Fans and Community Rally to Replace Barrel Roof at Roadside America

Crews from Bachman’s Roofing, Building & Remodeling battled winter weather to install a new fully adhered EPDM roofing system from Mule-Hide Products Co.

Crews from Bachman’s Roofing, Building & Remodeling battled winter weather to install a new fully adhered EPDM roofing system from Mule-Hide Products Co. Photos: Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc.

Lovingly and meticulously crafted over a period of more than 60 years, the 6,000-square-foot display of miniature villages at Roadside America in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania, has been featured on the HISTORY channel and in such books as “1,000 Places to See in the USA & Canada Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz and “Weird Pennsylvania” by Matt Lake. To area families, however, the museum is more than just a funky tourist attraction. It is a treasure that has been shared by four generations—one that must be passed on to future generations.

So, when the building’s nearly 65-year-old barrel roof began to fail, threatening to shutter the museum and put its gems in storage for good, the community and fans far and wide rallied. Nearly $80,000 was raised, roofing crews worked in between winter storms, and a new EPDM roofing system was installed to protect the masterpiece below.

A Life’s Work

Dubbed “The World’s Greatest Indoor Miniature Village,” the display at Roadside America is the life’s work of its sole creator, Laurence Gieringer. Fascinated by miniatures from an early age, he made the first piece in 1902 and continued expanding the collection until his death in 1963. The result is a breathtaking snapshot of American rural life spanning more than 200 years, from a frontier town with saloons and horse-drawn wagons and carriages to a 1950s Main Street with a movie theater and tail-finned Chevys. The collection includes 300 hand-built structures, 600 miniature light bulbs, 4,000 tiny figurines, 10,000 hand-made trees, working model railroads and trolleys, moving waterways, wall paintings, and replicas of such landmarks as Mount Rushmore, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and Henry Ford’s original shop in Dearborn, Mich. The twice-hourly patriotic “Night Pageant” features an illuminated Statue of Liberty and the playing of America’s national anthem and Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America.”

Originally housed in the basement of Gieringer’s childhood home and later in the carousel building of an abandoned amusement park, Roadside America moved to its current home in 1953. Still a family business, it is now owned by Gieringer’s granddaughter Dolores Heinsohn, and operated by his great-granddaughter Bettina Heinsohn and her husband Brian Hilbert.

A Preservation Mission

A carpenter by trade, Gieringer fabricated the rafters for the museum’s 80-square-foot-by-123-square-foot barrel roof

Years of water penetration had damaged the existing roof, and a complete tear-off and replacement was in order. The original rafters and roof deck were sound.

Years of water penetration had damaged the existing roof, and a complete tear-off and replacement was in order. The original rafters and roof deck were sound. Photos: Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc.

himself. In 2016—63 years later—they and the original wood plank deck were still in place. According to Carl Rost, general manager of contractor Bachman’s Roofing, Building & Remodeling Inc. of Wernersville, Pennsylvania, the hot-mop-down tar roof had been coated “20 times more than it should have been.” Time and weather had taken their toll. A severe snowstorm in January 2016 brought wind and tree damage. Consistent rain would cause leaks into the attic, with water sometimes dripping to the show floor below.

An elaborate water collection and removal system was created to protect the priceless miniatures. Buckets were placed in the exhibit and items moved whenever water started dripping to the show floor. Tarps—22-feet-by-22-feet—were hung in the attic, zig-zagging through the space to catch water and funnel it into 55-gallon barrels, which were then emptied by pumps.

Supporters Rally

While the patches and stopgap measures had done their job, they clearly were not a permanent solution. A new roof—and a major fundraising effort to pay for it—were needed.

Even with Bachman’s Roofing and the teams at roofing system manufacturer Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc. and the Reading, Pennsylvania, branch of building materials distributor ABC Supply working to keep costs as low as possible, the new roof would cost $80,000. Roadside America launched a GoFundMe.com campaign, raising nearly $19,000. Two anonymous donors contributed the remaining $60,000.

For many supporters, including Bachman’s Roofing Owner and President Eric Bachman and ABC Supply Branch Manager Jeff Smith, helping Roadside America was a matter of ensuring that a family tradition spanning four generations lives on. Their parents had brought them to the museum as children. They, in turn, took their kids, who are now sharing it with their families.

There was no question about helping Roadside America, Rost says. “Eric met with Brian and, within minutes, told him ‘We have to make this work.’”

EPDM Roofing System Selected

A 60-mil EPDM roofing system was chosen for its ease of installation on a barrel roof, its durability and its cost-effectiveness.

After the original roof system was removed, fiberboard insulation boards were fastened to the existing deck with screws and plates. The EPDM membrane was fully adhered using a fast-drying, freeze-resistant, low-VOC bonding adhesive. Photos: Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc.

