After a major, damaging storm, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, many things happen at once. Rescue efforts begin. Shelters open to house the displaced. Cleanup gets underway. But one thing that happens in the aftermath of such an event is a little harder to see – unless you’re looking for it.
The Building Material Post-Mortem
The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues, Inc. (RICOWI) gathers experts and an army of volunteers to spend time on the ground at the disaster site, documenting damage. They take careful notes and photographs, looking closely at how different building methods, materials and ages withstood the storm. What they observe helps inform product development and ensure both installation standards and roofing products can stand up better to the next storm.
As the Metal Construction Association’s technical director Robert Zabcik said in a recent white paper, “Engineering professionals go through great efforts to make sure the public is protected.” All this research is integrated into regular updates to the tests, ratings and codes applied to building products across the country. These can become an alphanumerical soup, but here are the most prominent, along with differences between them:
Model Codes (Codes) provide a minimum baseline of performance needed to protect property and the public. These are the barebones building basics.
Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) is a consortium of test labs and research companies which maintain test standards, as well as product listings which meet certain performance criteria. These are usually superior to those required by code.
Factory Mutual Insurance Company (FM Global) is comparable to UL but funded by a consortium of insurance underwriters.
Since the Miami-Dade area has suffered some of the worst hurricane damage, they have some of the most stringent codes and test protocols, so those are among many that MBCI uses to test our products. Jason Allen, MBCI research and development engineer, explained what some of these are and how they’re used. The UL 580 rating is based on tests for uplift resistance of roof assemblies. While materials can receive a class 30, 60 or 90 rating, MBCI uses class 90 as a standard. We also maintain class four impact ratings under UL 2218 for hail and projectiles, as well as the UL 790 Class A fire rating.
Any Way the Wind Blows
But these ratings and classifications get very complicated. You won’t find MBCI materials themselves listed as withstanding certain windspeeds or projectile damage. Allen explained, “It’s dependent on several things: building codes, roof pressures, eave and building height, facing attachments, roof slope and wind speed – just to name a few.” There are differences based on locality, storm threats and codes. It takes a qualified engineer to calculate all of it for an entire project. But that’s the only way to be sure of safety. “It’s going to cover all scenarios,” said Allen.
During a hurricane or tornado, wind is just part of the problem. “Performance during these events must consider both water tightness and wind applied at the same time,” said Zabcik. “Wind-driven rain can force water into places it would not normally go … This is yet another reason why details are so important and why manufacturers work so hard to ensure the systems they produce meet stringent standards for performance.”
In conditions like these, traditional building methods have a difficult time comparing to metal. They suffer from softer connections, more porous materials, and less stringent assembly designs. “Shingles last 15 to 20 years,” said Allen. “A metal roof can last 40 to 60 years.” Across the nation, wherever post-storm studies and material testing have occurred, metal stands out. In Florida Building Commission, FEMA and NIST studies, metal buildings performed exceptionally well.
Whether standing seam, insulated metal panels, exposed fastener or concealed fastener roof solutions are chosen, metal roofing’s strength and durability keeps out rainwater and withstands windspeeds that devastate other types of construction. Standing-seam roof systems and IMP façades remained intact during Hurricane Katrina even as winds hit 120 mph. “Industry experts have found that metal panel roofs can withstand wind gusts as strong as 140 mph or more due, in part, to their large interlocking panels,” said Zabcik. “Metal panel systems provide not only the weather resistive barrier,” he said, “but can also provide diaphragm stability to both the underlying framing and sometimes, the building as a whole, because they can transmit shear from one panel to the next.”
Riders on the Storm
What about hail raining down from the sky, windborne projectiles, lightning, and everything else that severe storms hurl at buildings? Though they may suffer some cosmetic damage, metal construction such as standing seam roofs and IMPs are often able to absorb impact, remain functional and keep their protective metal layers intact. That can make all the difference in a hurricane when the wind can blow away other roofs and dump untold gallons of stormwater and debris inside. Somewhat counterintuitively, metal buildings also perform very well during lightning strikes.
Batten Down the Hatches. Then Batten Them Again
Before you assume that selecting an engineer’s recommended, rated, and tested metal roof will be a sure-fire protection against all nature’s hazards, there’s one more thing to understand. All the ratings and tests mentioned here are performed with a specific assembly procedure. It is absolutely critical that the same procedure is followed – to a T – to ensure your building will enjoy the same protection its ratings guarantee. Allen recommends that you “look at the company you want and make sure they have statewide approvals,” and make sure your installer reads the manual, then re-reads it, then re-reads it a final time. It’s no exaggeration to say that lives are at stake.
Zabcik sums it up nicely: “With proper preparation, a solid knowledge of metal roofing options, an understanding of the latest standards and codes – not to mention a willingness to strictly adhere to tested quality control methods – today’s metal roofing is a strong choice for even the most vulnerable structure.”
To learn more about MBCI roofing solutions, to retrofit a current building or to get an engineer started on designing out your project in a storm-prone area, get in touch with an MBCI representative today.
The building is designed. The construction schedule is worked out. The materials have been chosen. The trades have been hired. There’s just one more crucial decision to make: The finish.
Metal construction with MBCI already has a long list of benefits basically built in, from enhanced sustainability to superior durability and longevity. But to ensure the long-term, high-performing life of the MBCI materials you’ve invested in, you also need to choose the right finish for your metal components.
