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The largest roof repair in history

While there is no official record for the biggest roofing repair that the world has ever seen, we’ve certainly not heard of any larger roof rebuilds than that seen in New Orleans in the United States, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The repair in question was undertaken to the mammoth 273-foot dome of the iconic Louisiana Superdome, the home of the New Orleans Saints American football team.

Now officially the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the venue – which was first opened in 1975 – has played host to plenty of local highs and lows down the years, including not only such sports as football, baseball and basketball, but also performances by celebrated musicians like the O’Jays, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Allman Brothers and Al Hirt. The dome was also used as a shelter from two previous hurricanes, Hurricane Georges in 1988 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004.


While the stadium proved robust to the weather on these past occasions, when Hurricane Katrina struck, the high winds peeled off a large section of its outer covering, exposing the concrete underneath. This necessitated the closure of the stadium a few days later for a year of repairs. More than 100 roofers were called upon to carry out a rebuild costing $32 million in materials and labour – certainly more impressive figures than we have seen for any other roof repair in history!

Over more than 10 months, 10,463 pieces of metal decking were applied to the Superdome, the roof being covered with half a million gallons of foam and five layers of polyurethane paint – two layers of grey primer, then three layers of white polyurethane – sprayed on the roof to restore its familiar white topping. With little rain occurring during the critical May and June period, bad weather accounted for a mere six days’ lost work, allowing for all of the heavy labour to be done by the end of June.


While officials considered painting the roof a new colour to symbolise its post-Katrina recovery, after listening to architects and the management company concerned that a darker roof would absorb a greater amount of heat and drive up energy bills, they eventually settled on the traditional white. At least as important, however, was the redesign of the roofing to withstand even the most intense hurricane winds.

The monumental scale of the roof replacement has led to it being described as the Mount Everest of roof rebuilds – and here at ELC Roofing Ltd., we would certainly struggle to disagree with that!

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