FlashCo Becomes Exclusive U.S. Partner for Thaler Roof Accessory Specialty Products

FlashCo Manufacturing, Inc. recently entered into an exclusive partnership agreement with Thaler Metal Industries Ltd. Canada. FlashCo will be marketing and selling the Thaler roof accessory specialty product lines including drains, flashings and vents to the United States market. FlashCo and Thaler offer a complementary set of roof flashing products for the

roofing industry. FlashCo is a market leader in low slope, single-ply flashings and steep slope lead flashings. Thaler has been an innovator and market leader in spun metals including the development of one of the first retrofit drain solutions, according to the company.

FlashCo will immediately begin marketing and selling Thaler products through its distribution and partner network in the United States. FlashCo is currently incorporating the Thaler roof drains, stack jack flashings, gravity vents and relief vents into its existing product lines. The addition of the Thaler products enhances FlashCo’s market leadership in the re-roof and new construction markets.

“We have been talking for several months now,” says Greg Morrow, FlashCo President. “The

synergies are tremendous, not just from a product standpoint, but also from a business standpoint. Thaler, like FlashCo, puts a strong emphasis on speed and customer satisfaction. We knew that it was a good fit on the product and people sides.”

“FlashCo is an ideal partner for us,” explained Joe Magistrale, Thaler General Manager. “We have straight-forward objectives to make and sell quality products, however we know we can’t do this alone. We’ve tried other US partnerships in the past, but working with FlashCo we can already tell will be different. FlashCo’s footprint throughout the entire US is very important to us, and we see action that tells us they are very serious about making this successful. We anticipate making a shockwave across the US with our new FlashCo partnership.”

Thaler holds numerous patents for its innovative products including its RDX30 retrofit drain.

According to the company, Thaler’s pioneering design enables the RDX30 to be installed 10 times faster than other drains without the need for tools, or cutting. The RDX30 features Thaler’s patented SuperSeal (expansion seal) technology that is critical in preventing leaks caused by backflow pressure. In addition, the SuperSeal keeps the Thaler drain clear of the obstructions found in mechanically sealed systems. Thaler’s SuperSeal design advantages enable the RDX30 to drain 30 percent faster than other drains in the market and also eliminates debris build-up in the drain body pipe.

“Our business philosophy focuses on researching market needs, designing innovative solutions and producing products that provide longer life than any others on the market,” adds Mr. Magistrale. “In FlashCo we have found a like-minded partner who delivers quality products and has an outstanding direct sales and support team. We are very excited about what this partnership will produce.”

“For FlashCo, it’s the opportunity to partner with another industry leader,” says Mr. Morrow. “Thaler is the original designer of numerous product innovations and their drains, flashings and vents adds complementary products to our existing lines. We expect the Thaler products to sell quite well here in the US and it’s a great honor for us to have the opportunity to be Thaler’s exclusive partner here in the States.”

For more information, visit www.FlashCoMfg.com or www.ThalerMetal.com.

Ponding Water Basics: Proper Drainage Design and Low-Slope Roofs

Roofing professionals install a new asphalt roof on the Broward County Stephen Booher Building in Coral Springs, Florida. Photo: Advanced Roofing Inc.

A low-slope asphalt roofing system is cost effective, durable and reliable. Multiple layers of weatherproof membranes protect a building, its residents and the property it houses. There are a few design elements that will help building owners get the most from their roofing system. Managing ponding water is essential to properly maintaining a roof.

Ponding water is defined as the water which remains on a roof 48 hours or longer. Water may accumulate on a low-slope roof due to rain, snow or runoff from rooftop equipment. Ponding water can have major negative consequences, regardless of the type of roofing system. Proper design, installation and maintenance of roofing structures can prevent this condition and its associated problems.

The adverse effects of ponding water on roofs can include:

  • Deformation of the deck structure:Ponding water can substantially increase the load on roof decks. As water accumulates, deck deflections can increase, thereby resulting in additional ponding water, which could compromise the structural integrity of the deck.
  • Damage to the roof surface:Ice formations develop and move constantly with changes in temperature. This movement can “scrub” the roof membrane to such an extent that considerable physical damage to the membrane can occur.
  • Growth of algae and vegetation:When water stands for long periods of time, algae and vegetation growth will likely occur, and may cause damage to the roof membrane. Additionally, vegetation can clog drains and cause additional ponding.
  • Accumulation of dirt and debris in the ponding area:Dirt, debris, and other contaminants can affect and damage the membrane surface. The can also lead to clogged drains.

Proper design and installation are crucial factors in roof system performance. This photo shows an Atactic Polypropylene (APP) modified bitumen membrane being applied by torch to a low-slope roof. Photo: ARMA

Ponding water may lead to accelerated erosion and deterioration of the membrane surface that can result in failure of the roof system. Allowing even relatively small amounts of moisture beneath the roof membrane may reduce the thermal efficiency of the insulation. More importantly, moisture intrusion can cause serious damage to the deck, insulation, and membrane as well as the building’s interior.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommends that roof designs provide adequate slope (minimum of ¼ inch per foot) to ensure that the roof drains freely throughout the life of the building and to thereby avoid the effects of ponding water. Model building codes also require a minimum ¼ inch per foot slope for new construction projects, and require positive drainage for re-roofing projects. These requirements are intended to prevent water from ponding on roof surfaces.

