Standing Seam Roof Clamp Accommodates Variety of Seam Profiles

Dynamic Fastener offers the Standing Seam Roof Clamp, which is designed for use on a standing seam roof. The DFSSRC-03 installs over the clip on a completely seamed, attached roof section a minimum 4 feet or further from the edge with no damage to roof panels or finished seams and no roof penetrations. The clamp accommodates seams up to 1 inch wide, and the unique “flip” design of the DFSSRC-03 allows for fit on both the Butler MR24 and Butler VSR-style seams just by removing the bolts, turning one side of the clamp around the ring and replacing the bolts. According to the company, any roof that meets similar loadings, specifications, and codes of the Butler styles will accept these anchors for safety tie off.

This product serves as a part of a fall protection system with compatible equipment as determined by your competent person. A safety lanyard, of a maximum length 6-foot length, with a deceleration (shock absorber) device and full body harness should be used with the clamp. Clamps have been tested to meet and exceed the following OSHA standards: 1926.502 (d) (2), (3), (4) and (15): Anchorages for attachments of personal fall arrest equipment.

The clamp features durable, all steel construction with zinc electroplate finish, and it designed to be lightweight, reusable, and easy to use. The clamp must be attached to a fully seamed panel and must be attached over a clip that is bolted/screwed down (generally to a purlin). The flange of the clamp must be hooked under the seam before the four bolts are tightened to a torque of 50 ft./lb.

“Contractors tell me they appreciate the ease of installation,” says Ken Webb, Sales Manager, Dynamic Fastener. “Their customers, the building owners, will often request to buy the clamps from the contractor so their maintenance crews can use them as tie-off points when working on the roof. When it comes to safety, you need a reliable product that’s also affordable. You definitely get that with the DFSSRC-03 Standing Seam Roof Clamp.”

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.dynamicfastener.com

Call: (800) 821-5448

The “Roofers’ Choice” winner is determined by the product that receives the most reader inquiries from the “Materials & Gadgets” section in a previous issue. This product received the most inquiries from our July/August 2019 issue.

Flashing Best Practices

Tips on Installing Roll, Step and Roof-To-Wall Flashing

Photo: Atlas Roofing Corporation

Flashing plays a critical role in shielding a roof from water damage. Essential for leak-proof performance, flashing protects intersections of the roof plane and penetrations through the roof surface.

Installation methods and materials can vary based on region and weather. For example, some roofers may use aluminum instead of steel or copper. And some may use caulk on nail holes while others use tar. The most important rule of any roof installation is to follow ARMA guidelines.

Atlas Roofing partnered with professional contractor Mic Barringer, owner of Barringer Brothers Roofing in O’Fallon, Illinois, and asked him to share some of his best practices for flashing installation.

Roll Flashing

Installed along headwalls, roll flashing prevents water from penetrating a roof deck.

Roll flashing comes in a variety of metals, including steel and copper. These durable materials are typically used in Northern states, where roofs are prone to ice dams, and the Southeast, where roofs must withstand high winds and wind-blown rain.

Where Barringer lives in Illinois, the weather doesn’t get worse than an occasional downpour, so he uses aluminum roll flashing.

“Where we are, we get down-directional rain — we don’t get storms here,” he explains. “We even tape our flashing, and people will criticize if it’s not the way they do it — everybody does it differently. But here, this is 100 percent standard.”

How To Install:

  • Pull out the length of roll flashing needed for the headwall and extend it at least 4 inches past the sidewall.

Tip: Pull roll flashing from the center so it doesn’t uncoil and can easily be reused.

  • Adjust roll flashing so the center of the metal meets the bottom of the headwall, then nail it to the roof.

Tip: Push a hammer into the roll flashing as far as you can and slide it across the metal to create a 90-degree angle.

  • If necessary, nail roll flashing to the headwall to help smooth out wrinkles.

Note: Barringer acknowledges that nailing is not a preferred practice, but it gets the length of roll flashing as flush to the headwall as possible. To keep water from shedding behind flashing, he uses Zip System Tape, although he points out that others may use Tyvek. Starting the overlap from the bottom up, he adheres flashing to the oriented strand board (OSB).

  • Cut the extended section of roll flashing straight down, even with the sidewall and nail it to the roof deck, giving step flashing an area to drain off.

Tip: This method takes the place of pre-bents, which can be difficult to fit to the corner. If you end up with a pinhole, simply cover it up later with caulk.

Step Flashing

The small “steps” created by step flashing allow water to flow down the sidewall of a roof.

Like roll flashing, step flashing also comes in a variety of metals, with aluminum and copper being the most commonly used.

Barringer uses pre-milled aluminum step flashing because it already has a perfect 90-degree angle bent into it. And because each shingle is going to drain off, he installs one piece of step flashing per shingle, based on ARMA guidelines.

