons. Factoring in the ease of installation (from cutting to less dust) and weight of the cover boards, retrofitting an older building with updated roof systems can be a win-win for both clients and crews.

PHOTOS: HUNTSMAN CORPORATION

Asphalt Roofing Solution Provides Cedar Shake Alternative

IKO offers an asphalt roofing solution as an alternative to wood shakes.

IKO offers an asphalt roofing solution as an alternative to wood shakes.

As an alternative to traditional cedar shakes, IKO offers an asphalt roofing solution, IKO Armourshake premium shingles.

Dimensional Wood Shake Look

Premium roofing shingles are continuing to gain popularity with building owners and roofing professionals for many reasons, namely for their durability and affordability compared with traditional wood shakes.

Manufactured with color-blending technology, Armourshake shingles feature a dimensional profile with a contoured design. The Armourshake profile also rivals the look of hand-hewn, random-cut cedar shakes without the added upkeep and expense.

Also, with cedar and other woods used to construct natural wood shakes, the finished look may take a few years to fully develop. However, with Armourshake shingles, building owners can choose the weathered shake look they desire in one of five rich color blends, including Chalet Wood, Greystone, Shadow Black, Western Redwood and Weathered Stone.

The roofing shingles also offer weather resistance thanks to their construction.

Unlike real wood shakes that are flammable, Armourshake shingles have earned the Class A Fire Resistance rating tested against ASTM E108 (by FM). Plus, they resist the type of fading, warping and breakage that can occur over time with natural wood shake shingles.

Premium Accessories for a Finishing Touch

When installing the shingle, it is ideal to pair it with a ridge cap shingle to complete the look in both aesthetic and performance qualities.

An addition to the IKO PRO4 roofing component system, IKO’s Ultra HP High Profile Ridge Cap Shingles have been designed to complement the aesthetics and performance attributes of IKO’s premium shingle offerings, including IKO Armourshake, as well as IKO Crowne Slate and IKO Royal Estate shingles.

For more information on Armourshake premium shingles and IKO’s full line of roofing products and solutions, visit the website.

Lightweight and Fire-resistant Polymer Roofing Tops Tennessee Multipurpose Center

Opened in late 2013, the multipurpose LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge in Tennessee includes 232,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space in a sprawling lodge-type setting. Topping off the impressive structure is 965 squares of Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes in the Verde blend of light and dark green tiles to complement the facility’s Smoky Mountain setting.

Topping off the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is 965 squares of Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes in the Verde blend of light and dark green tiles, which complement the facility’s Smoky Mountain setting.

Topping off the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is 965 squares of Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes in the Verde blend of light and dark green tiles, which complement the facility’s Smoky Mountain setting.

“The size of this complex plus the building code limitations made it impossible for us to specify weighty, expensive real slate for the roof,” says Michael Smelcer, principal with SRA Architects Inc. “After researching our options, we selected the DaVinci Valoré Slate product because of aesthetics, weight and Class A fire classification. The owners of the center were very open to using this particular polymer slate roofing because it gave them the mountain lodge look they desired.”

Single-width Valoré Slate polymer roofing tiles resemble the classic traditional slate tile found on upscale projects throughout the world. Available in 12-inch tile widths, the 1/2-inch-thick Valoré Slate tiles are twice the thickness of most other synthetic slates. The roofing tiles come in a full spectrum of authentic slate colors and are made of pure virgin resins to guarantee a sustainable product. The 100 percent recyclable tiles resist impact, fire, hail, insects and algae.

Built over a two-year time frame by the team at Merit Construction Inc., Knoxville, Tenn., the LeConte Center has a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 14 multipurpose rooms of varying sizes, along with pre-function and kitchen space, loading docks and spacious lobbies. Outdoor patios overlook the Little Pigeon River with views of Mount LeConte from many angles.

“Because of the close proximity to Little Pigeon River, our site design had to be low-impact,” Smelcer adds. “This included underground detention, rain gardens, vegetated swales and permeable pavers. We’ve provided similar architectural work for other large facilities, so our firm was confident in our ability to meet the design needs of this exciting project.”