Managing Ponding Water

Here are a few best practices to manage ponding water:

  • Adequate sloping should be taken into account during the design process. A roof’s structural frame or deck should be sloped, and drainage components like roof drains and scuppers should be included in the design.
  • In addition, secondary (or emergency) drains may be required by local plumbing codes to help reduce the risk of a structural failure due to clogged drainage systems. Talk to your roof membrane manufacturer and/or roof system designer to determine the proper location of these components.
  • If a deck does not provide the necessary slope to drain, a tapered insulation system can be used. A combination of different approaches — single slope, two-way slope, and four-way slope — is often used to achieve the necessary slope and to allow for moisture drainage.
  • Additionally, crickets installed upslope of rooftop equipment and saddles positioned along a low-point between drains, can help prevent localized ponding in conjunction with a tapered insulation system.
  • Building designers and owners should work with contractors and roof manufacturers to determine which methods are best and appropriate for a roof assembly’s long-term performance, whether it’s a new construction or re-roof project.

The NRCA Roofing Manual: Membrane Roof Systems—2015, states the following: “NRCA recommends that designers make provisions in their roof designs for positive slope.”

The manual spells out that slope generally is provided by:

  • Sloping the structural framing or roof deck
  • Designing a tapered insulation system
  • Proper location of roof drains, scuppers and gutters
  • A combination of the above

By following the proper drainage practices detailed above, building owners can positively impact their low-slope roofing system and help to ensure it will remain durable and reliable throughout its service life.

To obtain specific information about ponding water on particular products and systems, contact your roof material manufacturer. For more information about low-slope asphalt roofing systems, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.

Single-Ply Roofing Best Practices: Doing Everything Right the First Time.

Figure 1: Designing resilient roof systems is the best of practices. When developing details, we find it very helpful to draft out the roof system (for each different system), noting materials and installation methods. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

Single-ply membranes have risen from being the “new guy” in the market in the early ’80s to become the roof cover of choice for most architects, consultants and contractors. Material issues have for the most part been resolved, and like no other time in recent history, the industry is realizing a period of relative calm in that regard. Whether EPDM, TPO or PVC, the ease of installation, the cleanliness of the installation (versus the use of hot or cold bitumen), the speed at which they can be installed, and the material costs all blend to make these materials a viable option for watertight roofing covers. But with this market share comes issues and concerns, some of which are hurting owners, giving forensic consultants such as myself too much business, enriching attorneys, and costing contractors and, at times, designers dearly.

Following are some of my thoughts on various issues that, in my opinion, are adversely affecting single-ply membrane roof systems. Paying attention to these issues will bring about best practices in single-ply applications.

Specifying the Roof by Warranty

OMG, can architects do any less? Don’t get me started. The proliferation of “canned” Master Specs which call for a generic 10-year or 20-year warranty and then state to install the product per manufacturer’s guidelines is disheartening. Do

Figure 2: Coordinating with the mechanical engineer in the detailing of the pipe penetrations is critical. Here you can see all the components of the curb, penetrations, roofing and waterproofing are noted. We recommend that the same detail be on the mechanical sheets so that at least an 18-inch curb is known to all. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

designers realize that manufacturers’ specifications are a market-driven minimum? When architects leave out key details, they are simply relying on the roofing contractor to do what is right. This deserves another OMG. The minimum requirements for a warranty can be very low, and the exclusions on a warranty quite extensive. Additionally, a design that calls for products to be installed based on achieving a warranty may result in a roof system that does not meet the code. Owners are often oblivious to the warranty requirements, and all too often fail to ensure the standard of care until the service life is shortened or there is storm damage — sometimes damage the roof should have withstood if it were properly designed and detailed.

If one is not knowledgeable about roof system design, detailing and specification, then a qualified roof consultant with proven experience in single-ply membranes should be retained. Roof systems and their integration into the impinging building elements need to be designed, detailed and specified appropriately for the building’s intended use and roof function. By way of example, we at Hutchinson Design Group typically design roof systems for a 40- to 50-year service life (see Figure 1); the warranty at that point is nice, but almost immaterial. Typical specifications, which are project specific, cover all the system components and their installation. They are typically 30 pages long and call out robust and enhanced material installations.

More Than the Code

I recently had a conversation with a senior member of a very large and prominent architectural firm in the Chicago area and inquired about how they go about designing the roof systems. The first thing he said was, “We do what is required by code.”

Photo 1: The roof drain sump pans shown here were provided and installed by the plumbing contractor, not the steel deck installer. Having the roof drain level with the top of the roof deck allows for a proper integration of the roof drain and roof system.

