Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Research Shows Higher R Value Insulation More Efficient

At the Energy Efficient Roofing Conference in Charlotte, NC in April, Kellen Technical Services presented research findings on the energy efficiency of four penitentiary buildings in upstate New York.

The research opportunity presented itself when four existing buildings, identical in size, design and occupant schedules, were re-roofed at the same time. Four different ways of roofing were implemented for the project:

1. Black EPDM membrane with 4 inches of foam insulation
2. Vegetative roof with 4 inches of foam insulation
3. White TPO roof with 4 inches of insulation
4. White TPO roof with 8 inches of insulation

Photo courtesy of Kellen Technical Services

The findings that were completed in 2011 showed that the TPO white membranes and the vegetative roof had lower roof surface temperatures, however, they also had increased heat loss during heating months.

But, the findings also showed that the TPO roof with the extra said insulation, along with providing cooler roof surfaces, had lower heating losses than the EDPM roof.

James R. Kirby, AIA and VP of Sustainability for the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Washington D.C., said this in an article about the study:

"There isn't one answer; however, this study provides a convincing case that insulation is critically important, and the R-values in the building code should be followed as absolute minimums for roof designs."

Closed cell polyurethane foam has a much higher R-value per inch than open-cell foam. Because of its density and glue-like tenacity, it also adds structural strength to a wall, ceiling, or roof.

James Kirby, AIA, vice president of Sustainability for the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Scarifying Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofs

We recently finished a roofing job in Texas that called for scarifying, refoaming and coating an existing structure. Sometimes older, spray foam roofs that haven't been properly maintained are in need of scarification. Scarifying is the process of cutting or planning off the upper surface of the SPF. It exposes the sound SPF to be used as a base for a new layer of SPF and coatings, restoring the roof to a warrantable condition with long-term sustainability. This eliminates the need for costly tear-off and dumping in landfills.

Proper scarifying extends down a minimum of ½ in. to sound, dry dimensionally stable on-ratio SPF. Care is then taken to assure that the coatings in the low areas are removed during scarification and that scarification is extended below suspected problem areas such as UV degradated SPF.
We clean the area and then re-foam.

A restored SPF roof can last 30-40 years with proper maintenance.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Call Us. Ask Us Questions.

WRI is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association, one of the construction industry's most respected trade associations and the voice and leading authority in the roofing industry for information, education, technology and advocacy. The NRCA was founded in 1886 and strives to enhance all segments of roofing, one which is spray polyurethane foam.

National Roofing Contractors Association Logo
The NRCA's strict
industry standards exist
to provide a better quality product
and experience for the consumer.

WRI follows the NRCA's strict guidelines of quality both in craftsmanship and in materials used. Although they do not recommend any one manufacturer, they do suggest utilizing products which follow the ASTM International standards. ASTM International was formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.

All a bit dry? Yes, we think so, as well, but we take these specifications very seriously. So do our manufacturers. Neogard and Henry spray foam roofing systems meet and exceed these standards, which is why we are able to provide such a strong warranty and maintenance program to our customers. We stand behind our products and our work. We stand behind our employees. We stand behind our customers.

Spring is a busy time for us as it is with most of the building trades. But find us, call us, ask us questions. We'll provide you with as much information and you will need, plus some, in order to make an educated decision. 

We'll get you started: (620) 792-2430. Talk with you soon.

Monday, April 1, 2013

High Winds and Closed-Cell Polyurethane Roofing

Last year there were 939 tornados in the United States according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center. This was actually down from previous year which yielded 1691 tornadoes, one the biggest years for tornadoes and tornado deaths.

Predictions for the 2013 year are starting to trickle in as meteorologists and severe weather enthusiasts compile key ingredients for tornadoes. Many factors, including drought conditions in the midwest, the moisture in the Gulf, the Jet Stream and chance circumstance or an act of God determine the way the year will turn out. The website of Tornado Titans shot off a prediction that we would have an average amount this year. 

As Midwesterners living in tornado alley, an area of the United States notorious for the high number of these devastating storms, we keep close watch on the weather and cross our fingers. The goal is that if a funnel touches down on the ground, people will have been alerted prior and have enough time to get to safety.

High winds associated with tornadoes do as much damage to buildings and other structures as the actual funnel itself. Spray polyurethane roofing with closed-cell foam is capable of sustaining high winds and "offers increased resistance to hail, flying debris or wind-blown objects during high wind events," according to a 2008 report from Honeywell. The report goes on to say that "SPF roof systems have a proven track record for protecting buildings against severe storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes."

Closed-cell spray foam roofing enhances the structural integrity of a building due to it's dense properties and rigid nature after it is cured. It also doubles the wind uplift resistance of your roof. In June 2006, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, stating "a number of spray polyurethane foam roofing systems were observed . . . Some of these were estimated to be about 20 years old. With one minor exception, all were found to have sustained Hurricane Katrina extremely well without blow-off of the SPF or damage to flashings."

There is not much our human population can do to hold back mother nature when she is ready to hit. However, sometimes we come up with some pretty good concepts that we can actually put into reality. Closed-cell polyurethane spray foam roofing is one of them.

