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Foam Spray Application
Mid-Atlantic Urethane Rehabs DC-Area Commercial Roof With Spray Foam
The roof previously had a leaky built-up roof (BUR) system.
By Ryan Spencer

TYSON’S CORNER, VA–July 10, 2012–Normally, spray foam roofs are intended to provide a waterproof roofing system for 20 years or more. However, for one roofing project at a commercial building in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, spray foam provided a roofing solution that was considerably more short-term.

“The owner’s main interest was making the building watertight without spending a lot of money,” said Lee Ballou, owner of Mid-Atlantic Urethane, Inc.

The commercial building, which is home to businesses as varied as a doggie day care and a Papa John’s, had been experiencing major leakage issues. The old system, a gravel built-up roof (BUR), was compromised mostly as a factor of its age. Because the building was to be razed in the near future to make way for new development, the owner sought a timely, inexpensive, waterproof roofing solution to hold the building over.

“The building is going to be torn down in about five years, so they really just wanted the roof sealed up,” Ballou said.

Ballou, who has three decades of experience in the spray foam industry, proposed a solution in the form of a monolithic layer of spray foam to mitigate the building’s water woes. This would ensure a dry environment within the building until its ultimate demise. With the solution agreed upon, Mid-Atlantic set about tackling a project that was not only sizable, at 91,000 square feet, but also difficult to execute.

To add an underlying layer of complexity to the application, the project was slated to begin just after New Year’s Day, 2012. The mid-winter timing meant Mid-Atlantic needed to employ significant means of temperature regulation, as contending with the cold is no easy task for an outdoor roofing application. Furthermore, the building had a surrounding parking lot full of vehicles and was also located next to a car dealership, so overspray protection was of the utmost importance. Mid-Atlantic was able to address both concerns with one piece of equipment.

“We had a fifty-by-fifty-foot tent where we could control temperature and overspray,” said Ballou. “On days 40 degrees or lower, we were able to control the temperature at about 70 degrees inside the tent.”

Space heaters were used within the spray tent to maintain the ambient and substrate temperatures in the proper range. However, the outdoor working conditions ended up being less drastic than initially thought.

“We got lucky; the weather was pretty cooperative,” said Ballou. “On average, we were dealing with 55-60 degree weather.”

Mid-Atlantic had an ideal atmosphere in which to apply the foam and control overspray, but the old BUR system had to be addressed before any foam was sprayed. Over the course of five days, the gravel was vacuumed off of the BUR system. With the roof prepped, Mid-Atlantic started applying the spray foam, Gaco RoofFoam 273. The 2.8 lb. foam was sprayed to two inches in depth, giving the new roofing system a resultant R-value of 14. A crew of four took about 20 spray days to complete the application, as Ballou recalled.

“Through all the adverse conditions, we were able to handle them and bring the project in on time,” Ballou summarized. The building is no longer having leakage issues.

About Mid-Atlantic Urethane, Inc.: Started in 1994, Mid-Atlantic Urethane is a family-owned foam contracting business based in Forest Hill, Maryland. The company does spray foam insulation and roofing applications throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. For more information, please use the contact details provided below.

Mid-Atlantic Urethane, Inc. Directory Page

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