Big Red

Symmetrical Standing Seam Panels Solve Leakage Issues in Roma, Texas

by Ken Gieseke, vice president of marketing, McElroy Metal


The reroof project at Roma High School in Roma, Texas, was a long time coming. Leaks at various transition points were causing excessive damage. Ultimately, the school district decided to invest in a major renovation, which ended up including new metal roofing, low-slope roofing, repairs to masonry and metal walls, as well as the replacement of windows and skylights.

The biggest fix ended up being the original roofing, which required 233,335 sq.ft. of McElroy Metal’s symmetrical standing seam metal roofing in PVDF brite red. A leaky tile roof was removed and replaced with McElroy’s 138T symmetrical standing seam metal roofing. Additionally, the company’s 238T symmetrical standing seam metal roofing was used to recover an existing R-panel. According to a report put together by the school district, the water infiltration issues were considerably worse than anyone realized. Most of the leaks were associated with walls, transitions between roofing and walls, as well as the foundation and the walls.

To ensure history did not repeat itself, Amtech Solutions of Pharr, Texas, investigated thoroughly and recommended the best solutions, including designed leak-proof saddles where the roof and walls met. Amtech is a full-service design and restoration consulting firm, offering architectural, engineering, and building envelope expertise.

“When we got involved, they were unsure of what the real causes of all the problems were,” said Mike Hovar, AIA, RRO, LEED® AP, of Amtech Solutions. “When we saw water running down the wall, we immediately thought the problems were only with the roofing. Once we got a closer look, it wasn’t just the roof, but also the walls and the drainage over the walls. No one had any idea how bad it was. The original design contributed to all of the problems and the installation made it all worse.”

From the start there was a contingent that wanted to go with the tile roof again to maintain the original design intent, but another group simply wanted a solution that would eliminate any repeating problems moving forward. “Both systems would be appropriate when installed correctly,” Hovar said. “We talked about the advantages of metal as opposed to tile, how it would be easier to get a properly functioning roof, and that it would be less expensive. It’s safe to say we helped steer them in that direction.”

Rio Roofing of Harlingen, Texas, roll-formed the panels onsite, as they were needed for installation. “We brought the roll former out on weekends to run panels because it draws a crowd,” said Hedley Hichens, vice president at Rio Roofing. “Obviously with a school there are fewer people around on weekends. We also purchased a SnapTable Pro from Swenson Shear to cut panels we installed in the valleys and to notch the panels. We easily got our money’s worth out of that thing on this job alone.”

The school board and community were very excited about the project because problems have aggravated the district for the more than 25 years the school has existed. The school held an actual groundbreaking ceremony with catered food for guests and a band for entertainment.

“Because there were a lot of issues to deal with, it really was committing to one detail at a time,” Hichens said. “Amtech designed the details, and while some things change when you get in the field, they did a great job of making sure everything was going to work the way it was supposed to.”

In other words, there are no longer leaks in the many valleys and the transitions between sections and walls. Among the details designed by Amtech included an aluminum saddle from the low eave, an aluminum saddle from the high eave, and an aluminum saddle from the gable/façade. Hichens explained that the 238T symmetrical panels work well with all the details and his team likes the way they look when completed. “In the past, we have done a lot of work with 1-1/2” mechanical lock and 2” double-seamed panels,” he said. “With the 238T, you don’t have to worry about the seamer jumping off. We’re in a windstorm area, so the uplift performance sold us on the 238T.”

Amtech specifies 138T and 238T for a lot of large-scale roof recovers. “There are a many reasons why we prefer to use the 138T and 238T panels,” Hovar expressed. “It’s the easiest panel to design and install complex or simple flashing details, which was a big deal on this job. Also, because the panels are symmetrical, we can start installing panels anywhere on the roof. The panels handle better when they’re being carried and they don’t fold over on themselves like other profiles can. Seaming goes faster because you can seam the cap going in either direction. Also, you can replace damaged panels without removing any panels that are not damaged. Additionally, flashing with curbs is a dream.”

Students, faculty, and the local community continue to be amazed by the building’s new roof and look forward to many years of leak-free protection thanks to Amtech, Rio Roofing, and McElroy Metal. With high-quality products and expert design and installation, Roma High School now has a roof history that won’t repeat itself.