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Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Chapters 8-15

Posted by Tim Simpson, Quality Assurance and Quality Control Manager, Maintenance Coatings Inspector on 9th May 2024

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products – Chapter 8

Speeding Up Production – Application Methodology

For each process, there are ways of achieving higher productivity while maintaining quality. Reinforcing seams and embedding Ames Roofing Reinforcing Fabric are two excellent options to explore

Reinforcing Seams:

  • When installing Ames Poly-Bridge Flashing material, make a plastic spooler with a handle for the fabric to allow fabric delivery continuously across a roof by the technician. If the roof is sloped or domed, install rubber feet on the bottom of the spooler legs to maintain a grip on the sloped roof. Be sure and build the spooler with feet far apart enough to straddle the wet seam thus holding the fabric directly over the wet seam as you move down the seam being flashed. The technician can then pre-stripe a section of the roof seam, quickly hold the spooler over the seam while walking along the wetter area, set the spool down just past the end of the wetted seam, then efficiently and quickly embed the Ames Poly-bridge fabric without cutting the roll of Poly-Bridge. This reduces overlapping seam details along the seam and cuts the fabric only when reaching the end of the seam run or discontinuing your work.
  • When installing long runs of seams, consider a two-man crew in lieu of one person. By doing so, one person rolls out the wet stripe coat down the seam, the second person carefully lifts the spooler of Ames Poly-Bridge fabric and walks the spool up close to the person rolling out the stripe coat. While the stripe coater continues moving ahead along the roof, the second person then embeds the fabric by first rolling in one direction carefully from the point of beginning toward the second person. This allows air to flow out from under the fabric while preventing wrinkles in the fabric. This is an amazingly effective method for shifting your meshwork into overdrive.
  • Modify this strategy by adding a third person at roof radius curbs. One person rolls the stripe coat, a second spools out the required length of fabric and carefully lays it in the wet bed, the third person fully embeds the fabric. The work train just keeps on rolling along!
  • When running long seams, it’s best to run the long seams first, then drop back and install small details which may be more efficient by having two installers split up and work on their own.
  • For even more efficiency install a piece of PVC vertically to the side of the mesh spooler. Cap the bottom of the PVC vertical piece. This creates a tube to store fabric scissors that will always be right there with the fabric roll and easy to reach.
  • Want to save more time? Pour some water in the vertical scissor tube and your scissor blades will always be free of dried roof coating material when you grab them to make a cut. I like a 1.5” to 2” vertical tube best so there is room for sufficient water and the scissors don’t fit too tightly.

Embedding Ames Roof Reinforcing Fabric on the Entire Roof:

  • When running full-width rolls of reinforcing fabric along the roof, many crews simply lay the fabric on the roof and kick or push it along as liquid material is applied under then over the fabric to embed it. While simple, this method can cause the roll to bounce off course developing wrinkles that stop the work in its tracks. Additionally, the hot sun can rapidly dry the wet material that inevitably gets on the roll of fabric. This condition causes further delays when the fabric glues to itself during a short pause to get a wrinkle out or lift the roll of mesh over a roof penetration.
  • This is where we introduce a long fabric spooler onto the scene and increase the crew size on this process to speed things up.
  • Here’s how: For a large roof, I recommend a 4-man crew minimum setup on this production train. One person applies the wet coating. With one person on each end of the spooler, the two spoolers move along with the fabric carefully laying the fabric down in a straight line. The fourth person follows the fabric lay-in with a roller and fully wets down the embedded fabric while rolling out air pockets and preventing fish mouths along the edges or internal wrinkles.
  • When using a wide fabric spooler on a sloped or domed roof, it is also important to add a large disc on each end of the roll of fabric mounted on the spooler shaft to hold the roll on the spooler pole without hanging up the roll of fabric. On the sloped applications the roll will slip slightly toward the downhill side of the roof and ride up against the disc previously mentioned. We make these discs by cutting them out of the bottom of a plastic 5-gal pail. I like using a .75” galvanized iron spooler shaft with threaded ends to allow for an optional bracket with feet to be mounted on each end of the spool shaft. This option provides a standup bracket on each end of the spool shaft to hold the rollout of the wet material during pauses just like with the smaller seam tape system. I hold the roll of fabric and discs in place using wing bolted flanges like the type used on barbells.
  • Another trick I have learned is to stay back from the roof edge when starting rows of parallel overlapping strips of fabric. This speeds up the starting and stopping of applying all runs of fabric across a large roof expanse. After the long runs are installed, the ends of all the installed strips near the roof edge can be finished up with a single continuous piece of fabric overlapping the ends of all the fabric runs and terminating neatly at the edge of the roof detail. By properly placing safety tie-offs this can be achieved while rigged to a safety harness if required by job site conditions.

