A New Breakthrough Re-Roofing Solution for the National Hurricane Weather Center

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Re-Roofing the National Hurricane Weather Center

Just-in-time for the 2016 Hurricane Season–Advanced Roofing provides a new breakthrough re-roofing solution for the National Hurricane Weather Center at FIU in Miami, Florida

From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA is home to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

Advanced Roofing, Inc. (ARI) was selected to repair the NOAA facility’s leaking roofing system, which at the time was a 3.5” ISO fully-adhered to concrete; 1.5” high-density wood fiber fully-adhered and quarter inch BUR with gravel. The existing roof had leak issues around the satellite legs, with water intrusion observed in the mechanical room below the large satellite dishes. Streaks of modified residue could be seen leaking from the corners of the room where water was running through the roof membrane and leaking inside the building. This facility is the National Hurricane Center command center and remains operational even through a Category 5 hurricane, so it was an honor and a challenge to provide a roof that will be protecting this facility and its occupants while they provide storm updates to protect residents in South Florida and throughout the nation.

Project Scope of Work:

  • Full tear off down to the structural concrete deck;
  • Fully torch adhere SBS modified temporary roof directly to the concrete deck;
  • Fully adhere in two part adhesive two layers of 2.6” insulation;
  • Fully adhere one layer of half-inch Securock cover board;
  • Fully adhere Sarnafil PVC 60 mil single ply membrane;
  • Vertical structural concrete walls surrounding the roof were skim coated with Sika Smooth finish (first project in Florida to use this Sika product) mortar and received one coat of primer and two coats of elastomeric coating, which were color-tinted to match the aesthetics of the building;
  • Edge metal over generator radius roof was removed;
  • Existing roof coating was power washed and removed; one coat of primer, two coats of elastomeric, and new gutters, downspouts were fabricated and installed to match NOAA colors.

Sections of the roof system were removed each day, down to the concrete structural deck. In the same day, the touch vapor barrier was applied to ensure the roof remained watertight. Since this facility contains important mechanical satellite communication and weather monitoring equipment, extra care was needed to ensure building occupants were not disturbed. This required rescheduling tear off that occurred during several conferences taking place inside the building. Building occupants were especially sensitive to noise and odors, so scheduled tear-offs needed to comply with what was communicated to NOAA management. Safety was another high-priority for the project since the building was occupied during construction, so perimeter warning lines were used around building with a safety monitor. ARI’s safety department performed periodic safety inspections and site safety continuity was maintained throughout the project.

From the bottom up, the materials used during installation included a modified base sheet provided by Soprema; Sopralene Flam 180 SP, sanded torch SBS vapor barrier that was fully heat welded directly to the structural concrete deck. Two layers of 2.6-inch Sarnatherm 25 PSI high-density ISO insulation were then fully adhered in Sarnacol AD Board Adhesive and boards were weighted for proper adhesion. Half inch Securock Gypsum cover board was then furnished and fully adhered in Sarnacol AD board adhesive. Lastly, Sarnafil G410 60 Mil PVC membrane was fully-adhered in Sarnavol 2170 membrane adhesive.

Laps were heat welded per installation guidelines outlined in the Miami-Dade County product approval. Existing adjacent rooftop structural walls were made from exposed poured concrete with a porous surface. As an alternative to fully-encapsulating these walls with the membrane, ARI used a new Sika product, SikaQuick Smooth Finish Mortar, to skim coat all surfaces to be waterproofed. One coat of Sikagard 552W primer and two subsequent coats of Sikagard 550W Elastomeric coating were applied to waterproof the walls. Edge metal was color-matched Kynar-coated aluminum and fabricated by ARI’s metal department, with military blue used to color match to NOAA colors.

A New Breakthrough Re-Roofing Solution

The specified roof system by Sarnafil is a premium roof system. It is essentially a two-roof system involving a modified fully adhered SBS torch vapor barrier temporary roof with a separate single-ply roof system applied on top. The combination of these two systems offers advantages that exceed the limitations of each type of system on their own. This is one of the top roofing systems NOAA could have installed on their building and they are guaranteed to have a watertight roof that will last 25 years or more with little maintenance.

This is one of the top roofing systems NOAA could have installed on their building and they are guaranteed to have a watertight roof that will last 25 years or more with little maintenance.

Sika Sarnafil manufactures and sells products for the whole building envelope. For this project, ARI was able to combine several different Sika-Sarnafil products to create a roof up waterproofing solution. Sarnafil’s PVC roof system, along with Sika’s SikaQuick mortar and Sikagard Waterproofing solutions, provided a single source guarantee for the whole roof system. This would not have been possible using a manufacturer that only makes roofing products.

Overcoming Challenges

The project scope grew as work progressed, with NOAA requesting an accelerated timeline in order to complete the project in time for hurricane season. To do so, ARI utilized two crews for a portion of the roofing project, and a separate waterproofing crew to accelerate the waterproofing portion of the project. Lightning protection, metal, HVAC, fall protection and waterproofing were done simultaneously to accelerate the project.

Additionally, the general contractor brought in a separate HVAC contractor to replace the rooftop package units. During the replacement scope, it was determined that the HVAC coils were to be replaced, which pushed back the completion of work and the roof replacement schedule. This involved shifting materials around the roof to continue working on other sections. After HVAC scope was completed, it was also discovered that the curbs installed by the HVAC contractor were leaking and retaining water from under the HVAC units. This again stalled the project and forced ARI to accommodate a double counter flashing to make the curbs watertight after their fix was installed.

Since the facility operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, there was not an opportunity for the facility to be offline at any point. This posed a unique challenge, as the team had to be sensitive to the needs of the building tenants and every move on the building had to be closely coordinated with NOAA management. At several points in the project, demolition was halted to prevent noise during a conference. But most importantly, a disruption to the rooftop satellite equipment would have been detrimental to the operation of the facility.

Final Thoughts

The ability to apply SBS modified, single-ply, and waterproofing demonstrate the advanced skill and wide range of capability of ARI’s workforce. The complicated nature of this roofing application is beyond the capability of many of ARI’s competitors. The NOAA project was rewarding and with hurricane season in full force, the ARI team knows that the National Hurricane Center’s roof will protect building occupants as they ride out the storm at the command center during the next hurricane.

For more information about the National Hurricane Center re-roofing project call us toll-free at 800-638-6869.

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