The roof on the LeConte Center was installed by Detail Slate and Tile, Greenville, S.C. “We install several DaVinci roofs each year on residential and commercial projects,” says Joe Whitmore, vice president of operations for Detail Slate and Tile. “This was the largest project we’ve had the opportunity to install polymer roofing material and it went very smoothly. The result is a roof that blends in with its natural setting, is very durable, requires virtually no maintenance and will last for decades to come.”

Proposed ASTM Standard Will Provide Guidelines for Fire Resistive Materials Inspection

A proposed ASTM standard will provide a needed set of guidelines for conducting and reporting on the on-site inspections of fire resistive materials. Anyone interested, particularly people with inspection experience, is invited to help create the standard (WK54567, Practice for the On-Site Inspection of Installed Fire Resistive Materials).

Both spray-applied (SFRM) and intumescent (IFRM) materials are used on structural steel and other substrates to maintain structural integrity and safe conditions for as long as possible when a fire happens.

“These materials are a vital component in designing schools, hospitals, homes, offices, factories, petrochemical plants, and other places where structural steel is crucial to supporting the load of the structure,” says ASTM member Phil Mancuso, technical services manager, Isolatek International. “It is important that steel and other key structural elements are directly protected and properly inspected to ensure safety.”

In addition to giving building officials and fire marshals a way to inspect SFRM and IFRM materials, the proposed standard will offer potential code language that references both existing and new methods to inspect the materials. The proposed standard will also be used by architects, specifiers, building owners, and others involved in the fireproofing industry.

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member at www.astm.org/JOIN.

Polymer Shakes Mimic Cedar while Protecting Historic Estates

When it was time for homeowners at the historic Fleur du Lac Estates in Homewood, Calif., to select new roofing materials, they looked for a product that would mimic the look of cedar but bring them advantages to protect their homes and buildings from Mother Nature. After a comprehensive search, they determined that the Class A fire and Class 4 impact ratings of Bellaforté polymer shake tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes met their needs.

The Class A fire and Class 4 impact ratings of the Bellaforté tiles bring peace-of-mind to residents within the Fleur du Lac Estates, Homewood, Calif.

The Class A fire and Class 4 impact ratings of the Bellaforté tiles bring peace-of-mind to residents within the Fleur du Lac Estates, Homewood, Calif.

A prime filming location for the 1974 movie “Godfather II,” Fleur du Lac Estates is now a private condominium development located on the beautiful west shore of Lake Tahoe. A Yacht Club and Boat House, 22 individual homeowner units and a variety of shared recreational facilities make the historic 1938 compound a much-sought-after retreat.

Fire Resistance a Prime Benefit

Years of harsh weather conditions took their toll on the real cedar shake roofs at Fleur du Lac Estates. Damage from repeated leaks, hail, ice dam issues, snow and other weather conditions recently convinced the board of directors it was time to invest in new roofs for the entire estate.

“We started with our two most valuable community structures, the Yacht Club and Boat House,” says Stewart Dalie, maintenance supervisor and project manager at Fleur du Lac Estates. “Our plans are to reroof all of the buildings in the Tahoe Blend over the next five to seven years. We did a tremendous amount of research to determine what roofing products would look realistic in this setting, meet the new codes required for roofs in our area, yet offer us superior qualities and a long life span.

“Selecting the fire- and impact-resistant Bellaforté shake material from DaVinci Roofscapes means we won’t have to be concerned with the potential spread of flames should our area ever be touched by wildfires. That’s a huge concern for our geographic area. However, not having to worry about wind-blown embers landing on a roof and then catching the building on fire is a tremendous relief.”

The Class A fire and Class 4 impact ratings of the Bellaforté tiles bring peace-of-mind to residents within the community. The durable roofing tiles have the appearance of natural hand-split cedar shake with slanted sawn edges and staggered lengths, but with the hassle-free qualities of a manufactured product. At a 1-inch average tile thickness, Bellaforté Shake roofing tiles remind many residents of jumbo cedar shakes prevalent in the Lake Tahoe area.

The Bruce Olson Construction team incorporated snow fences and snow guards from Rocky Mountain Snow Guards into the structures.

The Bruce Olson Construction team incorporated snow fences and snow guards from Rocky Mountain Snow Guards into the structures.

Safeguarding a Historic Setting

It’s not surprising that homeowners at the upscale Fleur du Lac Estates want to invest in the best possible roofing material. This is a mountain and lakeside homeowners association where every home has a deeded slip in the marina, resort-style services are the norm and aesthetics of the community are vigilantly upheld.

