Residential Selling: Consider Color, Contractors!

Mina Starsiak (left) and Karen E. Laine started their own company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, to tackle home restoration projects. The duo currently stars in the HGTV series “Good Bones.” Photo: Two Chicks and a Hammer.

Mina Starsiak (left) and Karen E. Laine started their own company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, to tackle home restoration projects. The duo currently stars in the HGTV series “Good Bones.” Photo: Two Chicks and a Hammer.

“You can be a more profitable, more well-liked contractor if you talk to your clients about color.”

Those are the words of Karen E. Laine, the mother half of the mother-daughter team who started second careers rehabbing houses in their neighborhood near downtown Indianapolis. Laine and her daughter, Mina Starsiak, discovered they had a passion for home restoration and started their own company named Two Chicks and a Hammer. Laine and Starsiak also currently star in the HGTV series “Good Bones,” which chronicles their projects repairing and rehabbing houses. They shared their insights on exterior design and the importance of roof color with Roofing.

Laine and Starsiak note that people have strong emotional connections to color. They often use color to express their personality in both the interior and the exterior of the house. Since the roof is such a prominent exterior component, figuring out how it plays into the home’s color palette is crucial.

Residential roofing contractors can set themselves apart from the competition if they can help homeowners find the right color combination for their home, notes Laine. “If a contactor can say, ‘I see you have a yellow house and a bright red door. I have some roof choices that will go well with that, and allow you to make changes over time,’ your clients are going to think you are a genius.”

Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak believe since the roof is such a prominent exterior component, figuring out how it plays into the home’s color palette is crucial. Their home in the Indianapolis area is shown here. Photo: Owens Corning.

Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak believe figuring out how the roof plays into the home’s color palette is crucial. Their home in the Indianapolis area is shown here. Photo: Owens Corning.

Laine urges contractors to make the most of expanded color choices in shingles available today. “If you are contractor, carry samples with you, walk outside the house and show them how the shingle is going to enhance the exterior appearance and the color of the house,” she says. “Because it’s not just one-dimensional color; shingles are multi-dimensional. Some of them have red, and brown, and yellow. Some have blue and brown and yellow. Looked at from a distance, you might not see those distinct colors, but they inform the color spectrum of the roof and how it looks with the house.”

She also recommends using a paint fan to help determine colors for other elements of the home. “There are usually six colors on each blade of a paint fan,” says Laine. “The top one is the lightest and the bottom one is the darkest. If you’re not secure in your color choices, you can just pick the medium color in the paint fan for your siding, the darkest color in the paint fan for your door, and the lightest color for your trim. Then you are guaranteed that they are all going to coordinate, and you’re not going to have something in the end that clashes.”

Others might want to consider contrasting colors. “If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, then pick out a different color for the door,” says Laine. “For each homeowner, it’s a very individual opportunity to be creative and see how color feels to you. And the great thing about the colored roofs out there is because of the way they are made, they complement a wide variety of color combinations on a house.”

Taking the time to explore different roof colors gives the contractor the opportunity to connect with the customer and build trust. Starsiak recommends that contractors take advantage of online tools that can be customized to demonstrate the ways different colored shingles will look on the house. “You can scan in a picture of your house and see how different paint colors and roof colors would look in just a few minutes,” Starsiak says. “If you were thinking of painting your house a different color, you can see which roof would go with it. There are online tools for everything now.”

The right color combination can also make a home easier to sell when the time comes. “From a real estate perspective, there are a lot of things that go into the first impression of the outside of the house, including the siding and the landscaping or lack thereof,” notes Starsiak. “A huge part of that initial impression is the roof, so you don’t want to miss that opportunity.”

Laine agrees. “A prettier house is going to be easier to sell, and the dimension that a colored roof adds to a house makes it prettier,” Laine says. “Aesthetics are important. You have to consider color, all you contractors out there. Look at all that alliteration—consider color, contractors! That’s your title, right there. I’ll give you that for free—it’s not trademarked.”

