St. Charles, MO, is the second largest city in the St. Louis metropolitan area and is the county seat for the fastest-growing county in Missouri. In the past 15 years, St. Charles County has almost doubled its population, growing from 180,000 residents in 1990 to the present number of over 320,000. This phenomenal growth has fueled a wave of new construction and expansion projects, both commercial and residential.
To complement this large-scale construction and population growth, the St. Charles School District was given a $50 million bond to renovate and expand its schools. “One issue listed in the bond was $5 million set aside to put new roofs on all of the K-12 buildings,” says Howard Faith, the district’s business office specialist. St. Charles School District services over 6,200 students and is comprised of 13 different schools: seven elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, one alternative school, and one vocational school.
William B. Ittner, Incorporated, an architectural firm in St. Louis, was given the job of designing all new construction and renovations, as well as specifying every roof within the district. Because of its arched roof, St. Charles High School’s 7,500-square-foot gymnasium roof posed the biggest challenge for Ittner Architect Todd Powers to specify. The old built-up-roof wasn’t failing yet, but under the bond issue it had to be replaced. Working closely with Powers was Versico Incorporated Representative Alan Schweiss. Together, they decided Versico’s VersiWeld® TPO fully adhered roof system was the best option for the gym.
“We never specified TPO for a sharply curved roof before. With big curves, we typically use metal roofs. But we evaluated our options and, in the end, we decided to go with the TPO,” says Powers. “TPO has proven itself; we’ve been specifying it for over a decade. It’s our first choice because it doesn’t shrink and it’s white, so it helps keep energy costs down,” Powers adds.
“TPO is extremely popular because it keeps roofs cool and it’s very reflective. Other systems warm up and overwork air-conditioning units on the roof,” says Schweiss. “Even when it’s dirty, TPO is still reflective.”
Keeping energy costs down is important to any building owner or operator. “Energy efficiency is always an issue,” notes Faith. He also says the school district left most of the decisions regarding the roofs to the architects at Ittner. “They’re the experts in the field. That’s what we hired them to do.”
Unlike a number of other buildings in the school district, the gymnasium was specified for a 60-mil TPO roof instead of an 80-mil membrane, to maintain a Class-A fire rating. “Because of the steep slope of the barreled roof, 60-mil membrane was necessary to keep the rating at a Class A,” says Schweiss. Like most schools and other public buildings, St. Charles School District required all buildings to maintain a Class-A fire rating. “It was written right into the specifications,” explains Faith. St. Charles received a 20-year total system warranty on the gymnasium roof.
While Ittner and Schweiss were determining the specifications for the gymnasium roof, the St. Charles School Board put out bids for general construction. When all of the bids were received, the School Board, with a recommendation from Powers, decided to give the job to Demien Construction, from Wentzville, MO. Demien sub-contracted the roofing jobs to Geissler Roofing from Belleville, IL, a roofing contractor that both Demien and Ittner work with often. “We’ve worked with them many times; they do good work,” says Powers.
Working on the steep, arching roof was not easy. “Because of the slope, our guys couldn’t walk. We were tied down 100 percent of the time. It was a real steep slope, about 10:12 at one point,” notes Jeff Anderson, Project Manager at Geissler. Before Geissler could install the VersiWeld TPO membrane however, they had to tear off the gym’s existing BUR roof. “We tore everything off, right down to the wood planks,” he adds.
When the old roof was off, Geissler applied to a quarter-inch layer of Dens-Deck™, followed by a two-inch and another 2.5-inch layer of polyiso, topped with another quarter-inch of Dens Deck. The polyiso added to the energy efficiency of the roof system and the Dens Deck provided an exceptional fire and thermal barrier. More importantly, the Dens Deck provided extra protection from hail. “It’s hail alley out here. The extra Dens Deck will help,” says Anderson.
After the Dens Deck and insulation were installed, Geissler began installing the roofing membrane on the barreled roof. Working with a crew averaging about seven men at a time, Geissler steadily adhered the membrane to the 7,500-square roof using Versico’s bonding adhesive. Within about 3 weeks, Anderson’s crew finished the roof installation. “Everything went well,” he explains. “The heat-weldable seams looked flawless.”
Geissler is familiar with Versico products, especially VersiWeld TPO, having used it numerous times before. “If we have a choice, we’re putting on Versico. It’s the No. 1 line at Geissler,” says Anderson. “The TPO is the best system for your money right now. The quality of the roof system is at an all-time high.”
The construction and roofing projects at St. Charles School District began in 2003. Overall, nearly 400,000 square feet of Versico’s VersiWeld TPO membranes were installed for the project. “It’s been a huge project for Versico. There are literally acres of VersiWeld throughout the St. Charles School District,” says Schweiss.
Versico is a wholly owned subsidiary of Carlisle SynTec Incorporated in Carlisle, PA. With a successful 18-year industry track record, Versico has the capabilities to solve all of your single-ply roofing needs. They offer a full line of EPDM, TPO, and PVC roof systems with a full complement of accessory products and warranties. For more information, visit Versico’s website at (www.versico.com).