Roof Restoration Saves Money for Monroe Public Schools

What to do when a roof requires more than just a few simple repairs? Today’s building owners are typically presented with a few choices before a full tear-off and replacement is required, depending on the comprehensive state of the roofing system. Over time, roofs can absorb water, leading to failures and potentially dangerous conditions. Any roof that is more than 20 percent saturated is deemed a full tear-off, per many building codes and standards.

Under this threshold, however, there are options. In situations where applicable, roof restoration — a process by which the existing roof system is brought back to its original performance — can be the most advantageous method, as the Monroe Township Public School District in Williamstown, New Jersey, recently discovered.

Compared to the cost of a new roof, restoration was a no-brainer for Monroe Township schools.

Expert Analysis

Williamstown High School and Middle School serve nearly 4,000 combined students. As part of an effort to reduce energy spending in its facilities while providing the most comfortable environment for occupants, Monroe school district administrators launched a series of construction projects with solar energy and HVAC upgrades to the high school and middle school, as well as several elementary school buildings.

Working alongside Tristate HVAC Equipment and Omnia Partners, the district was soon introduced to Patriot Roofing, Inc., a commercial roofing contractor serving the state of New Jersey for more than 35 years. Administrators liked Patriot’s professional approach to service and asked the company to take a closer look at its aging school building roof systems that had started to develop trouble spots.

Following a visual analysis of the structural deck and membrane, Patriot conducted an infrared scan of the roofs to identify wet areas and any sections that might require new insulation. These noninvasive procedures did not require removing portions of the roof, meaning business could continue as usual at the schools. It was soon determined that despite sure signs of wear, the roofs could be returned to a high-quality standard without a full tear-off.

Roofs with low-to-moderate damage and saturation levels are often good candidates for restoration, as opposed to replacement. Restoration is also the more economical option in many cases.

As part of its go-forward proposal to school administrators, Patriot recommended using a high-performance coating that would allow the restoration projects to meet their full potential in the most cost-conscious manner. The district considered several bids before awarding the contract to Patriot, which started with Williamstown Middle School.

Restoring Worn Roofs

A correct restoration process involves removing any debris and cleaning the roof to prepare for the rest of the project. Next, depending on the condition of the roof, a primer is applied to ensure good adhesion for patching, stain blocking and rust inhibition. Then, patching is performed to make sure all parts of the roof system are watertight. Finally, protective coatings can be applied to ensure long-lasting performance.

For Williamstown schools, Patriot chose a liquid silicone roof membrane solution from APOC, part of ICP’s family of brands.

“We were able to pressure-wash the roofs, make repairs with tape and detail everything in just a short time before the coating went on,” says Tim Weaver, project manager for Patriot. “The coating was great; where we typically use rollers or a sprayer, you could use a quarter-inch squeegee instead to put out exactly the amount that was needed for the application. We did not have to measure or mark out squares; the squeegee did the work for us.”

A liquid silicone roof membrane solution from APOC was used to restore the roofs. Photos: Patriot Roofing, Inc. and ICP Group

“With most coatings you must apply a basecoat, embed a fabric in it and finish with a topcoat, and the thing was, we didn’t have to, which saved half the time,” Weaver continues. “This was a one-coat system at the right mil thickness that was good to go and looked amazing once it was done, almost like a sheet of glass.”

Weaver notes the silicone membrane will provide a flexible and resilient barrier that, with proper maintenance, will help to prevent weather damage for a long time to come. For Monroe Township School District, restoration also avoided the larger expense and disruption of a new roof that would have been required for both buildings within five years without appropriate remediation.

“Typically, you would be reaching out to your architect to design a roof replacement, and now you might be talking years to get on the books and pull in other resources because there’s a lot more involved, of course,” says Weaver. “Ultimately you would never get that roof done as quickly, whereas a restoration can provide a reduction in time and money; and now you’re not bringing cranes and heavy equipment on-site, so there’s that benefit too.”

Weaver sums it up this way: “The lesson is don’t wait if you suspect your roof needs attention. The longer you do, the more likely it is you’ll be looking at a complete replacement and all the planning it entails. No roof can last forever, but you can extend the life considerably using proper methods. If you know that the membrane and substrate are in good shape and can accept the coating, then you have options at your disposal before problems start to pile up.”

Looking Ahead

As Monroe Township School District continues to invest in buildings that are more energy-efficient and resistant to the elements, it has started to turn its attention to roof restoration projects at several elementary schools. Weaver says early indications are that the schools could also benefit from silicone roof coatings that are a growing trend in the market due to their ease of application and ability to withstand ponding water.

“This was the first time we had worked with the APOC product and would certainly use it again,” he says. “It saved a lot of time when you’re not doing a base coat then coming back the next day to lay fabric and so on. The school district got the affordable solution it was looking for, and everyone we’ve talked to is pleased with the result. There are no more concerns about moisture or if a replacement roof is around the corner; those questions have been answered.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Patriot Roofing, Inc., Jobstown, New Jersey, patriotroof.com

MATERIALS

Coating: APOC 585 Armor Flex White Liquid Silicone, APOC, apoc.com

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