Karen E. Laine (left) and Mina Starsiak were on hand at the 2017 International Roofing Expo to offer design advice to show attendees. Photo: Chris King.

Karen E. Laine (left) and Mina Starsiak were on hand at the Owens Corning booth during the 2017 International Roofing Expo to offer design advice to show attendees. Photo: Chris King.

Antis Roofing & Waterproofing Is Making a Difference By Embracing Community Service

Antis Roofing encourages employees, business partners and customers to join its quarterly team build projects for Habitat for Humanity.

Antis Roofing encourages employees, business partners and customers to join its quarterly team build projects for Habitat for Humanity.

If the name Antis Roofing & Waterproofing sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in the trade press quite a bit lately. The Irvine, Calif.-based company received several awards at the 130th National Roofing Contractors Association Convention, including first place in the CNA/NRCA Community Involvement Award, which honors NRCA contractor members for charitable works. Two Antis Roofing employees, Narciso Alarcon and Manuel Cortez, received Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards from the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, and Alarcon was also named the Best of the Best by the Alliance and Professional Roofing magazine.

In March, the company’s founder and CEO, Charles Antis, was elected to the board of directors for the NRCA. Later that month, he was honored by Alzheimer’s Orange County for his volunteer work on behalf of that organization and his company’s community service projects. In April, Antis was named to the board of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House.

For Charles Antis and everyone else at the company, it’s been a whirlwind year. “Someone was joking that it’s like Academy Award season,” Antis says. “I don’t want to get too caught up in it, but this may never happen again, so I want to enjoy every moment of it. I want to make sure my team enjoys every moment of it. It’s been really nice to be recognized for stuff that we think is important because it shows us that other people think it’s important, too. And there was a period where maybe it didn’t feel that way. It feels like it’s working and we’re making a difference, and that’s why it feels pretty awesome today.”

Filling a Niche

For Antis, the company’s community service projects are inextricably linked to its purpose and mission as a company. He says it just took him a while to realize that fact.

Founded in 1989, Antis Roofing has 90 employees and specializes exclusively in work for homeowners associations. Most of the roofing work involves clay tile, but it also does a lot of asphalt shingle roofs, metal roofs, and single-ply systems—primarily PVC. “Our only focus is HOA,” say Antis. “Our company services approximately 1,200 HOAs that average 200 units each. That’s 240,000 individual homeowners that could call us at any one time, so that’s a challenge.”

Charles Antis was recently appointed to the board of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House.

Charles Antis was recently appointed to the board of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House.

The demanding HOA market keeps the business running on all cylinders, notes Antis.“Because we were focused on this super-high customer care market, we developed some really great qualities as a business,” he notes. “For example, we photograph virtually everything we touch, everything we see, everything we do. We upload about 6,000 images per day because that’s what it takes to protect all of our stakeholders, from our material suppliers to our manufacturers to the individual homeowners association board members and homeowners. We memorialize everything that occurs with photographs and notes in our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, much like a property manager would.”

In the drive to improve his company, Antis asked himself a lot of questions, including basic questions about what motivates him and the true purpose of his company. “Somewhere along the line we discovered that our purpose is to keep families safe and dry,” he says. “That’s what helped lead us to our philanthropy. It brought us back to the community.”

Finding a Passion

Antis believes the company’s community service efforts help employees find their passion and make a connection with the community. “Our philanthropy is tied to our central theme,” he notes. “We believe everybody deserves an opportunity to live in safe, dry home and have a happy family there.”

The first board Antis joined was for Habitat for Humanity in Orange County, which embraces the same goal. He also serves on NRCA committees and will begin serving on the NRCA board for the same reason. “I’m able to give back in a way that lifts me, my people, my stakeholders and my industry,” he says. “I’m also on the board of Ronald McDonald House, which is again giving people a safe, dry place to live while they visit their sick children in the hospital. All of these board memberships that I do are focused on keeping families safe and dry, which is the central mission of Antis Roofing.”

