Willow Creek Church Uses Polyglass for Roof Expansion

July 1, 2004
With large church sessions and a staff of full-time employees and volunteers working throughout the week, construction workers cringe at renovation and new construction. The Willow Creek Community Church, one of the largest inter-denominational churches in the nation located in South Barrington, IL, a northwest Chicago suburb, is experiencing both the challenges of renovation and new construction.Originating as a small youth ministry at South Park Church in Park Ridge, IL, and then moving to the Willow Creek Theatre in Palatine, IL, the group’s attendance grew, provoking the relocation and initial construction of the Willow Creek Church in South Barrington. Its sermons, offered at three other regional locations, and impressive facilities have generated massive crowds (16,000 people weekly), causing the need for expansion, renovation, and new construction.  A new auditorium, scheduled to finish in July of 2004, has brought a multitude of trades, including roofing contractors, to its 155-acre site. As the summer approaches and deadlines near, roofing contractors working on the exterior of the church are challenged with a speedy, efficient construction while preserving the functionality of the interior of the church. With safety, noise, and smell posing major concerns, the church advisor, architects, and roofing contractors needed to choose a roofing system that would meet the church’s needs.  Polyglass, the world leader in modified commercial and residential roofing products, and recognized leader of SA self-adhesive membranes with ADESO™ technology, recommended Elastoflex® SA V, Elastoflex® SA P, and Elastoshield® TS G as the roofing products and 15- and 20-year warranted system solutions for the Willow Creek Church.“With the high volume of traffic in the church seven days a week, and the proximity of the public to the renovation, we were fortunate to be working with an odor free roofing system,” said Mike Herlihy, executive vice president of Olsson Roofing Co. located in Aurora, IL. “The quality of the finished roof system was unquestionable.”“The self-adhesive system works well on churches, hospitals, schools, or any job site that may have a lot of traffic,” said Ted Staniszewski, production foreman of Olsson Roofing Co.The original auditorium, seating 4,400 people, is currently being replaced with an auditorium that will seat 7,500 people. Expanding from 330,000 square feet to over 600,000 square feet, the auditorium’s flat roof required 200,000 square feet of Polyglass’ membrane system. “This is the first project that we have used Polyglass products on,” said Mark Bloomquist, architect of Goss/Pasma/Bloomquist in Iron Mountain, MI. “Polyglass’ technical support is great and it worked well for this project.” Polyglass’ multi-ply roof system, with reinforcement at all flashings, provided a warranted system of 15 and 20 years. The 20-year warranted system, which featured a three-ply system, covers the most critical area of the auditorium, the seating area; and the 15-year system, featuring a two-ply system, covers the remaining areas of the auditorium and other roof elevations. “The Polyglass system fits the church’s criteria better than expected,” said Bruce Horgan, building trades manager for the Willow Creek Church. Originally bid as a fully-adhered EPDM roof, the church would have needed to use a temporary roof throughout the construction to protect the interior and keep the structure water tight. The church decided to use Polyglass’ built-up system, which was initially more expensive because of its multi-ply system, but did not require the use of a temporary roof and offered a much more integral roofing option with a strong warranty.  “Even though labor and material costs are higher than an EPDM roof, Polyglass offers a long-term, multi-ply system roofing system that is supported by a strong warranty,” said Paul Eakley, an advisor for the Willow Creek Church.  “By using the Polyglass roof system, the church would not compromise on the roof, yet stay within budget.” Eliminating the use of hot asphalt, 200,000 square feet of Elastoflex SA V self-adhered base sheet, comprised of 2-mil at 200 square feet per roll, was the first layer to be installed on the church’s roof.  Elastoflex® SA V is a premium elastomeric roofing product, consisting of a true SBS compound on the top and an aggressive self-adhesive compound on the bottom. In addition to this benefit, Elastoflex® SA V membranes are finished with a polyolefin film with lay lines on the top surface and a split/perforated release film on the bottom surface. Elastoflex® SA V membranes are reinforced with a strong fiberglass mat to guarantee excellent dimensional stability and provide pliability at low temperature conditions, which worked well for this Chicago project.  “The use of Polyglass Elastoflex® SA V Base sheet enabled the project to be in the dry so that other trades were able to work throughout the winter months in the building,” said Ray Peters, Polyglass’ Midwest sales and technical representative. “The Elastoflex® SA V base sheet was adhered directly to the polyisocyanurate-insulation, saving the building owner a substantial amount of money by not installing a temporary roof system for the winter months.”Once the Elastoflex® SA V self-adhered base sheet was applied, Polyglass’ Elastoflex® SA P self-adhered mid-ply sheet, a 3-mil polyolefin membrane, polyester reinforced offered in 100-square-foot rolls, was applied.  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. Elastoflex® SA P membranes are built with a high performance reinforced polyester mat to guarantee an excellent dimensional stability. They are finished with a polyolefin film with lay lines or with granules on the top surface, except at selvage edges, features FastLap®. Polyglass SA self-adhesive membranes with ADESO™ Technology, offer unique features called FastLap® and SEALLap™.  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, which lowers labor costs and eliminates call backs and repairs. 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 adhere to the most critical part of the roof - the seam - but can be easily removed before welding, mopping, or cold-adhering seams. FastLap® saves contractors the two important benefits in roofing – time and money. The clean (but simple-to-remove) release film prevents FastLap® rolls from rolling out of its packaging. The system offered the church a worry-free, easy-to-apply option.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, while eliminating the need for use of external caulk or mastics to ensure bonding of lap joints.  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.To complete the multi-ply system and to achieve a cosmetic finish, the Elastoshield® TS G, a 4.5-mil cap sheet offered in 100 square foot rolls, was installed on top of the Elastoflex® SA V and Elastoflex® SA P and also used for the final flashing layer, creating a water tight system.  Elastoshield® TS G, a polyester reinforced SBS modified bitumen roofing membrane, is specially designed for hot mop, cold adhesive, or heat welding (with burn-off polyethylene) applications. For the Willow Creek Church roof, the cap sheet was applied with a torch down method. The membranes are lightweight, weather resistant, and very durable. The top surface of the membrane is sanded or granular and available in a variety of colors.“The Polgylass system was easy to install, very user-friendly,” said Staniszewski. “It was easy to train the workers to use this system; there’s no asphalt involved.” With Staniszewski’s 19 years of experience with Olsson Roofing and a nine-man crew installing a roof system featuring ease of application, there have been no complications.“The church needs a roof that will resist strong wind loads and will not deteriorate,” said Bloomquist. “We wanted a reliable system. The church relies on volunteers to make repairs, so it is important for the church to choose a system that is low maintenance.”Paul Eakley, who has partnered with the Willow Creek Church since 1997, has trained church staff and volunteers to maintain the many different roof systems on the complex. Eakley recommended Polyglass because it addressed all the church’s concern. “Even though it is not one of the less expensive roof systems in the market and the SBS heat-welded cap sheet is more difficult to install, once you have a competent contractor, you cannot find a more dependable roof system,” said Eakley. “The self-adhered products really take most of the guess work out of installation. I believe that once more contractors are familiar with the products, it will become their system of choice.”With long-term cost savings, odor, and safety as concerns, Polyglass’ built-up system proved to be a perfect fit for the Willow Creek Church. For a rapidly growing congregation and activity throughout the week, the church needed a roofing option that will remain integral for years to come. “It’s great to see the construction progressing without hassles or disturbances,” said Horgan. “We’re glad we are using a system that alleviates the concerns of roof construction.”

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