Though many people think of finish as simply the color on top of the metal, it’s actually far more. Standard finishes include a primer designed to bind the colorcoat to the metal substrate and provides additional corrosion protection. The colorcoat is comprised of a resin and pigments to create a durable finish in a variety of colors. MBCI’s color finishes are composed of a combination of layers and ingredients to provide you with the best technology for your specific project. MBCI can provide customized finishes that can include additional layers of primer, colorcoat or topcoats depending on the level of protection you choose. The selected resins, pigments and other ingredients determine not only the color and gloss, but how well the finish can stand up to the elements, its expected longevity – and therefore the lifetime of the material it’s protecting.
MBCI offers two categories of standard finishes. The Signature® 200 series of coatings is a silicone modified polyester (also known as SMP). Silicone modified polyester coatings are hard, durable finishes that provide remarkable gloss, color retention and chalk resistance. A perfect choice for doors, wall cladding, agricultural and high traffic commercial projects. The most economical choice, Signature® 200, comes in a variety of stock colors and can also be customized to your specifications.
For premium projects or projects in more aggressive environments, MBCI’s Signature® 300 series of coatings utilize a 70%polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin. PVDF finishes offer superior color retention and are highly resistant to harsh conditions such as UV radiation, high winds, high altitudes, acid rain, high humidity and other chemically or environmentally aggressive environments. Signature® 300 coatings are perfect for high visibility architectural and industrial projects. If you’re building near the coastline, MBCI carries a special finish formulated to stand up to marine environments and damaging salt spray.
MBCI also provides customized finishes for interior projects wherever corrosive conditions occur indoors, such as in water treatment plants, indoor swimming pools or facilities that use or manufacture caustic, corrosive chemicals.
The popular reds and greens of recent decades have given way to trends toward more natural colors, earth tones, calming blues and natural metallics such as copper and bronze. As MBCI Paint and Coatings Specialist Martin Thompson explains, “MBCI’s stock color options reflect the changes in color trends – and if there is something we don’t offer on the standard color chart, we will customize it for you.”
You can download MBCI’s Color Charts here:
If you don’t find the option you had in mind, contact your friendly MBCI representative to start the color customization process. We can match virtually any shade, but custom colors may require increased lead time.
Once you’ve completed a project, you’ll certainly want to maintain it. While MBCI products require little to no maintenance, there are a few pointers that will help get the longest life and best performance out of your MBCI metal finish:
- Don’t allow cut panel ends to contact uncured concrete — Metal panels are susceptible to corrosion when exposed to chlorides or highly alkaline uncured concrete. Leave a gap between these panel edges and green concrete and ensure good drainage away from walls and off rooftops.
- Keep metal components dry — Corrosion is made possible by prolonged wet conditions. Inspect your entire building envelope at least twice a year, removing dirt buildup, mold, mildew or anything else that traps or holds water against metal components.
- Wash annually — A light washing with household soap or siding cleaner is recommended once a year. In wet environments with excessive organic material like mold or pollen, wash more frequently.
We know our finishes are strong, and we stand by them. Both the Signature® 200 and Signature® 300 series come with 30-year colorfastness and 40-year film integrity warranties. Colorfastness refers to the color maintaining its appearance, while film integrity is an indicator of how long the finish will adhere to the panel surface. In exceptionally harsh environments such as heavy industrial or coastal areas, the warranty may be different. Speak to your representative for more details. In case of small scratches or blemishes, touchup paint matching your finish is available through MBCI.
When you’re ready to make decisions on coatings and finishes – or if you just have questions – don’t hesitate to reach out to your MBCI representative.
Beauty is More Than Skin-Deep
The most basic requirement of any building is to keep the elements out – while keeping comfortable conditions in. Those elements can be relentless – from bitterly cold wind, snow, sleet and ice to ferocious heat and torrential rain. It’s no wonder buildings have historically been clad in multiple layers to combat these different forces. For centuries, those multiple layers have done the job adequately. But advances in manufacturing, materials and technology have completely changed the game, and you can take advantage of all of it with backup wall systems from MBCI.
A Package Deal
Like insulated metal panels (IMPs), backup walls combine air barrier, vapor barrier, moisture control and insulation into an all-in-one product. The key difference between IMPs and backup walls is that while IMPs function as the rainscreen or façade, MBCI’s backup walls are designed to work with the rainscreen or façade of your choice.
Instead of relying on three or four different contractors to install insulation, Zs, sub girts, air/vapor barriers and sheathing, one worker can install backup walls in one simple step. This has shifted construction standards in cost savings, sustainability and design integrity in ways with which traditional walls simply can’t compete. It’s hard to justify the scheduling and liability hassles of traditional backup wall construction when you could more quickly and reliably weather-in a building with a backup wall system.
Backup walls eliminate a number of common headaches from the jobsite. There’s no longer a need for multiple crews to work in turn on the cladding, and likewise no need for conventional batt or board insulation, exterior gypsum, air barriers, vapor retarders or building wraps. That’s a sizeable amount of material, subcontractors and coordination suddenly off your plate. Better yet, the expedited close-in/dry-in times mean interior trades can move in and get started sooner.
Backup walls are a virtually unbeatable solution for all building types in all climates. MBCI’s Backup Walls are made of foamed-in-place polyisocyanurate with two steel skins, offering strength, durability and a superior drain plane – all in one foolproof, easily installed product. Once the backup walls are installed, you can choose nearly any type of rainscreen or façade you like, from brick and metal to terracotta, ACM and stucco. A popular design choice is an aesthetically pleasing combination of facades. For instance, a public-facing part of a building might be clad in handsome brick or stone, while the obscured sides and rear are clad in IMP’s or something more economical.
