Meticulous Preparation Sets Up Restoration Project for Success

Photos: Debby Amador, Roma Police Department

Officials at Roma High School in Roma, Texas, knew they needed a new roof. The tile roof on the main complex was more than 25 years old, and some components were clearly failing. They didn’t realize that many of the leaks and resulting wall deterioration were caused by other problems as well. Luckily, they reached out to design and construction professionals who did their homework, diagnosed all of the key problems, and developed a plan to fix them. The crowning touch of the building envelope restoration plan was a beautiful standing seam metal roof, and the success of the project is proof that hard work pays off not only in the classroom, but on top of it.

The Consultant

As its building envelope consultant, Roma Independent School District chose Amtech Solutions Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The full-service architectural, engineering, and building envelope consulting firm has been in business since 1982. Working out of the company’s Rio Grand Valley (RGV) office located in Pharr, Texas, Amtech Solutions inspected and evaluated the entire site and reviewed legacy documents to identify the underlying issues.

They found quite a few, notes Michael Hovar, AIA, RRO, LEED AP, a senior architect and the general manager of the company’s RGV office. “They thought all they had was a roofing problem,” he notes. “But we saw right away that not properly managing water off the roof was the cause of wall deterioration, which then became leaks into the building. Our experience with the entire envelope and all facets of design and construction really helped us on this one.”

Roma High School in Roma, Texas, underwent a three-phase building envelope restoration plan in 2016-2017. After the walls were repaired and restored, the roof and mechanical equipemt were replaced. Photos: Debby Amador, Roma Police Department

Amtech Solutions put together a presentation for the school board to detail what they discovered and the plan they proposed to remedy the situation. The company also worked with the school district to help develop a budget.
The restoration plan was split up into three phases. The first phase focused on restoring the walls and windows. The second phase encompassed roof replacement and installing new mechanical equipment. The third phase involved improving drainage, grading and other site repairs.

Amtech Solutions decided not to bid the project out to a general contractor, but rather to bid each phase separately. “We decided to split it up into stages and do it logically, starting with the walls first,” Hovar says. “For the walls, we got restoration contractors who specialize in wall restoration work.”

Restoration Services Inc. (RSI) of Houston, Texas handled the first phase in the summer, as the wall repairs would be louder and more disruptive to students. The roof replacement project was scheduled for the fall. “Once all of the stuff on the ground was done, that allowed us to do the re-roofing work throughout the school year, which also helped the price,” notes Hovar. “Our experience has always been that if we have good cooperation with the contractors and the school staff, at the end of the job they end up being best friends. And that’s exactly what happened. At the end of the job, they were sad to see the roofers go.”

Amtech Solutions convinced the school district the plan would work. “It took some coordination, communication and cooperation, and it took a motivated owner that was willing to do this and trust us,” Hovar says. “They looked to us for guidance, and we said, ‘We do this all the time. We do roofing projects throughout the year, occupied and unoccupied, and we do it in a way that respects what the occupant’s needs are.’”

When it came time to specify the roof system, school board members were divided; one faction wanted to install a new tile roof, and the other wanted to go with metal. “The interesting thing is, for the historical architecture of the area, both of those roofs are appropriate, so from the standpoint of historical significance, either one works,” Hovar says. “In the end, it was quite a bit more expensive to utilize tile than it was to utilize a metal roof.”

The Roof Systems

The decision was made to go with a standing seam metal roof from McElroy Metal on the vast majority of the complex, including the main roof, the gymnasium, and two freestanding structures — the art and industrial arts buildings — that had been added over the years. The main tile roof was removed and replaced with McElroy’s 138T Panel, a 16-inch-wide, 24-gauge panel in Brite Red. McElroy’s 238T Panel, a 24-inch-wide, 24-gauge panel, was specified for the gym, as well as the art and industrial arts buildings. In a cost-saving measure, the color on the gym roof was changes to Galvalume Plus. In all, more than 233,000 square feet of metal roofing was installed.

Before

“The reason we picked this roof system is we’ve had a lot of great experience with it,” Hovar says. “We love that panel because they can actually bring the roll former to the jobsite. That gives the roofing contractor a lot more options on how he can load the roof and sequence the job. The other beauty of this panel is that it has unlimited movement. The panels itself slides back and forth over a fixed clip. It also flashes like a dream.”

