Makeover magic – restoring old buildings for energy efficiency

Blog4-restorationMany of our customers come to us for help with old buildings, because they have problems with leaks or they get too hot or too cold. While some of those commercial buildings go back to the 1940s to 1960s, we also do a lot of work on older buildings. We’ve been involved in many projects that are bringing historic downtown areas back to life. Old stores, courthouses, theaters and warehouses are being repurposed into restaurants, lofts, new stores and more, transforming the original center of communities across North Texas. DFW Urethane’s spray foam roofing and insulation have supported these makeovers that preserve the charm and architectural details of a bygone era – but with modern comforts and more energy efficiency.

A conventional roof will only last 10-15 years before it needs to be replaced, so buildings that are 40 to 80 years old will have been reroofed many times. Unfortunately, they also tend to have weak structures compared to newer buildings, and minimal – if any – insulation. To retain the warehouse look, the insulation has to be added to the roofing system. However, the existing roofs are often in poor shape.

In the ‘50s and ’60s, gas and electricity were cheap, so energy losses were not a big deal. Today, no one can afford to install expensive HVAC systems and have that conditioned air leak out. Couple those challenges with a building’s typical black rooftop, which radiates heat inside so it’s even harder to cool. The lack of insulation also subjects older buildings to excessive noise from outside traffic.

Insulating spray foam addresses multiple issues

Our spray polyurethane foam roofing and insulation solve many of these issues. It keeps the roof from leaking and reduces utility usage. Depending on the type and weight of the existing roof, we can often install a new SPF roof without tearing off the old roof. In these cases, we spray 1.5 inches of foam and apply an elastomeric coating for an R-9.6 value, which works wonders.

If the roof must be torn off down to the rafters, our technicians will spray 3 inches of foam and apply the elastomeric coating to achieve the mandated R-19 value. In addition, our bright white elastomeric coatings also boost energy efficiency by changing the roof color from dark to light. We can also fix ponding problems by building up and sloping the sprayed foam to improve drainage.

In areas where there are potential asbestos issues, it can be extremely costly to tear off and replace the old roof using conventional roofing methods. SPF encapsulation by qualified contractors is actually a preferred form of asbestos abatement, so our 3 inches of sprayed foam addresses those issues as well.

Insulation and weatherization

In addition to installing our insulated SPF roofing system, DFW Urethane performs all-over weatherization on old buildings. This can complement or replace waterproofing of old exteriors, especially where waterproofing isn’t an option. We insulate the building interior by spraying closed-cell polyurethane foam and sealing cracks from the inside. When we spray the foam, there are no seams that can leak water or air, and it also seals around vents, flashings and other penetrations. Not only does this tight air seal prevent costly conditioned air from escaping, it also creates a sound barrier that makes buildings quieter.

Leave a Comment