The original plan was to recover the existing roof, reducing costs and, with winter weather at hand, allowing the crew to get the job done as quickly as possible. Once work began, however, the damage caused by years of water penetration was evident and the job switched to a complete tear-off and replacement.

EPDM roofing systems are common in Berks County, where Shartlesville is located. The membrane’s ease of installation on a barrel roof reinforced the choice to use it on Roadside America’s building.

“We’ve done quite a few barrel roofs and have found that EPDM works best,” Rost says.

Roofing membranes have “memories,” he explains. Rolled tightly for shipping, they want to snap back to that state when laid out on the jobsite. They must be given sufficient time to flatten out prior to installation, or wrinkling can occur. EPDM membranes “relax” much more quickly than other membranes do, particularly in the cold temperatures that the Bachman’s Roofing crew would be working in. The membrane also remains flexible in hot and cold temperatures, enabling it to be easily curved over the barrel roof’s rafters.

“We knew that EPDM would give us a fast, wrinkle-free installation,” Rost says.

EPDM also is less slippery than other membranes, points out Rob Keating, territory manager with Mule-Hide Products, helping ensure that snow will not slide off the curved roof, potentially injuring a museum guest or employee walking below. A snow rail manufactured by Alpine Snow Guards was specified and installed to alleviate previous issues with snow and ice sliding down the roof and damaging an air conditioning compressor.

A black membrane was chosen for its lower cost and because, with eastern Pennsylvania having more heating days than cooling days, it could help the museum manage its heating costs, Rost says. A 60-mil membrane was selected for its durability and long expected lifecycle, he adds, helping the museum reduce its ongoing maintenance costs and prolong the day when re-roofing would again be required.

The rafters—made of one-by-twos, one-by-fours, one-by-sixes, one-by-eights, one-by-tens and one-by-twelves to create the roof’s barrel shape—were still sound.

Fiberboard insulation boards were fastened to the existing deck boards with screws and plates. To accommodate the roof’s irregular shape and the cold temperatures, the EPDM membrane was fully adhered using a fast-drying, freeze-resistant, low-VOC bonding adhesive.

In addition to the barrel roof, the crew replaced an existing 625-square-foot low-slope section of EPDM roofing on one side of the building’s front.

Working Around Winter Weather

January and February bring snow, sleet, ice and wind to Shartlesville—certainly not ideal conditions in which to undertake a re-roofing project. Despite unfavorable weather forecasts, the Bachman’s Roofing crew began work as soon as the necessary funds had been raised and Roadside America gave the green light.

Roadside America is dubbed “The World’s Greatest Indoor Miniature Village.” On display at the museum are more than 300 hand-built structures, 600 miniature light bulbs, 4,000 tiny figurines, and 10,000 hand-made trees, as well as working model railroads and trolleys. Photos: Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc.

“The displays inside are priceless, and if they were damaged by water they couldn’t be replaced,” Rost says. “So, we said we’d work through the bad weather, taking time off as necessary.”

Work began on January 9, 2017. Thanks to some interference by Mother Nature, what normally would have been a one- or two-week job took six weeks. A crew of 10 completed the tear-off and eight professionals installed the new roofing system.

“Our crew endured,” Rost says. “One morning they called to tell me that they wouldn’t be able to work that day. I said ‘The storm went through last night. What’s the deal?’ They said that the parking lot was a sheet of ice. I had to see for myself, so I drove out there. The moment I got out of the car, I fell onto the completely iced-over parking lot.”

Given the roof’s slope, extra attention was paid to safety. Crew members worked carefully, without rushing—particularly when working along the roof’s steep edges. Everyone was harnessed while on the roof and followed all other relevant safety regulations. Rost and the firm’s safety inspector spent extra time monitoring the jobsite.

Mission Accomplished

With the re-roofing project complete, the buckets, tarps, barrels and pumps that once kept Roadside America’s miniature villages dry have been put away. A spring, a summer and an early fall have come and gone, with no leaks. The museum has been saved.

Hilbert extended thanks to those who made it possible. “Without the generous support of so many donors, this project wouldn’t have happened,” he says. “Where do you find that these days?”

Rost adds, “Now future generations can come and enjoy what four generations of our families have already enjoyed.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Bachman’s Roofing, Building & Remodeling Inc., Wernersville, Pennsylvania, Bachmansroofing.com
Local Distributor: ABC Supply Co. Inc., Reading, Pennsylvania, ABCsupply.com

ROOFING MATERIALS

EPDM Membrane: Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc., Mulehide.com
Low-VOC Bonding Adhesive: Mule-Hide Products Co. Inc.
Fiberboard Insulation: Continental Materials Inc., Continentalmaterials.com
Snow Guard: Alpine Snow Guards, Alpinesnowguards.com

Low-Rise Adhesive Now Available in Larger Containers

Mule-Hide Products Co. now offers Helix Low-Rise Adhesive in 15-gallon pony kegs and 50-gallon drums for use in completing larger jobs. Mule-Hide Products Co. now offers Helix Low-Rise Adhesive in 15-gallon pony kegs and 50-gallon drums for use in completing larger jobs. According to the manufacturer, Helix Low-Rise Adhesive provides quick, clean adhesion of approved roof insulations, thermal barriers, cover boards and fleece-backed single-ply membranes to a wide variety of acceptable roofing substrates. The two-component, construction-grade polyurethane foam is applied in a single step, saving crews time and hassle. 

