Aesthetic Volcanic Stone on Roof

JST Unique Roof Project

Roofing — Pennsylvania


When a large Japanese electrical connector company needed more space for its Pennsylvania operations, it purchased property in Swatara Township with plans to build a 51,563 square-foot facility with a unique design. A Japan-based architecture firm designed the building so that, when viewed from above, it resembles a tree that is branching out to represent growth for the company.


Selecting the Right Roofing Contractor

The project had very specific and unique roofing needs that required precision and attention to detail – something the Houck team specializes in.

The project manager worked with the general contractor on value engineering the roofing system to fit within the budget. The specified Firestone 60-mil EPDM membrane was adjusted to a 45-mil which brought the system into the desired cost parameters without jeopardizing the quality of the roof.

Installing the Roof

Since this was a new construction project, it required precise coordination with other trades who were working on site.

The Houck project manager said, “We had to coordinate with the framers as well as the plumbing team so we could be onsite to put flashing boots on the pipe vents when they were installed. When the large skylight was installed, we needed to be onsite to make sure that it was flashed tightly and sealed.”

Once these details were handled, the Houck team installed two layers of polyisocyanurate insulation, mechanically attaching the first layer and adhering the second to deliver an R-30 insulation value in compliance with the local building code. The 45-mil EPDM membrane fully adhered over the polyiso insulation.

Attention to Unique Needs

The building owner wanted to put volcanic stone over the EPDM membrane as a decorative feature. Knowing that the stone is lightweight but jagged, the Houck team needed to be sure the membrane would not be harmed so they installed a protective mat on top of the membrane. Because the stone is very light it was blowing off the roof. To solve that problem the project manager added 2B stone to the mix to add weight and prevent as much from blowing off.

The portion of the building that represents the root of the tree was to be roofed with metal. The owner wanted a bonderized, phosphatized, galvanized metal, also known as paint grip, but they requested that it not be painted in order for it to achieve a rusted patina.

The Houck team was able to locate a supplier who was able to obtain the coils and fabricate the panels.

The building also features a custom-fabricated tube drain that allows for rainwater to be diverted inside to be part of a unique water feature.

Topping Off Ceremony

To commemorate the completion of the building, a topping-off ceremony was held where the last piece of wood to be placed was signed by all who worked on the project. A small tree was placed on top, and a bottle of Saki brought from Japan was poured over the board before it was put in place to honor a job well done.

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