Roof Coatings Articles

Getting Schooled: Recoating School Buildings

Photos courtesy of RoofCARE
Vendor Team

DeWalt Industrial Tool
Equipment Manufacturer
701 E Joppa Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21286
(800) 433-9258

Guardian Fall Protection
Safety Equipment Manufacturer
6305 S 231st St.
Kent, WA 98032
(800) 466-6385

Quest Construction Products, LLC
Coatings Manufacturer
1465 Pipefitter St.
Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 494-5430

Coatings Montractor
14810 Central Ave. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123
(888) 336-3037

Werner Co.
Safety Equipment Manufacturer
93 Werner Rd.
Greenville, PA 16125
(888) 523-3371

The contracting company RoofCARE has branches in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces and uses those locations to serve all of New Mexico and West Texas. It also has good working relationships with many New Mexico school districts, including the Floyd Municipal School District, according to Jonathan Small, RoofCARE’s marketing director. That good relationship led to a roofing job on a multipurpose building at a school in that district. 

Small said the company is accustomed to the process that comes with working for public agencies such as school districts. “We do 70 percent of our work with public entities in New Mexico, so we’re very efficient with the process,” he said of RoofCARE, which has a total of 35 employees. “We have a good understanding of what’s important to them and how they conduct business.”

“About half of the public school districts in New Mexico are RoofCARE clients,” Small said. “We set up booths at a lot of educational conferences, and we’re often stopping in at various districts, talking to the appropriate people about any roofing needs they may have.” 

“I don’t know at what specific point we found out about it, but at a conference we heard about how Floyd Schools had had a roof in dire need of comprehensive services for several years,” Small said. “Once the district secured capital funding, we scheduled an inspection to perform some diagnostics and made a roof proposal at that point.

“When the team assessed the roof, they found it was in poor condition. “The roof looked absolutely terrible,” Small said. “It was in really bad shape, almost falling apart.” 

RoofCARE confirmed the roof was in failure and in need of replacement. After evaluating their options, the district decided to utilize the Hydro-Stop PremiumCoat fluid-applied roofing system — because it is both sustainable and highly-rated. 

“This system is energy efficient, durable, doesn’t require heavy equipment, is low VOC [volatile organic compound], easy to maintain, offers up to 25-year warranties, and is [Factory Manual] FM-rated as a roof system,” according to Small. “These benefits were very attractive to Floyd Municipal School’s Superintendent and School Board, who approved the project after learning about the proposed system.” 

Once the Floyd Municipal School District had signed off on the job, the RoofCARE crew could begin assessing the work in front of them.

The roof before work startedRaise the Roof
RoofCARE arrived on site in late April of 2013 to start the big job ahead of them. 

Before the RoofCARE crew could begin its work, though, the school district hired an abatement contractor to remove the existing roof, because it contained asbestos.

The RoofCARE team of five to six men then got to work replacing any broken or saturated wood plank decking. They mechanically fastened new fire-rated DensDeck and polyiso insulation over the deck. 

After installing new drip edge, the roof was ready for the fluid-applied system. 

The system was mostly installed over polyiso insulation in the field of the roof, but it also had to be applied over curbs, penetrations, brick and stucco parapet walls, and other roof details, Small said. While the insulation was new, the parapet walls were in fair to poor condition. 

The team cleaned and prepared surfaces to receive the waterproofing by removing all loose and flaking particles, grease, and laitance. For this job, they used a stiff bristle push broom and power washing where necessary. 

The next step involved applying one coat of Hydro Stop’s FoundationCoat to the substrate at the rate of 50–80 ft.²/gal. (4.6 m²/3.8 L–7.4 m²/3.8 L). Then, PremiumCoat fabric was embedded into the wet FoundationCoat. A second coat of FoundationCoat was brushed on to saturate the fabric, again applied at the rate of 50–80 ft.²/gal. (4.6 m²/3.8 L–7.4 m²/3.8 L). The team took care to ensure that adjacent runs of fabric were overlapped a minimum of 4 inches (10.2 cm).

The FoundationCoat was only applied with the use of approved roof brushes, so the team did no rolling or spraying of it. The crew installed the same sequence of FoundationCoat followed by fabric followed by FoundationCoat on the roof’s perimeter and penetrations, using 12-inch (30.5 cm) rolls of fabric. They waterproofed up vertical surfaces and onto the insulation a minimum of 6 inches (15.2 cm) in each direction. Then the team used 40-inch (1.0 m) rolls of fabric in between the FoundationCoat components to seal the entire field of the roof. 

When that portion of the system was complete, they applied four coats of Hydro Stop’s FinishCoat. Each coat was applied at 120–140 ft.²/gal. (11.1 m²/3.8 L–13.0 m²/3.8 L), with a thickness between 11.5 mils and 13.4 mils (292.1–340.4 microns) wet and 6.1 mils and 7.2 mils (154.9–182.9 microns) dry per coat. That left a total FinishCoat dry film thickness between 24.4 mils and 24.8 mils (619.8–629.9 microns).

School’s in Session
The biggest challenge of the job was keeping the crew safe on the barrel-shaped roof, said Abraham Carmona, the RoofCARE project manager who supervised the job. “Everyone had to keep working with the harness on,” he said. Because the coating was fluid applied, it was also important to maintain correct coverage rates to keep the material from dripping off the barrel roof. “We had to build some support and be harnessed in,” he said. 

The crew wore safety glasses, hard hats, gloves, and respirators, and they also used fall protection. They harnessed themselves to a cable attached to two anchors on either end of the roof. “By harnessing themselves to the cable, the crew would be able to work across the length of the roof easily,” Small said. 

This challenge was made greater by the fact that the crew was working on a school building while school was in session, Carmona said. “There were kids around the school, at the gymnasium, kids going in and out,” he said. “We had to be sure nothing fell, so we built supports for all of the buckets.” 

The other challenge, according to Carmona, was the weather. The 5-week job took place around the rainy season, which meant every morning he had to check the weather and make sure the crew would have at least 48 hours until the next rain. “We had to tie in the roof every day to make sure if it rained, the insulation wouldn’t get wet and the roof was watertight,” he said.

Extra Credit
All of their hard work paid off. When the job was done, it was night and day compared with how the roof looked when the crew started, according to Small. And that good work led to even more business for RoofCARE. 

“The customer has been so pleased with the results of the project, they’ve recently contracted RoofCARE to re-roof their gym and another BUR [built-up roof] gravel roof with the same Hydro-Stop system,” Small said.

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