What I heard was, “We give our clients the absolute poorest roof the code allows.” An OMG is allowed here again. Does it really need to be said again that the code is a minimum standard — as some would say, the worst you are allowed to design a building by law? Maybe you didn’t realize it, but you are allowed to design above the code. I know this will shock a few of you, but yes, it’s true. Add that extra anchor to prevent wood blocking from cupping. Add extra insulation screw fasteners to improve wind uplift resistance; if too few are used, you may meet the code, but your insulation will be susceptible to cupping. Add that extra bead of polyurethane adhesive. (If I specify 4 inches on center, then perhaps by mid-day, on a hot and humid day, I might get 6 inches on center — as opposed to specifying 6 inches or 8 inches on center, and getting 12 inches on center in spots.) Plan for construction tolerances such as an uneven decks and poorly constructed walls. Allow for foot traffic by other trades. These types of enhancements come from empirical experiences — otherwise known as getting your butt in the ringer. Architects need more time on the roof to observe what goes on.

It’s About Doing What is Right

Doing it right the first time isn’t all that difficult, and it’s certainly less stressful than dealing with the aftermath of doing so little. The cost of replacing the roof in the future could easily be more than double the original cost. Twenty years ago, I

Figure 3: Coordinating with the plumbing engineer, like coordinating with the mechanical engineer, is a requirement of best practices. In this drain detail, we can see the sump pan is called out correctly, and the roof drain, integration of the vapor barrier, extension ring, etc., are clearly defined. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

chaired an international committee on sustainable low-slope roofing. At that time, the understanding of sustainability was nil, and I believe the committee’s Tenets of Sustainability, translated into 12 languages, helped set the stage for getting designers to understand that the essence of sustainability is long-term service life. That mantra seems to have been lost as a new generation of architects is at the helm. This is unfortunate, as it comes at a time when clients no longer ask for sustainable buildings. Why? Because they are now expected. The recent rash of violent and destructive storms — hurricanes, hail, intense rain, high winds and even wildfires — have resulted in calls for improvement. That improvement is called resiliency. If you have not heard of it, you are already behind. Where sustainability calls for a building to minimize the impact of the building (roof) on the environment, resiliency requires a building (roof) to minimize the impact of the environment on the building. This concept of resiliency requires designing a roof system to weather intense storms and to be easily repaired when damaged. (Think of Puerto Rico and consider how you would repair a roof with no power, limited access to materials, and manpower that might not be able to get to your site.)

Achieving resiliency requires the roof system designer to:

  1. Actually understand that roofs are systems and only as good as their weakest link. Think metal stud parapet and horizontal base anchor attachment; only forensic consultants and attorneys like to see screws into modified gypsum boards.
  2. Eliminate your old, out-of-date, incorrect details. Lead vent flashing and roof cement cannot be used with single-ply membrane.
  3. Design the roof system integration into associated barrier systems, such as where the roofing membrane (air/vapor retarder) meets the wall air barrier. You should be able to take a pencil and draw a line over the wall air barrier, up the wall and onto the roof without lifting it off the sheet. If you cannot, you need to redesign. Once you can, you need to consider constructability and who may get there first — the roofer or air barrier contractor. Then think material compatibility. Water-based air barrier systems don’t react well when hit with a solvent-based primer or adhesive.

    Photo 2: This roof drain is properly installed along with 6 inches of insulation and a cover board. The drain extension ring is 1/2 inch below the top of the cover board so that the water falls into the drain and is not held back by the clamping ring, resulting in ponding around the roof drain.

    Perhaps the roofing needs to be in place first, and then the air barrier brought over the top of the roofing material. This might require a stainless-steel transition piece for incompatible materials. Maybe this requires a self-adhering membrane over the top of the roof edge prior to the roofing work, as some membranes are rather rigid and do not bend well over 90-degree angles. You as the designer need to design this connectivity and detail it large and bold for all to see.

  4. Design the roof system’s integration into the impinging building elements, including:
  • Roof curbs for exhaust fans: Make sure they are insulated, of great enough height, and are not installed on wood blocking.
  • Rooftop unit (RTU) curbs: The height must allow for future re-roofing. Coordinate with the mechanical engineer regarding constructability – determine when the curb should be set and when the HVAC unit will be installed. Roof details should be on both the architectural and mechanical drawings and show the same curb, drawn to scale. Be sure the curb is insulated to the roof’s required R-value. Avoid using curb rails to support mechanical equipment. The flashing on the interior side of the rails may be inaccessible once the equipment is placed. Use a large curb where all four sides will remain accessible.
  • Piping penetrations: Detail mechanical piping penetrations through the roof and support of same, where insulation and waterproofed pipe curbs are needed (see Figure 2). If you are thinking pourable sealer pocket, stop reading and go sign up for RCI’s Basics of Roof Consulting course.
  • Roof curbs, RTU, pipe curbs and rails: Coordinate their location and show them on the roof plan to be assured that they are not inhibiting drainage.
  • Roof drains: Coordination with the plumbing engineer is essential. Sump pans should be installed by the plumbing contractor, not the steel deck installer (see Photo 1), and the location should be confirmed with the structural engineer. Be sure drains are located in the low point if the roof deck is structurally sloped — and if not, know how to design tapered insulation systems to move water up that slope. Do not hold drains off the deck to meet insulation thickness; use threaded extensions. Be sure any air/vapor barrier is integrated into the curb and that the insulation is sealed to the curb. I like to hold the drain flange a half-inch down below the insulation surface so that the clamping ring does not restrain water on the surface. Owners do not like to see a 3-foot black ring at the drain, where ponding water accumulates debris (see Figure 3 and Photo 2).
  1. Understand the roof’s intended use once the building is completed. Will the roof’s surface be used for anything besides weather protection? What about snow removal? Will there be excessive foot traffic? What about mechanical