Overall, the strategy here is to have sufficient crew to handle each segment of the process on both seaming and also the membrane fabric embedding to allow the process to move across the roof in an orderly fashion without much or any stopping. Remove one critical component of the crew and suddenly the process changes up and someone must multitask. The train stops and starts – production slows.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products – Chapter 9

June 15, 2020

Speeding Up Production – Equipment Sizing & Tips

Occasionally it’s better to have larger equipment, and sometimes it’s better to size down. There are a variety of reasons for this. Here are a few:

High-pressure airless equipment atomizes coating materials and, in the process, can create airborne paint fog downwind of the application. There are ways to size equipment to reduce this fogging. A high capacity airless sprayer with the ability to move a higher volume of material at a lower pressure can enable you to use larger tips while at the same time reducing the fogging by-product of the spray process. Pump ratios come into play when planning out your equipment. For example, a 45:1 ratio pump could pump 4+ GPM of material at the range of 2,500 to 4,500 psi. A 60:1 ratio pump could pump 3+ GPM at up to 6,000 psi. The 60:1 ratio pump would be overkill for your project.

The goal in this situation is to deliver the most material to your rooftop through your spray lines to attain the desired product with minimum negative side effects such as overspray damage. As a result we go with mid-sized airless equipment on roofs that can achieve between 1.0 GPM minimum and 4 GPM maximum at the lower pressure ranges. Our tips’ sizing can be larger this way with lower pressures at the tip thereby reducing overspray.

Being able to dial down our output pressures at the pump means we can also use lower flow rates and tip pressures to spray a bed coat of Ames Super Elasto-Barrier during the fabric embedding process when appropriate and keep the fabric wet as the embedding roller person is doing his final embedding roll along the Fabric Train. An added plus is that the team moving across the deck embedding fabric does not have to replenish roller or dump buckets since the spray man is right there with an endless supply of material. This becomes even more important when trying to set down a bucket of material on a domed or high sloped roof, which can result in spills. When a spill happens the whole production train stops.

Caution: It requires a good spray technician to properly aim his spray pattern to avoid wrinkling fabric, billowing fabric, etc. Less pressure is ideal even if the spray pattern is fingering or tailing a bit. It does not matter as all the material in this process is also getting rolled during the embed part, which evens up the material. Skill, technique, and team cooperation using this process can create amazing high-production results.

Sometimes a gun needle will malfunction and not return properly to its seat when you let up on a sprayer. This can happen frequently on a spray gun/wand assembly. Debris can hang up between the needle and seat, spraying full bore with no place to run.

Here’s a solution: Have a high-pressure ball valve installed in the line where the airless line is trailing across the roof where it can be readily accessed by the rooftop crew. When the gun sticks open, notify one of your rooftop men to shut off the material at the rooftop ball valve. This will stop the pump from continuing to cycle material up through the malfunctioning gun and allow you to lower the gun and wand back down to the pot tender. The pot tender will then shut the pump down, notify you to re-open the rooftop line ball valve, and then the pot tender will clear the obstruction, flush the line if necessary and get you back up and running quickly. Complications are kept to a minimum and the production train rolls on.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products – Chapter 10

June 15, 2020

Speeding up Production – Proper Staging of Materials.

Aim to keep your roof free of any materials not immediately being installed. Excessive materials create obstacles to work around and will eventually need to be moved out of the way. With that, you are now working with a team on high-production processes and missing materials on the roof can stop the train cold in its tracks.

If you run out of fabric while conducting long seam roof runs or full membrane reinforcing procedures, you’re not stopping one man from working but are instead idling four to five men. Avoid this by having adequate fabric and sundries on the roof to change rollers, wash hand tools, and efficiently keep the train rolling. Do not store liquid coating materials in the direct sun on a hot roof unless there is a shaded area designated to store the material in or can cover the materials to keep them cool. A hot pail of Ames Elasto-Barrier will dry a lot quicker than a cool pail of material. Keep materials’ open working times up by storing all materials in a covered, climate-controlled, or shaded location when ambient conditions dictate.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products – Chapter 11

June 15, 2020

Productively Playing the Weather

Work the weather to your advantage and not the other way around. Here are a few pointers:

