Orlando, Florida

Sarnafil Membrane Offers Courtyard Luxury and Peace of Mind

One of the most enchanting amenities of the recently built Urbana at Hunter’s Creek apartment complex is its 32,500 square-foot centrally located courtyard. This park-like courtyard features an artificial turf for play, plenty of lounging areas and tables, and an outdoor kitchen and grills where residents can gather to socialize or enjoy evening entertainment. No wonder Urbana was recently named Best Luxury Apartment Community by the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando.

Urbana at Hunter’s Creek
Orlando, Florida

BB Hunter’s Development, Inc.

Roofing Contractor
Tecta America Southeast, LLC
Sanford, Florida

General Contractor
Regal Park Homes, Inc.

Green Roof Contractor
Plata Designs LLCDurham
North Carolina

Waterproofing Roofing System
Sarnafil® G476 60 mil
adhered waterproofing membrane

Project Size
32,500 square feet

The courtyard is on the roof of the new apartment complex’s garage and is surrounded on all sides by residential units. Kelvin Eder, a partner at Regal Park Homes, Inc. of Orlando, the general contractor and owner’s representative on the project, said the owner was looking for a waterproofing membrane for the courtyard that had proven performance and was specifically designed to go under the overburden, which included pavers, gravel areas, and vegetative areas. “I was familiar with Sarnafil’s quality and knew they had a lot of positive experiences with green roofs,” Eder said.

“We have a long working relationship with Sarnafil and know they make good products,” remarked A.J. DeSantis, project manager at Tecta America Southeast of Sanford, Florida, the roofing and waterproofing contractor on the project. “We used the Sarnafil EnergySmart roofing membrane on the 71,500 square-foot roof over the residential buildings, which meant we only had to deal with one supplier for both the roofing and courtyard projects.”

Ariel view of Urbana at Hunter's Creek apartment complex
Punching a Hold in the Process

Tecta America was tasked with installing a structural concrete substrate with an additional layer of sloped concrete poured on top, creating a ¼ slope throughout. Next, they primed the concrete with the Sika Surface Conditioner 150, and the 60 mil Sarnafil G476 waterproofing membrane was self-adhered directly to the concrete. The membrane was then segregated from the overburden with a layer of Drainage Panel Geonet B. “We had to make sure the rocks used in the overburden didn’t penetrate the waterproofing membrane,” DeSantis stated.

Because the courtyard is in the center of the apartment building, accessing it via crane was impossible. Regal Park Homes and Tecta America came up with another idea: make a temporary hole in the wall of a second-story unit to create a corridor to run equipment and supplies into the courtyard. “The original design for that part of the building was for a two-bedroom apartment, but we built a 12 by 10 foot opening with a strong enough header to let us use telehandlers and a conveyor to move material into the building,” Eder explained.

Urbana at Hunter's Creek undergoing construction and waterproofing

Dealing With Overburden Burdens

After the Sarnafil waterproofing membrane was installed, the overburden was put in place. “There were many challenges to this part of the installation,” Eder commented. He pointed out that one concern was how to place the curbing to restrain the pavers and the overburden without obstructing water flow. Fortunately, they found prefabricated concrete curbs that could be simply set in place to control the elevation in the field. “This was a huge cost savings,” Eder remarked.

Providing a level surface was another issue. “The roof had swells throughout the rooftop to handle the 100 gallons of water that the roof pumps out,” said Jose Plata, CEO, and owner of Plata Designs of Durham, North Carolina, the green roof installers on the project. “We had to figure out how to make it one flat surface so we used locking pavers on a pedestal system.” Pedestal heights were adjusted from 3 inches to 14 inches to ensure a perfectly level finished product.

Urbana at Hunter's Creek apartment complex after finished construction

To avoid having to put railings next to the pavers per the local building code, the installation team came up with the idea of putting planting beds beside the pavers instead. “The beds are much more attractive than railings, and add even more greenery to the courtyard,” Eder stated.

Moving 750 tons of rock was another potential headache, but fortunately, the conveyor belt was able to move them to the courtyard. To prepare for the artificial turf, 57 stone was installed at varying thickness, followed by a smaller stone to provide a level surface for the turf. “Some cool features of the turf are an infill for heat control and a feature to mitigate odors,” DeSantis explained. “This was a real benefit since residents bring their pets to enjoy the courtyard.”

As if those weren’t enough problems, it was soon discovered that reflections from the apartment windows on the north, east, and west sides of the building were melting the artificial turf on the courtyard. Fortunately, this was easily solved by adding a non-reflective coating to the windows.

“Everyone is in Love With the Courtyard”

Today Urbana residents are enjoying the courtyard as a place to interact with neighbors while enjoying the palm trees, bamboo, saw grass, gardenias, and other plants gracing the space. “Everyone is in love with the courtyard,” Eder exclaimed. “It is a gorgeous space, and I would definitely use the Sarnafil membrane again.”

“This was a pretty fun project, and I would love to do another one like this,” Plata said. “We’ve actually had people reach out to use to tell us how beautiful the courtyard is.”

The end result is a luxurious place providing residents --- and the installation team – an reprieve from problems and peace of mind.