Located in Poplarville, Mississippi, Pearl River Community College sits in the heart of the “Dixie Alley” tornado belt. The region gets hit by an average of 43 tornados each year and experiences destructive thunderstorms from the southerly winds that pump up turbulent weather from the Gulf of Mexico.
When the time came to design Pearl River’s new Math and Science Building, the roof needed to match the existing clay tile theme while also providing superior wind protection in the tornado- and storm-prone region.
The Math and Science Building project had additional engineering challenges beyond wind resistance for standard steep-sloped roofs. The renovation would feature a tilt-back mansard screen wall with metal tiles.
The experts at RoofScreen were ready to meet the challenge.
Operating out of Santa Cruz, CA, RoofScreen designs, engineers, and manufactures rooftop equipment including:
- Equipment screens
- Solar racking systems
- Iconic commercial signage displays
While many of RoofScreen’s projects rely on louver systems for wind management and protection, that wouldn’t be the case for the Math and Science Building renovation.
The screen wall mansard design that architect Taylor Claussen of Eley Guild Hardy Architects out of Biloxi had in mind needed to preserve the classic clay tile theme already established on campus. The design featured a seamless roof transition, with tilt-back frames inside the existing roof parapets as the foundation for matching the surrounding vibrant red clay tile campus theme.
Classic Clay Tile Beauty with Lightweight DECRA Durability
The seasoned rooftop engineers at Roofscreen quickly ruled out traditional clay tile as an option for their tilt-back mansard section.
While clay tile is elegant, it falls short when longevity, weight, and durability are considered.
Conventional clay tile cracks so easily that it’s not rated for either hail or wind damage. It’s also one of the heaviest roofing materials, weighing between 6 to 15 pounds per square foot and can easily absorb up to 15% of that weight in water over time. With its poor hail impact and storm resistance, easily fractured clay tile brings with it costly repairs for a high-maintenance and heavy roof.
“We wanted to create a lightweight RoofScreen system that would stand up to decades of elemental stress.”
Fortunately, DECRA stone-coated steel roofing products can replicate nearly any conventional roofing material and carry the highest Class 4 impact rating. They are also backed by a Lifetime Limited Warranty that includes protection from winds up to 120 mph.
DECRA Villa Tile met all of the high product standards for RoofScreen’s challenging mansard structure and seamlessly blended with the aesthetic themes of the other buildings.
“DECRA's roofing is forged from stone-coated steel paneling, allowing it to last a lifetime. The unique construction provides the look of classic clay tile while exhibiting the durability of steel. It also led to a great looking roof that's sure to last through anything Mother Nature throws its way.”
Wind Pressure Design Challenges
The IBC (International Building Code) 2012 Wind Speed for the location is 149 with Wind Exposure in Category C.
That creates significant wind pressure design challenges. The Exposure C rating applies to locations in flat, open terrain with scattered surrounding structures “having heights generally less than 30 feet,” which means that there are fewer natural “windbreaks” to reduce wind pressure on rooftops and attachments.
End-to-end collaboration is one of the keys to RoofScreen’s success with architects and design-build contractors, so RoofScreen provided RISA 3D (Rapid Interactive Structural Analysis) Preliminary Loads/Reactions data to the project architect and structural engineer of record to assist with structural member design.
One major challenge involved the structural roof framing. The existing Math and Science Building used light-gauge metal (LGM) studs rather than more typical open web steel joists or wide-flange steel beams. RoofScreen’s base supports could not be attached reliably through the steel deck into LGM studs, so the engineering team designed and provided custom steel spanner plates specifically for the DECRA Villa Tile tilt-back mansard section installation. These plates spread the point loads over a larger target area to meet the special engineering considerations for tilt-back roof screens as compared to those for standard vertical screen walls.
This challenge was easily solved by the experts at RoofScreen and the end result is a durable roofing system that provides superior wind protection while enhancing the existing architectural themes.
Company founder Ryan Bruce started RoofScreen in 2002 after spending more than 20 years in the commercial roofing industry. There he saw the critical need to improve on shoddy designs and “on-the-fly” construction that too often resulted in chronic leaks and structural failure.
“RoofScreen products weren't dreamed up by engineering graduates with zero field experience. These are well thought out systems, designed by seasoned professionals who know what the industry needs.”
--Ryan Bruce, RoofScreen
Today, RoofScreen has installed more than 100,000 roof attachments without a single leak and has set the industry standard for the highest quality rooftop attachments.
About DECRA Metal Roofing
Just like RoofScreen, DECRA Metal Roofing has set the industry-standard for quality and durability. Since 1957, DECRA has protected homes and buildings from tornados and anything else Mother Nature can dish out.
When you’re ready to team up with DECRA to protect your home or building, contact a DECRA Metal Roofing advisor.