On Oct. 20, 2019, 10 twisters ripped through the storm line of North and Central Texas, making it one of the costliest tornado events in Texas history. Thankfully, there were zero fatalities reported, but there was extensive damage to property, resulting in over $2 billion of insurance claims.

One particular building that took direct hits from an EF-2 tornado was a wholesale depot warehouse in Garland County. This 1 million-square-foot horseshoe shaped depot was in the path of the tornado’s 2.48 mile trek through Garland.

California-based roofing contractor, Barrier Specialty Roofing & Coatings, was enlisted by SPAN Construction to assess the extent of the damage to the warehouse roof. Blair Cunnings, CEO/president of Barrier, together with Brady Kolden, business development manager for Polyglass Roofing & Waterproofing Systems, wanted to find out how the tornado affected the million square foot depot and what repairs needed to be made.

Roof Inspection and Tornado Damage Assessment

"We conducted a job site evaluation with SPAN Construction and Polyglass to confirm the extent of the roof damage," said Cunnings. "We wanted to see for ourselves how much of the roof needed to be replaced or repaired, and what roofing/coating system would be the most prudent in this situation.” 

The team found that 700,000 square feet of the metal roof held up under the force of the tornado’s strong winds, due to the existing polyurethane foam and Polyglass silicone coating system on the warehouse roof. This meant that only 300,000 square feet needed to be repaired on a 1 million-square-foot job.

"The majority of the metal roof held up under the force of the strong winds, because the foam self-adheres to the roof, adding extra compressive strength," Cunnings said.

Kolden noted that while the building sustained damage from flying debris, the roof’s structural stability helped protect and save the majority of the building.

"This meant there was no need to tear all down and the owner could rebuild and refurbish, which lead to major cost savings," Kolden said.

In addition, the building owner kept operations going for two more years after the tornado hit, using areas of the building where the roof had remained undamaged.

Warehouse Winter Restoration

The eight-month roof repair project began in October 2020 and was completed in May of 2021. The complexity of the project was heightened due to strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, like supply chain demands, as well as disruptive weather — which included the a major ice storm in February 2021 and working around other trades on the project.

“Our contractors were challenged with keeping the roof dry and coatable during the cold/wet months, while also keeping water out of the building so other trades could complete their work simultaneously," said Cunnings.

First, SPAN Construction began with replacing all the structural metal deck on the damaged 300,000 square feet of the warehouse. Then, Barrier Specialty added 3 inches of polyurethane roofing spray foam and silicone coating to the deck to match the existing undamaged areas and make the deck a roof. Finally, Barrier chose Polyglass’s PolyBrite® 95 silicone roof coating to refurbish the entire 1 million square feet of roof. This product was chosen because of its durability, longevity, ease of application, and the 20-year warranty given by Polyglass on the entire system.

"Due to the complexity of the damage done by the tornado to the Garland, Texas warehouse, repairs were extensive and required a total team effort from all the companies involved; Polyglass, Barrier Roofing, and SPAN Construction," said George Goddard, president of SPAN Construction. "Polyglass and Barrier listened to our concerns, addressed them, and worked with our local team daily to ensure they our customer had a quality roofing system.”