Honeywell SPFA Conference Report, March 16, 2008 "Severe Weather Walls/Roofs"
Tornado Titans
Storm Prediction Center

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A "Cool" Roof Doesn't Need Shades

A cool roof coating (or white coating) is a liquid membrane that is applied to a roof surface to reflect the suns rays. The roof stays cooler and reduces the amount of heat transferred to the building below, keeping the building a cooler and more constant temperature.

It is like wearing a white t-shirt versus wearing a black t-shirt on a hot day. The lighter t-shirt reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat.

These elastomeric roof coatings not only dramatically reduce peak cooling demands on a building (10-15 percent) but also have the ability to provide waterproofing benefits to repair leaky roofs.

Washington Roofing & Insulation works with quality manufacturers to provide commercial buildings with the most effective solution to their roofing needs. The reflective coatings we use meet or exceed the Energy Star's tough criteria as well as Miami-Dade's rigorous requirements. Contact us at (620) 792-2430 to discuss if your building is ready for a "cool" roof.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feel the Warmth

The Kansas snowstorms this week remind us of a story we heard recently about a husband returning home from a hunting trip and bragging to his wife about his adventures, especially going on about the "barn with the foam insulation" the place where the hunters would gather before and after going out.

The metal building's owner, an avid waterfowl hunter, made the decision to provide an air-tight polyurethane foam insulation barrier inside the structure.

"It was amazing," the husband told his wife. "It was so warm inside because of how well it was sealed."

SPF insulation has many uses and many home-owners are finding it more economical in the long run to use it as they build or renovate houses. Steve Thomas, former host of the PBS series, This Old House and Renovation Nation on the Planet Green channel, used spray foam insulation to renovate his 100-year-old home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"Spray foam insulation is super insulation. It gives superior R-value, conforms to any shape . . . is a water and air barrier, which makes the house healthier, gives the homeowner amazing energy savings, and allows us to maintain the design integrity of the American Southwest," he said.

So what does spray polyurethane foam insulation have in common with snowstorms?

If the snow is the right consistency and drifts up around your building and on your roof, you can actually feel the warm in your home. It provides a wonderful insulation as it nestles into cracks and crevices, keeping the wind out and the heat in. It actually provides a better shelter than if there is no snow at all.

Snow on outside of building during the
February snowstorm in Kansas City.

But then Mother Nature changes direction and the snow melts and the insulation is gone, unless, of course, you have your building insulated with spray polyurethane foam.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vapor Permeable and Non Permeable Air Barrier Systems

We are starting to see more building owners interested in air and vapor barrier systems, both fluid applied and sheet applied. These systems are related to the entire building envelope, from foundation to walls to rooftops, and have been proven to increase energy efficiency and improve air quality.

Air barrier materials resist air leakage and are designed to form a continuous plane around a building to protect uncontrolled air movement in and out of the building envelope.  Air leakage loads are significantly greater than most designers and architects realize, and a study on air barriers by the National Institute of Science and Technology revealed that the right air barrier can help improve building performance by reducing heating and cooling costs by as much as 36%.*

Vapor barrier materials limit the amount of water vapor diffusing through the wall as a result of vapor drive. Vapor drive is a phenomenon that occurs when water vapor naturally diffuses into and through wall structures and is controlled by type of structure, porosity, moisture gradients and temperature gradients.

Remember science class and studying about thunderstorms? This is the same thing just on a molecular level. It incorporates the key principles of air movement: from warm to cold. In a cold climate, vapor drive is primarily from interior of a building to exterior. If you have a hot, humid climate, the vapor drive is primarily from exterior to interior.


There are countless scientific studies and published documents about water vapor, vapor drive and air movement. With the advent of modern building science, it has been found that air leakage - and not vapor diffusion - is the real problem. The air barrier systems we incorporate, however, are a combination of both which afford us the ultimate in design flexibility. **

To manage vapor diffusion there are two types of air barrier membranes: Vapor Permeable and Non-Permeable.

Vapor Permeable Air Barriers
High vapor permeance keeps air and water out, while allowing water vapor to escape.  Positioned anywhere within the wall assembly, they are watertight and protect against air leakage. 

Non-Permeable Air Barriers
These membranes act as air barriers, vapor barriers and rain barriers. When positioned on the warm side of the insulating layer, they serve as an efficient vapor barrier, preventing moisture condensation through the wall cavity. Good for hot humid climates or an extreme mixed-humid climate.

Non-Permeable Air Barrier
Source: Henry Products
The choice of product, between a vapor permeable versus a non-permeable air barrier, is dependent on a wide range of factors, like those mentioned above, and advancements in available materials make it important to work with a professional.

*NIST Report 7238

**The Difference Between a Vapor Barrier and an Air Barrier. Written by R.L. Quirouette, Building Practice Note No. 54, July 1985

Other Sources: 
Solving the Air Barrier Riddle: Permeable or Impermeable? Written by Sonya Santos and published in the Journal of Architectural Coatings, Jan-Feb 2007

Water Vapor Migration and Condensation Control in Buildings. Written by William Acker and published in HPAC June 1998