Thursday, January 18, 2018

Performing a Water Test

Lets face it, dealing with water leaks of any source can be stressful and hard to deal with, especially when it comes to roofing! Commercial roofs are obviously a sensitive topic of discussion for all building owners because if the roof is leaking, the problems are often noticed and felt! With many facilities, roof leaks cause unpleasant aesthetic issues, damage, and can deter business if not properly addressed. Some leaks are minor and rather easy to fix however every now and then the extremely difficult and "non-findable" mystery leaks show up and can be a real nuisance for both the building owner and the roofing contractor.

Most times, after a roofing contractor makes several attempts at solving a repeat leak with no success in stopping the roof leak, a "water test" may be the next step in the process for find a proper solution.
Water tests are used to literally test the roof with controlled water sources in order to find the location of the leak source. Water tests can reveal leaks in the roof itself, HVAC units, walls, penetrations, or any other areas. Peach State Roofing has found that a majority of the time in which a water test is completed, it typically reveals the leak source to be something other than the roof system itself.
The basic process of completing a water test starts with finding a good water source on the building and simply running hoses from the water source to the area of the roof being tested. The roofing contractor will then, if needed, plug any drains in the area to make sure that water does not drain off the roof during this test. Once that is complete the roofing contractor always should start off with test the field (flat) part of the roof area. The principle to follow in doing a water test is to always start from the bottom and work up. Typically a roofing contractor will have a technician on the roof performing the water test itself and also a technician on the inside of the building to radio in when the water starts showing up as a leak.

Some times it can take 30 minutes to an hour of keeping the water on the roof to ensure that it is or is not leaking. The main point in this first step is to ensure whether the roof system itself is or is not the source of the leak. If the roof has been water tested and never leaks, the contractor will then bring the water up to the flashings on the curbs or penetration. If these areas do not leak, they contractor will proceed up ward to perhaps a HVAC unit or a wall area.

Basically the process is strategically placing water on areas from "the bottom-up" until the leak reveals itself on the inside. When the water starts showing up as a leak, the technician inside the building will radio up to the roof thus allowing them to fully test the most recent 'water test' areas to ensure the findings are correct.

The process of completing a "water test" can be a long draw out scope of work all while forcing the contractor to test areas a good distance from the actual leak location inside the building. As Bo Holloway, PSR representative out of the Nashville, TN office says. "Water goes all the places it's not supposed to go!"

In the end, owners/contractors simply need to follow proper protocol when performing a water test and if done correctly, it can be a great measure to help solve leak issues for any commercial building.

Project Profile: Rock Hill Medical Park

Project Profile: Rock Hill Medical Park
Location: Rock Hill, South Carolina

Peach State Roofing’s Rock Hill, SC office recently completed a commercial re-roofing project on the Rock Hill Medical Park in South Carolina. This was a project that had been in the works for about 3 years with Peach State Roofing as the building owner whom is local to Rock Hill had been budgeting for this re-roofing project over this amount of time.
The buildings roof surface was approximately 30,000 square feet in size and was an existing black EPDM membrane roof which was mechanically fastened to the metal decking of the structure. One small section was held down by ballasted river rock.
Peach State Roofing first came in and vacuum removed the ballast river rock off of the one section and for the remainder of the roof, PSR elected with the owner to do a recovery system over the existing EPDM. The field sheets of membrane were sliced to meet the manufacturer’s requirements and then a 1/2″ cover board was installed over the existing EPDM. The new cover board selected was mechanically attached to the metal decking to meet the manufacturer’s requirements for installation.
After the surface of the existing roof was recovered over with the new cover board, Carlisle 60 mil white TPO membrane was the commercial roof membrane of choice installed. PSR used 8’x100′ membrane sheets fastened at 12″ o.c. to meet the specified requirements. The field sheets were mechanically fastened to the metal deck at this rate with 2 layers of half sheets installed around the entire perimeter. Fully adhered membrane was installed up and over all parapet walls to fully encapsulate the walls so that the building owner would not experience any wall issues for future leaks. Once the membrane was fully adhered up and over the parapet walls, new 24 gauge Kynar prefinished metal coping systems were installed on the entire perimeter of the building to give it a completed finish to meet the owners expectations and Carlisle’s roof system requirements.
Some specific details completed over the course of the project were removing some of the skylights on the building which had been major leak sources for the owner and also were not in use anymore. PSR also primed and painted all of the existing drain parts to give it a new restored finish and installed all new drain bolts and washers at all existing drain locations. New wood blocking supports were installed at all of the gas lines on the roof and new Carlisle TPO membrane walk pad was installed at all roof access points.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the re-roofing project was working with the building owner and the tenants to accommodate the fact that the building is an operating medical facility which completes minor medical surgeries, hearing tests, and other medical procedures. For this reason, sound was an issue which Peach State Roofing monitored closely and performed it’s work schedule around the tenants needs. Generators were also placed on extra padding to help eliminate and reduce noise and vibrations on the roof.
The project took approx. 3 weeks to plan, stage, load and complete with the new Carlisle TPO membrane roof system and overall the project was a great success for PSR and the building owner. The system received a 20 year “No Dollar Limit” labor and material warranty from Carlisle and will serve the Rock Hill Medical Park as a great roof system of choice.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Roof Project Highlight: Crossroads Church

