Commercial Flat Roof Success Story: Tucson Botanical Gardens

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We recently had the privilege of working with the Tucson Botanical Gardens to replace the flat roof system on each of their three buildings. The roofs were over 40 years old and had been leaking for years. After trying multiple times to repair the leaks themselves, they started having problems with ponding water and realized they needed a roof replacement.

When it comes to roof installation or replacement, several important factors must be considered. SDS managing partners have combined roofing experience of more than 40 years. With this deep experience, we knew how to handle large commercial projects like these quickly and efficiently. First and foremost, we prioritize being flexible to meet our client’s needs, allowing the Botanical Gardens to be open to the public while the work was being done. Secondly, we work closely with our roof installation team and contractors to ensure the roof is installed correctly the first time. Lastly, we understand the challenges of pricing, especially with nonprofits like the Botanical Gardens, and work with our clients to find the best solution in their budget. Read on to learn more about the Botanical Gardens and their partnership with SDS:

About the Tucson Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are a true Tucson gem. Their mission is to: “Connect people with plants and nature through art, science, history and culture.” The Tucson Botanical Gardens is one of the best botanical gardens in the country. With over 140,000 visitors each year and a membership base of over 5,200 households, this garden is a must-see. Located in the heart of Tucson, it’s a vibrant oasis featuring mature trees and beautifully cultivated foliage. It exhibits different specialty gardens, like the Cactus & Succulent Garden, Barrio Garden, and Herb Garden, showcasing the incredible variety of native plants.

Our SDS team appreciates the gardens so much that we became a sponsor donating a commemorative brick with our name!

About Built-up Flat Roofing Systems

Built-up roof systems, also known as BUR systems, are popular for buildings with low-slope or flat roofs like those at the Botanical Gardens. What makes BUR systems so popular is their excellent protection due to the multiple layers of ply sheets and asphalt. These layers provide resistance to weather and heavy-duty protection for the building.

There are different ways to construct modified bitumen roofing systems. Typically, it starts with a base sheet installed over insulation or a cover board using mechanical fasteners. This base sheet is the bottom layer of waterproofing and allows subsequent sheets to be adhered with hot asphalt.

Reinforcing roofing felts, or ply sheets, are installed over the base sheet using hot asphalt or cold-applied adhesive. This provides added resistance to water intrusion. The process is repeated with additional layers until the desired number of plies is achieved. The system is topped off with a cap sheet or asphalt and gravel/slag.

4-ply modified bitumen BUR roofs have many advantages, making them a perfect choice for the Tucson Botanical Gardens. The redundancy of the four plies ensures continued protection even if the top layer is damaged, and modified bitumen has one of the best fire resistance ratings. Depending on the materials and system installed, BUR systems may be eligible for warranties of up to 20 years. Additionally, like in this case, SDS uses white cap sheets to help lower internal temperatures by reflecting the sun’s rays away from the building.

Why They Chose SDS for Their 4-ply Built-up Roof

Tucson Botanical Garden Re-Roofing Project_Commercial RoofersThe project came to Storm Damage Specialists as a referral through a solar company with whom we have a close partnership. While the Botanical Gardens does not currently utilize rooftop solar panels, we do a lot of work with solar companies for solar roof projects. This particular solar installer called and notified us that the Botanical Gardens was looking for a new roof. They knew SDS would deliver the best quality and service in the industry.

The Botanical Gardens had gotten multiple bids from other roofing companies. They found that SDS could provide the best and most comprehensive offer. In addition to our stellar reputation, this won us the project, and we were thrilled to serve the Botanical Gardens with their new roof.

What Made This Project A Success:

Though the Tucson Botanical Gardens is an exceptional organization, our commitment to excellence holds with every client. Keep reading to learn what made their experience with SDS a success.

Expert Workmanship

The best roof in this case was a four-ply built-up roof. Our team put the first layer of hot asphalt on thick, which gives these roofs excellent durability. 4-ply built-up roofing often doesn’t need recoating for 5-10 years.

Our roofers at Storm Damage Specialists are just as meticulous about every detail of the project. We pride ourselves in cleaning the whole working area well every day, even when it adds additional time to our workday. With the Botanical Gardens, even more time was involved since the plant life meant we could not bring the trailer close to the building.

The flexibility and manpower we offer are other key points that set us above other roofers. For typical commercial roofing systems, we take our dump trucks and back them right up to the building, and the trash comes over the side to an entrance trailer.

