Replacing the 30+-year-old roofs at a school may have been the strategy for many roofing contractors, but for contracting company RoofCARE, roof replacement is seen as a last resort. Instead, RoofCARE, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, treated the roofs over the gym and administration buildings at Hope Christian School in 2014 with an acrylic elastomeric system.
After cleaning, priming, and sealing all penetrations, the five-person crew laid down two base coats and a topcoat, all from APOC. They covered all 21,830 square feet (2,028.1 m²) of metal substrate.
“As long as the roofing system is not failing, we propose sustainable solutions that eliminate the need for premature and costly roof replacement,” said RoofCARE’s Marketing Director Jonathan Small. This sustainable approach, which according to him also includes “preventative maintenance, corrective repairs, and roof renovation,” has paid off for the Hope Christian School roofs.
Since the project’s completion, RoofCARE crew members have returned to the roof a few times “to fix a couple leaks at the gym, primarily deriving from issues from plumbing or AC [air conditioning] units,” Small said. “The roofs on the Hope gym/administration building have fared very well since we renovated them in 2014…The coating system has aged beautifully with no signs of failure or deterioration,” he continued.
The success of this roof coating may be attributed to RoofCARE’s attention to detail. “In roofing, attention to detail is crucial because seemingly minor imperfections can lead to water entry and the spread of damage and problems,” Small explained. And a big part of the process is what happens before the coating is applied.
“It is imperative that the substrate be cleaned and prepped properly before installing coatings. Otherwise, the adhesion will not be adequate, which compromises the entire system. RoofCARE uses high-pressure power washers and in some cases, cleaning solvents and/or primers to prep the roof before installing coatings,” Small said. This was something that they did on the Hope Christian School project.
In addition, because the client chose to participate in the company’s SmartCARE contract, they have scheduled visits two times per year regardless of any emergency calls. “We regularly communicate with our contact at Hope Christian School to ensure their roofs are leak-free and to schedule the next round of SmartCARE Maintenance,” Small explained. “The program revolves around establishing a detailed inventory of the roofing assets, creating a management plan, and conducting routine maintenance. This ensures the client will see the maximum service life of their roofing assets and avoid premature roof replacement and ancillary damage from neglect,” he continued.
The attention to client management and the sustainable approach must be working for RoofCARE. Since the completion of the Hope Christian School project, the company has not only expanded into the residential division but has also opened two new branches: one each in Santa Fe and Carlsbad, New Mexico. They’ve also had to relocate their headquarters and the Las Cruces branch into larger facilities. More offices, more staff, and more services.
Life has been good at RoofCARE, and they’re now sharing the profits annually through a five-year-old program they call “Roof Angel.” “This is a philanthropic project in which we select a local non-profit organization in need of roof repairs and donate our services to them,” Small explained. “For the past two years, APOC has donated the materials needed for those projects. We are thrilled to have their support in this important initiative.”
The Hope Christian School coating project was the first time that the RoofCARE crew used the APOC acrylic elastomeric system. It seems it was a match made in heaven!
A Lasting Impression
The company, which won second and third place in CoatingsPro’s inaugural Contractor Awards Program in 2017 under the Commercial Roofing category, has been keeping busy. They’ve worked on fire stations, schools, gyms, a courthouse, and a mechanics shop.
“We’ve completed several fluid-applied projects for Santa Fe Community College that we’re very proud of,” Small said. “These stand out due to the scale/size of the roofs, the fact that we were able to save them from being torn off and dumped into a landfill unnecessarily, and the quality of the finished product.”
Whether the substrates are R-panels (similar to the Hope Christian project) or modified bitumen membranes, these projects all come down to one thing: “Our primary objective is to make existing roofs last as long as possible,” Small said. “This approach starts with thorough inspections and proper diagnostics, which allows us to accurately analyze the true condition of the roof.”
The future looks bright for RoofCARE, too. They’re continuing to spread their tagline of “making roofs last” across the southwest. And Small believes that the rest of the roofing industry has started to come around to their way of thinking about the environment, too.
“Within the past few years, we have seen a positive trend in the use of sustainable alternatives to roof replacement,” Small explained. “Specifically, fluid-applied renovation systems seem to be gaining traction throughout the United States. That being said, it can still be an uphill battle to demonstrate the viability of those options to skeptical clients. Many facility managers and building owners aren’t willing to embrace proven solutions like fluid-applied renovations, especially if they’ve had negative experiences with a poorly installed coating that typically fails prematurely. Others don’t fully understand the value in taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive approach.”
There’s no sign that RoofCARE will stop paving the sustainable trail any time soon. “Our approach counters an unfortunate trend in our industry, which is most roofs that are replaced in the United States today simply do not need to be. In reality, while roofs may appear worn and damaged on the surface, they can usually be repaired or renovated to add 5‒25 years of additional service life. Unlike most roofing contractors, RoofCARE believes roof replacement should be considered a last resort. By avoiding replacement, we avoid tearing off literally tons of roofing material that would otherwise get dumped into landfills. In fact, each year, more than 11 million tons of discarded roofing materials are thrown into landfills. We make use of these existing roofs that usually have plenty of life left.”
RoofCARE gives new life to roofs — commercial and now residential, too — in a philanthropic, sustainable, award-winning way. With Hope Christian School and beyond, they put the “care” in roof repair.
This feature is part of a special anniversary series in 2017 in which CoatingsPro is reflecting on and updating the magazine’s most-read digital stories. To see the original article, as it appears online, please click here. To read the other articles in the Greatest Hits series, click here and for information on this year's Contractor Awards Program, click here.