The company has worked with Habitat for Humanity since 2009, and it also helps other nonprofit organizations by repairing, maintaining and replacing their roofs at no charge through the Antis Foundation “This year we are keeping 15 different nonprofits dry,” he says. “In fact, we have two complete re-roofs we are setting up this summer for the Boy Scouts of America and America Family Housing.”

Everyone at the company has found community service projects personally rewarding, notes Antis. It’s also helped the business grow and thrive. “We’ve discovered that the more we give, the more we grow, the more money we make, and the more we can give,” he says. “We are in this awesome little cycle where we have purpose in our work. We understand that there is something magical happening right now, and we just have a hard time saying no when somebody has a leaky roof.”

Antis Roofing CEO Charles Antis (left) accepts an award at Alzheimer’s Orange County’s 19th annual fundraising event from Jim McAleer, president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Orange County.

Antis Roofing CEO Charles Antis (left) accepts an award at Alzheimer’s Orange County’s 19th annual fundraising event from Jim McAleer, president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Orange County.

Antis believes his purpose in life is to ignite passion in others to create social change. “We believe that we can bring that passion out in every worker in our company and all of our stakeholders. We have this crazy philosophy around here that we are changing the world, and because of that, we are changing the world. And that’s freaking awesome.”

Changing the World

Antis is extremely proud of the awards his company has won. He is also extremely grateful. “Winning those awards from the roofing industry just filled my heart with such gratitude,” he says. “It was just awesome to experience the way our whole company received the Community Involvement Award. We all feel like we are making the roofing industry a better place. We all feel at Antis Roofing that we are working to lift the brand and lift the paycheck of all 250,000 roofers in America. We have that purpose in what we do, and it was gratifying to win that award as a team.”

Alarcon and Cortez, the winners of the individual awards, both lead by example, according to Antis. “It also felt really good to see two of our really hardworking employees honored with MVP Awards, one of them the Best of the Best,” he notes. “We are really proud of our team members achieving recognition because we are family.”

Charles Antis believes the company’s philanthropic efforts have inspired everyone at his company and made it a more exciting place to come to work.

Charles Antis believes the company’s philanthropic efforts have inspired everyone at his company and made it a more exciting place to come to work.


Antis is thankful for the recognition his team has received, especially because it allows him to share his message with others in the industry. “We have this amazing story right now, and it is getting a lot of attention, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to tell other business owners that this is not very complicated,” he says. “It’s just a slight shift in the way you look at business. It’s bringing a why—why you exist—into the picture. And suddenly, there’s a stronger culture. Everybody wants to come work here because there is purpose here.”

“We don’t consider ourselves lowly roofers anymore,” he concludes. “We consider ourselves roofing professionals that are truly making the world a better place. We have a very important service that we provide, and we provide it in the best way possible.”

Photos: Antis Roofing & Waterproofing

Green Roof Brightens the View for Patients at VA Hospital

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, a modular green roof system was installed to improve the quality of life for patients in the extended care wing.

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, a modular green roof system was installed to improve the quality of life for patients in the extended care wing.

Michael Whitfield was fascinated by the concept of green roofs, but he didn’t encounter many of them near his home in Charleston, S.C. He knew green roofs benefitted the environment, extended the life of roof systems and were aesthetically pleasing, so he was sure he could tap into the market in the Southeast as a green roof installer. When he couldn’t find a modular green roof system he liked, he designed his own. Whitfield is now the president and CEO of Green Roof Outfitters. Founded in 2009, the company manufactures components for green roofs installed all over the country. The company also installs green roofs itself, as was the case with a nearby hospital project.

After reading research studies that showed hospital patients recovered more quickly and needed less pain medication when they had a natural setting to look out on, Whitfield was inspired. He checked with local hospitals to see if there were areas that would be good candidates for green roofs. When the PR person at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center expressed an interest, Whitfield passed along the research material.

Months later he got a call asking him to submit a bid. While the hospital’s budget did not allow for a green roof to be installed on the entire building, there was a section of the roof that could be worked on right away. It was a 3,000-square-foot area on a wing for extended care patients, who looked out on a white TPO roof. “We put a green roof on that whole strip outside their windows so the patients would have something nice to look at,” Whitfield says.