Figure 1a and 1b: Application of step flashing for a 5-inch exposure. See manufacturer for application instructions for other exposures. Images: Copyright © Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.

In states such as Minnesota, Florida and the Carolinas, roofers typically use steel or copper step flashing and bend it themselves and may also solder pieces together to protect a roof from ice dams and rain, Barringer says.

Ice and water underlayment is commonly installed behind step flashing in states with heavy storms and snow. In O’Fallon, Barringer says they use ice and water on eaves and valleys, but they’re not required to use it on protrusions because they don’t get the type of weather that would warrant it.

How To Install:

  • Start at the outside corner of the sidewall and align the first piece of step flashing with the bottom of the wall, folding the excess portion around the headwall.

Tip: If using aluminum, be gentle when handling it. Because it’s a soft metal, it rips easily.

  • Working up from the bottom of the sidewall, install step flashing below each shingle, coming down at least one-half inch to three-quarter inch over the previous piece to cover nail holes.
  • For the inside corner, cut step flashing down the middle of one side (from the longest edge toward the fold), then fold one of the cut pieces behind the other to form another 90-degree angle. Trim bottom edge of step flashing so that it extends just past the exposure (to prevent it from sticking out beneath the roof-to-wall flashing — see the next section for details).
  • Use Zip System Tape (or Tyvek) to secure the step flashing to the OSB, creating a watertight seal.

Roof-To-Wall Flashing

After roll flashing and step flashing are installed, roof-to-wall flashing can be added to give a roof a beautifully finished look.

Figure 2: Application of step flashing against a sidewall.

Roof-to-wall flashing is almost always going to be steel because it’s tough, Barringer says.

“The roof-to-wall that we do, it’s got a double-bolted bead at the bottom of it, so it sticks up a little bit, but that’s what reinforces it from the wind bending and denting it.”

Barringer says roof-to-wall flashing is pretty hard to mess up. The only thing you don’t want to do is anchor it to the roof instead of the wall because that would leave holes in the roof-to-wall flashing, which defeats its purpose, he explains.

How To Install:

  • Cut roof-to-wall flashing to length and nail it to the headwall.

Tip: Barringer says you can seal nail holes if you like, but it’s not necessary. The Zip System Tape (or Tyvek) and roll flashing are behind the roof-to-wall flashing, so water should easily flow out beneath it.

Proper Installation

When flashing is installed properly,it maintains the integrity of a roof, protectingagainst water damage. But what if the flashing isn’t done right? Would a faulty install void a shingle manufacturer’s warranty?

Barringer says manufacturers can’t guarantee anything when you’re using another company’s product.

Figure 3: Application of flashing against a front wall.

“If you have bad flashing job, it’s not the shingles’ fault that it failed, it’s the bad flashing,” he says.

For more information about proper flashing installation, refer to pages 69-77 of ARMA’s Residential Asphalt Roofing Manual, 2014 Edition.

Plus, watch Mic Barringer and his brother Stevo Barringer demonstrate proper flashing installation methods in Atlas Roofing’s “Hammer Time With Paul” web series, available at https://asphaltlife.atlasroofing.com.

About the author: Paul Casseri is the product manager of the Roofing Shingles and Underlayment Division for Atlas Roofing Corporation. For more information, visit www.atlasroofing.com.

Five Essential Roofing Contract Provisions

Contracts can either be a roofing contractor’s best friend or worst enemy. It is critical that contractors are aware of the provisions within roofing and prime contracts (as subcontracts often incorporate prime contract provisions). Due to the importance of contractual terms and provisions, outlined below are five essential contract provisions that, if not properly drafted, can have harmful consequences to your business and bottom line.

1. Scope of Work Provisions

“Scope of work” issues compose a large part of litigation under roofing contracts. Scope of work disputes typically involve contractors seeking payment for work that was not in the original contract, followed by unhappy owners disputing whether or not they agreed to the work that was performed. Scope of work issues arise when roofing contractors find areas of the roof that need additional work performed in order to successfully complete a project but may not have been adequately referenced within the contract. For instance: when a roofing contractor is performing a contract for a roof replacement, and the roofing contractor — in the process of replacing the roof — finds rotted decking that needs to be replaced, the roofing contractor is likely, and rightfully, going to perform the additional work and charge for the additional material and labor costs. The additional charges can be ripe for disagreement due to the original contract failing to adequately contemplate decking replacement as an extra charge.

Well-crafted scope of work provisions are imperative to include in roofing contracts. If additional work is encountered during a roofing project, as we all know is typically the case, the contract should explicitly state that the extra work (i.e., replacement of decking, fascia, soffits, etc.) will be an additional cost. Just as important, the contract should also state the method of pricing for this extra work.

