Savannah, Georgia

Schools Excel With Décor Roof System

The Mary Lee Clark and Matilda Harris Elementary Schools shared a problem: they both had leaking standing seam metal roofs. Located in the Camden County School District in southeast Georgia, the schools’ roofs were “past their prime and in rotation to be replaced,” according to Mike Blackerby, Jr., director of operations for the Camden County School District. But instead of installing new metal roofs, the school district decided to go with the metal lookalike Sarnafil Décor Roof System.

The Décor Roof System combines the Sarnafil G 410 thermoplastic single-ply roofing membrane with Décor Profiles to give the appearance of a standing seam metal roof – and thanks to its watertight seams, the durability of this system is unmatched. It is one of the only roofing systems of this type that includes warranty coverage for the hot-air welded ribs that give the roof the appearance of metal.

Camden County Board of Education
Kingsland, Georgia

Roofing Contractor
Bonitz of Georgia, Inc.
Savannah, Georgia

James W. Buckley and Associates, Inc.
Savannah, Georgia

Roofing System
Décor Roof System using 60 mil
Sarnafil G 410 feltback membrane in
custom color Terra Cotta

Project Size
200,000 square feet
(100,000 square feet per school)

South Georgia Elementary Schools
Learning From Experience

“We had used the Décor system at another elementary school, which solved that school’s leak issues,” Blackerby explained. “So when we saw how that worked out we thought of the Décor system again for these two roofs."

South Georgia Elementary Schools

“We don’t install anything but PVC roof systems, so we think the Décor system is an excellent choice,” said James “Jimmy” P. Coleman, president of Bonitz of Georgia, Inc. of Savannah, Georgia, the roof installers on the project. “And in this instance the Décor system could be installed right over the existing metal roof and without opening the interior to any exposure, which minimized any precautions and preparations needed for the inside of the schools.”

Frank A. Neagle, AIA, project architect at Buckley and Associates of Savannah, Georgia, added, “About 90 percent of our projects are Sarnafil systems, and we’ve had very good experience with them. We like staying with stable and dependable products.”

Staying the Course

Installation involved filling the pans between the standing seams with EPS insulation, followed by overlaying polyisocyanurate insulation on top, which also increased the R-value of the roof system. The Sarnafil membrane, in custom color Terra Cotta to match the existing metal system, was then adhered with a low VOC adhesive.

South Georgia Elementary Schools

Bonitz of Georgia installed both roofs at the same time with a crew of about 17 on each roof. The crews faced several challenges during the installation, the first being the weather. “Camden County is in the most southern point of Georgia, and both schools were within 10 miles of the ocean,” Coleman stated. “This meant there were clouds of rain every day. This cut down on production because we had to keep things dry while installing the adhered systems.”

The crews also had to work around the schools’ schedule. “We went into standardized testing when Bonitz started working on the roof, so Bonitz mapped out the entire building and provided a schedule of where they were going to be each day," Blackerby said. “They also accommodated us on field days and honor days, and would move equipment and their work areas to avoid inconveniencing people entering the building during those high traffic days.” The crews also had to put up safety barricades to keep the children out of certain areas.

South Georgia Elementary Schools

“We had one person whose only job was to work with the principals, teachers and maintenance people at the schools,” Coleman stated. “This avoided any communication problems regarding issues such as where we would be working and where things were going to be stored.”

Sika representatives also contributed to the success of the installation. “They were involved in the entire process – from sales, estimating, logistics and inspections,” Coleman explained. “The more complex the job and the more involved and responsive all parties involved are, the smoother the project goes.”

Earning High Remarks

Bonitz’s hard work earned high marks from both Blackerby and Neagle. “We have a very good relationship with Bonitz – they are very responsive to our needs,” Blackerby commented. “They do good work and are always accessible, which is one of the best things about them.”

“Bonitz did a very good job of making sure the seams were nice and straight,” Neagle stated. “The whole project went very smoothly.”

It was this attention to detail and professionalism that earned Bonitz of Georgia third place in the Steep Slope Category of Sika Sarnafil’s 2015 Project of the Year competition.

Making the Grade

Today both roofs are leak-free and looking good. “I’m really pleased with the appearance,” Neagle said. “I bet that 95 percent of the time people think it is a metal roof.”

“We would definitely use the Décor system again,” Blackerby stated. “We know what to expect out of it and it solved all our roof leak issues.”

“Everybody is happy with the roofs,” Coleman added. “I went to a PTA meeting after the roofs were finished and some people asked when we were going to replace the metal roofs – not realizing they had already been replaced with the Décor systems. Others thought the roofs look much nicer than the original metal roofs.”

Looks like the Décor Roof System passed the test with flying colors.

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