    Photo 3: Gaps between the roof insulation and roof edges, curbs and penetrations are prevalent on most roofing projects and should be sealed with spray foam insulation as seen here. It will be trimmed flush once cured.

    equipment? Photovoltaic panels? Yes, we have designed roofs in which a forklift had to go between penthouses across the roof. Understanding how the roof will be used will help you immensely.

  2. Understand the construction process and how the roof might be used during construction. It is amazing how few architects know how a building is built and understand construction sequencing and the impact it can have on a roof. I firmly believe that architects think that after a lower roof is completed, that the masons, carpenters, glazers, sheet metal workers, welders, pipe fitters, and mechanical crews take time to fully protect the newly installed systems (often of minimal thickness and, here we go again, without a cover board — OMG) before working on them. I think not. Had the architect realized that temporary/vapor retarders could be installed as work surfaces, getting the building into the dry and allowing other trades to trash that rather than the finished roof, the roof system could be installed after those trades are off the roof.
  3. Coordinate with other disciplines. Roof systems cannot be designed in a vacuum. The architect needs to talk to and involve the structural, mechanical and plumbing engineers to ensure they realize the importance of essential details. For example, we cannot have steel angle around the drain whose flange rests on the bar joist, thus raising the roof deck surface at the roof drain. Ever wonder why you had ponding at the drain? Now you know. I attempt to always have a comprehensive, specific roofing detail on the structural, mechanical and plumbing sheets. I give the other disciplines my details and ask that they include them on their drawings, changing notes as required. That way, my 20-inch roof curb on the roof detail is a 20-inch curb on the mechanical sheets — not a standard 12-inch curb, which would more often than not be buried in insulation.
  4. Detail, detail, detail, and in case you glossed over this section, detail again. Make sure to include job-specific, clearly drawn details. Every condition of the roof should be detailed by the architect. Isn’t that what the client is paying for? Do not, as I once saw, indicate “RFO” on the drawings. Yes, that acronym stands for “Roofer Figure Out.” Apparently, the roofer did not figure it out. I enjoyed a nice Hawaiian vacation as a result of my work on that project, courtesy of the architect’s insurance company. How do you know that a condition works unless you design it and then draw it to scale?

    Figure 4: Insulation to curbs, roof edge and penetrations will not be tight, and to prevent a thermal short, the gaps created in construction need to filled with spray foam, as noted and shown here in this vent detail. Photos: Hutchinson Design Group

    I’ve seen roof insulation several inches above the roof edge because, OMG, the architect wanted gravel stop and forgot about camber. Not too big a deal (unless of course it’s a large building) to add several more layers of wood blocking and tapered edge strips at the now high wood blocking in the areas that were flush, but now the face of the roof edge sheet metal needs to increase. But what if the increase is above the allowable ANSI-SPRI ES1 standard and now a fascia and clip are required? You can see how the cost spirals, and the discussion ensues about who pays for what when there is a design error.

  5. Develop comprehensive specifications that indicate how the roof system components are to be installed. This requires empirical knowledge, the result of time on the roof observing construction. It is a very important educational tool that can prevent you, the designer, from looking like a fool.

Components

Best practices for single-ply membranes, in addition to the design elements above, also involve the system components. Below is a listing of items I feel embodies best practices for single-ply roof system components:

  1. Thicker membranes: The 45-mil membrane is insufficient for best practices, especially when one considers the thickness of the waterproofing over scrim on reinforced sheets. A 60-mil membrane is in my opinion the best practices minimum. Hear that? It’s the minimum. You are allowed to go to 75, 80 or 90 mils.
  2. Cover boards: A cover board should be specified in fully adhered and mechanically attached systems. (Ballasted systems should not incorporate a cover board.) Cover boards have enhanced adhesion of the membrane to the substrate over insulation facers and hold up better under wind load and hail. Cover boards also protect the insulation

    Photo 4: The greatest concern with the use of polyurethane adhesives is that the insulation board might not be not fully embedded into the adhesive. Weighting the boards at the corners and center with a minimum of 35 pounds for 10 minutes has proven to work well in achieving a solid bond.

    from physical damage and remain robust under foot traffic, while insulation tends to become crushed. Cover boards are dominated by the use of mat-faced modified gypsum products. Hydroscopic cover boards such as fiberboards are not recommended.

