Retrofit Roofing Project Highlights Advancements in Building Materials and Methods

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

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

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

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

A Case in Point

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

PHOTOS: HUNTSMAN CORPORATION

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.

Protective Film Sheet Saves Contractors Time and Money

Mule-Hide TPO with CLEAN Film can save contractors time and money while helping them deliver a quality finished product to their customers.

Mule-Hide TPO with CLEAN Film can save contractors time and money while helping them deliver a quality finished product to their customers.

Mule-Hide TPO with CLEAN Film from Mule-Hide Products Co. saves contractors time and money. The final step in any TPO job is removing the dirt and scuffs that are inevitably left behind during installation. Mule-Hide TPO with CLEAN Film from Mule-Hide Products Co. makes this task fast and simple.

The CLEAN Film protects the membrane during installation and then is easily removed, revealing a roof ready for inspection. No cleaning is required and there is no loss of initial solar reflectivity caused by dirt and scuffs that have accumulated during installation.

Mule-Hide TPO with CLEAN Film can be used in re-cover, re-roof and new construction jobs. It is an ideal solution when a reliable water source is unavailable, or when water conservation or water containment/runoff regulations make cleaning with water impractical.

It does not shift and will withstand heat, rain, wind and exposure to ultraviolet radiation without deteriorating. The 5-foot-wide sheets can be easily pulled up by a single crew member splinter-free removal ensured for 90 days after installation.

The CLEAN Film’s gray color also reduces the glare that can make working with white TPO membranes difficult on sunny days. It also enables moisture to evaporate quickly, enhancing crew safety.

Snow-retention System Is for TPO and PVC Membranes

Sno Gem Inc. introduces the Sno Barricade TPO and PVC Membrane Deck Mount Bar snow-retention system.

Sno Gem Inc. introduces the Sno Barricade TPO and PVC Membrane Deck Mount Bar snow-retention system.

Sno Gem Inc., a snow-retention system manufacturer, introduces the Sno Barricade TPO and PVC Membrane Deck Mount Bar snow-retention system. It is a membrane-coated and pre-skirted continuous-bar snow system (patent-pending) for new construction or retrofit applications.

The base plates are custom-coated in either TPO or PVC with a standard white, gray or black. Custom colors are available to match the roofing membrane. To ensure an easy installation, Sno Barricade Membrane-Coated Diamond Series System is available with a pre-skirted target patch, heat-welded directly to the TPO- or PVC-coated base plate. Installers can heat-weld Sno Gem’s target patch to the membrane of the roof, reducing labor cost on a watertight system.

Sno Barricade Systems are available in 1- or 2-inch bar size with single, double or triple bar retention. Square or round bars are offered to best match a building’s aesthetics. The Sno Barricade Plate, an accessory to the system that prevents snow and ice from sliding under the bars, is available in mill finish or custom colors.

GAF Completes Extensive Roof Replacement Project at Corporate Headquarters

GAF has completed an extensive roof replacement project at its new corporate headquarters at 1 Campus Drive in Parsippany, N.J. GAF has been relocating to the new property, which has been completely renovated with quality products in all areas—including, of course, the roof.

GAF worked closely with its Master Select Contractors to ensure the installation of an energy-efficient roofing system at 1 Campus Drive. The system included GAF’s RUBEROID HW 25 Smooth Membrane, EnergyGuard Polyiso Insulation (for high insulation value), and EnergyGuard HD Cover Board (which offers a high R-value and impact resistance). It also included GAF’s single-ply membrane, EverGuard Extreme Fleece-back TPO Membrane. GAF is proud of how EverGuard Extreme Fleece-back TPO Membrane outperforms competitive TPO membranes (based on heat-aging tests), and backs it with a commercial roofing guarantee.

As GAF prepared to move into its corporate headquarters, it was imperative to make sure they had a durable, energy-efficient and easy-to-install roofing system. The combination of GAF EverGuard Extreme Fleece-back TPO Membrane in 2-Part Roofing Adhesive over EnergyGuard HD Cover Board and EnergyGuard Polyiso Insulation set in Olybond, along with RUBEROID HW 25 Smooth Membrane was the perfect system to keep its building dry and comfortable for years to come.

When using EverGuard Extreme Fleece-Back TPO Membrane with Low-Rise Foam Adhesive (compared to EverGuard Extreme Smooth TPO Membrane), the fleece on the back of the membrane provides an added cushioning layer, especially for hail-prone areas. Also, when combining EverGuard Extreme TPO Accessories with EverGuard Extreme Fleece-Back TPO Membrane, it helps save labor (versus field fabrication)—and provides an overall cleaner-looking roof.