Both parts of the adhesive (Part A and Part B) are ready to use from the container – no mixing required – and are applied simultaneously in a 1:1 ratio through a static mix tip. The adhesive is applied in continuous ribbons or beads spaced 4, 6 or 12 inches apart, depending on the project and code requirements. There is no overspray. The adhesive cures fully in just minutes.
 
A pony keg covers approximately 2,350-7,000 square feet of roof and a drum covers approximately 8,350-25,000 square feet of roof, depending on bead spacing and substrate properties. Containers of Part A and Part B are priced separately but must be purchased as a set.
 
According to the company, the adhesive is odorless and solvent-free and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), making it crew-, building occupant- and environment-friendly.
 
The adhesive eliminates the need for mechanical fasteners, maintaining a puncture-free vapor retarder, preventing thermal bridging and protecting the structural integrity of the roof deck. The adhesive provides superior wind uplift resistance, allowing it to be used on taller buildings and buildings in higher wind zones. In addition, it provides exceptional hail resistance when used as an adhesive for fleece-backed membranes. 
 
In addition to the pony kegs and drums, Helix Low-Rise Adhesive remains available in cartridge twin-pack tubes (covering approximately 125-400 square feet of roof) and two-tank sets (covering approximately 1,000-3,000 square feet of roof). 

TPO System Delivers Energy Efficiency for Company Headquarters

TurnKey Corrections constructed a new 115,000-square-foot in facility in River Falls, Wis.

TurnKey Corrections constructed a new 115,000-square-foot in facility in River Falls, Wis.

If you want it done right, do it yourself. Company owners Todd Westby and Tim Westby take a hands-on approach to running TurnKey Corrections, the River Falls, Wisconsin-based company that provides commissary and jail management services to county corrections facilities nationwide. The Westby brothers also take pride in the fact that TurnKey manufactures the kiosks it provides to its clients and develops and owns the proprietary software used to run them.

So, it’s perhaps not surprising that, when building the company’s new headquarters, Todd Westby, the company’s CEO, founder and general manager, served as the general contractor. Or that he had definite ideas regarding the roofing system that would be installed. Or that he was more than willing to get his hands dirty during the installation process.

Founded in 1998, TurnKey Corrections helps corrections facilities streamline and lower the cost of delivering a variety services to inmates, including commissary, email and email-to-text communication, video visitation, law library access, and paperless intra-facility communication and documentation. Following several years of robust growth, the company had outgrown its three existing buildings. So, it constructed a new 115,000-square-foot facility to bring all operations, including 50,000 square feet of office space and a 65,000 square-foot warehouse where commissary items are stored prior to shipment to corrections facilities, under a single roof and accommodate future success.

“We wanted to be involved in the project from beginning to end so we knew what we were getting and how it was built,” Todd Westby says of the decision to keep construction management in-house. “We wanted to know about anything and everything that was being built for the company in this building.”

In planning the project, Westby initially set two key criteria for the roofing system: that the building would be made watertight as quickly as possible so concrete slab pours and other interior work could be completed, and that the roof would be covered by a warranty of at least 20 years. The design-build firm’s initial plans called for a ballasted EPDM roofing system, but Rex Greenwald, president of roofing contractor TEREX Roofing & Sheet Metal LLC of Minneapolis, suggested a white TPO system, noting that it would meet the quick installation and warranty goals while also enhancing the building’s energy efficiency. Westby was intrigued and, after some research, agreed to the recommendation. In addition to helping reduce cooling costs during summer months, the reflective surface would allow a blanket of snow to remain on the roof during winter months to provide additional insulation.

The TPO roofing system was constructed over a 22-gauge metal fabricated roof deck.

The TPO roofing system was constructed over a 22-gauge metal fabricated roof deck.

The Roof System

The TPO roofing system included a 22-gauge metal fabricated roof deck; two 2.5-inch-thick layers of Poly ISO insulation from Mule-Hide Products Co., with tapered insulation saddles and crickets to aid drainage; and 811 squares of 60-mil white TPO membrane from Mule-Hide Products Co. The insulation and membrane were mechanically attached using the RhinoBond System from OMG Roofing Products. Cast iron roof drains, designed and installed by a plumber, were used rather than scuppers and downspouts—a practice that the TEREX team strongly recommends to prevent freezing during the cold Upper Midwest winters. Walkways lead to the mechanical units, protecting the membrane from damage when maintenance personnel need to access the equipment.