  3. Insulation: Now here is a product that designers seldom realize has many parts to be considered. First, let’s look at compression strength. If you are looking to best practices, 25 psi minimum is the way to go. The 18-psi insulation products with a fiber reinforced paper facer can be ruled out entirely, while 20 psi products are OK for ballasted systems. Now let’s look at facers. If you think about it for a second, when I say “paper-faced insulation,” you should first think “moisture absorbing” and secondly “mold growth.” Thus paper-faced products are not recommended to be incorporated if you are using best practices. You should be specifying the coated glass-faced products, which are resistant to moisture and mold resistant. A note to the manufacturers: get your acts together and be able to provide this product in a timely manner.

Additional considerations regarding insulation:

  • Insulation joints and gaps: You just can’t leave joints and gaps open. Show filling the open joints at the perimeter and curbs and around penetrations with spray foam in your details and specify this as well (see Photo 3 and Figure 4).
  • Mechanical attachment: Define the method of attachment and keep it simple. On typical projects, I commonly specify one mechanical fastener every 2 square feet over the entire roof (unless more fasteners are needed in the corners). Reducing the number of fasteners in the field compared to the perimeter can be confusing for contractors and the quality assurance observer, especially when the architect doesn’t define where that line is. The cost of the additional screws is nominal compared with the overall cost of the roof.
  • Polyurethane foam adhesive: Full cover spray foam or bead foam adhesive is taking over for asphalt, at least here in the Midwest, and I suspect in other local markets as well. The foam adhesive is great. It sticks to everything: cars, skylights, clerestories, your sunglasses. So, it is amazing how many insulation boards go down and don’t touch the foam. You must specify that the boards need to be set into place, walked on and then weighted in place until set. We specify five 35-pound weights (a 5-gallon pail filled with water works nicely), one at each corner and one in the middle for 10 minutes (see Photo 4). Yes, you need to be that specific.
  1. Photo 5: The design of exterior walls with metal studs that project above the roof deck is a multi-faceted, high-risk detail that is often poorly executed. Here you can see a gap between the deck and wall through which warm moist air will move and result in the premature failure of this roof. The sheathing on the wall cannot hold the horizontal base anchor screw, and the joints in the board allow air to pass to the base flashing, where is will condense. This is the type of architectural design that keeps on giving — giving me future work.

    Vapor/air barrier: A vapor air barrier can certainly serve more than a function as required for, say, over wet room conditions: pools, locker rooms, kitchens, gymnasiums. We incorporate them in both new construction and re-roofing as a means of addressing construction trade phasing and, for re-roofing, allowing time for the proper modification of existing elements such as roof edges, curbs, vents, drains, skylights and pipe curbs. Be sure to detail the penetrations and tie-ins with wall components.

  2. Deck type: Robust roof decks are best. Specify 80 ksi steel roof decks. Try staying away from joint spacing over 5 feet. Decks should be fully supported and extend completely to roof edges and curbs.
  3. Roof edge design: A key aesthetic concern, the termination point for the roof system, the first line of defense in regard to wind safety — the roof edge is all of these. The construction of the roof edge on typical commercial construction has changed drastically in the last 20 years, from brick and block to metal stud. Poorly designed metal stud parapets will be funding my grandkids’ college education. The challenge for the metal stud design is multifaceted: It must close off the chimney effect, prevent warm moist air from rising and condensing on the steel and wall substrate, create an acceptable substrate on the stud face in which to accept base anchor attachment, and — oh, yes — let’s not forget fire issues. Tread lightly here and create a “big stick” design (see Photo 5).
  4. Roof drains and curbs: As discussed above, there is a great need for coordination and specific detailing here. The rewards will be substantial in regard to quality and efficiency, minimizing time spent dealing with “what do we do now” scenarios.
  5. Slope: Design new structures with structural roof deck slope, then fine tune with tapered insulation.

Final Thoughts

Best practices will always be a balancing act between cost and quality. I believe in the mantra of “doing it right the first time.”

The industry has the material and contractors possess the skill. It’s the design and graphic communication arm that needs to improve to keep everyone working at the top of their game.

Designers, get out in the field and see the results of your details. See firsthand how a gypsum-based substrate board on a stud wall does not hold screws well; how a lap joint may not seal over the leading edge of tapered insulation; how the roof either ponds water at the roof drain or doesn’t meet code by drastically sumping; or how the hole cut in the roof membrane for the drain might be smaller than the drain bowl flange, thus restricting drainage. Seeing issues that the contractors deal with will help you as the designer in developing better details.

Contractors, when you see a detail that doesn’t work during the bidding, send in an RFI and not only ask a question, but take the time to inform the architect why you don’t think it will work. On a recent project here in Chicago, the architect omitted the vapor retarder over a pool. The contractor wrote an explicit explanation letter and RFI to the architect during bidding, and the architect replied, “install as designed.” In these situations, just walk away. For me, this is future work. A local contractor once told me, “I don’t get paid to RFI, I get paid to change order.” He also said, “If I ever received a response to an RFI, I would frame it!”

