Roof Coatings Articles

All Hail! Recoat of Hail Damaged Roofs in Texas

Photos courtesy of American WeatherStar
Vendor Team

American WeatherStar
Coatings manufacturer
P.O. Box 6256
Mobile, AL 36660
(888) 868-2317

Capital Safety by DBI SALA
Safety equipment manufacturer
3833 SALA Way
Red Wing, MN 55066
(651) 388-8282

Galt Construction
Coatings contractor
2150 S Central Expwy.
Suite 200
McKinney, TX 75070
(888) 962-9449

Graco Inc.
Equipment manufacturer
88 11th Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 623-6000

Nelson Ag Mart and Nelson Storage Units (Harkey Family Trust)
Coatings client
2400 US-377
Brownwood, TX 76804
(325) 643-3636

Roofing contractors in Texas and Oklahoma are accustomed to seeing roofs ravaged by frozen rain. “We work in what is referred to as the ‘Hail Belt.’ That being said, many roofing companies around the country have office sites in Dallas or other major cities in Texas and Oklahoma. Hail damage is a very real concern for building owners and should be dealt with as soon as possible,” said Robert Norrell of Galt Construction.

He and his crew were recently called to the scene of the Nelson Wholesale Ag Mart and Nelson Storage Units in Brownwood, Texas, where they found roof areas that were damaged by hail ranging in size from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half inches (3.8–6.4 cm)! According to Norrell, when hail hits a metal roof, it can create pits in the substrate. These pits collect dirt, water, and debris and are subject to corroding much more quickly and easily than the rest of the roof. “Hail that hits the edge of a roof can break the metal substrate, and any coating that exists on the roof can also be damaged,” explained Norrell.

Assessing the Damage
Fortunately for the Harkey Family Trust, owner of both businesses, although the damage was moderate to severe in some areas, it was not necessary to replace the roofs of the wholesale mart and the storage units. “It was decided that it would save a tremendous amount of time and money to recoat the roofs. This was a much better option than ripping off the existing substrate and installing brand new metal roofs,” stated Norrell. The Galt team was tasked with applying an American WeatherStar Met-A-Gard coating system on 184,568 square feet (17,146.9 m2) of roof area.

Met-A-Gard is a fluid-applied acrylic roofing system consisting of butyl tape and American WeatherStar’s Acrylic 211 basecoat and topcoat. The system has a 10-year warranty and is designed to restore and protect metal roofs by forming a watertight seal and preventing rust, therefore extending the life expectancy of the roof. In addition, Met-A-Gard uses cool roof technology to substantially reduce heating and cooling costs.

First on the Agenda
With the specifications and scope of work nailed down, the crew got to work on the approximately 100,000-square-foot (9,290.3 m²) Nelson Wholesale Ag Mart. “Although the buildings are on the same property lot, the work had to be done at different times because of the separate insurance claims that were filed for each business. We started with the Ag Mart, which took two weeks to complete. Then we got to work on the storage units, which followed the same process as the Ag Mart and also took two weeks from start to finish,” said Norrell.

The first order of business for the team, which ranged in size between six and eight members, was to power wash the 24-gauge metal R-panel galvanized Purlin Bearing Rib (PBR) substrate. Using a 3,500 psi (24.1 MPa) pressure washer, the crew cleaned the entire roof to rid the surface of any dirt, debris, and other contaminants. Once the substrate was properly cleaned, Norrell and his crew made sure all screws in the metal roof were sound and tight.  At that point, it was time to hand-lay the butyl tape over every vertical and horizontal seam. “One side of the butyl tape is sticky and adheres to the metal substrate. The other side is a polyester fabric that bridges the gap in the seams and gives the coating something to grab onto,” stated Norrell.

Weather Watch
With the seams taped, the roof was ready for the application of the Met-A-Gard coating system. However, there was just one element holding them back: the weather.

According to Norrell, Brownwood, Texas, is known for its extreme temperatures. “When it’s hot, it’s really hot and when it’s cold, it is very cold and often windy. This project took place during the winter months, so we were constantly monitoring the temperature to make sure that it wasn’t too cold to apply the coating,” said Norrell. Cold temperatures affect the cure rate of the coating system and may cause the different layers of the system to cure unevenly. For example, while the top layer may appear to be fully cured, the layer underneath may not be completely dry. This situation can lead to buckling, pitting, cracking, and, ultimately, premature coatings failure. “There were several days when the temperature dipped too low and we couldn’t apply the coating system,” revealed Norrell.

In addition, work was put on hold during the windiest days, as the possibility of overspray was too great for the crew to continue coating application.

A Is for Acrylic
Weather difficulties notwithstanding, the Galt crew kept on schedule.  First, they brush-applied Acrylic 211 over all screws and seams at an average dry film thickness of 80 mils (2,032.0 microns). Then, using Graco 733 and 833 spray rigs, the crew applied Acrylic 211 over the entire roof area. They spray-applied the coating in two passes for an approximate final thickness of 24 dry mils (609.6 microns). “The first layer was a different hue than the second layer, so we were easily able to find any low spots,” said Norrell.

Acrylic 211 is an acrylic elastomeric coating that combines high solids emulsion polymers and biocides to provide durability, reflectivity, weatherproofing, and mildew resistance. It also reduces the daily expansion and contraction (aka thermal cycling) of roof substrates. According to Norrell, acrylic products such as American WeatherStar’s Acrylic 211 are an excellent choice for pitched roofs that are not prone to the collection of ponding water.

Pitch Perfect
That same roof pitch that made acrylic an excellent coating system material choice also meant that fall protection was a must for the crew. “The project was on multiple levels with skylights everywhere. We used Shock Wave 2 lanyards and iSafe Intelligent Safety Systems both made by DBI SALA. Every crew member was hooked up and tied off the moment they got on the roof,” stated Norrell. The crew also wore long sleeves, long pants, steel-toed boots, gloves, goggles, and hard hats. Flags and cones were set up in the parking lot to mark the working area and to ensure public safety, as well as avoid issues with overspray on parked cars.

After four weeks total of working time, the Galt Construction crew completed the roof recoat for both the Nelson Ag Mart and Nelson Storage Units. “We are pleased with the outcome of this job, even if the weather was a bit of a wild card. The Harkey Family Trust can be assured that the roofs of these buildings are protected and will stand up to the extreme weather conditions that are common in Brownwood,” said Norrell.


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