Up on the Roof: Four-Building Elastomeric Job

For Trusted Construction Inc., installing new roof coating systems is all in a day’s work. However, when conditions were less than optimal for the application of GAF’s Unisil HS silicone coating, the Trusted Construction crew had to get creative with the schedule to keep the job moving toward an on-time completion.

When Peter Zawadzki and his five-man crew arrived at the Lakeside community in Delray Beach, Fla., they knew they would have their work cut out for them. They were tasked by the Lakeside Home Owners Association (HOA) with cleaning, priming, and applying a new roof coating system to four buildings. “Each of the buildings had a roof area of approximately 12,500 square feet [1.161.3 m²], so the job was 50,000 square feet [4,645.2 m²] in all,” said Zawadzki of Trusted Construction. Over the course of seven weeks, the team worked on the existing built-up roof (BUR) granulated roof areas and faced some weather-related challenges along the way.

Clean, Embed, and Prime

Fortunately for the crew, the roof was in acceptable condition and required minimal repairs. Once these small repairs were made, it was time for the crew to clean the roof surface and get it ready for the application of the Unisil HS silicone system. The Trusted Construction team used a Honda 3,500 psi (24,131.7 kPa) pressure washer and sprayed the roof surface with GAF’s HydroClean (formerly by Quest Construction Products), a cleaning agent that penetrates the surface, loosens all dirt, grime, and debris, and gets the substrate as clean as possible. “Using HydroClean removes more dirt and is much more effective than just pressure washing with water alone,” stated Zawadzki. Once the roof was pressure washed, the crew got to work on all seams and penetrations with another product from GAF. “We brush applied a liquid Foundation Coat over all seams and penetrations. Then we embedded fabric into the liquid. When it dries, this creates a single-ply membrane over these areas,” explained Zawadzki.

With the membrane applied to all seams and penetrations, it was time for the application of the Unisil primer using a Graco airless sprayer. The two-component water-borne epoxy primer has a 1:1 ratio and is designed for optimizing adhesion of the Unisil HS roof system. Unisil primer is also formulated to chemically react with the substrate to form a bond that will not be affected by water. It tolerates damp conditions and seals the surface. Working according to the manufacturer’s specifications, the primer was applied in two coats at a minimum total rate of 1 to 1.5 gallons (3.8–5.7 L) per 100 square feet (9.3 m²) per coat.

The Waiting Game

Here is where the Trusted Construction team had to be a bit creative to stay on schedule. The job specifications called for the application of Unisil HS, an elastomeric silicone coating. “When it was wet or moist, we couldn’t apply the silicone. We could only install the coating when it was 100 percent dry. Since it was January in Florida, this meant that almost every day we had to wait until after lunch to apply the Unisil HS,” explained Zawadzki. The crew was extremely diligent about monitoring the dew point each day and had to be very efficient during the application process. “We only had a limited amount of time to apply the silicone, so proper scheduling was very important,” said Zawadzki.

The team used rollers to apply the Unisil HS according to the manufacturer’s specifications of two coats at a minimum total rate of 1 to 2 gallons (3.8–7.6 L) per 100 square feet (9.3 m²) per coat. As stated by Zawadzki, the Unisil HS provides excellent weather-proofing, ultraviolet resistance, biological resistance, and fire retardancy. The white color of the Unisil HS also reflects the sun’s heat instead of transferring it to the buildings below, saving on energy costs and reducing the buildings’ impact on the environment. It is worth noting that throughout the entire job, the Trusted Construction crew placed the utmost importance on safety. “All of our crew members wore harnesses for fall protection, and we made sure that safety flags were placed around the perimeters of each building,” said Zawadzki.

Maintaining Success

According to Zawadzki, once the job was completed, inspections of each roof area took place to ensure that there were no areas of low coverage and that the roofs were eligible for GAF’s 20-year warranty. The roofs of all four buildings passed with flying colors, an achievement that Zawadzki attributes to the skill of his crew and the quality of the materials they installed. He is also quick to point out that each year, he and his team will go out and take a look at the roof areas to make sure everything is properly maintained. “Every second year, we will pressure wash the roofs to get rid of all the dirt and grime that may accumulate on the surface. This will also ensure that the roof does not lose any reflectivity,” related Zawadzki. Now that’s customer service to the end!