Traditional multi-component walls with continuous insulation require supplemental Z steel framing to convey wind load from the rainscreen to the supports, causing a loss in thermal performance and condensation potential in the cavity. The all-in-one structural construction and enclosed system of backup walls eliminates this problem and makes for better thermal performance. Another often-overlooked concern, air infiltration is addressed in MBCI’s Backup Wall Systems by providing a continuous air barrier via a formed metal liner with a combination of field- and factory-applied sealants. In fact, MBCI’s Backup Walls achieve U-Factors that exceed the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) energy performance requirements based on tests in accordance with ASTM C1363. They also offer outstanding fire resistance, meeting requirements of the NFPA 285 multi-story fire test.
Making the Right Choice
Depending on your ultimate end-goals for design and practicality, either the BW Universal System™ or the BW Stretch System™ will suit your needs best. BW Universal covers two-foot spans, is installed horizontally, and can accommodate nearly any rainscreen or façade with horizontal or vertical rainscreen rails, panel clips or brick ties. BW Universal is often chosen for more architecturally driven projects due to its compatibility with any façade. The BW Stretch System’s primary differentiating characteristic is its ability to cover up to six-foot spans. BW Stretch is compatible with several rainscreens, though it’s not a good match for masonry.
Though BW Stretch is installed vertically, and BW Universal is installed horizontally, MBCI product manager Jennifer Franz clarified that “Some people think that means the facade can only be installed horizontally or vertically. That is not the case. Either one can have horizontal or vertical facades.” Franz also pointed out that rainscreens and facades often have their own span requirements, which designers should be aware of before making final decisions. “The BW Stretch System can span up to six feet,” she said, “but that doesn’t necessarily mean the rainscreen or façade you put in front of it can. The façade may still dictate a lot of the capabilities of the wall. You need to understand the capabilities of the facade as well as the BW panels.”
Whichever system you choose, you’ll receive a weathertight 10-year warranty. But you’ll also receive so much more in terms of time and money saved, hassles avoided, and peace of mind gained. When you’re ready to learn more about MBCI Backup Wall Systems, simply get in touch with your representative. We’ll be happy to help – and you’ll be happy you reached out.
Building. Relationships. The MBCI Difference.
The core of what we do at MBCI seems straightforward. As 32-year MBCI veteran Bruce Green put it, “We buy coiled steel and roll form it into metal building components for the construction industry.” While that is the core of what MBCI does, it isn’t the essence of who we are. Roll forming is simple. The MBCI secret is more complex: We don’t just build. We build relationships.
“It’s not about selling that project,” says Green, “It’s about developing the relationship, being there to help educate about trends, different codes or ways that you can do this better, faster and more efficiently.”
The Start of Something Beautiful
Imagine you’ve launched a metal building company. You have your engineering department and a source for structural parts, but you need everything else. It’s a real puzzle. At this point, an MBCI representative like Green would introduce themselves and get to know you and your vision. Whether it’s box buildings, mini storage, large, complicated, high-end warehouses, or anything in-between, your representative would work with you to bring your vision into fruition by forecasting week-by-week sales, nailing down the supply chain specifics and conceiving a plan to make it all possible. “That’s how we built the business. Taking care of contractors,” says Green.
And that’s just the beginning of your relationship. Your MBCI representative takes the time to understand not just your immediate goals, but your long-term vision – not just what your business is but what it could be. Because as an MBCI partner, your business can become so much more.
How? Because MBCI backs up our relationship with the largest, fastest, most diverse and most reliable nationwide network of metal component manufacturers.
MBCI operates plants all over the United States. That means your business – which may have initially been imagined as a local company – has the distribution network in place to expand nationwide, while maintaining the schedules, delivery expectations and quality MBCI has built its reputation on. “Nobody has as many plants across the nation,” says Green. “No one has a more extensive product line. No one can deliver metal building components as efficiently and consistently as we can. That’s the way we built it.”
MBCI’s reach stretches from coast to coast, but that great reach always includes touch points close at hand. Your primary touch point is your regional district manager. This is the supply chain expert who works with you to build the machine of your business and keep it running smoothly. It’s also the person to call on if any issues or complications arise. Rest assured knowing you have a direct connection to a real human who is dead set on making it right.
Once the program is created, you’ll have another touch point – the customer service representative. This is your day-to-day operations person with whom you place orders and determine specifics like delivery dates and locations.
Service Suited to You
Ordering and delivering material is just the bare bones of the business. The real meat is in the relationship – one that’s tailor-made to fit whatever level of service you need. If you prefer to send in a simple list of what you need, we’ll make it happen. But many clients want something more, and we’re happy to provide that. Green says, “If you called me right now wanting a complete metal building delivered to your address, knocked down and ready to set it up, I can make that happen. Or if you only need a portion of it – whatever you need, we can take care of.”
The service doesn’t end with your project, either. If you discover a leak or a problem with the building, MBCI will send out a specialist to walk the site, figure it out and help rectify it. In addition, we have people to answer your tax questions. We have a technical desk for questions. We even offer professional continuing education courses on topics like metal roofs, warranties and weather tightness. In short, we want to be your trusted resource for every aspect of the process.
MBCI is behind you every step of the way – even in catastrophic conditions. In fact, we operate a hurricane test chamber in Houston where MBCI buildings and components are subjected to hurricane-force winds to identify failure points. Based on the results, clips or fastener attachments are tweaked, or the panel shape is modified depending on where and how the failure occurred. This rigorous testing ensures MBCI products meet all new building codes.