Manufacturers, too, can raise the bar. How about prohibiting loose base flashings at all times, and not allowing it when the salesman says the competition is allowing it. Have contractors on the cusp of quality? Decertify them. You don’t need the hassles. Owners don’t need the risk.

Seek out and welcome collaboration among contractors, roof systems designers, knowledgeable roof consultants, and engineers. Learning is a lifelong process, and the bar is changing every year. Too often we can be closed off and choose not to listen. At HDG, I am proud to say we have the building owners’ best interests at heart.

By all working together, the future of single-ply membranes can be enhanced and the systems will be retained when the next generation of roof cover arrives — and you know it will.

Summer Means a Crash Course in School Re-Roofing Projects

Strober-Wright Roofing executed a completed a tear-off and re-roof of the entire complex of Montgomery Lower Middle School. Approximately 130,000 square feet of roofing was removed and replaced with a two-ply modified bitumen system.

Strober-Wright Roofing executed a completed a tear-off and re-roof of the entire complex of Montgomery Lower Middle School. Approximately 130,000 square feet of roofing was removed and replaced with a two-ply modified bitumen system.

Summertime is the busy season for school construction projects, and as students prepare for vacation, restoration work heats up. At Strober-Wright Roofing Inc., a full-service roofing contractor headquartered in Lambertville, N.J., going to school in the summer is a big part of the company’s business plan.

The company is owned by Mike Strober, Mark Wright and John Foy, who share more than 100 years of experience in new construction, additions and re-roofing projects. “We specialize in schools,” says Robert Shoemaker, an estimator with Strober-Wright, who points to attention to detail as the key to succeeding in the competitive bidding market. “You have to sharpen your pencil. You have to understand what your crews can do and how fast they can do it. You have to know what their skills are.”

Mark Wright has been with the company 26 years, and he points to a recently completed project at Montgomery Lower Middle School in Skillman, N.J., as an example of just what Strober-Wright can do when faced with large-scale projects and tight deadlines. “We have the men and equipment to get these types of jobs done on time with high-quality workmanship,” he says. “That’s our strength.”

Wright and Shoemaker believe building relationships is essential in this segment of the market. “We’ve done a lot of schools,” Shoemaker says. “When our bid is successful, people breathe a sigh of relief and tell us they are happy to have us on their projects.”

The Roof System

The Montgomery Lower Middle School project was a complete tear-off and re-roof of a school complex encompassing several connected roof sections totaling approximately 130,000 square feet. There were two types of existing roof systems: a fully-adhered EPDM system and a ballasted EPDM system. These were torn off and replaced with a two-ply, hot-mopped modified bitumen system.

Tapered polyiso was installed to ensure proper slope to the drains, which were surrounded by an 8-foot tapered sump.

Tapered polyiso was installed to ensure proper slope to the drains, which were surrounded by an 8-foot tapered sump.


The Strober-Wright team looked for ways to make the installation as efficient as possible in order to meet the deadline. The original specification called for removing and replacing more than 100 existing roof drains, but the company suggested using SpeedTite drains from OMG Roofing Products instead.

“My partner, Mike Strober, came up with the idea to use the OMG drains, and we submitted it to the architect,” Wright notes. “The architect approved them. The key with these drains is you don’t need another trade to install them. They install quickly and minimize disturbance in the building because the drains drop into the pipe, bypassing the bowl. You don’t have to take the old bowl out and put a new bowl in. You don’t have to take ceiling tiles out and create a mess inside the building.”

Show Your Work

On the ballasted roof sections, the stones were removed by Adler Vacuum. Then the existing EPDM roof was removed in sections. “We’d take a section out and replace it the same day so the building was watertight every night,” Wright explains.

At the end of each day, the old system was tied off to the new section. “With the existing rubber roof, we would leave a little extra material and flop it back,” Wright notes. “We’d adhere the flap using hot tar to the new system, and just peel it back the next day and go again.”

On sections of the roof with metal decking, the 4-inch base layer of flat polyiso insulation was mechanically attached with fasteners and plates. On the sections with concrete deck, the concrete was primed with a quick-drying asphalt primer and the base insulation was then adhered in hot asphalt. The tapered insulation was then adhered in hot asphalt to ensure proper drainage.

After the cover board was secured, the modified bitumen system was installed. The base ply and cap sheet were set in hot asphalt. Once the roof system had properly cured, it received two coats of an aluminum reflective coating.

Safety is always top of mind, but there were no unusual safety issues on the project, notes Wright. “We followed our standard safety protocols,” he says. “You have to make sure you’re wearing proper clothing and safety equipment with hot asphalt. We set up a safety perimeter warning with flags. If you were outside the perimeter, you had to wear a harness and be tied off at all times.”

