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Louisiana Architect Endorses CertainTeed Two-Ply Modified Bitumen Roof Systems For Hurricane-Regions

When Hurricane Rita ravaged Louisiana several years back, it marked the third time in five years that Lawtell Elementary School in Lawtell, Louisiana, lost a roof to a severe storm. The school’s St. Landry Parish School Board decided enough is enough and that it was time for the school to have a roof that wouldn’t succumb to heavy winds and severe weather.

The school board hired Irvin J. Kohler, senior partner of Kohler Architects, based in Washington, Louisiana, to design a low-slope modified bitumen roof system with enough durability to withstand future severe storms. After evaluating a variety of top-of-the line roofing membranes and insulation, Kohler found what he was looking for in the CertainTeed(R) FRP-C-U2 two-ply modified bitumen roofing system. The system consists of a double layer of roof insulation, with CertainTeed Ultra Poly SMS Base Sheet and Flintlastic(R) Premium FR-P Cap Sheet — both thicker than the average bitumen membrane.

“We evaluated the specifications of CertainTeed’s modified bitumen roofing products and determined that the physical characteristics of the base and cap sheets would solve the stress issues we were dealing with in this reroofing of Lawtell Elementary School,” Kohler says. “We believe that this system will perform well beyond the design requirements of the International Building Code (IBC) for the Gulf of Mexico hurricane coastline.” The 2003 IBC states that roofs in the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast region must be able to withstand winds in excess of 100 miles per hour and resist resulting uplift pressures without failing. 

In the rescue efforts that followed Hurricane Katrina, it also became apparent that the powerful downward thrust generated by helicopter blades during rescue efforts could put severe stress on the small temperature fissures in roof membranes and sometimes lift them off the roof. Kohler believes that the CertainTeed two-ply modified roof system will stand its ground against this powerful force as well.

The St. Landry Parish School Board hired Lenard Bertrand General Contractors Inc., of Opelousas, Louisiana, as general contractor for the school repair project. Lavergne Roofing & Sheet Metal, also of Opelousas, served as the roofing contractor on the job. The roof called for 220 squares of CertainTeed Ultra Poly SMS base sheet and Flintlastic Premium FR-P cap sheet, adhered to the roof deck with cold-applied modified asphalt. 

“This roof system went down like a dream,” says Jody Lavergne, owner of Lavergne Roofing & Sheet Metal. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the roof is going to stick together and stay down. It’s like everything is welded together. This is the best system I’ve ever worked with.”

“CertainTeed two-ply hybrid modified bitumen roofing systems are establishing themselves as the ultimate low-slope roofs for hurricane-prone regions, such as the Gulf Coast, offering a tough defense against severe storms,” says John Donaldson, President of CertainTeed Roofing.

“With greater thickness and durability than traditional built-up roofing membranes, the modified bitumen membranes now available can offer even more protection than a five-ply built-up roofing system at a lower material cost,” says Donaldson. “Since there are fewer plies, less asphalt is used and less time is spent on installation, which reduces labor costs. We are pleased that Kohler Architects specified the CertainTeed FRP-C-U2 roof system for Lawtell Elementary School, and we look forward to the new system providing the school with superior roof protection for years to come.”

The end user was satisfied as well. Claud Moody, Jr., assistant superintendent of operations for St. Landry Parish School district, sees the new roof as a solution to the previous weather problems. “They all did a great job on this project,” he says. “When you lose a roof three times in five years, it’s time to look for an alternative, and that’s just what Mr. Kohler did for us. We have a lot of faith in this roof.”

About CertainTeed
Through innovation and creative product design, CertainTeed has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Company, the firm made its slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," which quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed is North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, windows, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, walls, ceilings and access covers.

Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, CertainTeed and its affiliates have approximately 9,000 employees and 70 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. In 2006 the group had consolidated sales approaching $4 billion. www.certainteed.com

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