April 2014

Into the wild

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Salt River Roofing Inc. installs a roof system on a building in Grand Teton National Park

by Krista Reisdorf

Photos courtesy of RHEINZINK, Datteln, Germany

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center in Grand Teton National Park, Moose, Wyo.

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center is nestled in the majestic mountains of Grand Teton National Park in Moose, Wyo. The 7,500-square-foot facility was named after the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and is part of the 1,106-acre Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, which was donated to the National Park Service by the Rockefeller family.

The Rockefeller family prized conservation and environmental responsibility, so when it came time to build the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center, those involved aimed to make it the first platinum-level LEED®-certified building to be constructed in the National Park System.

Salt River Roofing Inc., Afton, Wyo., was chosen to install the building's roof system.


Salt River Roofing installed 8,000 square feet of RHEINZINK® preweathered graphite gray Double-Lock Standing Seam panels over underlayment and Enkamat,® which is used to provide an air space under the panels for moisture control. The company brought in coil and roll-formed the panels on the job site. Seaming or bending the zinc had to be done when the temperature was above 40 F.

Salt River Roofing also installed the building's zinc wall panels and interior panels.

The company faced some challenges during the project, which began during fall 2005.

"The project had to be shut down during the winter because the roads were not plowed," says Max Wade, president of Salt River Roofing. "We had trouble with structural insulated panels (SIPs) for the roof, which had to be replaced."

There was some controversy regarding why the panels failed.

"When we started to install the metal roof system in the spring after the roof panels had endured the winter, we noticed some of the screws were sticking up above the panels," Wade says. "At first, we thought the screws had backed out, but when we cut into the panels, we discovered some of the foam had melted away. This only happened on the South and West sides of the building.

Photos courtesy of RHEINZINK, Datteln, Germany

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center in Grand Teton National Park, Moose, Wyo.

"We had wanted to dry in the roof for the winter with synthetic underlayment such as the Feltex we typically use, but the architect wanted to use organic #30 felt covered with clear plastic," he continues. "Regardless of the cause, because the panels had been installed over a tongue-and-groove ceiling, we had to dig the bad panels out and replace them in a way that preserved the finished ceiling."

Storing the zinc panels during the summer while the SIP issue was being resolved also posed a challenge.

"Zinc has unique characteristics that require special handling and storage methods," Wade says. "The panels cannot be stacked in a 'fan' that works with steel or copper they must be stacked on edge with supports at least every 4 inches because the zinc will deform over time under the force of gravity. If the zinc has water trapped against its surface, white rust will form, so the panels had to be kept dry. Handling some of the longer panels required spreader bars because the panels are not as stiff as steel or copper."

Salt River Roofing endured other limitations during the project. The site was remote, so the workers had a two-hour commute. Additionally, the window of time for working was short, and most of the summer was lost because of the SIP problem.

"When we finished, it was near the end of that window of time because of the cold and snow, and we had to work with the zinc during the time when it would warm up each day," Wade says.

During the project, the company used safety harnesses and ropes to protect from falls. The general contractor installed a steel cable along the ridge so workers could snap their safety lines onto the cable. The workers also wore hard hats and safety glasses.

A perfect fit

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center opened June 21, 2008, and the platinum-level LEED-certified building showcases green technology such as composting toilets and a photovoltaic system.

Wade says the setting of the Grand Tetons for the project was unique, and the building fits in well with its beautiful surroundings.

"The satisfaction of delivering a beautiful finished product under difficult circumstances made the project rewarding," Wade says.

Krista Reisdorf is Professional Roofing's director of online communications.

Project name: Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center
Project location: Moose, Wyo.
Project duration: Fall 2005-Fall 2006
Roof system type: Standing-seam zinc panels
Roofing contractor: Salt River Roofing Inc., Afton, Wyo.
Roofing manufacturer: RHEINZINK,® Datteln, Germany


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