The layout of the Botanical Gardens made this impossible. We went the extra mile to create ramps and catch basins for the trash. The trash was placed in wheelbarrows and transported 200 feet to our trucks.

Partnership with Our Contractors

A major reason why the Botanical Gardens chose SDS for their roof system was that our initial pricing includes everything. We work closely with each type of contractor, including HVAC, electricians, plumbers, and painters. Our quote encompassed each of these trades and their work, so there were no surprises. Many times, we also add gutters into the mix.

At the end of the day, we can handle everything the project requires. We want the client to sit back and relax and let us do what we do best. We’ll bring in all of the experts necessary. Whether it’s a subcontractor or a team member, we have an expert to do the work necessary for every aspect of the roof replacement. This applies to hail-damaged roofs as well. SDS is a true one-stop-shop roofing contractor.

Protection of their property

Tucson Botanical Garden Re-Roofing Project_Commercial Roofers

This was a unique project because of the delicate plant life involved. With each project, no matter what type of client, we are cautious to protect the building and surrounding landscaping from damage. In this case, we had an abundance of precious flowers to protect! We had just finished another project with especially challenging access, and when we provided them with the story and pictures of the finished job, the Botanical Gardens knew we would be diligent not to damage their plants and trees.

We had to wheelbarrow and cart all the trash out and all materials in. We set up scaffolding, along with tarping systems. Our roofers had to carefully run through, building by building, to ensure there were no issues. Here we used a tarping system to run over the top of a lot of the bushes and plants to protect the plants from any falling debris from the roofs.

The Botanical Gardens told us that other roofing companies were charging extra for these additional services, along with special HVAC and electrical work, that we included in our regular pricing.

Most roofing systems like this one take us four days total to do. It took us 12 days to do the roofs of the Botanical Gardens because of all the extra precautions involved. The extra cleaning, extra protection for both the plants and the visitors, and especially having to cart and carry materials physically extended the duration of the project, but in the end, no plant life was harmed in the making of their new roof!

Responsibility to Our Planet

The leadership at the Botanical Gardens is clearly passionate about the earth, and so is SDS! We take extra steps to make our process as eco-friendly as possible. We recycle shingles; we don’t just send them to the landfill. In addition, we recycle all of the metal that gets pulled. Even though recycling shingles is an added expense on our part, it’s worth it to us for the sake of the environment.

Many of our roofing systems include cool white coats that are considered LEED Green friendly. Energy-efficient coatings are more reflective to lower the heat gain. Since heat and UV rays are major causes of roof damage, white coats also extend the life of the roof by keeping it cooler.

Commitment to Our Customers

Whenever we are working with a business, the team at SDS is highly conscious of the importance of continued use of the building for daily activities and special functions. We take special care to create a safe and tidy environment, with clear pathways and proper access to traffic routes and parking.

Being a non-profit, we wanted to ensure the Botanical Gardens could stay open to the public and fully operational during the project. Instead of closing down the entire facility, we closed down a couple of pathways at a time for a few days and then opened them back up when we were finished in that area. This still allowed access to all of the gardens for visitors.

Our owners personally spent a lot of time on-site with the roofing team, making sure that everything was running smoothly. Leadership is often present during the roofing installation to ensure customer satisfaction with every commercial roofing project.

Confidence in Our Roofs

Tucson Botanical Garden Re-Roofing Project_Commercial RoofersAnother way we show our dedication to our customers is by offering a commercial maintenance plan with built-up roofing systems. Every 3-5 years, the roofs will only need recoating or adding an additional layer of coating to the roofing membrane. Aside from that, the Botanical Gardens will just need to conduct routine annual inspections.

Our commitment to quality is unwavering. SDS is dedicated to promptly resolving any concerns that may surface. Our warranty covers labor defects for two years and material defects for 30 years. We provide a generous 10-year labor warranty on select items and a 59-year material warranty.

Be Our Next Success

At SDS, we take pride in working with community organizations like the Tucson Botanical Gardens, consistently delivering projects on time, on budget, and meeting their operational needs. We genuinely care about our name, our reputation, and what our clients care about. If you need expert roofing services for your commercial building, contact us today and get a solid roof over your head!

Click any of the images to view a gallery of photos throughout the project.

Completed New BUR Flat Roof for Tucson Botanical Garden

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Michelle Conklin, Executive Director
Tucson Botanical Gardens

"Dennis, your crew did a great job. I don't think I've ever been as happy to write a check! Thank you also for taking care of my chimney—so appreciated. Again, your crews were great."

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