For a roofing contractor, working with a customer who sees the importance of prioritizing the protection of the roof may be rare, but it is desired. National Tire Warehouse was one recent client of Spray-Tec, Inc.’s who got it. “With the amount of work that they had to do on the inside, it was imperative that they get the roof under wraps and tight before they started investing in drywall, carpet, etc., which we like because unfortunately, a lot of building owners sometimes don’t look at it that way. They’d rather put in a shiny new refrigerator and tile floor before they get the roof fixed,” said Aaron Martin, sales manager for Spray-Tec.
“The backstory is the building owner was expanding his business, came across this warehouse, which had been abandoned for some time, and there were of course leaks, issues, vents, fasteners, all those sorts of common problems,” said Martin. “Before he got in and started doing renovations in the building to bring things up to par, he needed to get a quote for a new roof.”
Martin sat down with the client and discussed the potential for the use of coatings — specifically silicone — as a solution. He walked the roof to inspect it. “Luckily it wasn’t too far gone to where it wouldn’t have been a good option ’cause that’s really what we talk about a lot: We’re only as good as what we adhere to,” he continued.
And the client was sold. Spray-Tec got the 72,000-square-foot (6,689.0 m²) job.
Prep and Paint
As with most coating jobs, the surface prep on this project took the most time to complete. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re painting your house or installing a coated foam roof, the coating system is the easy part. It’s all the pressure washing, the replacement and interchanging the fasteners or using a larger-gage fastener if necessary, priming all the rusted areas with an oxidized non-rust primer, and then priming the entire roof with an epoxy primer or rust primer just to ensure proper adhesion,” Martin explained. “You know, doing things like that is different than just going up, blowing off some dirt and debris, and rolling on some coating.”
To get the surface prep started, the five- to six-person Spray-Tec crew accessed the roof with a 32-foot (9.8 m) Louisville ladder and set up safety perimeter flags at the 6-foot (1.8 m) mark, purchased from a local supply store called Bailey Tool & Supply. When the crew worked outside that perimeter, they wore lanyards and harnesses from 3M’s Guardian line.
The team completed the overall project in three weeks. “The actual prep took approximately two weeks and that prep included pressure washing the roof, grinding old mastics and old repairs to create a good substrate and remove all the old repair coatings, etc., priming the entire roof with a rust-inhibitive primer, and then of course changing out all the fasteners and checking all the fasteners,” Martin explained. “Once that work was done, we then took it a step further. We’ve got a primed substrate that’s now super tight and we repair and seal all the fastener heads, all the vertical seams, all the lap seams, and all the rooftop penetrations with urethane.”
The crew applied American WeatherStar’s Red Oxide Primer with a Graco H40 pump to the entire roof at an average of 200 square feet per gallon (4.9 m²/L). “After the primer was installed, we then went back with the urethane and buttoned everything up,” Martin said. “All lap seams, vertical seams, fasteners, and rooftop penetrations got hit with the urethane by hand.” The crew used a 3-inch (7.6 cm) chip brush to apply the 522 Urethane at 24–32 mils (609.6–812.8 microns).
Overspray, as with all other spray coating on rooftops, was a concern on this project but the crew was sure to watch the forecast and use a few techniques to help them stick to the timeline.
“Luckily, having done this for 29 years, we kind of know the ins and outs of overspray so whether that’s utilizing car covers, which we bring with us, burlap wind screens, which we make here in house and have on every job, or start on a different part of the roof based on the forecast and wind direction, we use a variety of techniques to eliminate or minimize any overspray potential. And luckily, on this specific project we did well,” Martin said.
The crew applied the topcoat, the 412 Silicone, at an average of 1.5 gallons per square foot (0.4 m²/L). They wore MSA Advantage 2000 half-mask respirators when spraying that layer, which required the use of Hennes-Johnson pumps.
Celebrations All Around
Although the hiccups were few and far between, the crew did have to sacrifice a bit to get this job done. In addition to completing the job safety and successfully, the crew also had to finish it quickly. That meant lodging near the jobsite on the weekends instead of coming home.
“They really dug in and understood that we still had a mountain of work to do, they pulled up their boots as opposed to just coming back, they sacrificed and worked the weekends — two in a row — that was really commendable, and we appreciate that as a company because being based in Kentucky, this region you just never know what you’re going to get weather wise,” Martin explained.
“You’ve got a job to do, but you’ve always got to get to the next one. Three weeks isn’t a ton of time but it’s the biggest part of our year. You gotta make hay when the sun’s out. We try to efficiently march on, get the ball rolling and stay on task, be as productive as possible. There were very few hiccups on this project. It was really a success in the way our guys handled themselves and got this project going from the beginning from the safety set up to the very end where we’re cleaning up and doing a warranty inspection with a third-party inspector, which we passed with flying colors,” Martin continued.
That steadfastness could be attributed in part to Gustavo Garcia, who led the crew on this project, which received an 18-year warranty from the coating manufacturer and a cool roof rebate from the city. Garcia also just celebrated his 10th year with Spray-Tec this year. “He’s a true professional, somebody I would consider an artist even to a degree,” Martin extolled. The reasons? “Safety is always in the forefront of his mind, just being that he has done this for so long, his application, his understanding of the building science around roofs and building envelope, whether it’s insulation work or roofing work, it astounds me. He’s just a very smart individual, definitely a go getter, somebody that can read between the lines and has the work ethic that would put Chuck Norris to shame.”