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A spray foam roof installation repaired leaks and eliminated the possibility of wind uplift for the roof of an office building in Southern California

Santa Ana Breeze

A Spray Foam Roof Installation Repaired Leaks and Eliminated the Possibility of Wind Uplift for the Roof of an Office Building in Southern California


The Santa Ana winds are famous for their dryness and ferocity, which temperamentally fluctuates throughout the Southern California seasons. The inland, down-sloped Santa Ana winds are certainly a seasonal force in the nearby-Los Angeles town of Santa Ana. Naturally, wind uplift is a constant threat for many buildings in the area, and it can easily expedite the inevitable process of deterioration.

This was certainly the case for a county office building located in Santa Ana, as the structure’s 33,000 sq. ft. roof was afflicted by wind uplift. Air was penetrating through the cap sheet atop the torched-down roof system, causing the system to fail and the 20-year old building to beckon for a roof restoration. The county put its faith in spray polyurethane foam, acknowledging that an SPF roof installation over the existing system was a swift and long-lasting fix that could keep the roaring winds at bay and provide new life to the building.

For the SPF roof application, the owner contracted Ocean Seven Roofing, a Southern California roofing specialist. A five-man crew from Ocean Seven later arrived onsite to take charge of the restoration, which entailed the installation of spray foam and protective coating along parapet walls, between existing A/C units, and over the flat surfaces of the roof, which was comprised of four levels. The SPF roof supplanted the existing roof system without the latter being removed.

“A spray foam roof can not only seal leaks, it can be characterized as an aesthetic and robust upgrade, bolstering the entire building,” said Ocean Seven’s Ron Mor. “As an added bonus, everyone working inside the building will be comfortable, as the spray foam provides good R-value that is conducive to ideal insulation inside the building”

Ocean Seven crewmembers wore PPE consisting of Tyvek suits, gloves, and respirators during the job. They parked their spray rig on the side of the building and utilized a ladder to climb 25 feet up to the roof. Prior to the roof installation, the crew was subjected to meticulous prep work, which included placing the existing A/C units on stands and masking them with plastic sheeting, as well as utilizing 5×10 windscreens to reduce overspray damage. Mor pointed out that the detail work required for this project was a challenge in and of itself.

“We had to make sure we were sealing all of the hard-to-reach penetrations and leaks around the flashing areas, which meant that the application had to be flawless in order for it to perform like the seamless, sustainable roof system that an SPF roof is.”

The Ocean Seven crew powerwashed the roof substrate to ensure the surface was clean and smooth for the subsequent roof system installation. To increase SPF adhesion to the substrate, the crew applied to the roof surface and parapets a gallon per sq. ft. of Uniseal, a single-component epoxy primer coating made by United Coatings. With the primer in place, the Ocean Seven crewmembers used a 300-foot hose attached to a Graco Fusion spray gun to commence the SPF roof installation.

The crew utilized a Graco Reactor E-30 proportioner to process BASF’s ELASTOSPRAY 2.5 lb. closed-cell SPF during the foam application portion of the project. They applied a one-inch lift of foam over the primer, totaling the installation of nearly 10 sets of closed-cell foam.  Two crewmembers held windscreens around the sprayer for the duration of the application.

“It is crucial to control overspray in windy situations, especially if you are in an area with many surrounding buildings,” said Mor. “We were careful in spraying during intervals where the wind wasn’t coming in as hard, but nevertheless we had to progress with the project to meet our intended deadline, so overspray protection was key.”

With the spray foam in place, the Ocean Seven crewmembers shut off their E-30 proportioner, turned on their Graco GH 833 Big Rig gas hydraulic sprayer, and proceeded with the coating application. They installed 30 mils of Diathon, an acrylic elastomeric coating formulated by United Coatings. The two-coat system consisted of a light gray base coat and a white topcoat that provided the roof with durability, reflectivity, mildew resistance, and weatherproofing. Additionally, the roof system came with a 10-year warranty for materials, which was provided by United Coatings.

“Not only are spray foams roofs durable, they are backed with a warranty that allows for recoating within 10 years,” said Mor. “It is easy to recoat them and maintain them, and by doing so the owner of the building can have a roof that can last a lifetime.”

For the final layer of the roof system, the Ocean Seven crew embedded white granules into the topcoat, providing an extra layer of protection. The granules were broadcasted with the use of a portable granulator that their spray rig was equipped with. The crew spent 10 days completing the SPF roof application. Mor and his crew received positive feedback from the building operator, who was wowed by the look of his new roof, let alone its benefits.

“Because of the detail work and the utter absence of blister in the system, there’s a definite aesthetic to the roof, it looks like a perfectly even inch of snow sits atop; it’s a beautiful-looking roof,” said Mor. “But the smooth look is only the beginning. The coating’s reflectivity allows the roof to stay cool and the spray foam protects the roof from wind activity, and seals all air and moisture leakage. The insulation, aside from providing comfort, makes the building energy-efficient and sustainable. The owner was really impressed with the workmanship and the end-result only confirmed further his initial decision of going for a spray foam roof.”

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