Focus on Roofing Applications of Adhesives and Sealants for Low-Sloped Roofs

Posted on 9/26/2012 12:17:02 PM By Bob Braun

roof, building, construction   roof, cool flat roof, building, construction

This is the twelfth blog in the ASC Building Products series.  This blog will continue the journey by describing the many organizations involved in developing standards, providing testing and issuing codes for commercial low-sloped/flat/horizontal roofing construction and materials.  Low-sloped roofing is a complex construction involving numerous attached roof-top equipment and penetrations – all which must be sealed to prevent water and air intrusion.  A low-sloped roof aaccording to ASTM E 1918 is a roof in which the uppermost part is installed at a slope of 2:12 (9.5 degrees) or less.  This blog’s complex discussion will attempt to include the standards, testing, and codes required for the essential elements for roofing assemblies i.e. wind, fire, insulation, and water-proofing requirements.  Sealants may also be tested as part of a roof test assembly as well (e.g. ASTM D7586M-11 Standard Test Method for Quantification of Air Intrusion in Low-Sloped…Roof Assemblies).  Similarly water proofing is also an essential sealant function and clearly the wind uplift requirement is most germane to adhesives while fire and surface flame spread testing results may involve both sealants and adhesives; however, generally the primary roof covering or membrane is key to the fire test rating.

In Blog #11, I reviewed the most common adhesive types used in roofing (spray, rolled, bead, and factory applied) with the category “rolled applied” including  brush, torch, bead, or trowel applied as well.  All low-sloped roofing adhesives are generally tested and qualified as an assembly.  The assembly being all building material layers in the roof.  Fairly large assemblies are tested usually requiring either 5 X 9 or 12 X 24 feet for wind uplift testing.

First I want to list many of the organizations involved in roofing adhesives and sealants:

Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FM) Products and Services- standards, research, testing: FM-1-52 Loss Prevention Data Wind Uplift and featured in detail here.

Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) - standards and testing

National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) - information, education, technical manuals and advocacy

Adhesives and Sealants Council, Inc. (ASC) - education and training, conventions and seminars, government liaison

Steel Deck Institute (SDI)– specifications, attachment methods, and installation

ASTM Committee D08 on Roofing and Waterproofingspecifications, guides, practices, and test methods

ASTM Committee E05 on Fire Testingtest methods

American Institute of Architects (AIA) - contract documents, education, training, and advocacy

Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) - member contractor finder, technical publications, roofing manual

Single Ply Roofing Institute (SPRI) - standards, design and application, training and, seminars

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) - research, standards, and continuing education related to energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and sustainability for HVAC industry

Related International Code Council (ICC) Codes– largest US based model code organization

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) - Building and Construction Safety Code

American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) -
Accreditation by ANSI signifies the procedures used by the standards body meet ANSI's essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process.

Examples of roofing-related standards developed:

  • ANSI/ASHRAE 90.1, "Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings"
  • ANSI/ASHRAE 90.2, "Energy-Efficient Design of Low-Rise Residential Buildings"
  • ANSI/SPRI ES-1, "Wind Design Standard for Edge Systems Used With Low Slope Roofing Systems"
  • ANSI/SPRI RP-4, "Wind Design Standard for Ballasted Single-ply Roofing Systems"
  • ANSI/SPRI WD-1, "Wind Design Standard Practice for Roofing Assemblies"
  • ANSI/UL 1703, "Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels"
  • ANSI/UL 2390, "Test Method for Wind-Resistant Asphalt Shingles with Sealed Tabs"

As you see there are numerous organizations involved in low-sloped roofing.  I have largely not covered the Canadian associations here due to space limits.  I have tried to make it fairly simple for those who want to follow any of the links above and drill down on more details of any specific requirements which I have discussed.  Many of the references above will also overlap into other roofing types and assemblies which I will feature in future blogs.  Low-sloped is arguably the most complex.  Additional organizations will come into play as well for assemblies such as asphalt shingles, concrete roof tiles, standing seam metal etc.; however, all roof types will utilize adhesives and sealants in some way.

In Blog #13 I plan to focus specifically on the details of several low-sloped related test methods and how and where they can be conducted.  I will also discuss the various codes that reference the test methods and the requirement levels that have been set.

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