How to Retrofit Existing Roofs with New Metal Roofing Systems

In our prior blog post, Benefits of Roofing Retrofits with Metal Roofing Systems, we looked at the benefits associated with retrofitting an existing building with a new metal roofing system. In this discussion, we will look at several ways to do it.

New Sloped Roof Over an Existing Flat Roof

Buildings with flat roofs can be retrofitted with light-gauge steel framing systems to create a new sloped metal roof. Such systems can be installed directly over existing roofing membranes and structures, subject to appropriate structural engineering review. These systems typically use light-gauge (16 gauge to 12 gauge) steel framing installed directly above the existing roof to create a sloped plane. Regardless whether the existing roof structure is steel, wood or concrete, the new, lightweight framing system can be designed to disperse roof loading appropriately and connect securely.

The physical footprint of the existing roof, the type of framing system employed, and any special rooftop conditions will typically control the final geometry of the new sloped roof. A low-slope application (less than 2:12) can be selected based on economy and configured to discharge rainwater off of the roof. High-slope applications (greater than 2:12) are typically selected to improve and update the look of an existing building while improving long-term performance. Once the metal framing system is in place, then standing seam metal roof panels are commonly installed, creating a ventilated attic space in the process.

Retrofit Roofing Panels

Low-slope metal roofing can be a great choice when a fairly utilitarian solution is needed for improving overall roofing performance. Exposed fastener systems can be used to allow direct installation of the new roofing panels over existing metal roofing or some other materials. Roofing panels specifically designed for retrofit applications typically have a rib spacing of 12″ on center with a rib height of just over an inch. The minimum slope for such a panel is 1/2:12. Any existing lap screws must be removed from the existing roof before the new panels are installed. The new retrofit panels are then attached with screws that fasten through the existing panel major ribs and into the existing purlins.

A New Standing Seam Roof

In some cases, an existing sloped roof may have another roofing material in place that is nearing the end of its service life. In that case, a new long-lasting, standing seam metal roofing system can be installed directly over the existing roof. Some systems will require a simple sub-framing system that allows the new roof to be installed directly over the existing. Retrofit roofing systems such as this can be UL-90 rated and FM Global rated. Other strategies exist to increase the energy efficiency of the building when adding new standing seam roofing, such as adding unfaced fiberglass insulated between the existing and the new roof and to vent the cavity between the old and new roofs by adding vent strips at the eaves, plus a vented ridge to allow air intake and exhaust. This method works well with roof slopes of 3:12 or greater.

Retrofit
OST Trucking Co. featuring Retro-R® metal panels in Polar White.

End Results

Regardless of the specific system selected and designed, installing a retrofit metal roofing system allows the existing roof to remain in place, which saves on labor costs. It also minimizes the chance for water entry into the building during the roofing process and provides for a safer working environment. Existing rooftop equipment, vents, or light-transmitting panels can be accommodated by any of the systems described.

According to the Metal Construction Association (MCA), “retrofit metal roofing represents an economical and functional solution for building owners who want to beautify their existing structure or correct performance issues related to aging roofs and out-of-date materials. They have been employed in millions of square feet of existing commercial, industrial, retail and education facilities. The result is a new code-compliant metal roof that will last for 60-plus years, providing higher energy efficiency by reducing heat gain through the roof in summer months and reducing heat loss during winter months.”

To find out more about these retrofit systems, contact your local MBCI representative.

Metal Roof System Retrofit Benefits

Can Metal Roofing Be Installed Over Shingles?

5 Retrofit Metal Roofing Systems

Steep Slope Metal Panel Roof Retrofitting Over An Existing Low-Slope Roof: Part 2

Steep Slope Metal Panel Roof Retrofitting Over An Existing Low-Slope Roof: Part 1

Appropriate Standing Seam Clips for Roof Panels

Part of the beauty and appeal of standing seam metal roofs is that the fasteners holding the metal panels in place are concealed. That gives the roof its clean, continuous appearance that is often desirable, but it also avoids the issue of potential roof leaks around exposed through-fasteners. Concealed fastening doesn’t mean that there aren’t any fasteners, though, it just means they are installed out of sight – underneath the panels. The industry standard approach is to use a metal clip that fits over the edge of a panel and that is secured with a screw type fastener to the structure or substrate below. Then it is covered by an adjacent panel or trim. The important thing to know is that not all panel clips are made the same – for good reasons.

What determines the type of panel clip to use? Here are the most common things to keep in mind:

The Manufacturer

Each manufacturer of metal roofing typically has a range of metal panel types, profiles, and brands that have their own traits and characteristics. As such, they need clips to match and fit with the manufactured panels. Hence, the first place to start with panel clip selection, is for the roofing manufacturer to be clear on the options and choices available that are compatible with their roofing products.

