Nearly 4400-feet Above Sea Level on the Highest Peak in the County? This Unique Project Is No Problem for this California Contractor
There were just a few challenges that had to be overcome on this unique project.
By Karen Edwards, RCS Editor.
The Copernicus Peak Fire Lookout Tower is located to the east of the City of San Jose, California on the highest peak in Santa Clara County. It was first built in 1929 and sits at an elevation of 4,360 feet. The 13’6” x 13’6” square tower plays an important role in spotting fires in the area and its roof was in need of repair.
Ken Myers, Fire Captain of Morgan Hill Cal Fire Headquarters contacted Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. to modify and repair the existing roof of this historic structure. The Eastman team met with Cal Fire Engineer, Albert Lau, to develop the specifications that would allow the roof to handle the harsh winds that sometime blow in excess of 120 mph as well as the rain conditions that occur at that elevation.
The first challenge to overcome was getting the trucks, equipment and materials up the hill and to the top of the lookout tower. Thankfully, there were firemen from Cal Fire on hand to help. Next the ladder had to be tied off to the awning supports for safety since the space to prop the ladder was extremely narrow. It was the only way to access the roof since the lookout tower didn’t have an interior hatch.
The issues on the roof were many. The overlapping metal roof was coming apart, allowing water intrusion. Previous repairs over the years were failing, allowing the roof to leak. Water was also entering at the intersection of the eave and rake. The ridge flashing was also loose and in need of repair.
The Eastman crew began the project by removing the entire original metal roof in order to change the flashings and install support for underlayment. The existing structure didn’t have a solid roof deck, only metal supports. Five-ply, 5/8” CDX plywood was attached to metal supports to create a solid roof deck. The plywood was anchored to metal supports with self-tapping screws and metal plates for added strength and wind resistance.
Next, half-inch EPS fanfold insulation was installed on top of the fasteners and plywood so the underlayment could lay flat and not be up against the plywood fasteners. This was done to prevent damage to the underlayment from the self-tapping screws, should the building experience movement from the wind. Edge flashing was installed after the fanfold to prevent water from blowing in between the roof deck and the walls.
A double-ply of CertainTeed MetaLayment Ice and Water Shield was applied over the fanfold. The material is self-sealing and carries a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty. If water were to get past the metal roof, the underlayment would prevent it from seeping through. The wall was modified and flashing was installed and anchored. Spray foam insulation was applied to the void areas to prevent water from blowing in and reaching the underlayment.
Lastly, the original metal roof was reinstalled with damaged areas being cleaned and sealed with a urethane sealant, ready for others to paint. Self-tapping screws anchored the metal repair.
See all the job photos and descriptions in this photo album on Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing’s Facebook page.
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