Roof Materials

Construction took place on a weekend, when traffic would be lighter. A crane was used to load the material on the roof, including 4-inch-deep trays for the extensive modular green roof system and 2-inch-thick rubber pavers to go around the perimeter. Plants in the pre-grown mats included different varieties of sedum. Chives, prickly-pear cactus and other perennials were added later.

Green Roof Outfitters partners with growers around the country to provide pre-grown mats. Different varieties of plants are used in different parts of the country, but in most markets the company has had success with a blend using approximately 14 different varieties of sedum.

Whitfield believes the proper combination of plants is essential. “Two buildings that are right next to each other could have different microclimates, so you don’t know exactly what is going to work perfectly there and what is not,” he says. “We mix these plants with a variety—some do better in shade, some do better in sun. With the different tolerances they have, the strongest will survive, so we will always have something there. Many people make the mistake of planting one species they like with a certain pattern or color. But if you plant one species—a monoculture—and it doesn’t like it there, you’ll have a totally dead roof.”

Roof Report

The system does not require slip sheets for installation, but some roof manufacturers require them to maintain the warranty on the existing roof. In this project, a layer of 40-mil EPDM was placed on top the existing TPO roof. “We laid the modules on top of that,” says Whitfield. “We have rubber paver walk pads, which have feet on the bottom for drainage. We put those around the outside so we could have a nice-looking barrier and a walking area for the maintenance guys.”

Michael Whitfield was on hand to oversee the project at the VA medical center.

Michael Whitfield was on hand to oversee the project at the VA medical center.

“Many people don’t know this, but a green roof can help the roof last 200 percent to 400 percent longer by preventing UV degradation,” Whitfield says. “It shades the roof and protects it. During the day, exposed roofs get superheated in the sun, and cool at night, so they are constantly expanding and contracting. A green roof system keeps it at a constant temperature.”

Another benefit can come from creating functional space on the roof. “We wholesale a lot of systems that combine a green roof with pavers to add usable space,” he says, “We can supply ipe wood pavers or other pavers in different configurations on our pedestal system to make walkways and patios.”

Depending on the environment, an irrigations system is a common option. “Green roof are a low-maintenance systems, not a no-maintenance systems,” notes Whitfield. “We incorporated irrigation channels into the new design of our modules, so you can put in irrigation during the installation or after it is completed.”

Another change is a smaller module. “Our modules used to be 2-feet-by-2-feet, but they were really heavy for the roofers,” he explains. “Our new modules are half the size—one-by-two—so they are much easier to handle and put in place.”

As they become more comfortable with green roof systems, roofing contractors are finding out they can be a valuable add-on with roofing projects. “Once roofers are on the site with all of the equipment and labor, why not make double the money by installing roofing and a green roof?”

No special training is needed to install this tray system. “It’s easy to install,” Whitfield notes. “The modules come fully vegetated, 40 to a pallet. You just pick one up, put it down, and repeat. It’s like laying down dominoes, honestly.”

The modular system is also easy to move if roof maintenance is necessary. “Our system is so flexible,” he says. “If you need roof maintenance, you can just pick up a couple of trays, move them and move them back. This is such an easy, modern way to do it—and it’s very affordable.”

Team

Green Roof Manufacturer and Installer: Green Roof Outfitters

Photos: Green Roof Outfitters

Stanford Hospital Project Demands Versatility and Surgical Precision

The new Stanford Hospital is currently under construction in Palo Alto, Calif. The 824,000-square-foot facility connects to the existing hospital by a bridge and tunnel. The project includes a multi-level parking garage and with additional office buildings. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

The new Stanford Hospital is currently under construction in Palo Alto, Calif. The 824,000-square-foot facility connects to the existing hospital by a bridge and tunnel. The project includes a multi-level parking garage and with additional office buildings. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

Dennis Olson is used to dealing with large health care projects with multiple scopes of work, but the new Stanford Hospital project he’s currently working on might be the most challenging job he’s ever faced.