Building Size and Type

Fixed clips (left) and floating clips (right) are two of the most commonly used types of clips.
Fixed clips (left) and floating clips (right) are two commonly used types of clips.

Manufactured metal buildings that include metal roofing commonly use very predictable, coordinated systems. Accordingly, a standard, one piece, “utility clip” is commonly used, primarily for snap together roof panels, on metal buildings that do not exceed certain widths causing undue expansion and contraction. One piece clips allow the roofing panels to expand and contract within the clip profile, but there are limits based on the amount of movement tolerated. Alternatively, in projects where the roofing is attached to something other than a metal building frame or where standing seams are used to secure the panels together, it is advisable to use a two-piece or “floating” clip. In these cases, a base piece is secured to the structure or substrate and the clip fits both into the base and over the roofing panel where it is seamed or folded into the vertical leg of the panel. Using this approach, the clip expands and contracts directly with the metal panel thus moving across the base and keeping the roofing attached.

Insulation

Roof insulation comes in different thicknesses, appropriately so for different climate zones and different roof designs. Since energy codes require at least some of the insulation to fit between the underside of the metal roofing panel and the structure (i.e. above the metal roofing purlins), the metal panel clip needs to be the right height to reach the full height of the insulation up to the top of the roof panel. Hence, manufacturers offer different sizes and heights of panel clips designed to work with different heights of insulation. In many cases, they also recommend the use of a thermal spacer underneath the clip to separate it thermally from the steel structure below. Note that the thermal spacer thickness is dependent on the insulation thickness over the steel purlin only, not the thickness of any insulation under the purlin.

A certified installer should install your standing seam roof to ensure proper installation of clips.
A certified installer should install your standing seam roof to ensure proper installation of clips.

Other Factors

The panel clips connect the roof panels to the roof structure, so they need to be installed in a manner that allows them to do that job under normal and demanding circumstances. The driving issue in this case is not keeping the panel down, but preventing it from blowing off in a strong wind. Therefore, a structural engineer or other design professional may need to determine the proper spacing of the clips, the type and size of fasteners (i.e. screws) to use, or similar important details. Similarly, the proper installation of clips so that they seat and nest the way they are intended, means that qualified and certified installers / erectors should be used. In this way, roofing crews with the needed experience and training can help assure that the whole roofing system, including the panel clips, are installed properly.

To find out more about the most appropriate panel clips to use on a metal roof that you are involved with, contact your local MBCI representative.

Standard Testing For Metal Roofing – Part 2: Air and Water Resistance

In a prior post, we discussed the importance of independent (i.e. third party) standardized testing as a means of verifying the performance of metal roofing, and specifically looked at structural and wind uplift performance. In this post, we will similarly look at testing standards but focus on metal roofing tested for air leakage and water penetration.

Air Leakage and ASTM E1680

Keeping air from passing through a building system from the exterior to the interior (i.e. drafts) is a fundamental role of any building envelope system, including roofing. It is also important in controlling the flow of harmful airborne moisture into a roof assembly. Hence, testing a roofing panel for its ability to control air leakage is critical to the long-term success of the roofing system, and ultimately, the building.

ASTM E1680 “Standard Test Method for Rate of Air Leakage Through Exterior Metal Roof Panel Systems” is used to determine “the resistance of exterior metal roof panel systems to air infiltration resulting from either positive or negative air pressure differences”. It is a standard procedure for “determining air leakage characteristics under specified air pressure differences”. The test is applicable to the field portion of any roof area including panel side laps and structural connections but not at openings, the roof perimeter, or any other details. The test is also based on constant temperature and humidity conditions across the roofing specimen being tested to eliminate any variation due to those influences.

The standard test procedure consists of “sealing and fixing a test specimen into or against one face of an air chamber, supplying air to or exhausting air from the chamber at the rate required to maintain the specified test pressure difference across the specimen, and measuring the resultant air flow through the specimen”. Basically, the test is meant to reveal the ability of the selected roofing panel to resist the difference in air pressure between the two sides and thus demonstrate its air tightness.

The beauty of this standardized test is that different metal roofing products can be tested under the same conditions and compared. The standard calls for a pressure differential between the two sides of positive and negative 1.57 foot pounds of pressure per square foot of panel (75 paschals of pressure) and can be tested in the negative pressure mode alone if the roof slope is less than 30 degrees from horizontal.

