University Faces Major Roofing Decision After Storm

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Third Roof is a Charm for University of Northern IowaPt. 2: This Page

In the aftermath of the 2009 storm, the university had an important decision to make on which direction to turn next. It had to decide between a PVC and sprayed-on foam roof. After considering the advice of a consultant, who recommended a sprayed-on roof similar to the one at the Superdome, home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the university instead chose the PVC roof.

The university was replacing a stainless steel, standing seam-roofing system that had been installed in 1998. That roof replaced the UNI-Dome’s original, inflatable roof that was similar to the one at the former Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Mike Zwanziger was the university’s manager of maintenance and operations at the time of the 2010 roofing job. He described the many issues that came along with the stainless steel roof. Every year, a local vendor would conduct an inspection and find additional leaks in the roof.

“We didn’t spend a lot of trade man-hours on roof repairs, but administratively, we spent a lot of time every year trying to trace what was done and what the problems were,” Zwanziger said in 2012.

A better warranty package was among the factors the university considered during the specification process in 2010, and it was enough to influence the decision to choose the PVC roof over the sprayed-on foam roof.

“Prior to this roof being installed, we spent on average $25,000 annually to address leaks,” says Zwanziger, now the school’s director of physical plant administration. “The current roof has a 30-year warranty, with annual inspections by the installing contractor required.”

The 2010 roof replacement project lasted three months and cost $1.5 million. Some small leaks occurred shortly after the project was completed, but Zwanziger says they were “resolved quickly by the installing contractor.”

More importantly, four years later, “we have incurred no costs to the membrane roofing to keep the building water tight since its installation,” Zwanziger says.

The new roof also provided some work relief for the maintenance staff.

(The roof), “was more of an annoyance than anything,” Zwanziger says. “It was a big improvement for the UNI-Dome staff, since they were the ones documenting the location of the leaks and having to deal with complaints from users of the building.”

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Third Roof is a Charm for University of Northern Iowa

University Faces Major Roofing Decision After Storm

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