“I’ve never been involved with a project that’s been this complex and this difficult to roof and manage,” says Olson, the owner of Letner Roofing in Orange, Calif. “There are 16 different types of roofing and waterproofing systems, and each one is a little bit different at each location around the building.”

Located in Palo Alto, Calif., the new Stanford Hospital is an 824,000-square-foot facility that connects to the existing hospital by a bridge and tunnel. Olson is convinced his company is perfect for the job. He has been in the roofing industry for almost four decades, and he’s worked at Letner for more than 30 years. Olson worked his way up through the company as a foreman, project manager, and estimator before becoming the president and owner 15 years ago. “I have been estimating and managing health care projects for more than 25 years,” he says. “This job is right up our alley.”

The Company

Located in Orange, Calif., Letner Roofing specializes in commercial work including all types of roofing and below-grade waterproofing systems. “We are licensed with all of the major manufacturers to install their products,” Olson says. “We install basically every roofing and waterproofing system that’s available to the market. We have a sheet metal division that produces metal wall panels, roofing and general sheet metal.”

The new hospital features green roofs on the main hospital, central plant and parking structure. The garden roof section on level three of the main hospital building is shown here. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

The new hospital features green roofs on the main hospital, central plant and parking structure. The garden roof section on level three of the main hospital building is shown here. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

Olson believes the company’s success begins with its great alliances with top general contractors and owners. “Our strengths are our customer service and quality control, and our ability to get projects done efficiently and on time,” he says. “I think that’s why general contractors choose us. We do what we say we’re going to do, we do it efficiently, and we take a lot of pride in the finished product.”

Communication is the key, according to Olson. “We have weekly sales meetings where all of the project managers and sales staff get together,” Olson says. “We share information, which allows us to learn from our failures and successes. It’s a team atmosphere. There is no real competition between the sales guys other than the innate competition that you each have to be better. We don’t compete against each other; we all work together for the common goal.”

Keeping the lines of communication open with industry partners is a key part of the puzzle. “As far as communication with the general contractor, that’s pretty simple, but a lot of people miss that,” he says. “You have to return phone calls. You have to return emails. If you have an issue on a project, handle the issue efficiently. Bring scheduling problems or details issues to the attention of the general contractor early. Nobody like to be surprised. People like to be informed.”

Due to their expertise in design-build situations, members of the Letner team are often called in by general contractors at the design and budgeting stage to offer advice on the right materials and methods for a project.

That was the case with the new Stanford Hospital project and general contractor Clark/McCarthy—a joint venture of Clark Construction Co. and McCarthy Building Cos. “McCarthy is a contractor I’ve been dealing with for more than 25 years. I’ve done a lot of health care projects with them, so when Stanford came out, they certainly wanted our input and help developing the budgets,” notes Olson.

Underground, Overhead

For Letner, the project involved several scopes of work including roofing on the main hospital and below-grade and underslab waterproofing.

Below-grade work included a pre-applied blind-side waterproofing application by Cetco. Letner also waterproofed underground tanks for domestic water, fire suppression, and sewage with a hot rubber system by Gaco Western. “The hospital was built for the worst-case scenario,” Olson notes. “If there is a big earthquake, and services are interrupted, the hospital can sustain itself for a while.”

This aerial photo shows the new Stanford Hospital, which is currently under construction. When completed in 2018, the complex will showcase 16 different roofing systems on 12 different elevations. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

This aerial photo shows the new Stanford Hospital, which is currently under construction. When completed in 2018, the complex will showcase 16 different roofing systems on 12 different elevations. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

As the superstructure was being completed, the roofing work began. “As I said, there are 16 different roofing systems on this project. There are 12 different elevations,” notes Olson.

Systems range from urethane and urethane and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) coatings to split-slab and inverted hot rubber systems, PVC roof systems and hybrid dual waterproofing system. The largest roofing systems include a Sarnafil PVC roof on the main hospital and a hot rubber system by Cetco for use under the garden roofs. Letner is installing garden roofs on the third floor of the main hospital and another on the central plant building.

