Featured Project: A New Roof for Leaky SoCal School

In late 2009, during a time when Southern California had received more rain than over the previous four years, the roof on St. Mary’s and All Angels School in Aliso Viejo began to fail and the school was forced to deal with ongoing leaks into classrooms.

Joe Daniels, owner of D7 Consulting, Inc., in Newport Beach and who has a son attending St. Mary’s, was asked to advise the school on a course of action. The staff at D7 has over a hundred years of combined experience in the roofing and waterproofing industry.

D7 reviewed the condition of the roof and determined that a new roof system was in order. The original 2-ply and gravel built-up system had leaks in the flashings and field that persisted even after attempts at repairs were made.

In addition to the leaky roof itself, the St. Mary’s project presented other challenges that the roofing contractor would need to deal with.

One important issue was timing. The leak problem had reached this critical stage just a few weeks prior to the school’s Christmas break. The leadership at St. Mary’s would have to make a quick decision on a new roof that could be delivered prior to, then installed during the short break – a two-three-week window.

The roof would need to be installed quickly, and incorporate a number of flashings for HVAC curbs and other penetrations. The installation would take place during the rainy season and would need to be kept dry to prevent damage to the interior of the building.

Another issue was that most manufacturers would require a tear-off of the existing built-up roof. Not only would this disrupt normal building operations, but would also add to the cost of the project and possibly delay its completion.

Authorized Duro-Last contractor Bligh Pacific Roof Company of Sante Fe Springs, California, was able to install the roofing system during the school’s Christmas break. The roof for St. Mary’s was prefabricated in Duro-Last’s Grants Pass, Oregon, location and included not only the deck membrane sheets but flashings for several HVAC curbs and over 100 other penetrations. The potential installation time was reduced by several days.

“Other roofing products would have required us to do a lot of on-site workmanship to create all the flashings from rolled membrane materials,” Bligh Pacific owner Jay Bligh said. “Because the Duro-Last flashings were made to order at the factory, we could get through those job details really quickly and reduce the total number of construction days that would be necessary. The prefabricated deck sheets and flashings will also help ensure that those areas of the roof will remain watertight for years to come.”

Also, the Duro-Last solution did not involve a complete tear-off of the existing roof, as required by other systems, saving St. Mary’s on the overall cost of the project. The gravel surface was vacuumed off, and the Duro-Last system was installed over the old built-up roof.

Another benefit for St. Mary’s will be energy cost savings. The white Duro-Last membrane exceeds California’s Title 24 building code requirements for roofing system reflectivity and emissivity, which will help the school reduce its energy consumption.

Aerial shot of the completed Duro-Last roofing system for St. Mary's.

A Bligh Pacific technician completes the installation of a Duro-Last custom-fabricated flashing for a St. Mary's skylight.