In 2016, Peach State Roofing was contracted to complete a commercial roof coating system over an existing structural metal panel roof system. When looking at the building for a commercial roof application that would solve this buildings leak issues, many different solutions were presented to the owner.
The project was for Crossroads Church in Newnan, GA and Peach State Roofing was brought in as a bidder for their roofing work. Over the course of the bid process, Peach State was selected as the contractor of choice for this select building which was just one of many on this campus for the church.
After narrowing down the two main roofing options between a “flute fill” metal retrofit system with TPO membrane and a commercial roof coating, the church selected the commercial roof coating as their application of choice. This coating was selected to fit into their budget and was an option due to their current roof system being in a proper state that a coating could still be recommended and successful with solving their roof issues.
The manufacturer/coating system used was ER Systems and their Acrylic 1000 Plus coating system.
In this application as well as any commercial roof coating application – the preparation and sealing components are perhaps the most important. On this existing metal building structure – it had been coated with a slight silver aluminum coating which had to be removed prior to applying the new coating system so that proper adhesion would take place. The existing aluminum coating was removed using a heavy commercial pressure washing system which took several days to complete exposing the original clean surface of the roof itself. Crews also brought in wire brushes and grinders to remove any excess/existing roof repairs and coated/caulked areas.
Once the existing surface was completely prepared and brought back to its original install state, free of any past repair areas, Peach State Roofing took a thorough step in sealing up all penetrations and leak source areas over the course of the roof. Every vertical, horizontal and penetration seam in the roof system was sealed over with the ER Systems H.E.R. flashing grade roof sealant. Also, any existing or loose screws were removed and replaced with over sized grommet screws. Once all the screws were re-installed, Peach State Roofing installed the ER Systems H.E.R. flashing grade sealant over all screw heads. Site superintendents did several walks over the treated areas to make sure no seams, screws, or penetrations were missed.
After a day of letting the flashing grade sealant cure, Peach State Roofing brought in a base coat layer of the ER Systems 1000 Plus in a gray color to fully coat the roof area. After that layer cured off, a top coat layer of the same ER Systems coating was used again but this time with a white roof coating color so that management could make sure full coverage had occurred over the entire roof surface.
Daily progress reports were done using the Peach State Roofing RoofCloud database system so the owner was kept in good communication daily about the project status.
The roof project turned out to be a great success in how it operated from start to finish and gave the church a great finished roofing project which kept their building water tight and will do so for years to come. Through thorough planning, preparation, and execution – Peach State Roofing installed a long term roof coating system to meet all industry standards and deliver a warranted commercial roof application.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Five Common Leak Sources NOT Associated With The Roof

