Law School Reroof

Whittier College School of Law Reroofed with Single-Ply in Costa Mesa, California

by Fred Sitter, marketing communications manager, Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.


From Western Roofing Jul/Aug ’12


Whittier College School of Law was founded in 1966 and moved to its current facility in Costa Mesa, California, in 1997. Almost 15 years later, the existing built-up roof had begun to show its age, and the facilities management team at the school decided to replace it. Jonathan Estrella, the college’s director of facility management, brought in John Secor, owner and principal architect at Archetype International, Inc., based in Santa Ana, California, to assist with design and development of the project documents and help evaluate roof replacement alternatives.

Secor and Estrella reviewed several different roof products for the building, including another built-up assembly, roof coatings, and single-ply systems. During their evaluation process, the two involved Dave Coleman of Structural Materials, a Southern California roof products distributor, who had worked previously with Secor. Coleman in turn brought in Duro-Last sales representative Scott Franklin, who worked with the team to help develop a project plan that would address the specific roofing needs of the facility, as well as meet installation timeframes.

Among the school’s requirements was that the roof be fully adhered to prevent any chance of moisture migration as well as remain in place for years. The project would also need to meet very tight budget constraints and be installed with minimal disruption to building activities from noise, fumes, or debris. The school also wanted the roofing system to meet California’s Title 24 stipulations, which require high reflectivity and emittance values for the membrane; roof membranes that have these qualities typically provide quantifiable energy savings.

The project team eventually chose the Duro-Fleece® roofing system, manufactured by Duro-Last® Roofing, Inc., of Saginaw, Michigan. The Duro-Fleece product combines Duro-Last’s proven thermoplastic membrane and a high-quality, five-and-a-half-ounce fleece material that’s bound to the underside of the membrane during manufacturing. The fleece offers enhanced adhesion characteristics between the membrane and the substrate.

Once the plan was complete and the product decision had been made, the project team put together a list of contractors that were capable of handling a project of this magnitude. Ultimately, they selected San Marino Roof Company, of Orange California. San Marino is an authorized Duro-Last roofing contractor whose business was established over 50 years ago. To date, San Marino, which achieved Duro-Last Master Contractor status in 2010, has installed more Duro-Fleece membrane than any other Duro-Last contractor in the country. Other Duro-Fleece projects installed by San Marino in Southern California include the Neutrogena corporate offices in Los Angeles, the Von Karman Building in Irvine, and St. Norbert church, part of the Orange County Archdiocese. “We’ve found that the Duro-Fleece system gives us a tremendous installation advantage,” said San Marino project manager Greg Pullon. “Using this membrane with Duro-Last’s Duro-Grip® adhesive, applied using the ‘splatter’ method, provides an extremely quick and very cost-effective installation.”

The Whittier project involved a tear off of the existing built-up roof and cap sheet surface, which revealed some other preparation requirements. The wood roof deck was in fairly good shape and did not require much in the way of substrate replacement. However, the metal substrate on the building’s canopy was deteriorated from rust; San Marino replaced it with new 20-gauge metal decking. Also, several of the penetrations were found to be supported only by the old built-up roofing material. Once the old system was removed, San Marino made necessary repairs and attached the penetrations properly to the deck.

The Duro-Grip splatter adhesive is designed, manufactured, and packaged to allow contractors to spread it consistently and reliably at the rate of 25 squares per kit. The adhesive itself is very cost-effective, and also enables the installer to efficiently set and roll the Duro-Fleece membrane over the newly applied adhesive. Once the membrane sections have been installed properly, the edges overlap, and they are heat-welded together.

“This project is one of the first and largest applications to utilize the splatter technique for applying the adhesive,” said San Marino’s Pullon. “We quickly discovered a tremendous reduction in the amount of labor required to install this system, compared with a mechanically attached system. Plus, our efficiency translated into less time on the roof for our installers, which made the Whittier facilities team happy.”

In addition to the installation efficiencies delivered by the membrane and adhesive products, San Marino leadership appreciated the capabilities of Duro-Last being a single-source provider of virtually all the roofing products needed for the project. “Duro-Last says that their roofing components enable an ‘edge to edge and deck to sky’ installation,” said Greg Banks, San Marino’s owner. “That’s an appropriate description, because we were able to order the Duro-Fleece material and adhesive, plus the DensDeck® roof board that we installed over the deck, directly from Duro-Last. We also used scuppers manufactured by Duro-Last’s Exceptional® Metals division.

“Another advantage of working with Duro-Last is that they prefabricate flashings for curbs and other roof penetrations, based on our measurements. Duro-Last prefabrication enables the fast installation and helps us feel especially secure that our installation will be watertight.”

Whittier facility director Estrella sees other benefits of choosing Duro-Last. “It gives us confidence to have our roofing system provided by a company that’s been in the business for more than 30 years,” he said. “And the warranty is outstanding in that consequential damages are included.”

The Whittier project is covered by Duro-Last’s standard 15-year No Dollar Limit warranty. The entire Whittier project is 140,000 square feet, and is being completed in phases at the school’s request to accommodate some rooftop HVAC work. Phase I, 60,000 square feet, was finished in March 2012. The remaining 80,000 square feet, Phase II, is scheduled to be completed in late summer.

However, even after all the Duro-Fleece membrane is installed, the roofing project will not quite be finished. Whittier College leadership has decided to apply the school’s logo to the roof. Duro-Last has the ability to produce logos and lettering from colored or patterned membrane to further customize roof applications, and has created designs for many commercial and institutional projects throughout the country. The pattern for Whittier College will be produced by Duro-Last in Michigan and hot-air-welded to the roof deck later this year by San Marino. The adhered Duro-Fleece system installed on the roof will provide a flat, smooth surface for the large logo application.

“We’re close to John Wayne Airport here in Orange County,” said Estrella. “We have alumni in 48 states and 14 other countries, and the rooftop logo will enable them to identify us proudly from the air when they fly in for reunions and other events at the college. It’s also a great way to promote the college to prospective students.”

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