Largest Roof Repair in History
The largest and most expensive roof repair job neared completion in New Orleans, Louisiana, back in 2006. This time it was hurricane-proof.
The Superdome is home to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. When Hurricane Katrina tore through the city in 2005, powerful wind and rain ripped the roof off the city’s Superdome. As the project neared completion, the roof was decked out with a smooth, white top that New Orleans citizens were familiar with. Most wanted to keep the white roof as a prime signature of the city’s skyline. This roofing effort was a monumental task that required more than 100 workers and millions of dollars.
The Weather Cooperated
During the process, workers sprayed five layers of polyurethane paint onto the roof’s surface. The first two layers were gray primer. These were followed by three more layers of white polyurethane to give the roof its familiar white topping. Overall, the coating would be about as thick as a quarter.
The weather cooperated with the roofers by delivering little rain through the crucial months of May and June. Work halted only six days due to bad weather. All the heavy labor was completed by the end of June. Workers laid the last piece of metal on the nearly 10-acre roof on June 30.
The workers set 10,463 pieces of metal decking on the 270-foot-tall Superdome. Each piece received a layer of polyurethane foam. A total of a half-million gallons of foam were ordered to cover the roof. The work went well and beat the scheduled deadline.
“I don’t want to take anything away from my guys, because they have kicked butt,” said project manager Tom Keller of Brazos Urethane in College Station, Texas. This is the firm that replaced the roof.
There had been some discussion on changing the color of the roof. In the end, SMG, the company that runs the dome, settled on white. Architects chimed in and convinced everyone that white was most aesthetically pleasing color against the building’s gold aluminum hue.
The management company also expressed concern that a darker roof would absorb more heat, resulting in higher energy bills.
New Orleans is Ready for Some Football
The new Superdome roof is now solid enough to stand up to a category 5 hurricane, Keller proudly stated. The roof is guaranteed to stand up to hurricane winds. When Katrina passed through, more than 70 percent of the roof blew off.
With a total price of $32 million for material and labor, the Superdome roof project is believed to be the most expensive roofing job in history.
With this new roof, New Orleans can now answer this familiar question in the affirmative: Are you ready for some football?
Interested in learning more? Check out the roof construction of the St. Basil’s Cathedral.