Low-slope roof areas adjacent to the gym were replaced with a two-ply modified bitumen system from Siplast. CPI Daylighting manufactured a new skylight for the atrium.

As part of the roofing phase, gutters and downspouts were added. “There was nothing controlling the water before on this project,” Hovar says. “We designed a gutter system with expansion joints as per SMACNA guidelines. The contractor made absolutely beautiful shop-welded aluminum downspout boots.”

The most crucial detail was a custom-made saddle that solved the problem of water infiltration at the transition between the roof and walls on the wings. “This ultimately simple solution addressed one of the major design flaws that plagued the facility from the first days of occupancy,” Hovar notes. “We modeled the three-dimensional design of those saddles, and the contractor welded them in his shop. He fabricated them out of .080 aluminum and they were seamless. The restoration contractor had already installed all of the through-wall flashing, so all the roofer had to do was put counterflashing in and do his work around it. He was able to fly without being slowed down by a mason on the job.”

The Roofing Contractor

The roofing phase of the project was handled by Rio Roofing, headquartered in Harlingen, Texas. The company primarily installs low-slope and metal roofs, and its focus is on large commercial and institutional projects. ““We do nearly 90 percent public bonded work,” notes Hedley Hichens, vice president of Rio Roofing. “We found out that whether it’s a small job or a big job, the paperwork is still the same, so we try to make it worthwhile.”

The company worked on the Roma High School project for about a year, wrapping up the roofing phase of the project in November 2017.

After the structure’s main roof was removed, the tile was replaced with a standing seam metal roof featuring McElroy’s 138T Panel in Brite Red. Photos: Debby Amador, Roma Police Department

The decision was made to tackle the wings on the main roof first. “During the pre-con meetings, we met with the principal and the superintendent and asked, ‘Which wings are the worst?’” Hichens notes. “There was one wing that was the most problematic, so we started with that area first.”

Rio Roofing began by tearing off the existing tile roof. “There were about 1,925 squares of concrete tile we had to remove,” Hichens notes. “We had crews on the roof tearing off tile, crews on the ground palletizing the tile and storing it in the parking lot.”

As crew members removed the old tile and felt, others followed behind and installed polyisocyanurate insulation and Polystick MTS, a waterproofing underlayment designed for high-temperature applications. “We did 40 or 50 squares a day, moving down the wing,” Hichens says. “We dried in the whole school. Then we came back with the 138 panel.”

On top of the gym and other buildings that received the 238T panel, the existing metal roofs were left in place. “We put flute fill on top of the old panels. Then we screwed down 3/8-inch Securock, primed it and put the Polyglass underlayment down on top of that,” Hichens explains. “That 24-inch panel is a great panel to work with because every time you put one down, you’re 2 feet closer to finishing.”

Installing the New Roofs

The school’s main roof covers a central hub with eight wings coming off of its octagonal skylight. Where the wings tie together, access was limited.

“It was a tight squeeze,” Hichens says. “Getting in there and getting out was difficult. I think our fork lift only cleared one of the walkways by 2 or 3 inches. It’s a big campus, but the layout was difficult at the school.”

Once the wings were dried in, sheet metal crews installed the edge metal and 4,000 linear feet of gutters. They also started forming the panels.

Typically, Rio Roofing lifts the roll former to the roof edge, but it was difficult to get a large lift next to the building, so in this case the roll former was left on the ground. It was moved from wing to wing as the job progressed. “We used a New Tech roll former on this project,” Hichens says, “We would put the roll former parallel to each wing and store the panels on the ground in each area.”

Panels were hemmed and notched using a Swenson Snap Table Pro and lifted to the roof with a fork lift and a special cradle. Crews used a hand seamer to set temporary seams and followed up with a robotic seamer from D.I. Roof Seamers. “The panels are easy to install,” Hichens says. “You get about four guys 10 feet apart to engage the panels and clips and you just keep going. At the end of the day crews put the seam caps on.”

On the low-slope areas, Rio Roofing installed approximately 47,000 square feet of the Siplast two-ply SBS modified system, which was torched down over new lightweight concrete. “For their size, the low-slope areas had a ton of mechanical equipment and ductwork up there,” notes Hichens. “There were a lot of key details.”