MBCI's metal roofing products are tested to confirm airtightness and water permeability.
MBCI’s metal roofing products are tested to confirm an air tight and water-resistant roof.

Water Penetration and ASTM E1646

In addition to air leakage, water leakage in roofing systems is obviously not desired. To test the performance of metal roofing products in this regard, ASTM E1646 titled “Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Metal Roof Panel Systems by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference” is the norm. This standard laboratory test is not based solely on free running water, but on water “applied to the outdoor face simultaneously with a static air pressure at the outdoor face higher than the pressure at the indoor face, that is, positive pressure”. This pressurized testing is intended to simulate wind-driven rain and flowing water that can build a head as it drains. The test measures the water-resisting properties of the roofing in the field of the roof panels including panel side laps and structural connections. Just like air testing, it does not include leakage at openings, perimeters, or other roofing detail areas.

The test method itself consists of “sealing and fixing the test specimen into or against one face of a test chamber, supplying air to or exhausting air from the chamber at the rate required to maintain the test pressure difference across the specimen, while spraying water onto the outdoor face of the specimen at the required rate and observing any water leakage”. Hence, it requires the air and water to be supplied simultaneously and for the testers to observe and document the rate of water leakage under the test conditions.

The test parameters typically require at least 20 gallons of water per hour (gal/hr) overall with between 4 – 10 gal/hr in any quarter section of the tested specimen, all at specified air pressure differentials. Given that this is a fairly stringent test, it is fair to say that metal roofing that holds up under these test conditions will likely perform well under most weather conditions when installed on a building. Typically, manufacturers have developed metal roofing products with seaming and connection methods that allow them to pass this test with virtually no observable water penetration.

To find out more about the tested results of metal roofing products you may be considering, contact your local MBCI representative or see the MBCI website and select the “testing” tab under a selected product.

Standard Testing for Metal Roofing – Part 1: Structural Performance and Uplift Resistance

When selecting a metal roofing product, there is an expectation that it will perform as intended over the life of the building. But what assures building owners, code officials, or design professionals that a product will in fact perform as promised? This question often comes up in building product discussions and the accepted way to answer it is to subject the products to physical testing. The type of testing is usually very specific to the product based on protocols and procedures developed by independent agencies such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ASTM International, or others. Manufacturers typically submit their products to independent testing labs who follow these standard test procedures. Once testing has concluded, they report the results back to the manufacturer. These results then show whether the product meets stated performance criteria or not. If not, the manufacturer can re-design and re-test until it does and then make the final results available to the public.

For metal roofing, a series of relevant and important tests are typically performed. In this blog, we will look at two of them related to structural performance and wind uplift.

ASTM E1592

The structural integrity of metal roofing is crucial given the various natural forces that can be imposed on the materials. Effects from wind, snow, or other conditions can compromise its integrity. Accordingly, the ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings (including sub-committee E06.57 on Performance of Metal Roof Systems) has developed ASTM E1592 “Standard Test Method for Structural Performance of Sheet Metal Roof and Siding Systems by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference”. While the standard acknowledges the use of computation (i.e. calculations) to determine the basic structural capacity of most metal products, it also points out that some conditions are outside of the scope of computational analysis and hence need to be tested.

The standard describes a test method with “optional apparatus and procedures for use in evaluating the structural performance of a given (metal) system for a range of support spacings or for confirming the structural performance of a specific installation”. As such, it is very specific both to metal roofing and its installation. This test method uses imposed air pressure not to look at air leakage but simply to determine structural reactions. It consists of three steps:

1. Sealing the test specimen into or against one face of a test chamber

2. Supplying air to, or exhausting air from, the chamber at the rate required to maintain the test pressure difference across the specimen

3. Observing, measuring, and recording the deflection, deformations, and nature of any failures of principal or critical elements of the panel profile or members of the anchor system

The test needs to be performed with enough variation to produce a load deformation curve of the metal and account for typical edge restraint (fastening) representative of field conditions.

Manufacturers need to submit different products that are tested at least once at two different span lengths between supports. Standing seam roof panels are typically tested at a 5’-0” and 1’-0” span. Spans between the two tested spans can be interpolated. The result is a table of tested loading results that can be compared to code required or engineered design loading to then determine if the selected material and spacing are adequate for the project needs or if another product or spacing is needed.

MBCI's metal roofing products undergo a series of tests to ensure maximum resistance and performance.
MBCI’s metal roofing products undergo a series of tests to ensure maximum resistance and performance.

