Electronic Leak Detection for Roofing Systems
October 16, 2019
A building’s roofing system separates the damaging outdoor environment from the valuable interior contents. To be effective, it must be watertight. Although roof systems are inspected and sometimes flood tested prior to warranty issuance, small, difficult-to-see breaches in the membrane system can go unnoticed until damaging water leaks occur inside the building. Moreover, once a leak has developed it can be extremely difficult to locate the leak and perform the necessary repair, especially when overburden materials are installed.
Enter Electronic Leak Detection, otherwise known as ELD. ELD systems have been around for 20+ years and are gaining popularity due to some revolutionary new products that have expanded testing capabilities. ELD systems come in two main varieties: low-voltage and high-voltage, with low-voltage being the most common. ELD systems work by creating an electrical potential difference between a non-conductive roof membrane and a grounded conductive structural deck or substrate. Testing is performed by applying water, which is conductive, to the surface of the roof membrane. The roof membrane will isolate the potential electrical difference between the deck and the water, but when a breach is present, the water will create an electrical connection to the grounded deck, pinpointing the exact leak location to the testing technician. A major benefit of ELD testing is that it can be performed at any time, even after overburden materials are installed.

For ELD systems to be effective, a conductive substrate must be present directly below the membrane’s surface. Due to this requirement, membrane choice and application method can be limited.
Two ELD companies that Carlisle has experience with are International Leak Detection (ILD) and Detec Systems. Products from either of these companies are permitted for use in a Carlisle warranted roof system but are not covered in the Carlisle warranty.

ILD has been around since 2001 and promotes a conductive mesh that must be installed directly below the membrane for accurate testing of membrane systems over non-conductive decks. Due to the design of the conductive mesh, it is only acceptable for use under thermoplastic FleeceBACK® membranes adhered with FAST™ or Flexible FAST Adhesive.

Detec Systems promotes a conductive primer called TruGround® that is roller-applied over the top layer of insulation, prior to adhesive application. Once dried, the membrane system can be installed as usual. TruGround conductive primer expands ELD testing capabilities, as it is suitable for use with bareback membranes and even black EPDM, which historically has not been compatible with ELD testing. Carlisle SynTec Systems has secured FM approvals for Detec’s TruGround in a number of different roofing assemblies. Those assemblies include:

EPDM and TPO with CAV-GRIP® III adhesive over SecurShield®, SecurShield HD, DensDeck® Prime, and SECUROCK®.
PVC with Low-VOC Bonding Adhesive over InsulBase®, SecurShield, SecurShield HD, and SecurShield HD Plus.

 Contact Chris Kann with questions regarding ELD systems.
November 6, 2019
Ballasted Roofs – A New Look at an Old System

While ballasted roof systems aren't as popular today as they used to be, they are still being installed successfully across the country. Stone-ballasted roof systems began appearing sometime in the early 1970s. While they appear superficially similar to built-up roofing (BUR), there are major differences between the two systems. Both are topped with rocks, but BUR uses a thin layer of pea gravel or crushed stone no larger than a quarter-inch diameter partially embedded into the asphalt topcoat to protect it from the sun's UV rays. In a ballasted roof, the stones are much larger - at least an inch in diameter - and applied much more heavily. In fact, the weight of the stone ballast is what holds the roof components in place. The weight can vary from 10 pounds per square foot (the minimum allowed by code) to 25 pounds or more. The most common ballasted assembly was a loose-laid EPDM membrane over a rigid insulation board. By the 1980s, designers were integrating concrete pavers into ballasted roof designs, creating access paths, pedestrian walkways, and even rooftop plazas. When the green building movement came along in the late 1990s, it was natural to transition the ballast from stone to soil, creating vegetated or "green" roofs. Ballasted roofs are loose-laid; this means the contractor can assemble all the components, including the roofing membrane and insulation, without fastening them to each other or the roof deck. Membrane seams are sealed, of course, and the waterproofing layer is secured to the parapet and at roof penetrations, but it isn't adhered to the roof deck or the layers beneath it. By eliminating nearly all the adhesives and fasteners other assemblies require, ballasted roofs typically cost less and are quicker to install than other systems. EPDM is popular because it can be ordered in large sheet sizes, which minimizes seaming. TPO and PVC are also popular as single-ply roofing membranes under ballast. For designers, ballasted roofs provide a natural-looking surface that blends well with a range of architectural styles. With paver-ballasted designs, the roof can become a plaza, patio, or other usable outdoor space suitable for recreation, walking, or relaxation.  For the building owner, ballasted roofs are durable and long lasting. Stones or concrete pavers protect the waterproofing layer from UV rays, hail, and foot traffic. If repairs are needed, the loose-laid layers are easily taken up. And at the end of the roof's designed lifespan, the lack of adhesives ensures the membrane will be fully recyclable. Advantages Economy: Ballasted roofs use economical materials and are among the fastest to install. In fact, they have one of the lowest lifecycle costs of any roofing system on the market today. Scheduling: These roofs can be installed in a wide range of weather and temperature conditions, and close in the building envelope faster than most other systems. For occupied buildings, there are no offensive smells associated with the install. Aesthetics: Ballast can vary from large round cobblestones to pavers. This natural look is appealing to many building owners and architects. Rock can be combined with pavers to provide a variety of textures and utilitarian purposes. Amenity Space: With proper planning, ballasted roofs are suitable for plaza decks, walking paths, recreation areas, and other uses. Energy Efficiency: Ballasted roofs reduce heating and cooling loads. A system with a weight of 17 pounds per square foot saves as much energy as an ENERGY STAR-rated reflective roof. Fireproof: Stone and concrete are virtually fireproof, so ballasted roofs provide the highest fire rating available. Class-A fire resistance can be achieved without gypsum board underlayments or expensive fire-retardant chemicals. Durable: The stone or concrete pavers also provide protection from UV rays, hail, foot traffic, and extreme temperature fluctuations. Ease of Repair: Removal and re-installation of the ballast and insulation is easy, and both can be reused. No adhesives or fasteners are used, so it's easy to separate the components. Even in a complete replacement of the waterproofing membrane, the ballast stone or concrete pavers can be reinstalled. Recyclable: Most of the components are reusable and/or recyclable. Rocks, pavers, and rigid insulation board can be reused. The unadhered membrane is easy to remove and recycle. Stormwater Management: Green roofs and other options like Carlisle's Stormwater Retention Option can retain as much as 65% of the rainwater that falls during a storm. This can help owners and developers reduce fees.  Consult the EPDM Specification on the Carlisle SynTec Website here or consult the Ballasted Stormwater Retention Brochure here or contact Craig Tyler at [email protected] for further questions.