It all starts with seeing a small drip of water or a stained ceiling tile. The little nuisance that a roof leak is to a building owner always is cause for concern to get addressed and repaired before it ever turns into a larger major problem. Many times a real estate building owner will call for a commercial roofing contractor to service a building for roof leaks they see but they are not always necessarily coming from the roof itself. Yes it may come from the ‘roof area’ but there are several other key things that need to be considered and looked into which a majority of the time, can be major causes of roof leaks in the commercial building world.
1. HVAC Units – Air conditioning units are many times found to be the culprit of a roof leak. From a backed up condensate line, to a rusted out drip pan, or a unit that is not properly sealed – HVAC units are common causes of every day roof leaks on commercial real estate buildings. Taking the time to locate a leak from the inside of the building and seeing if it lines up with a mechanical unit on the roof surface is a great step in determining if the HVAC unit is a possible cause. Also look for holes or missing screws on units where rain water can easily gain access into a unit or penetration and make its way into a building.
2. Cracks in Walls and Wall Joints – If a leak of water appears to be coming down from an outside wall of a building, this may be caused from cracks in walls or bad mortar. One of the most common sources of leaks on the wall of a building are found at wall joints especially when the sealant at these areas crack and deteriorate over time. Always keep regular observation on the upkeep of a buildings exterior walls and if cracks/voids start showing in wall areas, they should be addressed right away.
3. Plumbing from Roof Drains – As buildings age, the plumbing and seals of a building often need to be inspected regularly as plumbing seals can deteriorate and wear over time. If a so called ‘roof leak’ is coming from an area with a roof drain or drain pipe located near it, there can be cause for concern that the leak is actually associated with the plumbing of a building. This may take thorough examination by a roofing contractor and plumbing contractor together but once it’s determined to be coming from the roof drain bowl or the roof drain line – a plumbing contractor will have to take it from there. One side note to consider if the leak is at the drain bowl / pipe connection – a metal retrofit roof drain might be an option to fix the issue.
4. Condensation and Moisture – If you ever walk into a cold grocery store or temperature controlled environment, the temperature from cooling equipment can cause major moisture issues which can lead to condensation and moisture drips. Most of this comes down to the design of a buildings air cooling systems via piping or duct work that may be up against the roof deck in the ceiling but it is usually very easy to identify. If stained ceiling tiles or drips of water are coming from areas with duct work or pipes in the ceiling area, the main thing to monitor is if these drips of water are occurring during normal sunny days where no rain has been present. If this happens to be the case, a professional HVAC technician might have major issues to address in the insulation and function of the air cooling system in a building.
5. Foundation Water Entry – There are times when a commercial building owner comes into their building one morning and they find water all over the ground or up against walls. A common source, especially on older buildings is that the water may be coming in via the floor or wall-to-ground areas of a building. If the puddles of water are large or extremely saturated but no staining of ceiling areas or old water marks are found, this foundation issue may be the main problem. It would be wise to wait until a good heavy rain and see if it actually leaks in the rain from the roof at all.

Roof leaks or leaks that may be believed to come from the roof can be a common occurrence in the commercial real estate world but having proper professional contractors who know how to investigate and sort through the different water entry items of a building are a great resource to have.

For professional commercial roofing services and consultation for a real estate building which is facing leaking issues – contact one of the fifteen (15) national commercial roofing offices of Peach State Roofing Inc. Their information can be found on the locations page of our website.

Bidding a Roofing Project with Multiple Manufacturers Specified

Commercial real estate building owners usually find it advantageous to open up their roof bidding process to accept multiple roofing manufacturers. Not only does this allow them to possibly open themselves up to using more qualified and professional roofing contractors in a bidding process but it usually brings a few other things to consider to possibly help them in their commercial roofing needs.
Below are three reasons a building owner may want to consider opening up their bidding to multiple roofing manufacturers.