Originally the summer home of famous industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, the 15-acre lake-shore site was constructed beginning in 1938. After Kaiser sold the estate, it went through a series of transitional uses from the 1960s to 1979, including serving as a private school and as the site for many on-location scenes for Francis Ford Coppola’s film, “The Godfather II.” Only in the 1980s did the current project begin to refurbish existing key structures and transform original homes on the property to individually owned homes.

“Our community has always embraced the history of this setting while looking toward protecting its future,” says Lane Murray, general manager at Fleur du Lac Estates. “That’s one of the key reasons we wanted a roofing product that has the look of real cedar shakes but with manmade advantages like resistance to fire, impact and high winds.”

Superior Roofing Installation

Despite a variety of challenges with removing the old roofs and prepping for the new synthetic shake tiles, the team at Bruce Olson Construction, Olympic Valley, Calif., has successfully tackled their first DaVinci Roofscapes installation project at Fleur du Lac Estates.

“The roofing surface for the Yacht Club and Boat House were in bad shape and very uneven,” says Taylor Greene, general manager of Bruce Olson Construction. “We had to plane these into workable surfaces before getting started. Once we got started the product installed beautifully. We added flashing material to cover some valley locations, which made the project look exceptional. To achieve the realistic look, gable end flashing that concealed the manufactured edge of the DaVinci product was added.”

The company, which does residential and multifamily new construction, works in several states, including Hawaii. It has already started work on several additional roofs in the Fleur du Lac complex.

“The Bellaforté roofing looks amazing,” Greene says. “Best of all, these polymer shakes are perfect for this geographic area. Traditional wood shakes ‘hold’ the water from melting snow. Those saturated shakes weigh more and cause the freeze line to be a part of the shake. With the DaVinci product, the water is not absorbed into the tile, so snow melting is faster and more efficient. This can also help reduce the ice damming effect in many locations.”

Laughing at Mother Nature

Nestled amidst stunning mountain peaks and world-famous ski conditions, Fleur du Lac Estates can experience heavy snowfall during the winter months. The property is just five minutes from Homewood Mountain Ski Resort and the area usually sees snow in excess of 180 inches total. That’s one reason why the community decided to have the Bruce Olson Construction team incorporate snow fences and snow guards from Rocky Mountain Snow Guards into the structures.

“In our area it’s very common to use snow guards and fences to help keep snow from falling on individuals and property,” Greene explains. “The previous structures at Fleur du Lac Estates didn’t have any type of snow-retention system. We believe having these products in place now—which were very simple to put in during the polymer shake installation—will make life much easier for property owners no matter how much snow Mother Nature delivers each season.”

Rocky Mountain Snow Guards custom designed the snow-retention system for Fleur du Lac Estates, incorporating its Drift III+ snow fences and Rocky Guard RG10 snow guards. The system was developed to handle the 180-PSF snow load that can occur in this geographic location.

“The snow guards are attached in a pattern above the snow fence that creates friction to hold the snow ‘slab’ in place while the snow fence provides a barrier beyond which the snow slab won’t slide,” says Lars Walberg, president of Rocky Mountain Snow Guards. “Using the combination of snow guards and snow fences gives this project a balanced snow-retention system that has the ‘look’ the owners desired.”

For homeowners, the new Bellaforté roofs on the Yacht Club and Boat House are tempting reminders of what will be on their own homes in the years to come.

“Now that the Yacht Club and Boat House roofs are complete we’re hearing very positive comments from our residents,” Murray says. “Folks are eager for the work to continue in the common areas so that their individual homes can soon get these terrific-looking new roofs!”

Shingles in an Open-tooth Design Create a Dramatic Look on Large-scale Roofs

Paramount is the original PABCO Signature Cut Shingle. The open tooth design creates rich depth for a dramatic look on large-scale roofs while its strength and durability provide a functional roof for many years to come.

Paramount is the original PABCO Signature Cut Shingle. The open-tooth design creates rich depth for a dramatic look on large-scale roofs while its strength and durability provide a functional roof for many years to come.