Both of these garden roofs were constructed over flat concrete decks. The first step was to provide positive slope for drainage. Cell-Crete Corporation of Hayward, Calif., provided lightweight insulating concrete (LWIC), which was used to create positive slope. After the LWIC cured, crews from Cell-Crete installed quarter-inch cement board over the LWIC.

The hospital’s surgery rooms are directly beneath the garden roof on the main hospital, so the system has to be bulletproof. “This roof area requires intricate detailing along with a Cetco hybrid dual waterproofing system,” Olson states. “After the lightweight concrete and cover board are in place, Letner will install 60 mils of Hydrofix urethane membrane, followed by Cetco Corflex, a unique combination of a re-enforced KEE membrane bonded to an active polymer core membrane. Both garden roof areas will be protected with an in-place leak detection system by Internal Leak Detection.”

The overburden at the hospital garden roofs will include insulation, drainage mats, various types of plants and trees and pedestal paver systems.

Letner installed PVC roof systems from Sika Sarnafil level three of the hospital and on the main roof of the hospital. The 60-mil PVC membrane was installed over insulation and DensDeck cover board. Insulation was a minimum of R-20 near the drains. Some sections of the PVC were topped by ballast rock.

On the adjoining multi-level parking deck, Letner installed PVC roofs on two office buildings. The rest of the roofing and waterproofing work on the parking structure, including another garden roof, was completed by Courtney Waterproofing and Roofing of Irvine, Calif.

Safety Precautions

Letner and the general contractor help ensure safety is always top of mind at the site. “On this project, like any other, the safety issues were extremely important,” notes Olson. “We have our crews stretch and flex daily, and everyone must wear the personal protective equipment required for each task. Fall protection is a concern at every elevation, and hot rubber is extremely hazardous activity that requires additional protection and monitoring.”

Elastizell lightweight insulating concrete from Cell-Crete was used to provide slope for drainage on the flat structural concrete decks. It was later topped with cement board. Photo: Cell-Crete

Elastizell lightweight insulating concrete from Cell-Crete was used to provide slope for drainage on the flat structural concrete decks. It was later topped with cement board. Photo: Cell-Crete

The perimeter walls were being constructed during the project, so extra precautions had to be taken at the roof edge. “We had to wear harnesses and be tied off at all times,” Olson says. “We are very concerned about safety. We have a safety manager, and he does a very good job of identifying possible hazards on each job. We identify those per deck and apply the proper safety measures required for each elevation.”

Waterproofing the tanks also required special care. “The domestic water, waste and fire tanks and are in the ground, so you have to have people certified to do that work with specialized equipment,” Olson states.

Challenging Schedule

Construction of the hospital is still underway. Work is expected to be completed in 2018. The sheer size and multiple scopes of work were obvious challenges on the project, but the schedule was also tight—and subject to change. Some roof details were changed and others were developed as the job progressed, so Letner’s crews had to make some adjustments on the fly. Letner continues to work with the consultant on the project, ABB, to iron out the details.

“Sometimes you have to adjust the schedule when you are coordinating the work with other trades,” Olson notes. “The schedule, coordinating with other trades and the number of changes on the job have been the biggest issues we’ve faced. It’s is still a challenge, as the work is ongoing.”

When it came time to stage equipment and materials, the large job site suddenly seemed small. “The site was kind of tight, so of course logistics came into play with loading and off-loading each different area,” he says. “Some areas were hard to get to, and sometimes we had to wheel the product through corridors to get to the decks. Not everything was easy to get to. Logistics were difficult, but we were able to overcome those problems. Clark/McCarthy helped out quite a bit with logistics and loading.”

Despite the complexity of the job, the installation work has gone smoothly, according to Olson. “As far as the application for our field crews, there’s not that much difficulty for them. They are all very talented at what they do,” he says. “It’s just a very difficult building, and there are a lot of details that are not typical.”

The key to overcoming difficulties? “It’s constant communication,” Olson says. “Our strengths are our management teams, from the field operations to office staff. We’re honest with our customers. They understand the level of customer service and quality we deliver. Our success is a testament to the service we provide to our customers. We are often praised for our service and workmanship, and we are very proud of our quality installations as well.”