Rio Roofing custom-manufactured numerous curbs and details, including the saddles over problem areas at the walls. “We have a full welding shop,” Hichens notes. “We have a full machine shop. We make all of our own curbs here, so there is no lead time for ordering curbs, and we are sure they’ll fit.”

Teamwork

Work on the project has now moved on to a fourth phase: installing translucent panels over the swimming pool. Hovar believes teamwork was the key to the project’s success. “We had such a good contracting team, we did good field work to begin with, and we had an understanding owner,” he says. “Designing it wasn’t easy, but thankfully our experience helped. We just had a really good team to execute it, all the way around. That’s what makes for a great, project, right? When everybody is invested in a good outcome, they always support everybody else.”

Communication was also essential, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) helped keep everyone on the same page. “We modeled the project on our BIM software, and it helped everyone understand the scope and challenges. The BIM model allowed the owner see exactly what the project would look like, and it helped the contractor understand the staging and logistical challenges before the project was bid,” Hovar says. “There were no surprises.”

TEAM

Architect and Consultant: Amtech Solutions Inc., Pharr, Texas, www.amtechsls.com
Roofing Contractor: Rio Roofing, Harlingen Texas
Wall Restoration Contractor: RSI-Restoration Services Inc., Houston, Texas, www.rsi-restorationservices.com

MATERIALS

Metal Roof System
Metal Panels: 138T panel (16 inches wide, 24 gauge) and 238T Panel (24 inches wide, 24 gauge), McElroy Metal, www.mcelroymetal.com
Underlayment: Polystick MTS, Polyglass, www.polyglass.us
Cover Board: Securock, USG, www.usg.com
Skylight: CPI Daylighting, www.cpidaylighting.com

Low-Slope Roof System
Modified Bitumen Membrane: Paradiene SBS, Siplast, www.siplast.com

UL-listed Smoke Vent Skylights Minimize Warehouse’s Power Consumption

Trojan Battery, a manufacturer of deep-cycle batteries, occupies a 160,000-square-foot industrial facility in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., along with several other large industrial buildings in California. Each facility consumes a significant amount of electrical power each month. By adding 100 polycarbonate dome UL-listed smoke vent skylights, Trojan Battery will be able to save upwards of 40 percent on its power consumption for its warehouse in Santa Fe Springs.

By adding 100 polycarbonate dome UL-listed smoke vent skylights, Trojan Battery will be able to save upwards of 40 percent on its power consumption for its warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

By adding 100 polycarbonate dome UL-listed smoke vent skylights, Trojan Battery will be able to save upwards of 40 percent on its power consumption for its warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

According to a representative of Santa Ana, Calif.-based IRC (Independent Roofing Consultants), a roofing consulting firm: “Typically, a 2 percent density of skylight units are utilized for effective energy reduction. Densities of 2.5 to 3 percent are being provided for newer buildings and being installed in conjunction with roof replacements to reduce energy costs associated with building lighting.”

The roof originally consisted of outdated skylights significantly reducing the benefits of natural lighting. New polycarbonate dome skylights and smoke vents from SKYCO Skylights allow owners to maximize the use of free daylighting. Additional benefits include 10 years against yellowing and breakage.

Aside from the energy benefits, Trojan Battery was able to reduce its safety liability. UL-listed smoke vents with polycarbonate domes not only provide ample daylighting, but they are life-saving devices. The smoke vent is designed with two thermal triggered hatches that automatically open up in the event of a fire.

Fire marshals and insurance companies recognize the benefits of a UL-listed smoke vent skylight because they allow the smoke, heat and hot gasses inside a burning warehouse to escape providing trapped workers a visible route for safe exit. They also reduce smoke damage to warehouse inventories. In many cases, insurance companies will provide a much needed break on rates when UL-listed smoke vents are added to the rooftop.

The smoke vent is designed with two thermal triggered hatches that automatically open up in the event of a fire.

The smoke vent is designed with two thermal triggered hatches that automatically open up in the event of a fire.