Sometimes codes aren’t what drive changes. As Green explains, “Some of it is driven by aesthetics. You might get into a municipality where they say, ‘We don’t want that typical metal building look in our town.’ So, we come up with a different wall panel.” We’ve done it before and we’re not afraid to tackle it again. That’s what it means to be a partner in the business.
Green sums it up nicely: “When I started out, I was dealing with a guy, and then he retired. Then I dealt with his son. Now he’s retired and I’m dealing with his son. It’s all about the relationship.” We believe long-term, genuine relationships like these are the foundation of good business. It’s might be easy to get distracted by flashy promises or fleeting trends, but at MBCI, we like to think not only how we can help you succeed right now – but how we can help you succeed for generations to come.
To begin experiencing the MBCI difference, contact a sales representative today.
Insulated metal panels (IMPs) are ideal for many roofing and wall applications. They are considered a top-of-the-line choice known for their superior insulation value, high performance air barrier, design flexibility, and fast installation. The simplicity of installation creates a high-performance building envelope. The many design options provide a versatile building solution for commercial, industrial, and institutional projects.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? What’s the catch? Well, those benefits won’t mean much if proper care is not taken during the installation process to ensure you’re getting what you paid for. Potential consequences can span the gamut—from minor aesthetic headaches to extremely costly errors such as leaks and structural issues.
Here are some ways to avoid common pitfalls when installing IMP panels on your next metal wall or roof project.
1. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s product installation manuals.
Installation manuals are not just for show! Even the most experienced installer should read, review and understand the installation guide before installing IMPs, and the panels should always be installed in accordance with the project’s installation drawings.
Don’t simply rely on the “what-you’ve-done-before” mindset. Take the time to review the specifics for every individual project. In addition to providing the information needed to execute a successful install, it can also give installers an opportunity to build upon their own knowledge base. One of the most common errors is related to proper receipt and handling of the panels. Investing a few minutes before the project starts and at the start of each day to review key topics helps avoid costly errors and improves production.
If you have a question or something does not seem right stop and call the manufacturer. It is always best to address a problem up front than try and fix a problem after the building is in operation.
2. Equipment check. Do you have what you need?
To keep your IMP installation on track, it’s imperative to ensure you have the equipment you’ll need for the job. Does your project need one or two forklifts, is a crane a better option? Will your project include longer-length IMPs being installed in a vertical orientation? If so, you may need special lifting equipment so as not to damage the panels. Whatever the details, crews need to be prepared to receive a project’s specific materials on site. A little advance planning will ultimately save you time and money by reducing labor and avoiding costly mistakes.
3. Don’t assume every IMP application is the same.
All buildings are not created equal. Just because a construction crew has had experience installing insulated metal panels on past jobs, doesn’t mean they can assume the process will be exactly the same every time. There will always be specific conditions and variables that need to be taken into consideration. Techniques used for vertical industrial panels will be different for horizontal architectural panels.
The vapor barrier (a key function of an IMP) is a great example of how a miscalculation can be problematic. Depending on the panel, the vapor barrier may be applied either at the factory or at the jobsite. If the project calls for a cold storage environment, the “warm” side of the vapor barrier will be on the exterior. Alternatively, a commercial or industrial application generally calls for the vapor seal to be on the opposite side of the panel. Confuse placement of the seal and you’re bound to run into problems down the road.
4. Be on the lookout for creases, buckles and framing alignment.
A crease or buckle on the face of a panel might seem like no big deal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, framing alignment is one of the most critical aspects to ensure a proper fit-up of the construction as a whole. In terms of the panels themselves, not only will a framing misalignment not LOOK right but can also cause numerous efficiency and performance issues. Installing inexpensive shims can avoid panels needing to be replaced.
Additionally, make sure the first panel is plum and square, if you start right it is much easier to finish right.
Purlins must be level and square and all framing and bracing should be installed before installing panels. (The IMP manufacturer should specify the amount of tolerances allowed.) Also, take care with caulking and taping, foam-to-foam connections (in order to mitigate potential vapor leaks), seaming, and lap joints.
Attention to detail will avoid costly mistakes.
5. Always think ahead.
Being proactive may be the most important piece of advice construction crews need to hear.
For one, be sure to have a panel surplus on hand. You may be of the mindset that ordering extra panels is at worst a waste or at best, not worth the effort. This is a common judgement error that often leads to installation delays. If a crew has only ordered the exact number of panels needed for a job and there is any damage to the product, whether prior to delivery, on-site or during the installation, there a risk to the project schedule. Waiting on replacement panels can wreak havoc on schedules, especially with panels that may need special manufacturing due to custom components, finishes or colors. What do you do with extra panels you don’t need on the initial installation? Building owners can hold on to any surplus panels to be used as replacements, as needed, over the lifecycle of the building. A little preparation today can go a long way.
Other best practices include understanding the project’s site conditions and ensuring crews remain crews up to date on proper installation techniques—including staying current with training and certifications.
By taking this advice to heart, you can exponentially increase your ability to enjoy the many benefits of IMPs and be confident in your investment. For more information on MBCI’s insulated metal panels and proper installation guidelines, we encourage you to contact your local MBCI representative or visit our website.
A successful standing seam metal roof project goes beyond the obvious panels, substrate and frame. In order for the roof to look great and perform properly, don’t neglect the importance of selecting the proper roof clips for your given project. What may seem like a minor detail is, quite literally, what’s holding it all together. Here we’ll take a look at the key factors that go into selecting the correct clip type and see why this is so essential for the well-being of any standing seam metal roof.
