A Roof Coating Is the Right Answer for Florida Condo Complex

Photos: KARNAK Corporation

Educated customers make the best decisions.

That philosophy is shared by Frank Scelzi of Munyan Restoration Waterproofing and Painting Service of Tampa Bay Inc. The company was founded in 1951 as a painting and waterproofing company, and over the years it has evolved into a general contractor that handles restoration of the entire building envelope, including the roof.

Munyan Restoration often educates its customers through seminars, which sometimes have the added benefit of bringing in new business. According to Scelzi, that was how he got involved in the Sage Condo project in St. Petersburg, Florida. “We have a marketing department, and we do what’s called ‘lunch and learns,’” he says. “Our engineer also has several continuing education classes approved for facility managers and building owners who want to keep up to date on certain things. We have these several times throughout the year, and one of the property managers said he needed a roofing inspection.”

The property manager was worried that his roof needed to be replaced, and he asked Scelzi to take a look. Scelzi found the existing TPO roof was nearing the end of its service life, and it had some minor tears and punctures, but he believed the roof would be a good candidate for a restoration coating. He contacted Joe Prussel, Southeast U.S. Regional Manager for KARNAK Corp., to confirm his conclusion and determine which product would be the best fit.

“After the initial evaluation, Frank brought me back to walk the roof and look at the condition of it,” Prussel says. “Frank wanted to give them an option of coating in lieu of tearing everything off and transporting all of the trash to the dump — avoiding not only the cost but the environmental impact that would have, as well as the disruption to the residents that live there because the building has a multi-level roof.”

After adhesion tests proved a high-solids silicone coating would be an excellent fit, Scelzi submitted a written proposal and he and Prussel put on a presentation for the board and the property manager. “We told the board that we’ve been on the roof and had seen the damage that is up there, and we feel that it is a good candidate for a coating application,” Scelzi recalls. “We went through the procedure with them. We told them how we clean the roof, how we do our repairs, apply our primer, do our tie-in work, and ultimately apply the coating.”

After he detailed the safety plan and documented the experience and training of his crews, Scelzi told the residents what to expect during the coating application, stating, “There’s really going to be no disruption of your lifestyle while the coating system is going on.”

The board had been budgeting for a roof replacement, and the coating application was substantially less expensive. It would also be approved for the 20-year warranty the board sought. “They decided to go forward with it,” Scelzi says. “This was a real quick turnaround, which is unusual in the condo market. We were at a board meeting on a Thursday night and had a signed contract Friday morning.”

Following the Plan

A couple of weeks later, the Munyan Restoration crew was executing the plan laid out at the board meeting.

The building had a main roof on the 12th floor and two other roof sections on the fifth floor, totaling approximately 30,000 square feet. The main roof was sloped toward the interior, and its outer edges were approximately 6 feet above the center. “Everything slopes into the roof’s interior to make it more architecturally pleasing,” Scelzi notes. “It gave you a real weird feeling when you stepped out on that roof, but as far as setting up a safety perimeter, it made things fairly easy. The roof also had built-in tie-off points, so our guys could be harnessed, and that made the safety aspect very easy for the guys up there.”

The roof on the Sage Condo complex was restored using a high-solids silicone coating system manufactured by KARNAK. Photos: KARNAK Corporation

The first step was washing the roof with 799 Wash-N-Prep, an environmentally safe cleaner that can go right into the roof drains and the water system. “The entire roof was cleaned,” notes Scelzi. “We used a power washer and a round scrubber head that really raises the dirt from the roof. The roof was pretty dirty, but it really came out very, very clean and it was a real good surface for us to do our repairs and start doing our tie-in work.”

Repairs were made to seams and penetrations using Karna-Flex 505 WB repair mastic with fibers, using a brush application. The next steps included applying the primer and the coating.

The 180 Karna-Sil Epoxy Primer is a two-part epoxy that can be applied with spray equipment or a roller. A roller was used on this project, and it was applied at a rate of 3/4 of a gallon per square. “It really enhances the adhesion of the coating to the roofing membrane,” notes Prussel. “This is one of the products we did an adhesion test with and got very good results. It dries fairly quickly — in three to four hours — which makes it very user friendly.”

After the primer was dry, the Karna-Sil 670 high-solids silicone coating was applied. The product was chosen for several reasons, including its excellent performance in the adhesion test and the fact that the owner wanted a white coating. The product also allowed the contractor to meet the 20-year warranty with only one coat, minimizing labor costs.

The slope of the roof was another key consideration, as crews wanted to make sure the product didn’t run or migrate when they put it on. “What was really nice about this system from KARNAK was the high-solids silicone, even with the angle of the roof, the coating just stayed there, so we could really get our millage,” notes Scelzi. “On this job, we even exceeded it in some areas, which was good.”

For the 20-year specification, the coating was applied at a rate of 3 gallons per square, or 46 dry mils. As they put the coating down with rollers, crew members constantly checked the thickness with a mil gauge. After the project was completed, destructive testing confirmed the proper mil thickness was achieved, and then the test areas were repaired.

Smooth Operation

Weather was a concern, as rain, dew and fog are common in the area. “We had a couple of days we had to stand down due to the weather, but other than that, the project went very smoothly,” Scelzi says. “It really shows you what coatings are supposed to do — make it more friendly for the building owners and for the applicators who put it down.”

It also minimizes disruption for the residents. “We had some material we had to stack in certain areas, but the residents never even knew we were there unless they saw that material,” Scelzi says.

Prussel points out that coating applications also pose less liability for owners, as the roof area is never exposed to the weather, as it would be during a tear-off. “With a coating, there is never a liability of an open roof, and especially in Florida in summertime, you never know when you’re going to get some rain.”

Feedback on the job has been positive, notes Scelzi. “The owners, property manager and board members are very happy,” he says. “It’s a nice, clean-looking product and there are no seams. It’s a monolithic system. They are very pleased with the result, and it cost a lot less than a roof replacement.”

The project included a contract for an annual maintenance program. According to Prussel, proper maintenance not only safeguards the warranty, it can save owners money in the long run by ensuring the likelihood that the roof will be a good candidate for another coating application when the warranty period nears its expiration.

“Whenever we do a presentation for a building owner, a board, or a property manager, we always stress the importance of maintenance,” Prussel says. “It’s extremely vital to any roofing project, be it a coating or a new membrane, that a certified applicator of that manufacturer observe the roof a minimum of once a year, maintain it, make any repairs, and make a report for the owner.”

Scelzi and Prussel believe that teamwork between the manufacturer and the contractor is essential at every phase of the job. “As the manufacturer working with the applicator, we have a technical support team that can advise the applicator which product would be the best fit for that substrate,” says Prussel. “We are there to specifically design a system that is the best fit for the owner of that building, and we can advise the contractor on the application, and they can lay out the best option for that customer. We want to make sure our product will work, our product will last, and everybody will be happy.”

Scelzi agrees. “It gives the customer a good feeling to know they have a quality contractor and a quality manufacturer standing behind them,” he says.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Munyan Restoration Waterproofing and Painting Service of Tampa Bay Inc., Clearwater, Florida, www.munyanpainting.com

MATERIALS

Roof Coating: Karna-Sil 670 high-solids silicone, KARNAK, www.karnakcorp.com

Primer: 180 Karna-Sil Epoxy Primer, KARNAK

Repair Mastic: Karna-Flex 505 WB, KARNAK

Cleaning Agent: 799 Wash-N-Prep, KARNAK