The reroof was performed by Highland Commercial Roofing, Baldwin Park, Calif. The commercial roofer specializes in and provided Trojan Battery headquarters with a RainShield seamless single-ply roofing system. The RainShield system, reinforced with a tough polyester mat, uses waterproofing-grade asphalts and highly reflective elastomeric acrylic surfacing to create a seamless, waterproof, highly reflective membrane providing a permanent, high-performance roofing system guaranteed not to leak for at least 20 years. The cool roof system chosen reflects more than 80 percent of the sun’s radiant heat, which can reduce a building’s cooling cost by as much as 50 percent.

With average temperatures and power costs rising, building owners and occupant are looking for new innovative ways to save money. Highland Commercial Roofing recommends a complete analysis of the skylights when owners consider reroofing their building. Replacing old, ineffective skylights at the time of reroof is the most cost effective method for the investment.

Industrial Skylights With Capped System Meet Code Requirements

ICC-ES Evaluation Reports provide a basis for using or approving industrial skylights in construction projects.

ICC-ES Evaluation Reports provide a basis for using or approving industrial skylights in construction projects.

Using ICC-ES code compliant industrial skylights is an effective way to insure performance and rooftop safety for any roof or re-roofing project.
 
What sets an industrial skylight apart from other skylights? SKYCO Skylights believes using quality material and innovative designs when building natural lighting products is going to continue to set them apart from other manufacturers.
 
The skylight manufacturer commits to building its industrial skylights with a capped system, polycarbonate dome and proprietary wave design to ensure performance and durability. Capped industrial skylight systems are known for eliminating the common cracking that occurs in the domes of a capless system.
 
Code compliance for skylight manufacturers is an important accreditation to achieve. When specifying a skylight for construction or re-roofing it’s paramount for the architects and roofers/contractors to be sure they are using code compliant skylight models.
 
It is important that if the skylight is not a capped system then issues of code compliance come into play. Currently, there are no registered capless units that comply with ICC code requirements. In some cases, capless units have been misrepresented as ICC-ES listed when they in fact aren’t. A simple process to ensure compliance is requesting the ESR Number (SKYCO Skylights ESR is 3837) and conducting a google search. The skylight details should align with all the features listed to that number.
 
Industrial Skylights, manufactured by SKYCO Skylights have an evaluation report ESR#3837 from ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES), providing evidence that SKYCO Skylights industrial skylight, as a curb mounted, self-flashing and with a Vortex louvered curb, meets code requirements. Building officials, architects, contractors, specifiers, designers and others utilize ICC-ES Evaluation Reports to provide a basis for using or approving industrial skylights in construction projects under the International Building Code (IBC).

Water Is Construction’s Worst Enemy

I have a water phobia. When I was very young I fell into a pool and nearly drowned. Consequently, I never learned to swim out of sheer fear. Despite my attempts to avoid it, water continues to haunt me. (See an article I wrote about my Chicago condo’s construction defects for some background.) It’s ironic I now live along the nation’s southernmost glacial lake. I love the view from our home, but the lake’s recreational opportunities are lost on me.

To further substantiate my negative feelings toward water, 2015 was an especially wet year for the Midwest. In mid-December, my Iowa town received 5 inches of rain in a day and a half. Our basement—where my office is located—flooded (for the second time since August). My husband bought the house (which he planned to make his lifelong bachelor pad) knowing the basement might leak during heavy-rain events. He never planned to have anything down there. Then I came along.

As this issue was coming together—around the same time our basement was soaked—I read a line in “Tech Point” that really resonated with me: “… water is construction’s worst enemy, so when it goes where it shouldn’t, it’s causing damage—seen or unseen.” I shared that line, which was written by Armand T. Christopher Jr., AIA, with my husband. The next week we hired a basement waterproofing contractor to solve our ongoing water problems.

Christopher’s story likely will resonate with you, as well. He and his team had recently installed a PVC roof system on a high-profile government building in central New Jersey. Six months after the install, a three-day nor’easter exposed numerous leaks in the building, which the client thought were coming from the new roof. The ensuing “detective work” Christopher’s team completed was tedious but uncovered the cause of the leaks and made Christopher and his colleagues heroes.

Christopher points out a nice feature of the roof’s thermoplastic cap sheet is areas where water had pooled within the roof system were dried and resealed with heat-welded target patches. Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, CSI, RRP, builds upon this idea in his “From the Hutchinson Files” article. Hutchinson notes today’s “new age” roofs may not require removing all system components during reroofing. Instead, it may be in the customer’s best interest to consider restoration; roof-cover removal, enhanced with additional insulation; using the existing roof membrane as a vapor retarder; or membrane removal before installation of a new roof cover.