When you are looking at the installation manual or if you’re ordering your materials directly—or even if you’re submitting the order to MBCI to do the engineering for you—you’re going to need to know and identify certain details. The roof clip selection criteria will be based predominantly on two main factors: 1. What is your insulation system and 2. What are the expansion and contraction requirements for your roof? You’ll also need to know your project’s roof geometry and how the panel you’ve selected is able to meet the roof clip range on a particular plane, because the distance the panel spans impacts what type of clip you would use. Additionally, the type of substrate you are attaching the clip to will dictate what type of clip you should use. Is it going over wood, metal decking, open framing?
With that information in hand, you’re ready to do your due diligence. MBCI classifies clips in two ways: high or low; fixed or floating.
The high and low clips are predominantly determined by insulation systems. For a low clip, for instance, MBCI will typically will go up to a maximum of four inches of insulation; a high clip will go up to six inches of insulation.
Here’s a bit of a caveat. What we’re referring to is how much insulation you’re trying to compress between the roof panel and the substrate—and particularly the purlins or the steel frame you’re attaching it to. The clips are designed with a “stand-off” that elevates the roof panel above the substrate to permit insulation to pass between the roof panel and the substrate at the structural attachment points. A low clip is typically a 3/8-inch stand-off; a high clip, depending on panel type, can be 1-inch, 1-3/8-inch or even possibly 2-inch.
Knowing this helps determine whether you’re choosing the right clip because, let’s say, you go with too tall of a clip or not tall enough to accommodate your insulation system, then the system’s going to be difficult to install and will not perform correctly. And watch out for roof systems that have roof clips with no stand-off that do not permit fiberglass insulation to be installed or is discouraged from being installed at the clip lines due to impact on the panel appearance.
Another factor here is if you are putting the roof over a solid substrate, such as wood or metal decking. In this case, we will typically default customers to a low clip system because they don’t need to accommodate for any sort of fiberglass insulation systems. We’re assuming the insulation is occurring elsewhere below the decking or incorporated with the decking, such as rigid board insulation. In the case of rigid board insulation over decking, a low clip is still utilized but with an added bearing plate. The clip is attached through the rigid board insulation into the decking or structure below.
The more particulars you know of your intended insulation system to determine the clip height needed, the better prepared you will be in determining the right clips. Will there be fiberglass insulation or rigid board insulation or no insulation? What is the insulation thickness? What type of insulation system? Share these details with your MBCI sales rep to help you get started selecting the right clip height.
You can also find much of this information on the MBCI website by searching the roof type and then reviewing the corresponding installation manual and details to determine what clip height to use based on your insulation and substrate.
Which brings us to the other main factor in selecting the right clip. A fixed or floating clip is dependent on the substrate and how much anticipated movement is needed for the roof size.
With fixed clip systems, there are no moving parts in the clip. The ability for that clip to expand and contract as the roof expands and contracts is dependent on the substrate. In layman’s terms, if you were to screw that clip to a purlin, as the purlin heats up and cools down, it’s going to allow for some of the movement of that roof. Generally, when a fixed clip is installed over a metal building purlin, the manufacturer advises a limit of 100-foot maximum on a single roof surface. This is an average and can be impacted also by roof color and geographic location of the roof install that control temperature swing ranges, i.e., 100-foot maximum is a guide.
It is advised that the fixed clip always be installed over open framing in order to permit the greatest ability to accommodate roof panel expansion/contraction. It is not advised to use fixed clips attached to a solid substructure because those don’t accommodate roof panel movement.
If the roof needs to be installed over a solid substrate OR if the roof plane is over a slope more than 100 feet, then the manufacturer would prescribe a floating clip system. [Note: A floating clip can also be used even if the slope is less than 100 feet.] The floating clip system permits the roof panel to move (expand/contract) independent of the substrate to which the clip is installed. The system either contains a clip with a tab seamed into the roof panel rib that is able to float/slide where it attaches to the clip, or the clip is such that when it engages the panel seam is doesn’t restrict the panel movement. The only thing controlling for floating clips is the maximum range of the clips that allows it to float. In other words, how far can the clip tab or panel slide at the clip attachment. The panel manufacturer again will have information as to this amount. You will need to make sure they’re aware of what the maximum single panel run distance is from low side to high side.
One more thing to note is that not every roof system is available with fixed clips and not all systems have high and low clips (although the majority do). That said, educating yourself and researching the panel you’re looking at will give you the information you need to make the determination as to which clip will not only work best, but potentially will work at all. Every panel has its own roof clips, so the roof clips are not interchangeable across all systems. An essential part of selecting a roof panel is verifying that its clip attachment is suitable for your project.
It might not be immediately obvious that you have the wrong clip. For instance, let’s say you ordered an Ultra-Dek® roof and you ordered an Ultra-Dek® clip. That sounds straightforward, but did you order the RIGHT Ultra-Dek® clip for your particular project? The roof may even be able to be installed regardless, but, after installation you may discover it doesn’t perform properly or as intended due to the wrong combination of clips, insulation and substrate. That’s why it is so critical to check with the manufacturer that you have the right clip before you purchase or start putting down the roof.
One of the many benefits of metal panels that contributes to their strengths is the fact that there are so many rust-resistant coating options with different levels of protection, making them a great option for virtually any environment or any budget. That said, though, missteps during storage, as well as during and after installation, can leave you with unwanted corrosion, i.e. rust. Factors such as improper storage, improper cutting, or other elements the metal might come in contact with can wreak havoc that are beyond the manufacturer’s control.
