United Thermal Systems Insulates Dome Roof At Aquarium of Niagara
Lack of insulation caused condensation, which was dripping onto visitors heads
By Cameron Prior
NIAGARA FALLS, NY – October 31, 2012 – The Aquarium of Niagara, known for offering guests a look into the aquatic life of the surrounding Great Lakes and beyond since 1965, desperately needed insulation for their dome roof when condensation began falling on their customers' heads. United Thermal Systems was called in to insulate the exterior of the dome roof with spray foam.
The Aquarium's dome roof covers its seal and sea lion performance area and was not originally insulated. As a result, condensation formed on the building's interior, causing water to drip on customers' heads and down the side walls of visitor areas.
Larry Ash, Vice President of United Thermal Systems, said, "Condensation on the interior of the roof was exaggerated because there was no insulation on the roof whatsoever. It dripped inside and started to destroy the concrete ceiling."
Ash noted that several years ago, his company sprayed a polyuria coating on the interior of the dome in order to make it appear like blue sky with clouds. "The coating helped to protect the concrete from the interior condensation," he said, "but it still did not stop the condensation from forming."
To alleviate the problem, United Thermal Systems planned to insulate the roof of the structure, which also includes a 14-foot-wide flat "skirt" surrounding the central dome. When spraying the foam, crewmembers were able to follow the contour of the roof with a seamless application.
Since the aquarium has an outdoor seal exhibit, extra precautions were necessary to protect the area from overspray. Ash said they did not want the spray foam, silicone, and granules they were using to get into the exhibit.
"We had guys with special wind shields made out of canvas and wood to protect from any overspray going toward them," he said.
An observatory deck below the dome was closed off and polyethylene sheeting was used to cover the exposed wood, while windows were masked off for overspray protection as well. Crewmembers applied 1.5 in. of Lapolla's 3 lb. Foam-Lok FL 2800 closed-cell spray foam to the roof as well as 22 mils of GE Silicone SCM 3404 to 3408 coating. Ceramic granules were embedded into the top coat. The total spray area of this project was approximately 3,000 sq. ft.
It took four crewmembers about four days, between bouts of rain, to complete the job in October of 2012. Fortunately, according to Ash, none of the exhibits were closed during application. "It did not affect customers going into the facility whatsoever," said Ash.
The Aquarium was pleased with the results, which will ultimately save them money on energy costs as well as saving them the aggravation of knowing their customers are not unintentionally getting wet.
About United Thermal Systems: United Thermal Systems specializes in the application of spray polyurethane foam roofing and insulation for the Commercial/ Industrial market in Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania utilizing "green" building materials. For more information about United Thermal Systems, please use the contact details and links provided below.