Concrete Coatings Articles

Turning Emerald to Green: Reflective Coating on Florida Condominiums

Photos courtesy of Florida Quality Roofing, Inc.

Florida Quality Roofing and the Emerald Hills Condominiums go way back.

The Miami Gardens, Fla.-based roofing company first replaced the shingle roofs for the condominium complex in Hollywood, Fla., in 2011. It was a decent sized job, because the complex has four buildings, each three stories tall.

“At the time, we also needed to address the aging and leaking flat roofs,” said Stella Amador, the owner and vice president of Florida Quality Roofing. “However, due to budgetary concerns, they were only able to replace the shingle roofs. As an alternative, we recommended considerable repairs as well as a roofing maintenance that was performed twice a year.”

The condominium complex association took this advice. It kept the original roof system, which was composed of a metal and concrete roof deck with a base layer of 12 inches (30.5 cm) of polyisocyanurate, a top layer of high density wood fiberboard, three Type-IV fiberglass plies, and a modified bitumen cap sheet.

“As a result of the roof system, the re-roofing option proved too extensive, costly, and simply out of their budget,” Amador said.

But Amador did not give up on the client. “We worked with them on keeping the roofing watertight, doing maintenance for three years until they were able to come up with the budget to do the coating,” she said.

Fast forward three years to January 2014, and the condo association was ready for action. The president and general manager of the Board of Directors for Emerald Hills had been meeting with Florida Quality Roofing repeatedly “to discuss their aging, flat roofs,” Amador said. “Taking into consideration the economic value and environmental sustainability, we recommended a silicone roof coating restoration as an alternative to an entire roof replacement,” she said.

The client agreed, and Amador’s team got ready to work.

Water Water Everywhere

The Florida Quality Roofing crew began the job in June 2014.

The first step in the job was to order a roof moisture survey to scope out any areas where moisture might have become concentrated.

“Upon reviewing the survey, several wet areas were identified that needed to be removed prior to applying the coating,” Amador said. “This is a crucial step that is often overlooked.”

In front of her crew was a job consisting of 42,400 square feet (3,939.1 m²) of modified bitumen. Most of it was in fair condition, Amador said; however, that was not true for all of the substrate. “There were a lot of areas that were saturated, so we had to do a lot of replacement,” she said. “That’s a little unusual; that’s not typical for coating.”

This saturation also impacted Florida Quality Roofing’s choice of coating. “We also opted for a silicone coating as opposed to acrylic because there were areas where water ponds,” Amador said.

Amador selected Polysil 2500, a silicone coating from Coating and Foam Solutions. The coating is Energy Star-rated, Florida Power & Light listed, and is a Building Envelope Reflective Roofing-approved technology. It has reflectivity (white) of 0.70 aged three-year (ASTM C1549) and emissivity (white) of 0.90 aged three-year (ASTM C1371).

After removing the wet areas, the roof was power washed to remove dirt and debris. The next step in the process was to apply the epoxy primer that prepares the surface for proper adhesion and prevents asphalt migration, or the so-called “tobacco-staining” effect. The primer was followed by two coats of the Polysil 2500 for a total average thickness of 20 dry mils (508 microns). That meets the manufacturer’s requirement for a 10-year warranty. The crew applied the coating using rollers.

Focus on Safety

The crew used safety flags and personal protective equipment during the job, Amador said. “There was a 2-foot-tall [61 cm] parapet wall in most places, we had a safety monitor in place at all times, and warning flags around the perimeter that were 6 feet [1.8 m] from the edge,” she said. “This was a roll-on application so there was no overspray in the project. We wore gloves at all times when handling the product.”

Florida Quality Roofing has about 20 employees total and used 8 employees on this job. All of the work took about three months to complete, Amador said.

While the job went relatively smoothly, the Florida climate did pose an occasional problem. “We had to work around the weather,” Amador said. “It was during the summer, so we had to work around the rain and watch the weather carefully.”

But when the job was done, the client was very happy, and not just because the roof was fixed.

Green Is Good

Because Florida Quality Roofing is a Florida Power & Light Participating Independent Contractor in the energy savings envelope program, they were able to submit the project for a rebate. And a rebate they received. In fact, the client was able to earn back $13,598 in energy savings rebates.

Amador said the rebate was well earned, and that this project’s reflective roof application made the Emerald Hills Condominiums a deeper shade of green. “A reflective silicone roof coating can increase roof performance by reflecting sunlight, keeping the building cooler, and reducing air conditioning and energy costs, making it a sustainable, environmentally friendly solution,” she said. “Additionally, a silicone roof coating adheres to just about everything, which saves on the expense of roof removal and landfill fees.”

In this job, the silicone roof coating meant the condo complex’s roof was not only restored, it gained at least “10 more useful, protective years” on its lifespan, Amador said. “During that lifespan, the buildings will also benefit from a cooler, more energy-efficient environment.”

Going greener than Emerald was a way for Florida Quality Roofing to surprise its customer with an added financial benefit, Amador said. “They really weren’t expecting that rebate money,” she said. But the money, and the overall quality of the job, made more happy customers. “They wrote a really nice letter to us detailing everything around the project,” she said.

For Amador and Florida Quality Roofing, that made the time spent repairing the old roof at Emerald Hills Condominiums worth it.

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