Regardless of the finish you have—painted, unpainted, high-end coatings or standard coatings—here are some simple installation and care instructions that can help further maintain the longevity of your metal panel product.
Preventing Rust When Materials Are Delivered
Proper material delivery/site storage is the first step to preventing rust. Be certain to check your panels while uncrating after storage on site for any early signs of corrosion, such as black discoloration or white rust/residue on them. This is a sure sign that that panel has been improperly stored and water has not been able to properly evacuate the panel bundles. Do not install any panel on which this has occurred, as the panel finish has most likely been compromised due to improper storage. If you go ahead and install it, that panel is going to continue to corrode and eventually lead to further rust/corrosion.
Make sure that you’re not trapping any sort of moisture in between the metal panels or restricting them from being able to drain when stored on site. Although the panel itself is corrosion-resistant, if you subject it to repeated and significant water being trapped in between the sheets by either not storing the material out of the mud and ground water, or if you’re not sloping the material bundles in such a manner that they can drain, then the result can yield “wet storage stains.” Therefore, if you want to prevent any sort of damage due to improper site storage, you must make sure that the panel is able to drain while stored and, if possible, tarp to resist heavy moisture concentrations such as snow and ice during inclement weather if necessary.
Preventing Rust During Installation
Next, let’s look at some installation no-no’s that WILL most definitely eventually lead to rust—and things to avoid. The first is the accumulation of drill shavings. Whether it’s a roof panel or a wall panel, when you’re installing the screws, even if you’re pre-drilling for the screws, you’re going to generate metal shavings. If those metal shavings are not removed and left to sit or cling to the sheeting those shavings will rust and will stain the roof or wall sheets. The shavings are uncoated/raw metal with no corrosion protection that can and will rust quickly. Eventually, the shavings may wash off or be blown off the roof or wall, but might not be until after they’ve stained the sheeting, thus leaving you with an issue to remedy and, since the “culprit” is gone, questioning if it’s just a stain or something more serious.
Remove the shavings as soon as you can to mitigate this issue. Additionally, if you’re going to do any field cutting, you need to do so via a shearing process utilizing the proper tools, such as electric nibblers, hand snips or electric shears. Any other type of cutting can cause the edge of the base material to become exposed and no longer protected by the Galvalume and painted coatings as they become disrupted. Using tools such as a “hot” saw, abrasive blades or even a reciprocating saw leads to a tearing motion rather than shearing motion, which will strip the metal of that protective coating; over time it can start to rust.
Graphite is another corrosive element that should be avoided as it is not a friend to Galvalume metals. Therefore, stay away from writing on your Galvalume material with pencils because over time the graphite will react, break down that protective layer, and lead to corrosion. If you do write on the panels with a pencil, make sure you clean it off. The best solution is to use permanent markers/Sharpies or dry erase markers.
Watch out for overspray from any adjacent wall coatings or finish systems like Stucco or similar masonry products, which can also damage panels if not removed promptly. And be certain not to rest the base of any metal panel in direct contact with material that is corrosive, such as concrete, or in such a manner that water can become trapped behind the panel and not able to drain. Industry recommendation is to maintain an eighth of an inch to a quarter-inch gap at the base of all your wall panels for not only expansion/contraction but for proper drainage and to prevent contact with dissimilar/corrosive materials.
Preventing Rust After Installation
Although Galvalume—whether bare or painted—is highly corrosive-resistant by nature, it too has its Kryptonite. Post-installation, the most important thing is to make sure you’re not adding something to the roof that’s going to react chemically/negatively with the Galvalume finish/coatings. For instance, many people don’t recognize that if they have mechanical units on a roof, the condensation that comes out of those mechanical units, when deposited directly onto a Galvalume panel over time, will lead to corrosion and rust. This condensate should either be filtered before exited onto the roof panel or drained via piping and not directly onto the sheeting.
Contact with dissimilar metals, whether it be via incorrect type or method attachment from metal signage, solar panels and snow retention can be another major factor in post-installation corrosion. Panels must not come in contact with or be exposed to the runoff from the following metals: copper (lightning arrest systems, flashing, roof jacks, HVAC drainage); lead (roof jacks, pipe flashing); iron (pipes or soil); and, as previously noted, metal shavings.
Post-installation, panels must also not come in contact with or be exposed to the runoff from chemicals, such as acid from batteries and acid washing brick, and even pressure-treated lumber.
What To Do In Case of Rust
Let’s face it. Sometimes, despite all your efforts…someone didn’t get the memo and rust happens. Now what do you do? How can you safely can attempt to repair it or remove it without causing more damage?
First off, here’s what NOT to do. Heavy solvents that are meant to remove paint or stains can/will adversely affect the metal. If you witness a rust stain on the roof, don’t go up there with paint remover, acetone or any other toxic solvents and start scrubbing on it because you most likely could make matters worse. You might remove the stain along with the finish entirely, leading to bigger problems. (If you’re an end user, check your finish warranty and manufacturer maintenance documentation supplied to you by your builder/installer for guidance on cleaning and repairs.)
The key is to identify if the rust is just a stain /discoloration or it’s more systemic. Is the catalyst (ex.: a shaving) causing the rust still present? If it’s just a surface stain and the coating hasn’t been damaged, it might just be a matter of getting some mild detergents or something else to remedy the situation. Some good options are Formula 409 or Simple Green and Soft Scrub without bleach or something similar. and it may require a trial and error process to determine which is most effective based on the condition you’re trying to remedy. Products such as Rid O’ Rust or similar whose key ingredient is oxalic acid can be used diluted with water. With any of these products, test a small area first and wait to see results before proceeding to larger areas. And always be certain to fully rinse/flush areas of cleaning products to ensure no residues /films remain.