Going With the Flow

More than 100 new drains were installed. The existing strainer domes, clamping rings and hardware were removed, but the drain bowls were left in place. The SpeedTite Drains were inserted, and the mechanical seal was tightened to provide a secure connection to the existing drain leader.

According to the manufacturer, the drains have a built-in vortex breaker to help improve water flow and a mechanical seal that meets the ANSI/SPRI/RD-1 standard (holding a 10-foot column of water for 24 hours without leaking).

More than 100 drains had to be replaced on the school. Strober-Wright suggested using OMG SpeedTite drains, as they could be installed more efficiently than conventional drain replacement and caused less disruption in the building.

More than 100 drains had to be replaced on the school. Strober-Wright suggested using OMG SpeedTite drains, as they could be installed more efficiently than conventional drain replacement and caused less disruption in the building.


After the drains were flashed in, the clamping ring and strainer dome were installed. “The drains are flashed with the base ply and then a piece of the cap sheet over that, so it’s a two-ply flashing system,” notes Wright. “The architect here specified an 8-foot tapered sump, and that’s a nice thing because you have an 8-foot area around the drain that’s really going to flow. It works really well.”

A Tough Schedule

Work on the project began in late June and was completed in late August, just in time for the school year to begin. Crews averaged 12 people and completed approximately 50 squares of roof per day.

According to Wright, the toughest part of the project was the tight schedule, which was made even more difficult due to inclement weather. “It was a wet summer,” he says. “It seemed like we were constantly battling rain, and we had to make sure we didn’t get behind the eight-ball on the schedule. You can’t work when it’s raining. You have to just batten down the hatches and prepare to get started the next day.”

After the drains were flashed in, the clamping ring and strainer dome were installed. The drains feature an internal vortex breaker.

After the drains were flashed in, the clamping ring and strainer dome were installed. The drains feature an internal vortex breaker.

The company followed the weather report closely to plan each day’s production. “We have a weather company out of Hackettstown we use called Weatherworks,” Wright says. “When it comes to the weather—up to the minute, 24 hours a day—they are on top of it. They deal with nothing but New Jersey weather. We pay for the service, but it’s well worth it. Saving one day’s worth of work can pay for the whole year’s subscription.”

Despite the weather, work was completed on time and on budget. The project achieved the priorities the school system wanted: a durable, energy-efficient roof system with a 25-year warranty. “It’s a great system,” Wright states. “We make our bread and butter on these jobs. We hit our deadline, and now it’s on to the next one.”

TEAM

Architect: Parette Somjen Architect LLC, Rockaway, N.J., Planetpsa.com
Roofing Contractor: Strober-Wright Roofing Inc., Lambertville, N.J., Stroberwright.com

Photos: OMG Roofing Products Inc.

Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome Improves Drain Performance

OMG Roofing Products introduces the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome

OMG Roofing Products introduces the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome for retrofitting OMG Hercules Drains. The new strainer dome with built-in vortex breaker technology is designed to improve water flow from the roof. According to the manufacturer, independent studies demonstrate that when upgraded with the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome, Hercules Drains offer up to 2.5 times greater flow capacity than Hercules Drains without vortex breaker technology. Faster water flow off the roof also means that the drains get excessive weight off the roof faster. In addition, the integrated vortex breaker technology greatly reduces the chugging effect that occurs when a vortex collapses, which can overload the plumbing system.

Vortex Breaker Strainer Domes are made of heavy-duty cast aluminum for long life on the roof. The safety yellow powder coat makes them easily visible on the roof, so they do not pose a trip hazard. The new domes are compatible with all 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-inch OMG Hercules and OMG Aluminum Classic drains, including thermoplastic coated versions, and are installed using only a screwdriver with a #2 square drive.

For additional information, please call the Customer Service team at OMG Roofing Products at (800) 633-3800.

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.

Marathon Roofing Products Celebrates 50 Years

Marathon Roofing Products and owner Tod Cislo are celebrating a milestone of 50 years in business. Marathon Roofing Products is a manufacturer and distributor of commercial roof drains, vents, equipment, and accessories. They are committed to providing architects, specifiers, and contractors with products, competitive prices, and quality customer service.

Marathon was started in 1967 as a manufacturing facility of copper drains in Buffalo, N.Y., with an emphasis on growing their customer base and line of products. Since those beginnings, Marathon has expanded to its new facility in Orchard Park, N.Y., and now includes a second company called MRP Supports, which sells pedestal support products throughout the U.S., Canada, and countries abroad.

Marathon’s long-time employees work hard to ensure that they will continue to give the service that customers have been used to for all of these years. Marathon’s innovation, relationships with their customers, and their reputation for service will foster continued growth for the future.