  • Wind usually picks up in the afternoon, so plan your spray work accordingly.
  • Setup spray targets on poles in parking lots with a black background on the targets to confirm overspray issues and to reassure the customer there are precautions in place.
  • Install a temporary series of wind flags that the spray person can readily see on the rooftop to monitor current and changing wind direction from the rooftop to adjacent buildings and parking lots.
  • Be smart and make the call to discontinue or not spray if the wind conditions are not right for a specific location. Overspray insurance, while safe, is costly.
  • Don’t despair about your schedule. You can still get that coat on your roof if you have prepared for contingencies. Here is how:
    • Give the crew 18” long nap rollers on extension poles and take the tip and tip housing off the airless sprayer.
    • Deliver ribbons of material in lines following a pattern back and forth across the roof so that the crew can quickly roll out the material being delivered on the roof.
    • Be careful when pulling the trigger as the gun and wand will tend to surge upward when the trigger is pulled.
    • Hold the gun with one hand and the wand with the other hand to keep the wand from surging up and accidentally spraying a half-gallon of material across the roof at random.
    • Remember that the pump can deliver 1-3 gallons of material a minute onto the roof surface despite using a spray tip or bulk pumping the material out of a tipless assembly ahead of a roller crew.
    • No need to bring buckets up on the roof for pouring and rolling when using this method. You may be surprised how quickly you knock out a coat across the entire roof.
    • Use this method also for rapid material delivery on a roof that is not suited for spraying due to proximity to adjacent parking lots and other obstacles.
    • Consider this as a Plan B to maintain high production and keep the projects moving. Don’t forget you can modulate the pump’s volume by turning the pump regulator up or down as needed.
  • In colder temperatures know drying times and closely monitor the weather. Avoid applying roof coatings when the temperature is 50 degrees and dropping and when rain is forecasted within 24 hours. Night fog and morning dew can also cause issues with wet coatings allowed to dwell during the night because of saturated air reaching the dew point, high humidity levels slowing dry times, etc. Have a plan to postpone if the weather does not cooperate and let the weather improve.
  • Masking Roof Drains – This is an important item to remember. Some contractors will mask internal roof drains to keep them clean while spraying. If there is any suspicion of inclement weather in the forecast, it is important to remove masking from the roof drains right after you spray around the perimeter of the drains. If the next day brings rain and the roof drains are sealed off with masking materials, the roof could flood with excessive amounts of water re-wetting the recently applied material, causing roof structure overloads and possible collapse. All avoidable when demasking critical roof drains as along the way. It’s much easier to re-mask the roof drains a few times than explaining results of the other scenario to the client or insurance carrier.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products – Chapter 12

June 15, 2020

Setting Up Ground Game When Doing Roof Work

When preparing to set up airless spray equipment and pump from a trailer or staging area at ground level, here are a few pointers to create a winning ground game and maintain production:

  • Establish good communications with the groundworker and pot tender. They are there to make sure the equipment is operating smoothly, clear intake clogging, switch between containers, prevent vacuums from forming in bulk totes and barrels as materials are pumped, keep fuel levels up in gas-powered airless equipment, and stage materials into lift buckets as needed for the rooftop crew.
  • It is wise to have two-way radio communication and earbuds on the groundworker as they are typically standing next to noisy equipment and can’t hear most of what is being communicated from the rooftop.
  • Your groundworker can enhance the performance of the process by properly preparing the pump station area. Keep the bulk materials covered to avoid overheating in hot weather, have standby water available in the event of a spill.
  • Ground personnel should be well versed in maintaining the pump, re-priming when necessary, and the symptoms when a pump is not functioning well.
  • If not pumping out of barrels or bulk totes, consider setting up a small horse trough and dump 5 gal pails of material into the trough, then pump material out of the trough through an airless stinger set inside the trough. This method is a low budget way to get the job done if handling drums or bulk totes is not a good option.
  • There are some downsides of pumping out of a large open trough which can be mitigated. A dry coating skin can form over the top of the material, it can get mixed into the material during the refilling of the trough and ultimately get drawn onto the stinger rock screen stalling out the pump’s ability to pull material in. If this happens, you incur a time-losing process of scooping out gobs of half-dried material from the trough. This is easily avoided by either floating a piece of tarp on the top of the material which one peels back just enough to dump more material in the trough. It will be in direct contact with the contents of the trough and will raise and lower with the material. There is also the option to sprinkle some water on the top of this plastic tarp which further prevents skinning and clogging. This can also serve as a night seal for the contents of the trough to avoid having to clean out the trough.
  • Another option is to make the pump area cooler and more comfortable by installing a cheap pop-up canopy over the pump. This puts both the pot tender and the pump in the shade.
  • If the setup is in a trailer, the canopy legs can be mounted to the sides of the trailer instead of sitting on the ground. Be sure to tie down the canopy legs to avoid the disruption of a wind gust.
  • Reduce the effect of a line blowout by following this procedure:
    • Find a large bore flex hose that the line will fit through or use 20’ sections of conduit or PVC to create a secondary blowout guard along the line where it comes off the roof and down the finished wall of the building.
    • Put a 90-degree elbow at the bottom of the conduit near the pump to avoid line rub as the pump cycles and a 45 or 90-degree angle at the top of the roofline so the airless line will not kink at either the top or bottom.
    • If there is a blowout of a fitting or line rupture in the line hanging down along the finished building exterior, avoid a major mess on the building exterior while impressing your client with your concern for his facility.
    • Do not ask me how I learned to use this technique. Just remember that “Necessity is the mother of invention!”
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy next to the gas engine-powered equipment to avoid fire-related issues.
  • Never attempt to fill a running gas airless with gasoline. A running airless vibrates a lot and spatters gas right back out of the gas tank while it’s running. The vibration can also dislodge a funnel splattering gas on a very hot exhaust manifold.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products- Chapter 13