Always start light. Don’t break out any steel wool and/or metal grinders and start trying to get the rust off the panel that way. If it looks to be more than just a stain—perhaps you clean it and a few weeks later it comes back—that most likely means that the panel has actually been damaged and you’re not just going to get rid of the “stain” by cleaning it as it’ll return. It may require touchup paint or even a panel replacement. It depends on the severity of the damage. If this is the case, be certain to check with your installer, maintenance manual, and panel supplier for further instructions on how to address.
For more information on panel maintenance and warranties, see the MBCI website resource center.
Once you’ve set your sights on metal panels for your next building project, insulation will be one of the first, and most important, considerations. There are so many variables, though, so how do you know what’s best?
When you’re trying to make a determination of the insulation type, you should first identify what’s driving your decision making. Are your insulation requirements based on external parameters, such as job specs or established code requirements, or is there some other self-proposed condition at play like the end-use function of your building? Do you require upfront cost savings or is long-term value what you’re after?
Here we’ll take a look at some of the most common determining factors and how they might affect your insulation choices.
Depending on whether you’re building in the commercial or residential arena, and what the physical location of your project is, you may have to adhere to strict energy/building codes that will be an unmovable goal post in your decision making.
Are there any local code or project-specific stipulations as far as minimum R-values for the roof or for the walls? What must you be in compliance with? There can be many different aspects of an energy or building code that you will need to research. For example, there may be an envelope solution where the whole building nets out “X” R-value. Or, a prescribed method could be mandated, where each individual component (i.e., windows, doors, walls, etc.) going into that building cannot exceed (or must meet) a particular requirement.
Let’s say, as an example, you have a code that requires you to have a continuous R-value at your structural attachment point. Depending on what that requirement is, it may be harder to achieve that by using a rolled or batt fiberglass systems. You might be able to achieve it much more easily with a componentized system using metal decking/liner and rigid board insulation, or perhaps an insulated metal panel (IMP) may be better suited. In that case, you could be looking at spending more money for that panel system while saving money on the labor … which brings us to the next variable: upfront costs.
Another critical factor is the cost associated with materials and labor of the system you’re going to install. Let’s say, for instance, your needs require a higher-end type installation in order to reach higher R-values or a code-prescribed method. How are you planning to achieve that?
In some instances, you may be looking toward an insulated panel system, which can readily give you those higher installed R-values. While these are extremely efficient systems, there can be a notable bump in the panel material price to get to that same level than if you choose a single-skin approach with a fiberglass or rigid board insulation system. You would, therefore, need to accurately compare the installed costs of the two systems versus just the material alone. Which will be less expensive/more efficient: the multiple components with lower individual costs plus more labor time and expense to assemble OR the potentially higher individual IMP panel price but with less time and expense to install? You will need to look at the project holistically to determine which is more cost-efficient for the specific situation.
Long-term costs, value and end-use functionality
Oftentimes, upfront material and labor costs need to be evaluated in terms of potential long-term savings and value. Some things to consider here are what your big picture needs are for the structure, including an assessment of how it will be used now and in the future. Unlike with dictated codes and regulations, here it may be more a question of wants vs. needs or owner-occupying vs. vendor leasing.
While you might want an R-30 building, for instance, is it economically beneficial for your end use of the building? Let’s use this example: If you’re a homeowner using a metal structure to store relatively non-valuable belongings, how well does it have to be insulated? Is it worth a high price point? In this case, perhaps single layer roof and wall insulation will be adequate for your needs.
If on the other hand, you’re a builder contracted to construct a structure for which interior climate control is critical for the end use—either because of the production to occur inside or perhaps due to food storage or other temperature-sensitive contents—then you might lean more toward an insulated panel system. In another example, if there’s going to be the potential for an abundance of heat or moisture in the building, as with paper products production or wastewater treatment, then you’ll want to be certain that the insulation system you use best resists such an interior climate and doesn’t permit condensation to form. In this example, it is critical that the structure is significantly protected so that moisture cannot become trapped in the roof or wall assemblies leading to reduced building efficiency or even formation of mold.
You should also consider how long it will take to recoup your initial investment. Obviously, for instance, you may spend less money upfront by only putting 4-inch blanket in your single layer metal walls as opposed to choosing to install an insulated metal panel (IMP) system, but long-term, is the money you save by going with the lesser insulation system going to be more than what the energy savings would be over the time that you’re the occupant of the building?
If you’re only going to be in the building for one or two years, or you’re not even occupying the building, you might be tempted to install a lesser expensive system, but then you might be risking not being able to retain tenants or impacting future resale value.
What Are the Insulation Options?
Once you’ve identified what the driving factors are for your insulation system choice, you can match up your needs with most popular options, which are:
Fiberglass insulation solutions, including over-the-purlin systems; cavity fill insulation systems; batt insulation; rigid board insulation via a composite system with metal decking and vapor barrier; or spray-on insulation systems. Alternatively, if a foam core insulation is preferred, it may be worth considering the use of insulated metal panels (IMPs) that are designed, engineered, and fabricated to be compatible with metal building construction as an envelope building solution.
For more specifics on the types of insulation systems that are available, check out this MBCI blog article: https://www.mbci.com/coordinating-roof-insulation-with-metal-building-construction/
Every metal roof installation comes with an implied warranty: the roof shouldn’t leak. This is true even if your customer didn’t buy a “manufacturer’s weathertightness warranty.” It’s just the very basic expectation. Any details we send out, any materials, whatever the manufacturer supplies the installer…all go to that simple premise that you are buying a quality roof system from the get go.
