Not long after completion, the Foundation Stage and Children’s Centre building at Layfield Primary School in Yarm started leaking. Water ran down internal walls and damp patches spread across ceilings.
“We had problems with water ingress. We had to replace carpets and lots of ceiling tiles,” says school business manager Sarah Powell.
Fortunately, the problem has now been solved with the help of SIG Design and Technology, which specified its SIGnature Torch on System to remediate the leaking roofs once and for all. By avoiding complete stripping of the failed roofs, this strategy provided significant cost savings.
How the Roof Repair was Done
The leaking roof area consisted of two pitched oval roofs with a flat roof below. SIG’s investigation identified the cause of the problem as the oval roofs, where inadequate detailing around the perimeter upstands and at the intersection with the lower roof had allowed water to ingress and find its way through to beneath the flat roof and down the walls into the school.
“It was a constant battle for the school,” says Ian Dryden, SIG National Specification Manager – Bituminous Membranes. “Both flat and pitched roofs needed to be remediated. It was clear that the 450sq m flat roof was damaged beyond repair and needed to be stripped right back to deck.”
A new roof was then added using the SIGnature system, specified with the self-adhesive SA VCL Vapour Control Layer, tapered insulation, SIGnature 25 Underlay and SIGnature AA Capsheet.
However SIG managed to find an economical solution for the 250 sqm pitched oval roofs, which enabled the contractor to leave the original single ply roof in situ beneath the overlay rather than stripping and disposing of it, saving an estimated £60+ per metre.
SIG worked with DATAC accredited contractor Roofix Ltd to install the SIGnature system as an overlay. To address the issue of potential plasticizer migration between the old and new roofs, a 300g separation fleece was fitted on the original roof followed by a mechanically fixed SIGnature25 underlay and a fully-torch bonded layer of underlay and cap sheet.
Junctions and Upstands are Crucial
The second, crucial phase of the work was the correct detailing of the junctions with the flat roof and the upstands around the roof perimeter. Roofix Ltd found a way to close mitre cut and bend the GRP trim in situ to fully encapsulate the upstand as an alternative to the original failed metal capping.
“Good tradespeople come up with good solutions,” says Ian Dryden, who praised the time and care that went into the detailing. Thanks to the craftsmanship of the contractor, the repairs were completed over the summer holidays in an aesthetically pleasing manner that came in under budget and – importantly – fully warranteed.
“This ticked all the boxes from the client and the local authority’s points of view,” says Dryden. The proof has been 18 leak-free months since the repairs.
“We’ve had no problems whatsoever ever since, says the school’s Sarah Powell. “It’s a massive relief to have had no further disruption caused by the numerous water leaks to providing our services.”
About the SIGnature Torch on System
Designed for new work or overlays, this bituminous roofing system comprises fire rated torch-on cap sheet, underlay and vapour control layer and is suitable for warm or cold roofs.
There are three underlay options with the potential for either 20 or 25 year warranties:
- SIGnature Underlay25 – polyester carrier, reinforced, SBS, torch applied intermediate or base layer. Twenty five year warranty when used with the SIGnature Fire Rated Cap Sheet.
- SIGnature Underlay20 – A glass tissue carrier, reinforced, SBS, torch applied intermediate or base layer. Twenty year warranty when used with the SIGnature Fire Rated Cap Sheet.
- SIGnature UnderlaySA (Self Adhesive) – An elastomeric self-adhesive, polyester fabric reinforced underlay, coated with SBS modified bitumen. Twenty five year warranty when used with the SIGnature Fire Rated Cap Sheet.
How to avoid failed school roofs
Following best practice can avoid costly repairs to failed roofing:
- Consult a waterproofing specialist as early as possible during the design stage.
- Specify a roofing system that is fire-rated and CE marked. We can provide independent advice on the best system for your roof.
- Ensure design details and execution are undertaken by a company that is competent, experienced with a proven track record and are covered by PI insurance.
- Spend time getting the interfaces detailed correctly, particularly those between different materials and around perimeter upstands
- Make sure all the products and the installation are covered by warranty.
- Use approved contractors who are reputable and solvent (warranties depend on the company being in business)
- Ensure manufacturer’s inspection of the installation – even the best products can fail with poor installation and detailing
If you have a problem with a leaking school roof, find out how we can help here.
Project: Layfield Primary School
Client: Stockton Borough Council
Roofing contractors: Roofix Ltd
Membrane: SIGnature Bituminous Membrane
Reproduced by kind permission of RIBA Journal
About the author – SIG D&T Team
We are the team at SIG Design and Technology. We supply school roof refurbishments and operate a successful bid process in consultation with specialist education surveyors for the replacement or refurbishment of roofs and pitched roof areas. With over 120 branches nationwide, SIG Roofing is the largest supplier of roofing materials in the UK, providing our customers with impartial advice on the right roofing solution for their projects.