OMG Roofing Will Showcase Upcoming Products at IRE

OMG Roofing Products is offering contractors a sneak peek at some upcoming products at this year’s International Roofing Expo, March 1 – 3, booth 1431 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The sneak peeks will be held at OMG’s Exhibitor Product Clinics scheduled for 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the first two days of the show, March 1st and 2nd. During these demonstrations, OMG Roofing Products will showcase developments to the RhinoBond Induction Welding System, new drain products as well as updated edge metal products. The demonstrations, which will highlight roof-top productivity and performance benefits, are open to all IRE participants. Stadium seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to the sneak peeks, OMG Roofing Products will also hold a silent auction for a custom painted OMG PaceCart 3, a 15 Gallon Drum Conversion Kit, and two sets (a total of 60 gallons) of OlyBond500 in 15 Gallon Drums. The OlyBond package has an estimated value of over $11,000, and proceeds from the silent auction will benefit OMG’s named scholarship, which is part of the Melvin Kruger Endowed Scholarship Program offered through the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Headquartered in Agawam, Massachusetts, U.S.A., OMG Roofing Products is a global supplier of commercial roofing products including specialty fasteners, insulation adhesives, engineered edge metal systems, roof drains, pipe supports, repair tape as well as productivity tools such as RhinoBond. The company’s focus is delivering products and services that improve contractor productivity and enhance roof system performance.

OMG Roofing Products Promotes Two Executives to Manage Sales and Marketing

Kingbill Zhao, Asia market manager, is based in China and will support the greater Asian market.

Kingbill Zhao, Asia market manager, is based in China and will support the greater Asian market.

With the goal of accelerating growth in international markets, OMG Roofing Products creates market manager positions for both Asia and Europe. Two executives receive promotions into these roles. Kingbill Zhao, Asia market manager, is based in China and will support the greater Asian market. Lennard Spirig, Europe market manager, is based in Switzerland servicing the European market. Both are responsible for all OMG sales and marketing activities in their regions including developing products and services tailored to local market needs.

Kingbill Zhao joined OMG in 2009 as a roofing specialist and was promoted to China sales manager in 2011, where he was responsible for launching the OMG Roofing Products line in China. Since then, Kingbill has built a sales and customer service organization in China to support the company’s rapidly growing business. Prior to joining OMG, Kingbill was the international department manager for the China Waterproofing Association (CWA) where he worked with other international counterparts like National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Germany Roofing Contractors Association (GRCA) to market China Roofing & Waterproofing Show internationally. In addition he organized Chinese company visits in US and Europe, and worked with organizations like FM Global and FLL to introduce approvals and standards to China.

Lennard Spirig, Europe market manager, is based in Switzerland servicing the European market.

Lennard Spirig, Europe market manager, is based in Switzerland servicing the European market.

“Lennard Spirig joined OMG in 2014 as Europe product marketing manager, responsible for marketing OMG products throughout Europe. Since then, Lennard has been a resource for helping to expand OMG’s footprint in Europe by assisting system manufacturer partners and by developing distribution in various European countries. Prior to joining OMG Roofing Products, Lennard spent 10 years as product manager for mechanical attachment with SFS Intec. Earlier he had been an international key account manager based in Mexico.

“OMG’s products are designed to enhance rooftop productivity and improve roof system performance,” said Web Shaffer, vice president of marketing. “Lennard and Kingbill will be focused on developing value-added products and services that meet local market needs in order to accelerate our growth in Europe and Asia respectively. I look forward to continuing to work with these two outstanding individuals.”

Headquartered in Agawam, Massachusetts, U.S.A., OMG Roofing Products is a supplier of commercial roofing products including specialty fasteners, insulation adhesives, roof drains, pipe supports, emergency repair tape as well as productivity tools such as the RhinoBond induction welding system. The company’s focus is delivering products and services that improve contractor productivity and enhance roof system performance.

Drain Is Drop-in Ready

SpeedTite is installed from the rooftop so it will not disrupt building occupants. The drop in ready drain has a one-piece seamless body for strength and durability as well as a cast aluminum strainer dome and clamping ring.

SpeedTite is installed from the rooftop so it will not disrupt building occupants. The drop-in ready drain has a one-piece seamless body for strength and durability as well as a cast aluminum strainer dome and clamping ring.

OMG Roofing Products introduces the SpeedTite Roof Drain, a drop-in ready drain that can be installed in seconds in new or retrofit applications.

Contractors insert the drain stem into the existing drain leader and hand-tighten the mechanical seal to create a symmetrical watertight seal. Since no special tools are required, the SpeedTite Drain installs in half the time of other insert drains for enhanced contractor productivity. It is also faster than re-working a drain which can take up to two hours of time.

SpeedTite is installed from the rooftop so it will not disrupt building occupants. The drop in ready drain has a one-piece seamless body for strength and durability as well as a cast aluminum strainer dome and clamping ring. The 10-inch long drain stem accommodates most existing conditions and can be field if needed or obtained in longer lengths. An extra large flange allows positive attachment of roof flashing membrane, and flanges are also available with TPO or PVC coatings for direct hot-air welding.

Headquartered in Agawam, Mass., OMG Roofing Products features specialty fasteners, insulation adhesives, drains, pipe supports, emergency repair tape, edge metal systems and productivity tools. The company’s focus is delivering products and services that improve contractor productivity and enhance roof system performance.