  1. More competitive pricing – Just as having 2 or 3 contractors bidding a roofing project brings more competitive pricing to keep contractors “honest” with their pricing, having multiple manufacturers specified for bidding does the same thing. Pricing for roofing contractors all starts with roofing manufacturer material pricing. Whether it is the cost for TPO, EPDM, polyiso, or roofing accessories, pricing is more competitive to the contractors when they know they are bidding against other roof manufacturers.
  2. Different warranties and coverages –  As previously mentioned – commercial roofing manufacturers are competitive and trying to win successful business just like any other industry. At times, different projects may require different approvals or needs from a warranty or project approval stand point. It can be common for roofing manufacturers to work with building owners and contractors to create more favorable warranty conditions or allow different details if that helps the project or owner and them to secure the project. Be careful though here as it is not recommended to sacrifice quality just to get a better price. Always understand fully what differences are present that manufacturers offer from their other roofing competitors.
  3. Customer service and local representatives – Every roofing manufacturer has different levels of customer service and local roofing manufacturer representatives. As with all companies, a real estate owner can experience different levels of service, expertise, and support from the roofing manufacturers. One area of the country might have strong representation with one roofing manufacturer but in other areas of the country, a different roofing manufacturer might be more strongly suited for the building owner. It is common for building owners to find preference for roofing manufacturers and contractors around the country depending on the area.
Overall, finding and allowing for good roofing manufacturers in a real estate building owners bidding process is good for them from many stand points. A key recommendation is to stay with using key/strong roofing manufacturers such as Johns Manville, Carlisle, Firestone, Fibertite, GAF, Versico, etc just to name a few.
For help with being put in touch and partnering with a good list of roofing manufacturers for a commercial roofing project, Peach State Roofing local offices are happy to be contacted to discuss strong recommendations for building owners. By partnering with a good roofing contractor such as Peach State Roofing to deliver a successful warranted roof system, building owners can rest assured that their buildings needs will be well tended to.

Peach State Roofing Inc is a national commercial roofing contractor with 15 full service offices located around the country. Specialties of Peach State Roofing include commercial roofing with TPO, EPDM, PVC, KEE and repair and maintenance services.

EPDM Tid Bits

Specifically known as ethylene propylene diene monomer, EPDM, has been and still is to this day a major commercial roofing product in the real estate industry for keeping buildings dry. It has been a dominate membrane in the single ply market around the country for many years and although TPO and its white reflective surface have taken a good bit of market share from EPDM, this typically black rubber membrane is still for many, a “go-to” roofing product. Many influential markets such as commercial, government, hospitals, and education buildings all have long standing use of EPDM.
Like previously stated, EPDM is traditionally black in color and the simplest way to describe EPDM is that it is a flat sheet of rubber. It can be made as a reinforced membrane or a non-reinforced membrane. For a roofing membrane to be reinforced, it means that fabric/scrim is manufactured inside the layers of rubber. This creates added strength for certain installation areas, especially to prevent tearing of the membrane during installations that are mechanically attached roof systems. If a roof system is fully adhered or ballasted in its securement, PSR typically prefers a non-reinforced membrane as do many roofing manufacturer’s reps.
EPDM is an easy product to handle, maneuver around penetrations and wrap special areas with. Once laid out, it’s seams are adhered together using an EPDM primer and a ‘peel n stick’ / seam tape product. This is a very simple and reliable way to seal the seams and prior to this seam adhesion process, proper cleaning of the membrane area is key. Contractor’s can buy membrane with factory applied seam tape already on rolls now.
The standard thicknesses for EPDM come in 45 mil, 60 mil, and 90 mil membranes. Rolls typically installed are 10 ft wide in nature however for large wide open roofing projects, some contractor’s may elect to go with a 20 ft wide roll of membrane so that less seams are needing to be sealed thus creating faster installation time and less leak sources.
Many contractor’s say that when an EPDM roof system is at its life expectancy, it is not because of the EPDM failing because it is only rubber. The main sign of an EPDM system failing is when the seams and penetrations start coming loose. Occasionally weathering and sun can dry out the rubber membrane causing it to be brittle and tear easily as well.
In recent market trends, EPDM has been installed less and less in the south due to its high ‘heat’ attraction nature with its black surface. In in the north however, EPDM still is in use a great deal. Roofing manufacturer’s have started to make white EPDM to compete with TPO white membranes and they are great systems to consider for some owners.
From a price point, EPDM is more expensive than TPO due to the amounts of accessories and adhesives, primers, and cleaners needed. One price point where EPDM can compete better with TPO is in the application nature for a roofing project itself. A building with an existing EPDM building and ballast river rock on it may elect to go with a “re-ballast” or “re-skin” of the existing ballasted EPDM membrane by simply pushing the rock aside and swapping out the EPDM membrane with new. The main point in considering EPDM is that it opens contractor’s and building owners up to different applications which may fit better than other types.
Overall, EPDM is a terrific product in the commercial roofing industry. It should always be expected to have a solid strong hold for certain buildings across the country and as commercial roofing always makes advances, EPDM will be reliable option for many years to come.