On the adjoining multi-level parking deck, Letner Roofing installed PVC roofs on two office buildings. The rest of the roofing and waterproofing work on the parking structure, including another garden roof, was completed by Courtney Waterproofing and Roofing. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

On the adjoining multi-level parking deck, Letner Roofing installed PVC roofs on two office buildings. The rest of the roofing and waterproofing work on the parking structure, including another garden roof, was completed by Courtney Waterproofing and Roofing. Photo: Stanford Health Center.

TEAM

Architect:
Rafael Viñoly Architects in association with Lee, Burkhart, Liu Inc.

General Contractor:
Clark/McCarthy—a joint venture of Clark Construction Co. and McCarthy Building Cos.

Roofing and Waterproofing Contractors:
Main hospital building and offices: Letner Roofing, Orange, Calif.
Adjoining parking structure: Courtney Waterproofing and Roofing, Irvine, Calif.

LWIC Provider and Installer:
Cell-Crete Corp., Hayward, Calif.

Roof Restoration Project Keeps Rehab Facility Operating

Skyline Roof Restoration

Bill Steeves (left) and Steve Broda launched Skyline Roof Restoration, a company that specializes in restoring roofs with coatings.

Rehabilitation facilities help their patients stay healthy. Keeping roofs healthy is another matter.

When the roof at a rehabilitation center in Colorado was reaching the end of its service life, roofing contractor Bill Steeves recognized it was the perfect candidate for roof restoration project. Steeves is the president of Skyline Roof Restoration Inc., based in Frederick, Colo. The company specializes in roof coatings. It was launched last year by Steeves and his partner, Steve Broda. Broda is the founder of Skyline Roofing Inc., a full-service commercial roof contracting firm, also located in Frederick, where both men have worked since 2006.

“We formed Skyline Roof Restoration as a vehicle to promote restoring roofs with coatings,” Steeves says. “We have both been involved with various coating projects in the past and wanted to offer our expertise to clients where restoration is their most prudent option.”

In the Denver area, the coatings market is booming in part due to changes in local energy codes, notes Broda. Several municipalities have mandated with that a roof tear-off and replacement, the R-values in the roof have to be brought up to those for new construction. “It was becoming unaffordable for some people to do total roof replacement and upgrade to R-30 or R-38,” Broda says. “We needed another tool to provide them with a roofing option that was economical and did not force them to add the extra R-value to their roof systems.”

In many cases, coating an existing membrane roof can be an excellent option. “It can save the customers a lot of money compared to a roof replacement, and depending on the system and the thickness, we can offer a 20-year NDL warranty,” Broda notes.

Skyline Roof Restoration

The Centre Avenue Health & Rehab project encompassed 21,863 square feet of low-slope roof on 10 separate roof levels. The low-slope sections were surrounded by a standing seam metal roof.

According to Steeves and Broda, the key to the success of a roof restoration is making sure the underlying substrate is a good candidate for the coating. Skyline Roof Restoration will only authorize a coating project if it is the best option for the facility. “Steve and I have a combined 77 years of experience in commercial roofing, and there are very few scenarios we have not run across,” Steeves says. “We have both built very strong commercial companies based on return customers and referrals. We both really care about the final product, value to our customers, and the relationships we have developed over the years.”

The Diagnosis

Steeves had a hunch that the roof at the Centre Avenue Health & Rehab facility in Fort Collins might be reaching the end of its life span. “We have been doing all of the roofing work for Columbine Health Systems, the owner of Centre Avenue Health & Rehab, for more than seven years and have developed a great working relationship with the owner,” he says. “We had never been called to Centre Avenue for any leaks, but I knew the building was about 18 years old.”

This aerial photo shows the Centre Avenue Heath & Rehab roof after the restoration process was completed.

This aerial photo shows the Centre Avenue Heath & Rehab roof after the restoration process was completed.