UL 580

The ASTM E1592 test is focused on the structural integrity of metal panels. It also uses positive and negative air pressure in a static (i.e. non-moving) condition to determine performance. There is also a separate concern about how metal roofing will perform in a dynamic condition as would be expected in a windy condition where wind gusts can ebb and flow erratically. In that regard, a separate test developed jointly between Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) looks at the ability of roofing to resist being blown off a building due to wind. Known as ANSI/UL 580 “Standard for Tests for Uplift Resistance of Roof Assemblies”, it has become the recognized means to identify and classify the suitability of roofing for different wind conditions – low to high.

This test is also specific in its scope and intent stating that it “evaluates the roof deck, its attachment to supports, and roof covering materials”. It also points out that it is not intended to test special roof conditions, main or secondary structural supports, or deterioration of roofing. The standard prescribes in considerable detail the type of test chamber that needs to be constructed and used for the testing which includes three sections: “a top section to create a uniform vacuum, a center section in which the roof assembly (i.e. deck, attachment, and roofing) is constructed, and a bottom section to create uniform positive pressure”. The test procedure is then based on placing the roof assembly into the test chamber and subjecting it to a prescribed sequence of 5 phases of oscillating positive and negative pressure cycles (simulating dynamic wind conditions) over 80 minutes of total testing.

There are four wind uplift classifications obtainable for a tested assembly based on the test assembly retaining its attachment, integrity and without any permanent damage. These include Class 15, Class 30, Class 60, and Class 90. Each class has its own requirements for test pressures with increasing pressure as the class number increases. Higher class numbers indicate increasing levels of wind uplift resistance. Note, that to obtain a Class 60 rating, the tested assembly must pass the Class 30 test then be immediately subjected to the Class 60 test sequence. Similarly, to obtain a Class 90 rating, the tested assembly must first pass both the Class 30 and 60 tests. Metal roofing manufacturers who want their roofing products tested and classified under UL 580 must pair them with standard roof deck and fastening materials. Hence most have many different tests performed and results reported accordingly.

When reviewing metal roofing options, it is comforting to know that most manufacturers have tested their products and designed them to meet or exceed minimum requirements. To find out more about tested results of products you may be considering, contact your local MBCI representative or see the MBCI website and select the “testing” tab under a selected product.

Metal Roofing Toughs Out the Storm

Did you know that roof failures are the largest hurricane loss due to wind and water damage? Metal roofing is highly recommended for the locations that deal with hurricanes and high force winds as well as other weather conditions including hail, fire and ice. Metal roof panels from MBCI are designed to meet the unique needs of Florida home and business owners.

Able to resist and withstand the extreme environmental conditions that Florida is known for, MBCI’s metal wall panels and roofing systems offer better long-term cost benefits and lasting up to three times longer than asphalt shingles. With Miami-Dade County’s strict product approval and testing processes in place, you can have peace of mind that metal panels from MBCI meet requirements.

Roofing
MBCI’s standing seam metal roof systems are one of the most durable and weathertight roof systems available in the industry.

Miami-Dade County Approvals

In order for your metal panels to be compliant for structures in Miami-Dade County, all panels for both roof and walls are tested to specific test standards. In addition to submitting an application, test reports are also required to move forward with the approval process. Third-party testing is required for verification.

Metal Building Panel Approval Process

Prior to submitting a metal building for approval, multiple steps must be taken to configure and test your panels. Each unique panel configuration requires its own testing.

Approval for a product is based on one profile, one gauge and several spans. The design pressures can be used in the field, corners and perimeters or interior and end zones. If a panel manufacturer offers the same panel profile in a thicker gauge, that material can be included in the approval, but they will be limited to the design pressure of the thinner gauge. Three samples of each configuration must be tested and differ no more than 20% when results are determined. The end goal of testing is to determine design loads for the panel system at a specific span.

There are separate requirements for the testing and approval of structural steel members and frames.

Why Install MBCI Metal Panels

  • UL 580 Class 90 Wind Uplift Resistance
  • Designed for Florida
  • UL Class 4 Hail Impact Resistant
  • Class A Fire Ratings
  • ENERGY STAR® Certified Colors
  • Miami-Dade County Approved
  • Insurance Discounts Available

Miami-Dade County Approved Panels

Florida has implemented stricter building codes to help prevent hurricanes and wind loss. Some of the toughest codes include Miami-Dade County and Florida Building Code. MBCI offers a wide selection of products that surpass the necessary ratings. Our Miami-Dade approved panels include PBR, 5V Crimp, Craftsman™ Series – Small Batten, DoubleLok®, CFR and most insulated metal panels. For more information on MBCI’s metal roofing and wall products, speak to your sales representative or visit our website at MBCI.com.

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