Beyond that, though, a purchased manufacturer’s weathertightness warranty takes it a step further. It’s added insurance. In order to get the full value and peace of mind from a warranty, there are certain considerations the installer needs to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at five key installer responsibilities on projects with manufacturer weathertightness warranties—beyond, of course, putting down the roof correctly!
1. Understanding the weathertightness warranty type selected for the project.
MBCI sells two types of weathertightness warranties: Standard and Single Source. The approval process up front is the same for both but it is crucial to know the scope of the project’s warranty. With a standard warranty, the only real expectation is that the roof will remain watertight for 20 years. It is a very basic, very inexpensive warranty in which the manufacturer and the installer jointly warranty the roof for that period of time. The manufacturer covers all the materials and the details, and the installer is covering the installation.
The opposite end of that spectrum is the single source warranty, which is purchased when the customer wants not only the roof warrantied, but prefers everything associated with the roof—any accessories, anything else penetrating the roof—to be 100 percent covered by the manufacturer, if applicable. These warranties do cost more, require inspections, and require an installer to have completed the manufacturer’s certified installer training program.
It’s important for the installer to know what warranty was sold, particularly because he/she may not have been the one involved from the start. They may be coming in to bid the job as the installer only. Therefore, he/she needs to ask questions because they may or may not have the personnel on their crew that meets the requirements to install that roof for the weathertightness warranty purchased.
2. Obtaining/confirming building geometry approval for warranty.
Beyond the type of warranty, it is simultaneously necessary to investigate whether there are additional procedures related to the building geometry. Has everything been correctly noted so that the warranty itself will be valid? Is the manufacturer aware of transitions, edge conditions, roof penetrations, roof accessories (snow guards, solar, etc.)? It is extremely important to make sure that the geometry—or the conditions of the roof—are covered within a particular warranty.
MBCI, for instance, will review your roof plan and see the eave gutters, the ridge, the rake, etc. and we can survey what’s going on. Is that roof tying into something else? Will there be materials on that roof that aren’t provided by us or not being installed by the roof installer? As the manufacturer, we would be taking a cursory view to say, yes, we can warranty the roof or no, revisions are needed. If there is anything that we can’t warranty, we’re going to spell that out upfront. We will give as much direction as possible to get the project to a point it can be warranted.
That said, it’s the installer’s and customer’s responsibility to make sure that the manufacturer knows what’s happening. Think about it this way. Many times, there are other trades involved outside of the roofing contract. Along comes someone who says, “I need to run something through your roof,” or six months down the road the owner wants a satellite dish on the roof and the installer incorrectly penetrates the roof., causing a leak. Guess who they’re going to call? The installer/customer/owner needs to get that approved by the manufacturer. Otherwise, the warranty could be voided.
The main takeaways here: Do not make modifications to that roof without the manufacturer’s approval because the roof installer can end up inheriting the liability for that if they do. And, communicate the criteria or the requirements of the warranty to the customer. Don’t just hand them the paperwork. Make sure they understand what’s in it and their responsibilities as metal roof owners.
3. Ensure proper installer certification and training as required by the warranty type.
This sounds self-explanatory, but it goes back to the warranty type and the necessity to make sure the warranty selected is appropriate for the job. Verify whether or not the job requires a certified installer and if so, ensure certifications are current. If the installer is not certified, then they need to take the steps to get certified in order to meet that warranty requirement.
A common situation: A warranty gets sold by a general contractor and he/she subs it out to another roofing contractor. That sub comes in and says not to worry, “we know how to put the roof on. We’re certified.” Then, MBCI gets ready to issue the warranties or schedule inspections and finds out the subcontractor doesn’t know our system that well. And remember—for certain types of weathertightness warranties the installer needs to be certified via our training program.
4. The installer is responsible for correct installation per manufacturer’s details.
The onus is on the installer to follow the details and directions provided by the manufacturer. If you install the roof per those details, and then there’s a problem, the responsibility falls back on the manufacturer unless determined otherwise. If, however, the installer doesn’t follow the details provided and the manufacturer comes out to do a warranty claim or warranty inspection, then the installer is going to be responsible for correcting it. The installer can’t put it in wrong and just say, “oh, well, that’s covered by the warranty.” It’s not. A manufacturer’s warranty is not for covering a bad installation—particularly in the case of a standard warranty. If the installer does a poor install and the roof leaks, that’s not covered by the standard warranty; it falls back on the installer. Of note, this scenario can be different with a single source warranty, since the manufacturer will be out there doing ongoing inspections and ultimately can become responsible for the installation as well.
And, it goes without saying, the warranty doesn’t cover the interior contents of a building that may be damaged due to an installation issue.
5. Do not make adds or changes to an installed system once completed and the warranty has been issued without first getting manufacturer approval.
The warranty only covers the installed product per details, as mentioned. It does not cover additional materials added to the roof or any changes made, at least without the manufacturer’s prior approval—after the install is complete.
Some examples would be adding a mechanical unit to the roof, a plumbing vent added through the roof, or the satellite TV cable through the roof. Putting a penetration, fasteners, holes of any kind, into a previously installed roof system, unless approved by the manufacturer, will void the warranty in that location. If the manufacturer does not give approval, the installer, along with the customer, would need to make the decision—is it worth the risk to proceed knowing that if the roof leaks, that location would no longer by covered by the warranty.