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Old 01-24-2018, 01:37 AM   #1
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To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


Hello everyone,

This is my first question on this forum so please excuse me if this is something that is fairly obvious. I've done a bit of googling on this but can't seem to get anything substantial.

Mine is a four story apartment with the apartment owner at the top having access to the roof. There is a metal strip which runs along the edge of the roof and as per the builder this strip is attached to a metal pole on the extreme top of the block of apartments and is used to dissipate lightening to the ground during rough weather.

The picture of the strip(s) as they appear today are given below. My questions is - Is it absolutely necessary to leave these strips exposed as they are in the picture attached or can the strips be covered with cement exposing only the largish screws (as one is visible in the picture) at regular intervals?

We're gonna be using the roof and the idea of exposed metal strips looks ugly. Although, if its absolutely required then we don't have a problem.
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:22 AM   #2
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


The roof of a commercial structure generally looks "ugly". I would embrace it for what it is.
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Old 01-24-2018, 07:45 AM   #3
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


At a MINIMUM you "could" paint the conductors to match the coping. However DO NOT paint any of the bonding connections, conductor splices or any strike points.

Now having said that, leave it alone. Lightning protection is not designed with aesthetics in mind.

We have many customers that have very nice rooftop decks, green roofs etc that just accept the lightning protection as part of the rooftop experience.
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:41 AM   #4
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


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The roof of a commercial structure generally looks "ugly". I would embrace it for what it is.
Thanks @craig11152 , perhaps it isn't clear but this is not a commercial structure. It's a residential apartment with roughly 1000 sq ft usable roof on which we intend to create a roof garden at some point in future.
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:07 AM   #5
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


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Thanks @craig11152 , perhaps it isn't clear but this is not a commercial structure. It's a residential apartment with roughly 1000 sq ft usable roof on which we intend to create a roof garden at some point in future.
I sort of lump "commercial" in with multi (four) story apartments in that structurally they are not designed as single family homes.
Is there any HVAC of any sort up there?
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:52 AM   #6
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


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At a MINIMUM you "could" paint the conductors to match the coping. However DO NOT paint any of the bonding connections, conductor splices or any strike points.

Now having said that, leave it alone. Lightning protection is not designed with aesthetics in mind.

We have many customers that have very nice rooftop decks, green roofs etc that just accept the lightning protection as part of the rooftop experience.
Thanks @Talos4 for sharing your experience. Your advice is exactly what I was hoping for!
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Old 01-24-2018, 10:54 AM   #7
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


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I sort of lump "commercial" in with multi (four) story apartments in that structurally they are not designed as single family homes.
Is there any HVAC of any sort up there?
No HVAC. Just plain roof as it is visible for the adjacent apartment in the picture I've attached above.
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Old 01-24-2018, 01:37 PM   #8
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


Good example of what a Rooftop Green Roof and patio area can be.
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Old 01-24-2018, 01:59 PM   #9
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


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Good example of what a Rooftop Green Roof and patio area can be.
Were you involved in that? I wonder how much weight that adds to the roof system?

As amazing as those look I always think from a roofing standpoint what a nightmare it will be when a leak springs up eventually.
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Old 01-25-2018, 07:33 AM   #10
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


Yes, It's actually on our facility. We use it as an example to potential green roof customers what a green roof is. We use the patio for lunches, occasional meetings, social gatherings etc.

Weight depends on the type of green roof system installed.

Thumbnail: Anywhere from 10-25 lbs per sqft to 40-100+ lbs per sqft.
Three different types of green roof systems, Extensive, Semi Intensive and Intensive. Weight is based on soil types and plantings.
Of course a structural study must be completed before going forward.

Leaks aren't really a large issue. Many green roofs incorporate a low voltage Electric Field Vector Mapping (EFVM) system.

Basically a wire grid system installed under the non conductive roof membrane and connected to the conductive structural decking.. If a leak occurs the water reaches the wire grid causing a completion of an electrical connection. A scanner then isolates the location and then we know where the leak is occurring. We then remove the overburden and inspect the membrane and complete the repair. That's the thumbnail explanation.

There are also systems that are belt and suspenders system where additional bitumen waterproofing is installed to the non conducting decking (concrete), perimeter walls, penetrations etc, then insulation and roof membrane, overburden are installed. More expensive but, also comes with a leak free guaranty.

There is much more to green roof systems, I've just given the high points.

Here's another one we did on a museum roof.
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:22 AM   #11
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Re: To expose or not to expose? Lightening Protection Strip


fascinating...thanks for the post
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