Napa County, Calif., is perhaps known best for one thing — its incredible wines, which are considered some of the globe’s best. While varieties range, the Napa Valley standout is Cabernet Sauvignon, the bold red that benefits from the region’s sunny and warm, yet not too hot climate. Hundreds of wineries dot the region north of San Francisco and a wide swath of enthusiasts visit year-round.
One of the internationally acclaimed wineries in Healdsburg has been producing numerous regional wines for 30 years. Its physical facility houses both the winery and its tasting room. Recently, the winery decided it was about time to address ongoing issues with its roof. The top of the facility’s 8,000-square-foot entryway and focal point had been leaking since it was first constructed three decades ago. The result was sustained water intrusion damage from numerous past rain events, a partially closed facility, and the branding dilemma that comes with visitors entering a structure with rain bucket eyesores not aligning with the caliber of the wines coming out of the facility.
A "Rubik's Cube" Dilemma
To tackle the problem, the winery chose Wedge Roofing, the multi-award-winning contractor serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Known for its exceptional work in both spray polyurethane foam and traditional sheet roofing, Wedge had previously completed some maintenance and repairs on separate nearby facilities the winery owned.
“When we began this project, it felt like the Rubik’s Cube of roofing,” says Gary Harvey, SPFA professionally certified president and CEO with Wedge Roofing. “What the client wanted was a puzzle – to waterproof a roof nobody could before, to waterproof the roof’s vertical roof walls without altering their appearance, and to guarantee said roof for a long lifespan. Also, everything was made out of pre-tensioned concrete and we were forbidden from cutting or drilling into the material.”
The roof itself is terraced, taking on a similar look to large stairsteps. The horizontal portions were ideal for spray foam roofing and Wedge selected FOAM-LOK 2800 4G, a high-performance closed cell spray foam manufactured by Huntsman Building Solutions, for that portion of the job. FOAM-LOK 2800 4G is known for its ability to both insulate and waterproof over a variety of substrates and roof configurations. It is also manufactured using recycled PET plastic water bottle waste and boasts a zero ozone depletion potential and a global warming potential of one.
“This foam uses a newer generation of blowing agent, which dramatically reduces its negative impacts on the environment,” adds Harvey.
However, one of the key challenges for Wedge Roofing were the vertical roof walls which were brick.
“The winery was adamant that the aggregate look remain,” says Harvey.
Hunting for a Solution
After much deliberation, the Wedge team identified a solution.
“The client didn’t need the actual pebbles on the walls, they just needed the look of the pebbles on the walls. Thus, we used the FOAM-LOK 2800 4G and sprayed up and over the steps, then, after applying a silicone topcoat to the horizontal roof, we used a vinyl covering on the walls," Harvey said. "The vinyl covering is ideal as it provides the look of stone pebbles yet, couple with and applied over the spray foam, provides the fully waterproof solution the winery has been in need of for so long.”
Wedge Roofing used Huntsman Building Solutions’ Thermo-Sil Silicone NP Coating to coat the spray foam. The single component moisture curing silicone rubber roof coating system provides a tough membrane and preserves and extends the life of the roof. Wedge has used both Thermo-Sil and FOAM-LOK 2800 4G on its award-winning projects in the past.
“We’ve also used this high-performance spray foam over natural stone and flagstone before, even hired artisans to paint over it and replicate the look of natural quarried stone; however, in this case, that was neither cost effective nor necessary, as we could instead utilize the vinyl,” says Harvey.
Wedge Roofing credits the success of the retrofit with delivering what the client wanted, even if slightly different than what they asked for.
“We had to come up with an out-of-the-box solution,” said Harvey.
While wineries and tasting rooms in Napa operate year-round, each has a short window of time annually when maintenance, repairs and various construction projects must be completed.
“No winery wants these projects occurring when grow season is happening and construction could contaminate the grapes. Nor are harvesting or bottling great times," Harvey said. "Hence there’s just a handful of weeks to get things done.”
Given there were additional projects being completed on the winery, Wedge Roofing’s team, which included Harvey and SPFA PCP certified installer Fortino Juarez, were allotted a mere week to complete the work.
“Weekends were off limits because, as you’d expect, they bring in a high volume of visitors,” says Harvey. “The good news is that, despite the weekends off, we were able to finish and be packed out and gone shy of our deadline.”
Unsurprisingly, Wedge Roofing’s work on the Napa County Vineyard has already been recognized for its innovation and ingenuity. In February 2023, Wedge received the SPFA National Industry Excellence Award for Roof SPF Less Than 40,000 Square Feet at the SprayFoam 2023 Convention & Expo held in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“It’s always nice to be recognized by our industry peers for our work,” adds Harvey. “But at the end of the day, what we really love is giving a client an innovative, lasting, and cost-conscious roof retrofit solution.”