Helping Make Buildings Better

May 16, 2005

“I would like to be retired before these roofs ever become a problem again.”

So says Michael Smith, head of the roofing department for the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). And when you have 275 roofs to think about, it makes a certain degree of sense.

That’s why over 500,000 square feet of Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing has been installed on DISD schools in the past year. The existing roofs had outlived their useful life expectancy, and some were starting to leak. As with most public institutions, DISD faced strict budgetary constraints - the best roof also had to be among the least expensive options both in capital cost and life-cycle cost. SPF fit both requirements.

“We decided on SPF because of its affordability. It usually doesn’t require a tear-off of the existing roof, and that saves a lot of money. It’s also sustainable. A simple recoat restores the system to its original performance levels at very low cost. And at DISD, we already have personnel trained to maintain SPF roofing systems,” says Smith.

SPF is the lowest cost re-roofing option 95 percent of the time. A recent study sponsored by the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance also shows that SPF is the lowest life-cycle cost roofing system available. And because it is usually applied over the existing substrate, the original roofing insulation is preserved in addition to SPF’s own high R-value insulating properties for increased building energy efficiency.

Some of the roofs installed on DISD facilities are part of the ALPHA program developed by the Performance Based Studies Research Group (PBSRG) ( at Tempe, AZ-based Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction. The PBSRG, a non-profit research group, developed the ALPHA research project to analyze performance information and identify high-performance roofing systems, specialty contractors, and facility systems in the construction industry.

For the purposes of the ALPHA project, an “ALPHA Roof System” is defined as any low-slope roofing system with a documented performance that meets or exceeds that of a conventional, 20-year life-expectancy, low-slope, built-up roofing (BUR) assembly.

The program is open to all roofing systems. Any manufacturer, product, or group of contractors that can demonstrate - when randomly sampled by PBSRG every other year - that 98 percent of their customers are satisfied with the roofs, that 98 percent of their roofs do not leak, and that they are willing to have all newly installed roofs over 5,000 square feet surveyed yearly qualifies for inclusion in the program.

Since its inception in 1996, only one system has qualified for ALPHA: Spray Polyurethane Foam.

There are 10 ALPHA contractors across the United States. To date:

  • 484 roofs have been inspected.
  • 341 customer responses have been received.
  • The oldest installation is 30 years old.
  • The average installation is 10 years old.
  • 99 percent of the jobs are completed on time.
  • 99 percent of the roofs do not leak.
  • 99 percent of the customers are satisfied.
  • The average contractor performance rating is 9.7 out of 10.


For more information, contact BASF at (800) 547-4004, ([email protected]), or (

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