Case study: Proper drainage makes roofs last

The Milwaukee Public Schools consist of 178 schools. Combined, they account for more than 86 million square feet of roofing. Roofing foreman Dennis Fula and a staff of three other professional roofers are responsible for keeping all those roofs in shape.

Schools "have been layering new roof upon old roof, over and over again," says Fula. "The school system was getting only 20, 15 or even 10 years out of a roofing surface. So, when I took over the roofing program here, the first thing I knew I needed to do was to update myself with information about the latest products and technology. One of the things that surprised me the most was the advancements made in insulation materials."

Fula began working with Atlas Roofing to develop positive drainage roofing systems. That has evolved into the company's Certified Drainage Program.

The program makes sure that the tapered insulation system on a roof is going to perform as expected - to drain water off the roof effectively.

How much time can proper drainage add to a roof's life?

"With the old roofing systems, if everything would start to break down in 15 years, you would have to tear the entire system off and start from scratch," says Fula. "But if the roof drains properly, you can put another roofing system right over top. We are spending a little more upfront, but in the long run, our planning is going to pay for itself five times over."

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