Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Sarnafil Waterproofing System Works Hard in Area of Leisure

It seems like college students have all the fun. Especially those who are University of Alabama students renting apartments at the Alpha Alabama Apartments in Tuscaloosa. These residents enjoy a courtyard that sports a putting green, grill station, workout area, swimming pools and sitting areas. Yet while this is an area of leisure, it took a lot of challenging work to create this space.

Trinitas Ventures
Lafayette, Indiana

Waterproofing Contractor
Ideal Building Solutions
Norcross, Georgia

General Contractor
Trinitas Construction (aka Vizor LLC)
Lafayette, Indiana

Waterproofing System
Sarnafil G476 Self-Adhered
Waterproofing Membrane

Project Size
22,200 square feet

Alpha Alabama Apartments
Selecting a Waterproofing System That Works

Because the courtyard is on top of a parking garage, the first task was selecting the right waterproofing system.

George Mraz, project engineer at Trinitas Construction of Lafayette, Indiana, the general contractor on the project, said he recommended the Sarnafil G476 self-adhered waterproofing membrane because “it is a great product that is well known and durable.” He added that because this system was going to be buried under pavers and landscaping rocks – making it difficult and expensive to repair any leaks – it was important to use a system that is known for being leak-free.

Alpha Alabama Apartments

“Sika inspectors are very thorough in checking welds and doing flood tests,” he remarked. “This decreases the punch list and causes the building owner less headache down the road. More importantly, it gives the building owner more assurance that they have a watertight system.”

Working to Create Play

The waterproofing installers, Ideal Building Solutions of Norcross, Georgia, faced several logistical and schedule challenges from the very beginning. The first was figuring out how to give the landscaping company access to portions of the roof without damaging the new waterproofing system.

Alpha Alabama Apartments

“We came up with a plan during the pre-construction meeting to install the waterproofing membrane in five main sections,” explained Ryan Finney, project manager at Ideal Building Solutions. “This would allow the landscaping company to be on the back areas without damaging the front sections.” Sika inspectors also helped the process by inspecting each section as it was completed.

Installation began by pressure washing the sections, ensuring a clean substrate. Then the primer was applied to the cleaned substrate. After the primer was allowed time to dry, the Sarnafil G476 self-adhered membrane was rolled out and pressed into the substrate with a heavyweight roller to ensure proper adhesion to the substrate.

The walls and penetrations were then flashed with either G410 or G459. All seams were probed multiple times to guarantee proper welds, and the crew cut three test welds of each type of membrane and performed a pull test daily.

Between a Rock and a Hard Schedule

All of this was done under a hastened construction schedule. “The courtyard was going to be closed off on a mandatory completion date, so each section had to be completed for the weekly inspection, which included flood tests,” Finney said. The roof sections also had to be temporarily tied in. Although there were several delays caused by rain, Ideal Building Solutions was able to meet the required deadline.

Another critical issue was protecting the finished sections while the landscapers installed river rock and pavers. “To accomplish this, we left the middle section for last to leave a traffic lane for all landscaping materials,” Finney stated. “To get the rocks and pavers into the far corners of completed sections, we laid down thick plastic protectors to make a temporary path for the materials carts, making sure to periodically check under the plastic paths to ensure no damage was occurring.” Finney added that they also took the same precautions when transporting the final decorative elements for the courtyard.

Alpha Alabama Apartments

Although Ideal Building Solutions has a lot of experience installing Sarnafil roofing systems, this was the first time they installed the waterproofing membrane. Fortunately, Sika representatives were on-hand to help with unique design details that would arise occasionally.

“There were some details that had to be designed on the fly,” Finney explained. “The Sika technical representatives helped us figure things out in the field, which was very helpful.”

“Ideal Building Solutions delivered a very professional job with a clean look,” Mraz commented. “For a contractor to achieve that on one of their first installations of a system speaks volumes for their workforce and work quality.”

It was this work quality and professionalism that earned Ideal Building Solutions first place in the Waterproofing Category of Sika Sarnafil’s 2015 Project of the Year competition.

Alpha Alabama Apartments
Enjoying the Fruits of Their Labor

Today, University of Alabama students are enjoying putting, swimming and other recreational activities on what is a showcase feature of the Alpha Alabama Apartments. Meanwhile, below the courtyard, the parking garage roof has had no problems or leaks, making the project a “big success,” according to Mraz. Proving that hard work can lead to easy play.

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