JULY 20, 2015 BY JAMES R. KIRBY, AIA
*This article was originally published in Roofing magazine
Working with the unique variables of a region and its climate poses a significant challenge to roofing contractors. Installing a roof system that looks beautiful and can stand up to ice, snow and freezing temperatures takes an expertise that only comes with experience. This is the case in the snowy and picturesque mountains of Park City, Utah. The city is a winter haven for skiers who vacation there, but the extended snow and cold season can deliver a beating to a roof.
The Grand Lodge at Deer Valley Resort, a luxury condominium development at one of North America’s top-ranked ski resorts, sits at an elevation of 9,000 feet in the mountainous area. Along with the breathtaking views comes an average annual snowfall of 350 inches. As a result, the 40,000-square-foot concrete tile roof of the lodge had begun to fail after only six years of intense weather and needed to be replaced immediately.
The concrete tile roof and poorly ventilated deck were causing major problems for the building owner, not to mention the residents who live and rent there. Heat was escaping through the roof, causing the snow to melt and refreeze at the eaves. Dangerous icicles would form, and noisy chainsaws were frequently needed to cut through the ice on the 5-story building. In 2013, the owner of the condominium decided to completely redesign the roofing system. IronClad Exteriors Inc., a Sandy, Utah-based roofing company had successfully installed roofs for Deer Valley in the past and was contacted by Deer Valley Resort Management to consult on the new design.
“Due to insufficient insulation and poor ventilation on the existing roof, ice dams were forming, tiles were cracking and the roof was falling apart,” says Eric Kircher, owner of IronClad Exteriors. “There was an architect involved in redesigning the roof … . I was asked to take a look at the design, and I recommended an asphalt shingle roof instead.
Kircher advised that a full asphalt roofing system with proper insulation and moisture protection would be able to withstand the harsh weather of the ski resort.
“Asphalt was the ideal material for the reroof for reasons that involve aesthetics, safety, and the long-term health and viability of the roof,” he notes. “I recommended a shake style because it really fit the architecture and look of the roof while being able to protect the building and residents from the weather conditions.”
Over the span of six months, IronClad Exteriors tore off the tile roof and installed a system they had used many times to help homeowners in the area protect their homes from ice and snow. FlintBoard ISO NB (Nail Base) Composite Polyisocyanurate/OSB Roof insulation was installed over the plywood deck, followed by a 3- by 10-inch fascia board. WinterGuard HT advanced waterproofing underlayment and DiamondDeck High Performance Synthetic Underlayment were then added to provide important moisture resistance. Finally, the Presidential Shake TL asphalt shingles provided a beautiful look that matched the lodge’s breathtaking surroundings. The project was completed in November 2014.
The Grand Lodge’s new asphalt roof also contains a unique feature that sets it apart in form and function. IronClad installed 11,000 copper snow guards that offer another layer of weather protection. Snow freezes around the copper pieces and keeps it from sliding down the roof to form dangerous ice dams at the eaves. Lodge residents no longer have to walk underneath potentially hazardous icicles or listen to the sounds of manlifts and chainsaws that are used to remove them.
“The roofing system we designed had the unique ability to withstand that type of cold environment,” Kircher notes. “There will be no heat loss contributing to ice and snow on the eaves, and the insulation protects the interior of the lodge. These are high-end condominiums with finished ceilings and no attic space at the top where you can put more insulation, so the insulation had to be installed on the existing roof deck to prevent ice dams.”
The installation process went smoothly despite the challenges brought on by Park City’s weather. Snow can begin to fall as early as September and lasts through the spring, providing little time for construction projects to take place. Fortunately, IronClad had extensive experience with the roofing systems needed in Park City.
“We worked with an architect to design the roof, but 80 percent of the system was based on a design that we’ve developed through our advanced knowledge of the area,” Kircher says. “We are really proud of how we’ve been able to help homeowners save energy and eliminate the need for snow-melting systems. We were excited to shar eour experience and to help out.”
The new roof on the Grand Lodge brought acclaim to IronClad not only regionally, but on a national scale, as well. Proud of the work his team had done and the knowledge they were able to share, Kircher submitted the project to the Washington, D.C.-based Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association’s (ARMA’s) annual awards program.
ARMA’s Quality Asphalt Roofing Case Study (QARC) Awards program seeks to recognize the top asphalt roofing projects in North America for their beauty, affordability and reliability. Each year, the organization names a Gold, Silver and Bronze winner that best exemplify asphalt roofing’s versatility while being able to solve key performance issues for the owner. In January 2015, IronClad Exteriors received the Silver Award for the unique way asphalt roofing was used to provide extreme-weather protection.
Roof installations in the Park City region require different techniques than those used elsewhere in the country,because roofing contractors face challenges posed by a short roofing season and intense winters. ARMA recognized IronClad for its distinctive expertise in this area.
“Our knowledge of functioning roof systems here and our experience with these installations gives us a niche in the market,” Kircher adds. “One big difference in the Park City region is the installation of cold roof systems designed to maintain the ambient outdoor air temperature on the roof surface. We eliminate heat loss from the structure that can increase roof deck temperatures and cause snow to melt and refreeze at the eaves, causing ice dams.”
The roofing company achieves heat-loss prevention in this kind of roofing system by installing nail base or cross venting polyisocyanurate to provide a thermal break between the roof structure and the atmosphere. IronClad Exteriors also used a scientific method to add further moisture protection.
“For the Grand Lodge and other projects, we use a WUFI calculation to help us determine dew points within the roof assembly,” Kircher explains. “This lets us make sure we do not create an environment where moisture is able to condense, causing it to rain inside the home.”
By utilizing advances in asphalt roofing technology and techniques learned from a breadth of experience, IronClad Exteriors installed a system that increased the performance qualities of the roof. This expertise and superior functionality are what the QARC awards seek to showcase.
ARMA’s awards program is judged by a panel of industry experts, roofing specialists and leaders in the roofing industry. One judge stated that the project deserved to win because it incorporated “a beautiful use of dimensional shingles,” as well as a “terrific explanation of the job and why asphalt was the best choice.”
When faced with high-maintenance weather conditions, a whole-system installation using asphalt roofing materials can be an effective defense. The multiple layers of material provide enhanced moisture protection, and this durability can ultimately benefit the building itself, as well as the people inside of it.
Asphalt shingles: CertainTeed Presidential Shake TL from CertainTeed Corp.
Insulation: FlintBoard ISO NB (Nail Base) Composite Polyisocyanurate/OSB Roof from CertainTeed
Underlayment: WinterGuard HT advanced waterproofing underlayment and DiamondDeck High Performance Synthetic Underlayment from CertainTeed
Copper snow guards: Ice Control Engineering
PHOTOS: IronClad Exteriors Inc.