Many parties have a hand in the process of specifying and installing roofing systems on institutional and commercial facilities, including architects, engineers and contractors. In order for maintenance and engineering managers to deliver a successful project — whether it is a recover or replacement — they also need to take full advantage of the knowledge of roofing manufacturers.
During site visits and discussions, manufacturers hear many questions from managers concerning roof system selection, installation recommendations, and a post-installation maintenance plan. The answers to these questions can
provide managers with essential
Managers must choose from an array of roofing systems, from built-up, metal, and modified bitumen, to single-ply and vegetative roofs. Selecting the most appropriate roof for a particular facility requires thorough research.
Climate and warranty considerations are among the important issues for managers to consider early in the process.
Several key questions can provide important guidance.
What is your purpose for doing the roofing project?
The answer might depend on the future of the building.
"A lot of this comes down to cost of ownership," says Bryan Andrews of Firestone Building Products. "You can buy something quite inexpensive, but it might not last as long as if you pick another system that might cost you a little bit more but last twice as long. The first thing you should think about is what is the capital investment strategy? Are you going to be in this building for 50 years and buy the best system for longevity?"
What does the warranty cover?
"Read the fine details in the warranty," says Vincent McPartland of Sika-Sarnafil. "Check out the warranty history or the actual service life for the membrane manufacturer you're dealing with. When you're looking at the warranty, check if there are any exclusions that apply to you that might be appropriate. If there is an exclusion you are concerned about, ask the manufacturer why it's there."
What role does extreme weather play in the specification decision?
"Is (the roof) in a high-velocity hurricane zone?," says Keith Berg of CertainTeed Roofing. "Is it in the tornado belt? Is there a higher chance for hail damage than would occur in other areas of the country? All these weather events can have a negative impact on a building's roof. These weather events have the ability to pick up surrounding objects and hurl or drop them on buildings causing roof punctures or tears."
How will the building's heating and cooling loads affect the decision?
"This is an important question in determining whether a black or white membrane would be the more energy efficient choice," says Ron Goodman of Carlisle Construction Materials. "In heating-dominated central and northern climates, a black membrane is generally the more energy efficient choice, as it helps lower heating costs. In cooling-dominated southern climates, a white membrane is the more efficient choice."
Is the roof's role in interior noise levels an important consideration?
"If the desire is to reduce unwanted noise from outside sources, such as rainfall and hail impact, it is a good idea to go with a ballasted roofing system versus an exposed membrane system," Goodman says. "The ballast does a good job of absorbing sound from rainfall or hail impact. Indoor sound quality can be improved in exposed membrane assemblies by adding gypsum-based cover boards over the insulation."
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