Roof-Specification Decision: PVC or Sprayed Foam

By Dan Hounsell, Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Storm Damage Requires Dome Replacement of Sporting VenuePt. 2: Upgrading to a More Structured Roofing System Pt. 3: This Page

The 2010 roof replacement project, at a total cost of about $1.5 million, took about three months.

"We hired a consultant and asked them for recommendations," Mirchich says. "They looked at PVC, and they also looked at a sprayed-on foam roof. The consultant hired a roof specialist, who also had done work on the Superdome. That's what they did there, the sprayed-on foam. But we decided we weren't interested in the foam roof. We went with the PVC.

"We just weren't sure about (the foam roof). He (the consultant) was, but other people we talked with weren't too keen on it. We ended up with a better warranty on the PVC than we could have gotten on the foam. With all the problems we had with the previous roof, the warranty was probably one of the biggest issues."

The construction of the building and the structure and size of the roof presented challenges when it came time to removing the existing roof and installing the new PVC system.

"Getting down the sheets of metal (from the previous roof) was an issue," Mirchich says. "They actually just rolled the metal up into balls to get it off the roof. It's a difficult building to roof, just because of the size of it. It's a unique structure. It's got a lot of different pitches and angles and valleys to it. It's not like a slanted roof. It makes it much more difficult to work with.

"There's the center part of the roof, which is fabric, and that stayed in place. Then the PVC is outside of that, and at the bottom of the PVC is a concrete ring beam that's about 10 feet wide that runs around the dome that provides air distribution and also serves as a part of the roof. We had that ring beam recoated, and we did some epoxy injections to patch some cracks."

So far, the new roofing system has performed up to Mirchich's expectations.

"I think it's doing well," he says. "We had a couple of leaks at the very beginning. They came back and fixed them, and we haven't had any issues since then."

The new system also has benefited the maintenance and operations department.

"The new roof has performed very, very well. We purchased a 30-year warranty, with an annual visit by the contractor to inspect and make repairs. There were some minor areas that needed some minor work, so it didn't cost us anything. So money out of our budget is significantly reduced."

But as with all successful retrofit projects, the benefits go well beyond the facilities side of things.

"More than that, the occupants have been very happy it's not raining inside the dome," Zwanziger says. "They used to be out there with mops trying to clean up the water or moving people during games so they wouldn't get dripped on. That's probably been the biggest benefit of all."

The roof-replacement project also helps ensure that the UNI-Dome remains a comfortable place for fans to watch games and support the Panthers' football team so its home-field advantage can continue.

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  posted on 4/20/2012   Article Use Policy

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