With roofing being one of the most dangerous trades, escalating insurance costs and risk of injury are two major concerns. Unexpected injuries due to systems that utilize open-flame torches or hot-kettle application methods can pose a threat to the contractor, as well as to the client and their operations. Systems that involve extra risks not only increase the chance of injury, but also provoke higher insurance costs. Such systems usually require more time to install, causing labor costs to rise as well.To reduce risk and injuries while lowering labor and insurance costs, the properties of self-adhering (SA) membranes provide the perfect alternative when traditional installation techniques are not as desirable or possibly prohibited. Self-adhered membranes not only reduce the risk of injury, but refrain from inconveniencing customers and building tenants. Mark Richter, owner of Richter Roofing Inc. in Sun Valley, CA, is one roofing contractor who decided to avoid gambling with safety and extra insurance costs by recommending Polyglass SA self-adhesive membranes with ADESO™ Technology for the Bicycle Club Casino’s roof renovation. Although the casino boasts over 135 gambling tables, both the Bicycle Club Casino building facility department and Richter’s nine-man crew wanted to avoid a roofing system that could involve a high risk to the building or injury to the crew.The Bicycle Club Casino in Bell Gardens, CA, just south of Los Angeles, featured a 20-year-old roof, and needed to be replaced. The casino roof was originally specified for a torch-down system with a 10-year warranty. Richter submitted a specification for Polyglass’ SA system featuring a 12-year warranted system to offer the building owner, as well as his personnel and sub-contractors, a safer, cost-effective alternative. “The system makes sense,” said Sinan Sinanyan, director of facilities for the Bicycle Casino. “There is less labor involved and it is an effective system.”The built-up system that was recommended started with Polyglass’ Elastobase® poly/sand 2-mm base sheet. The sheet was applied with the sand side down and attached mechanically. “Although the old BUR roof had been torn off, there was still a fluid-applied urethane with aggregate directly on the original plywood,” stated Steve Wadding, technical and warranty services western regional representative for Polyglass. “It was determined that the best course of action was to use the base sheet sand side down against the urethane and fasten it. That kept the poly side up, creating excellent adhesion for the SA cap sheet.”Before the cap sheet was applied, Richter’s crew flashed all penetrations, valleys, jacks, and walls with Elastoflex® SA V Base.This strong, self-adhered base sheet provided the perfect extra protection that was needed in the most vulnerable areas on the roof. It is reinforced with a fiber glass mat saturated that is coated with a rubberized asphaltic compound featuring exceptional waterproofing properties. Elastoflex® SA V membrane utilizes a strong fiber glass mat to guarantee excellent dimensional stability and provide pliability. Following the installation of the Elastobase® V and the flashings utilizing Elastoflex® SA V, Polyglass’ Elastoflex® SA P G self-adhered granulated cap sheet was applied. The cap sheet is a 3.5-mm self-adhesive membrane, polyester-reinforced and offered in 100-square-foot rolls. The Elastoflex® SA P self-adhesive membrane is also an elastomeric roofing product consisting of a true SBS compound on the top and an aggressive self-adhesive compound on the bottom. It is finished with granules on the top surface (except at selvage edges, which feature the innovative FastLap® and SEALLap™), part of the Polyglass SA self-adhesive ADESO™ Technology. FastLap® is a U.S. patented process through which granulated sheets are manufactured with granule-free roll ends, making a durable, tight seal at the seams and faster end laps. FastLap® has an end lap selvage edge that is protected by a reliable release film. The film combines convenience and dependability; it is guaranteed to increase adhesion to the most critical part of the roof - the seam.In addition to FastLap®, the SEALLap™ feature enhances sealing at the side and end laps of membranes. SEALLap™ offers an instant, permanent bond between adjacent membranes, even at low temperature conditions. It provides added security for roofing membrane systems, immediate water tightness of the roof, and eliminates the need for use of external caulk or mastics to ensure bonding of lap joints.Its environmentally friendly application does not require the need for external caulk or mastics as required by other more traditional membranes.“One of the main benefits for the contractor is the lack of cold joints; those joints that are inadequately seamed due to improper amounts of heat,” stated Wadding.“The wind can play havoc with seams, especially when using a torch; they appear watertight during application but are not properly sealed when cooled.With the FastLap® and SEALLap™ technologies, we do not have problems with cold joints. All of the seams and joints are tight.”Used in one of the most critical areas (the lap joint of a continuous roof), laps are sealed when the self-adhesive compound on the underside of the membranes are adhered to the selvage areas on the upper side of the membranes. Both FastLap® and SEALLap™ features ensure an integral roofing system.“Contractors can save on insurance costs because of the safe installation methods that are used,” said Rand McReynolds, sales and technical national director for Polyglass. “Insurance-friendly roofing systems reduce premiums for the building owner, along with tenant interruptions.”This system in particular worked extremely well for the casino project, which features multiple mechanical units, plus extensive air-conditioning systems, duct work, fans, exhaust systems, and refrigeration platforms. The product flexibility, offered with self-adhesive membranes, is crucial in providing a strong roofing system that is safe for not only the installers but for the equipment that sits on top of the roof. “With cogeneration units and other equipment on the roof, we had to be careful during application,” said Sinanyan.“It was challenging to find a safe, flat roofing system that could be installed on this roof,” said Richter. The plumbing lines couldn’t lift more than an inch off the roof, which made the project ideal for a self-adhered membrane system. “Both traditional mop-down and torch-down BUR systems are out of the question. These systems require the contractor to elevate the membrane at least a foot above the deck. With self-adhesive membranes, you don’t have to lift it high above the deck because of its convenient release film.”In addition to the system working well with the aesthetics of the building, the threat of injury is greatly reduced. “Liability was reduced by 40 percent by eliminating a hot-kettle application method,” said Richter. “With self-adhered membranes there are no fumes, odor, or noise.” Self-adhesive membranes provide an instantaneous waterproofing bond between membranes and eliminate the use of messy mops and/or open flame, providing ease of application, time savings, and environmentally friendly qualities.“The system can be slightly more expensive than some basic traditional built-up systems, but labor is about 50 percent less than what it would be for traditional mop-down or torch-down built-up systems. The self-adhesive membrane is installed three to four times faster than torch-down systems, and two to three times faster than mop-down systems,” said Richter. “Due to the safe application for my employees, and the reduced fire risk, it becomes both a labor savings issue and an insurance savings issue.”The roof renovation, finishing in April 2004, involved the application of 120,000 square feet of membrane. In addition to the roof renovation, the interior floors, lights, and restaurants and kitchens are undergoing improvements. “We are constantly making updates to the casino,” said Sinanyan.Labor savings and insurance savings are issues that contractors can control by using products that do not use open flame or hot asphalt on the roof. The peace of mind this provides for employees, owners, and the roofing contractor is important. “You don’t want to risk injury on a job,” said Richter.“If there is an opportunity to avoid any chance of incurring unnecessary costs or unexpected injury, you should embrace the benefits.” It’s a gamble you don’t want to make.