The TEREX team finds the RhinoBond System to be the most efficient and economical attachment method for TPO systems. Specially coated metal plates are used to fasten the insulation to the roof deck and then an electromagnetic welder is used to attach the membrane to the plates. The membrane is not penetrated, eliminating a potential entry point for moisture. And while other mechanical attachment methods require the crew to seam as they go, the RhinoBond System allows them to lay the entire membrane (a task which must be completed in good weather conditions) at once and go back later to induction weld the seams and plates, which can be done when Mother Nature is slightly less cooperative.

Greenwald estimates that the switch from the originally specified ballasted EPDM system to the TPO roofing system and RhinoBond System shaved at least 10 percent off the installation time and reduced the roof weight by 10 pounds per square foot.

Having Westby on-site as the general contractor also sped up the project considerably, Greenwald notes. “He was a huge asset to all of the subcontractors,” he explains. “We could get construction questions answered quickly and could talk through issues and procedures on a timely basis.”

And the most memorable moment in the project for Greenwald was seeing Westby working side-by-side with his crew. “One day we had a delivery truck show up, and Todd jumped on the forklift and helped us unload the truck.”

As sought from the project’s outset, the roofing system is backed by a 20-year, no-dollar-limit labor and material warranty.

With one winter of use in the rearview mirror, the roofing system has exceeded Westby’s expectations. Warehouse space was doubled, but heating costs have been cut in half. The 10-unit heating system also is able to keep the warehouse a uniform temperature, without the cold spots that were common in the old building.

“It really is a beautiful, very efficient and organized-looking roof,” Greenwald says.

Offices & Warehouses

Workforce Essentials, Clarksville, Tenn.

Team

Roofing and Wall Panel Installer: Modern Heating Cooling Roofing, Clarksville, (931) 647-0815
Architect: Lyle Cook Martin Architects, Clarksville
Metal Panel Distributor: Commercial Roofing Specialties Inc., Nashville, Tenn.

Workforce Essentials is a private, non-profit organization providing workforce development services for the Tennessee Department of Labor in a nine-county area.

Workforce Essentials is a private, non-profit organization providing workforce development services for the Tennessee Department of Labor in a nine-county area.

Roof Materials

To meet design objectives, four different PAC-CLAD products were selected. The roof uses 20,500 square feet of 16-inch, 24-gauge Silver Metallic Tite-Loc Plus panels. The façade features 7,800 square feet of Precision Series wall panels finished in Sierra Tan and installed vertically. Complementing the façade is 4,000 square feet of 12-inch Almond Flush panels installed as soffit. In addition, 4,520 square feet of 24-gauge Medium Bronze flat sheet was used for fascia and trim.

“The Tite-Loc Plus panels were long—85 feet—and were rollformed onsite,” says Bill Kimbrough Jr., estimator and project manager for Modern Heating Cooling Roofing. “Getting them up to the high roof was a challenge. All other profiles were fabricated and delivered by Petersen. Currently, PAC-CLAD is about the only product we use.”

Metal Panel Manufacturer: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

The roof uses 20,500 square feet of 16-inch, 24-gauge Silver Metallic Tite-Loc Plus panels.

The roof uses 20,500 square feet of 16-inch, 24-gauge Silver Metallic Tite-Loc Plus panels.

Roof Report

Workforce Essentials is a private, non-profit organization providing workforce development services for the Tennessee Department of Labor in a nine-county area in the middle of the state. Located on a highly visible urban-infill site, the new Workforce Essentials headquarters and career training center is situated at a “gateway entry” intersection to the downtown district. The new 40,000-squarefoot facility consolidates services that had been provided at agency offices previously scattered around the city. After initially considering renovation of an aging building on the site, the organization’s board of directors determined that construction of a new, energy-efficient headquarters was a better course of action. Good visibility and an easily identifiable aesthetic were important to site selection and building design criteria.

Different departments within the building are visually and strategically defined in separate wings and entrances. The administrative office wing to the south is defined by a vertical brick corner tower and sloping metal roof planes and cladding. The larger career training center portion of the building is introduced by metal wall panels in a calming color palette of Sierra Tan. Thematic entry canopies, protruding aluminum sunshades and aligned horizontal fenestration tie together the architectural composition. The overriding idea is for the building to serve as a machine with different parts working together for a common purpose.

Brad Martin, principal/designer at Lyle Cook Martin Architects, explains: “Workforce Essentials has a variety of regional offices throughout the area it serves. All are different and very few are freestanding. The organization has never really had a corporate look or identity. Now, with this new building, we can incorporate its design features and architectural aesthetics into future new buildings and renovations and begin to develop an iconic look.”

Photos: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

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