Article written by: Jaret Sweatt

Why NOT to get a ‘Single-Source’ Warranty

Every now and then contractors try to offer a ‘Single Source’ warranty. In other words, they offer a warranty where they are solely the full supplier and backer of the roofing system installed. Rather than following a roofing industry standard of having a “third party” roofing manufacturer’s warranty, some contractors promote only a document with their name on it as a level of protection and security for building owners. Although this may seem great to a building owner, many are regretful of having a roofing warranty which is only covered by the contractor. Roofing contractors who offer their own warranties often pitch to owners that their warranties and repair process’ are simpler, quicker, or better quality on a few accords. One key note for commercial building owners to remember is that warranties are there to protect the building owners but also the roof warranty providers to a certain level as well. Contractors who offer “single source” warranties typically offer the same time lengths of 10, 15, and 20+ year warranties as that of roofing manufacturer’s (“third party” warranties). There are not a lot of reputable contractors who offer these ‘sales pitch’ type warranties but below are three reasons why to stay away from a contractor who DOES NOT provide you with a true commercial roofing manufacturer’s warranty.
  1. Proven and Long-Term Tested Installation Details – When a contractor is installing a new roofing system to meet warranty requirements of a specified roofing manufacturer, they are held to a much higher status than a contractor who is providing their own warranty. Being that the roofing manufacturer is a “third party” and will be the responsible party holding the warranty, they are going to ensure that the details of the roofing system installed are made in the highest degree with proven long term installation standards. It can be common place for contractors who do not provide a manufacturer’s warranty to simply ‘cut corners’ to make the roofing work or be a lower price. At the end of the day, those types of contractors pick and choose what they do and do not install rather than being held to high quality proven methods.
  2. Quality Inspection and Performance Reviews – When a roof is either in progress or going through its final inspection process, a good quality roof inspection process is key. After all, this is what is testing the roof to make sure it will up-hold to long term performance. When working with a roofing contractor who is providing a manufacturer’s warranty in lieu of just a contractor’s warranty (even if it is a contractor’s 20 year warranty), a “third party” roofing manufacturer’s field inspector is going to come out to every job and complete a thorough inspection of all of the details installed, often do probe testing of seams in a roof, and evaluate the newly installed roof system to make sure it will hold up against “Mother Nature” for the course of the long term roof warranty. Often times, contractors who provide only their own warranties, skip the roof inspection process’ or become very slack on them just to get past the project and move on to the next one.
  3. Larger Contractor Coverage – Sometimes there are problems that come up between owners and contractors and for a building owner to know they are backed by a larger parent company other than the original contractor of choice can give the said owner peace of mind. There are instances where contractors who give only their own warranties go out of business, get bought out, etc and their warranties become void to the building owners. Also, building owners may experience bad treatment by their roofing contractor and may want a new contractor to serve them. If the owner is tied down to a contractor who provided ONLY their own warranty and NOT a roofing manufacturer’s warranty, they only will be stuck dealing with ONLY the original contractor who they may not prefer anymore. At least in the instance of conflict, a building owner has access to a variety of quality approved roofing contractors if they have a roofing manufacturer’s warranty to go with their new roof system.
The common expression used among building owner and contractors when it comes to warning owners of “single source” roof warranties by the contractor is that you never want the contractor to play “judge, jury, and executioner” when it comes to making and upholding the decisions and performance of the roof system. By partnering up with a quality commercial roofing contractor who is providing a manufacturer’s roof warranty on any roofing project, building owners can receive the proper “third party” benefits to ensure quality, performance, and service for the life time of their roofing systems.

Some leading manufacturer’s to ask your roofing contractor about for warranties: Johns Manville, Carlisle, Firestone, GAF, Sarnafil, Fibertite, Versico, GenFlex, etc.