My husband and I seem to have found the best solution to our basement water problems. Although we’re not looking forward to the construction ahead, we are excited about all the things we can do with a dry basement. Right now, we’re envisioning a mini spa in which we can relax after a stressful workday—another welcome upgrade my husband never imagined for his “bachelor pad”.

Major Industries Redesigns Its Website for Easier Access to Staff and Independent Representatives

Major Industries, manufacturer of energy-saving skylights and translucent wall systems, redesigns its website to make it easier for architects, designers, specifiers and contractors to find the information they need while incorporating new features that allow for easier access to the staff, as well as its network of independent representatives.

“The new website was developed in response to a changing market,” states Mark Mitchell, marketing manager for Major Industries. “New and current customers want access to materials and information quickly, whether it’s a spec or contact information for their local representative. Finding that information should be as simple as possible.”

The new site features a searchable map to make locating Major’s independent representatives simpler, an “About Us” page with staff pictures and links to members of Major’s team, and a revamped image gallery. The site also features a Rep Portal, designed to allow our outside representatives easy access to training materials, quick sample and promotional item ordering and more.

Wasco Celebrates 80 Years of Skylight Manufacturing

Wasco has been manufacturing skylights in the U.S. since 1935.

Wasco has been manufacturing skylights in the U.S. since 1935.

Wasco has been manufacturing skylights in the U.S. since 1935. Now with two locations serving the entire country, with its home office in Wells, Maine, and a new western facility in Reno, Nev., putting it less than 24 hours away from any major city in the western U.S. Wasco has an extensive product offering from small, standardized residential units to large, custom, monumental glass structures, and everything in between.

“Wasco could never have thrived for 80 years without the unwavering commitment to quality from all our Wasco employees, past and present. They keep the proud legacy of American craftsmanship alive every day. It is with deep appreciation for them we celebrate this important milestone,” says Jeff Frank, CEO, Wasco.

Incorporate Daylighting into Existing Buildings

The RetroLite daylighting system from Butler Manufacturing

The RetroLite daylighting system from Butler Manufacturing

Building owners can now incorporate daylighting into existing buildings to minimize lighting-related electricity costs, with the introduction of the RetroLite daylighting system from Butler Manufacturing.

Implementing daylighting technology can provide significant savings, as lighting-related electricity is often the highest operating expense in a building — frequently exceeding heating and cooling costs. In fact, a building equipped with a RetroLite daylighting system and lighting controls can reduce lighting-related electricity expenses by up to 70 percent.

The RetroLite daylighting system, specially designed to replace the Lite*Panl panel system, is available for retrofit applications to an MR-24 or CMR-24 roof system. Product benefits include the ability to:

    Add weathertight protection — Rigorous testing at the Butler® Research and Development Center proves the self-curbing RetroLite daylighting system is effective at preventing water penetration, an inherent risk for other curb-mounted daylighting systems.

    Harness the power of prismatics — The RetroLite daylighting system provides 100 percent diffused light without glares or hot spots, even in overcast conditions. Its unique acrylic dome design pulls in more light earlier and later in the day, with a visible light transmittance value of 0.68.

    Simplify installation — For simplified installation, the diverter of the RetroLite daylighting system can be tied into the splice of a Lite*Panl panel system. In addition, its curbless design reduces the number of fasteners required — which decreases the field labor needed for installation.

Skylight Is Designed For Flat Roof Installations

Extech's 4000G Unit Skylight is low-profile and capable of being installed on a flat roof.

Extech’s 4000G Unit Skylight is low-profile and capable of being installed on a flat roof.

EXTECH’s 4000G Unit Glass Skylight is capable of being installed on a flat roof. Its low-profile, silicone-sealed perimeter allows water to freely run off the unit. The curb design accommodates large skylights up to 32 square feet. Additional benefits include aluminum flange to protect glass edges, foam cushions to provide thermal isolation, strategically placed weep holes and weep slots aligning with weep holes. Silicone structural bead/isolator and silicone waterproofing bead ensure a leak-tight seal.