Steeves suggested it was time to conduct a roof inspection at Centre Avenue but was told to wait. Sure enough, the next time it rained, a leak was detected. When Steeves met his repair crew on the site, he noticed that the fully adhered EPDM roof system on the flat roof sections was just beginning to exhibit signs of oxidation. A few stress fractures were visible in the membrane. “It was a perfect candidate for a roof restoration,” he says.

In a meeting with the owner, Steeves suggested the application of a high-solids silicone restoration system from GE Momentive. “I explained that the restoration process would, in effect, freeze the aging process of the EPDM by protecting it from further UV degradation,” Steeves says. “I had also, prior to our meeting, completed some research and found out that the local power company was offering a rebate for any Energy Star-qualified roof covering, which further reduced his total capital outlay.”

When Steeves detailed the costs involved with the coating project as opposed to a tear-off and replacement, the owner gave him the go ahead on the roof restoration plan and opted for a 15-year NDL warranty.

Broda and Steeves note that there are cases in which the existing roof is too far degraded to work well with a coating, and in those cases, the only viable option is a roof replacement. The silicone coating can be used on membranes including EPDM, TPO, PVC, modified bitumen and smooth built-up roofs, as well as metal. “It works with all types of membranes, but you have to catch these roofs before the end of their serviceable life,” says Broda. “They have to have some life left in them to coat them. If we are not comfortable putting a coating on a roof, we won’t do it.”

Often all that is needed is minor repair of wall flashings, curb flashings and penetrations. Wet insulation is another problem to look out for. “We’ll do an infrared scan of the roof before we coat it to make sure we don’t have any wet insulation in there.”

Every proposal is also contingent on a successful adhesion test. A sample area is set up and a pullout test is conducted to determine if the product will adhere well.

Photos: Skyline Roof Restoration Inc.

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All in the Family

Chris King

Chris King

As I attended the 2017 International Roofing Expo with the team at Roofing, I thought back to my first roofing trade show. I had covered plumbing and HVAC for six years, but I had just joined a roofing publication and was looking to make a good first impression. Just a few minutes into my time on the trade show floor, I found myself talking with a group that included an NRCA executive officer, a regional sales director for a national distributor, and a marketing manager with a major manufacturer. After I introduced myself, they asked if I had any experience covering roofing, and I was forced to admit that I was new to the industry.

They could not have been more helpful. They all welcomed me warmly, asked about my previous experience, and told me how they entered the field. They all gave me their business cards and told me to feel free to call them any time if I had any questions.

As the conversation began to break up, the distributor shook my hand. “Welcome to the roofing industry,” he said. “You see, people enter the roofing industry, but they never leave it. There’s something about it that keeps people hanging around. It’s like a family. You might see someone with a different color shirt at a different booth at the next trade show. People might move around, but they almost never leave the roofing industry—and when they do, they usually come back.”

The roofing industry is amazingly close-knit, and it has been an honor to be a small part of it for the past 12 years. It has been inspiring to share stories about people, companies, products and services that have improved the lives of families and building owners. It has been a pleasure to document the improvements in an industry that continues to raise the bar on professionalism and safety.

It’s rare in the business world to encounter genuine feel-good stories, but they are easy to find in the roofing industry. How about products that are better for the environment, provide a better value to the building owner, and a bigger profit margin for the installing contractor—a true win-win. In this issue, we share the story of a manufacturer and contractors who teamed up to help people in need and profile a contractor who makes philanthropic work the cornerstone of his company’s mission.

When I was in college, I had no idea about the world of business-to-business publishing. I thought journalists just covered politics or sports. At that time, I never dreamed I’d cover the construction industry for 18 years, and that I’d hope to cover it for many more. As the reputations of politicians and athletes have declined over the last couple of decades, the reputation of roofing contractors has been elevated, one roof at a time. There is something so elemental, so important in the concept of the roof—what is the goal of working, after all, but to “put a roof over your head.”

I know what an excellent job my predecessor, Christina Koch, has done here because I watched her do it. I’ll do my best to live up to her expectations. After all, she’s still in the family as editor in chief of retrofit. Like me, she’ll just be wearing a different color shirt.