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September 18, 2019
Fire Performance of Polyiso

All construction materials, including foam plastics such as polyiso insulation, must provide a suitable margin of fire safety. Polyiso possesses a high level of inherent fire resistance when compared to other foam plastic insulations due to its unique structure of strong isocyanurate chemical bonds. These bonds result in improved high-temperature resistance (up to 390°F [199°C], more than twice that of other building insulation foams) which in turn leads to enhanced fire resistance. In addition, because polyiso does not melt or drip when exposed to flame, but rather forms a protective surface char, its fire resistance is further enhanced, especially in terms of flame spread and flashover potential. Polyiso passes both the ANSI UL 1256 and FM 4450 fire tests without a thermal barrier. Polyiso, a thermoset material, stays intact during fire exposure in the ASTM E84 or "Tunnel Test.” It forms a protective char layer and remains in place during the test, thereby meeting all building code requirements and contributing to a fire-safe building. For more information on polyiso’s performance in fire tests, visit the 'Technical Bulletins’ page on the PIMA (Polyiso Manufacturers Association) Website where you can find the following papers: Technical Bulletin 103: Fire Performance in Walls and Ceilings Discusses polyiso insulation as it relates to building codes in construction and fire tests in walls and ceilings, including ASTM E84 and ASTM E119. Technical Bulletin 104: Fire Performance in Roof Systems Provides an overview of polyiso insulation requirements for roof systems and key issues in fire performance, including the importance of the FM 4450 Calorimeter Tests and the UL 1256 Resistance to Interior Spread of Flame test. Technical Bulletin 105: Fire Test Definitions Provides an in-depth look at fire test procedures for building applications. Technical Bulletin 111: Class A and Class 1 Roof Assemblies Are Not the Same Explains why Class 1 and Class A are not the same. Technical Bulletin 111C: Roofing Regulations in Canada – Class A and Class 1 Roof Assemblies Are Not the Same Explains why Class 1 and Class A are not the same. Technical Bulletin 405: Fire Resistance Properties of Polyiso Foam Plastic Insulation Used in Wall Assemblies – Facts and Comparisons Looks at the minimum fire resistance properties required for foam plastic insulation and compares data on polyiso with other recognized combustible materials. Product Stewardship Paper 100: Polyiso Insulation and Flame Retardants New Product Stewardship report on polyiso and flame retardants. Contact Craig Tyler at [email protected] with questions.

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September 4, 2019
Alternative Uses for Roofing Membranes

All single-ply membranes make for great roofing systems, but they can be used for a variety of other purposes too. EPDM, TPO, and PVC can be used in the lining of underground tunnels and can serve as liners for water retention ponds, irrigation canals, and other water containment systems. For years, EPDM membranes were used as pond liners – even before they were utilized for commercial roofing. You could see EPDM pond liners being used in agriculture for irrigation canals and ditches, by municipal water systems for retention ponds and spillways, and even in backyards as small ponds and water features. This is still true today, and EPDM has expanded into additional markets such as tunnel waterproofing. The number of large underground transportation tunnels used for vehicle traffic or metropolitan railways has certainly increased in the last few decades as traffic and access needs continue to outstrip the supply of existing infrastructure. These tunnels have to keep water out, whether they’re underneath a river or traversing through a mountain, and single-ply membranes meet their waterproofing needs with the same technology used on the roof. Different types of membrane offer specific benefits, from EPDM’s large sheet size to thermoplastics’ (TPO/PVC) seam weldability. Regardless of whether the tunnel is a boring project or a “cut and cover”, lining the tunnel can be accomplished using several different installation methods and can utilize EPDM, TPO, or PVC. For more information, please consult the links for the products or specifications on the Carlisle SynTec website below. Tunnels – Conventional Blindside Method Consult the Tunnel Waterproofing System – Conventional Specification and Details on the Carlisle SynTec website.  Tunnels – Cut and Cover Method Consult the Tunnel Waterproofing System – Cut and Cover Specification and Details on the Carlisle SynTec website.  Pond Liners Consult GeoMembrane Page for Pond Liner Products and Brochures on the Carlisle SynTec website.   Contact Craig Tyler at [email protected] with questions.

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