Paramount is the original PABCO Signature Cut Shingle. The open-tooth design creates rich depth for a dramatic look on large-scale roofs while its strength and durability provide a functional roof for many years to come. Paramount features up to a limited lifetime warranty for single family residential structures and a 50-year fully transferable limited warranty for all other structures. All colors are available with Scotchgard Protector, which PABCO Roofing warrants that your roof will resist the black streaks caused by algae for 20 years.

Paramount comes in Antique Black, Driftwood, Oakwood, Pewter Gray, Weathered Wood, Barkwood and Rocky Beach.

Paramount is UL classified to meet ASTM wind resistance standards, UL 790 Class A, Fire Resistance Standard and complies with CSA A123.5, Fiberglass Shingle Standard and ASTM D3018 Type I, Fiberglass Shingle Standard.

Fire Resistance Is Built into Polyiso’s Polymer

ENRGY 3.E from Johns Manville

ENRGY 3.E from Johns Manville

ENRGY 3.E from Johns Manville is the next generation of polyisocyanurate roof-board insulation whereby the fire resistance has been engineered into the polymer backbone without the need for added halogenated flame retardants. Unlike conventional halogenated flame retardants that are free un-bonded plasticizers mixed with the foam, the reactive polymer modifier used to produce ENRGY 3.E is a non-halogenated organo-phosphorus monomer that chemically reacts and bonds directly to the polymer network. This results in the polyiso performance attributes of the existing ENRGY 3 while being inherently fire-resistant and meeting all current fire codes.

Roof Decks: Don’t Underestimate the Backbone of the Roof System

NOTE: This article is intended to provide general information while conveying the importance of the roof deck as an integral part of a roof system. Additional information about specific effects and concerns in regard to roofing can be found in The NRCA Roofing and Waterproofing Manual and various roof-cover manufacturers’ design guides.

Wood plank decks can provide a dramatic exposed roof deck.

Wood plank decks can provide a dramatic exposed roof deck.

The roof deck is the backbone and an integral component of all roofing systems. Its main function is to provide structural support for the roof system and, therefore, is a building element that needs to be designed by a licensed design professional because proper support of the roofing above is critical to the roof system’s success.

Roof decks also add thermal performance and fire resistance and ratings, provide slope for drainage and enhance wind-uplift performance. They must accommodate building movement and often determine the attachment method of the vapor retarder, insulation and membrane.

Roof Deck Types

There are many types of roof decks being installed today:

  • Steel
  • Precast concrete panel
  • Structural concrete
  • Cementitious wood fiber
  • Wood planking
  • Plywood/OSB
  • Poured gypsum

Some decks are covered with topping fills that become the base for the roof system and may also be an integral structural component:

  • Concrete
  • Lightweight insulation concrete topping
  • Lightweight aggregate concrete topping

Other deck toppings are available, such as poured gypsum and lightweight concrete with integral insulation, but these are considered substrate covers and not roof decks.

The most prevalent roof deck in the U.S. for commercial buildings is steel. On the West Coast, plywood/OSB is very popular. In addition to the roof decks already mentioned, in the course of roof-replacement work the designer may come in contact with the following:

While the “plate” test is not a preferred method, it can quickly and inexpensively give an indication of retained moisture in lightweight aggregate concrete roof deck covers.

While the “plate” test is not a preferred method, it can quickly and inexpensively
give an indication of retained moisture in lightweight aggregate
concrete roof deck covers.

  • Book tile
  • Lightweight precast concrete planks
  • Precast gypsum planks
  • Transite

Collaboration with the Structural Engineer

Because a roof deck is the foundation for the roof system, the designer needs to coordinate the roof system design requirements for the roof deck with the structural engineer to ensure the performance of the roof system. For example, the roof deck may need to extend to the roof edge. In this example, the roof deck may not need to extend to the roof edge for structural concerns but is needed to support the roof system; the roof designer must address this. If the roof deck is structurally sloped, the designer and engineer must determine whether the low point is a potential drain location. Are there steel beams in the way of the drain location? The roof deck must be attached to the structure to prevent uplift. And the designer and engineer must determine what the deflection of the roof-deck span may be between structural supports. For example, steel deck is sometimes installed with spans of 7 feet between joists and flexes (deflects) under foot traffic. This typically is not a good condition onto which a ridged roof system, such as a bituminous one, should be installed. It cannot be expected to accommodate such deflection. PHOTOS: Hutchinson Design Group Ltd. [Read more…]