June 15,2020

Timing Work Schedules for Maximum Production

Roofers know the early bird gets his work done then gets off the roof in the heat of the day. Crews are more productive in cooler temperatures.

In extremely hot climates, crews also work on roofs at night if municipal ordinances and the customers allow it. It is a matter of running some rooftop lights to properly illuminate the area for night work.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products- Chapter 14

June 15, 2020

Maintaining Toolboxes to Protect Production

  • Keep spare wear parts and extra fittings in a toolbox for the sprayer.
  • Keep an extra spray gun.
  • Have an extra spray line on the job and the couplings to add the hose into the line set.
  • If you can afford to, have an extra pump onsite or nearby. Do so to avoid a shift loss in the schedule in the event the pump goes down.
  • Maintain redundancy in spare parts – if there is no use for them on the current job, there certainly will be down the line.

Most importantly, thoroughly research the Ames website and talk with our technical representatives about how to optimize the performance of your project. We can assist you in applying the proper roof coating system specification for the roof you intend to work on.

Tips for Professionals: Ames Roof Coating Products- Chapter 15

June 15, 2020

Ames Liquid Applied Seamless Monolithic Reinforced Membrane Roofing & Roof Repair System

A simple workaround for the weak spots created by seams and joints in a roofing system is to have no seams at all. In a monolithic membrane system, liquid materials are applied in bonded layers to provide a fully gap-free roof surface.

Ames Monolithic Seamless Reinforced Membrane Roofs are superior in that roof components are combined at the project site and liquid-applied for a custom fit to the building’s roof. What results is a fully adhered protective membrane that seals out all moisture, eliminating roof leaks and the costly upkeep otherwise associated with non-monolithic systems. Periodic maintenance of this Ames Liquid Applied Roof System can extend the life of the roof for decades.

The Ames Liquid Applied Seamless Monolithic Reinforced Membrane Roofing & Roof Repair Systems are made up of chemically bonded multiple wet applied layers of elastomeric coatings and reinforcing membrane. This monolithic membrane includes Ames Maximum Stretch UV Stable Reflective Topcoats, Ames Elasto-Barrier Waterproofing Elastomeric Basecoat, Ames Seam Tape and Ames Reinforcing Fabric. All components become an integral part of the monolithic membrane. The installed product has excellent adhesion to the existing roof deck substrate.

Ames Research feels that – given the choice in fabrication of a reinforced membrane in our manufacturing facility, then delivering it to projects in rolls, and finally seaming all the pieces together, it is preferable to deliver the materials in a liquid state along with all the reinforcing accessories to the project. Applicators then install the Seamless Monolithic Reinforced Membrane tightly adhered to your roof substrate.

Ames® Maximum-Stretch® is a flexible, high-quality rubberized acrylic elastomeric coating with reflective properties blended especially for restoration of aged and deteriorated roofs. It has been designed specifically for waterproofing and maintaining many types of existing roofs & roof substrates. Maximum Stretch is used as a stand-alone roof coating and as a topcoat in our multi-layer Roof Coating Membrane Systems.

The finished product is a flexible, high-quality rubberized acrylic elastomeric coating with reflective properties blended especially for restoration of aged and deteriorated roofs.