2. Indemnification Provisions

Indemnification provisions are another important component of roofing contracts. Indemnification is the compensation for damages (or loss) as a result of someone else’s bad acts or omissions. For the roofing industry, indemnification clauses are important because they limit a roofing contractor’s liability.

It is important to note that there are several different types of indemnification provisions within roofing contracts: standard indemnity, super indemnity, and those that fall in between. Standard indemnity is the indemnification of the customer for the roofer’s actions that cause damage to the subject property. Super indemnity includes indemnification from the roofer’s own actions that cause damage, in addition to indemnifying a customer of his/her own acts. For instance: if a customer goes on a roof after hours to move equipment around, tearing a hole in a tarp covering which later leads to water damage, the super indemnity provision allows the customer to make a claim against the contractor — even though the customer’s own act caused the damage.

Indemnification provisions are complex and heavily litigated. Individual states have specific statutes and rules that control indemnification provisions in construction contracts. Due to this, roofers must ensure contracts are sensibly reviewed to ensure that the contract and its provisions comply with applicable state laws.

3. Liquidated Damages Provisions in Construction Contracts

When there is a contract, and one party to the contract breaches it, the non-breaching party oftentimes desires a liquidated damages provision in the contract to limit its damage exposure. Liquidated damages provisions are created to compensate a non-breaching party for the damages incurred from another party’s breach of the contract based on a predetermined amount and can protect a roofing contractor from large losses.

In roofing contracts, liquidated damages are usually tied to timely completion of the work by the contractor — that is, if not timely completed, the project owner is able to collect liquidated damages from the contractor due to failure to complete the project within the set timeframe.

Liquidated damages provisions must be carefully crafted and generally must abide by the following:

  • The damages must be intended to compensate the project owner for the breach of the contract — the liquidated damages provision cannot be a penalty. Courts have found that if the stipulated sum for liquidated damages is too great in comparison to the actual contract amount, the liquidated damages provision will not be enforced.
  • The liquidated damages provision is not enforceable if the non-breaching party contributed to the breach.
  • Because liquidated damages compensate for damages caused during late completion of a project, liquidated damages cannot be sought after the project has been substantially completed since the owner is no longer accruing damages.

These general rules of liquidated damages are important for roofing contractors to be aware of because when a project owner withholds proceeds, the contractor will be ready to make proper arguments to secure payment and potentially void the liquidated damages provision. To void a liquidated damages provision, the contractor can argue that any one of the above liquidated damages provisions has been violated. By proving any of above, the liquidated damages provision may not be enforced by a court and the contractor can successfully collect payment.

4. No Damages for Delay Clauses

Owners try to include limitations of liability and disclaimers within their roofing contracts. This is done to limit a roofing contractor’s ability to collect additional compensation from work due to unexpected delays and other conditions. Typically, under no damages for delay clauses, the roofing contractor is given extra time to complete a project but is not compensated for extra costs incurred due to said delay. No damages for delay clauses have a wide breadth in that they cover delays whether they are caused by an owner or caused by acts of God.

No damages for delay clauses are for the most part upheld in courts of law. However, there are certain circumstances where courts have declined to enforce a no damages for delay clause. If it is shown that an owner has acted in bad faith, the owner defrauded the contractor, or that the owner interfered with the contractor’s ability to finish the project, courts have the ability to decline to enforce a no damages for delay clause.

No damages for delay clauses—which can be found within bid documents—are important for roofing contractors to take note of since it allows roofing contractors to accurately adjust both their bids and work according to the contract terms.

5. Retainage Provisions

Retainage — or the withholding of a predetermined percentage of each progress or final payment — is included in many roofing and general construction contracts. Owners and prime contractors withhold retainage until final completion of the project. Retainage provisions have dual purposes: (1) they are used as an incentive for roofing contractors to complete the project; and (2) are used as protection by the owner in the event of uncompleted or defective work.

Roofing contractors should be wary that retainage can deepen the impact of subpar estimating as 5 percent to 10 percent of the contracted price is typically not paid until final completion of the project.

About the author: David Keel is an attorney at Cotney Construction Law who focuses his practice in various areas of construction law, and he serves as General Counsel of Space Coast Licensed Roofers Association. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry and serves as General Counsel for FRSA, RT3, NWIR, TARC, WSRCA and several other roofing associations. For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Inside, Outside

I was first introduced to Malinowski’s hierarchy of needs in college during an introduction to sociology class. I must admit, I wasn’t paying very close attention. I was an English literature major, and sociology was just a required elective. My hierarchy of interests was topped by the cute girls I might meet at the local tavern during quarter beer night.

I do remember that Malinowski put the need for shelter right up there with food and companionship as one of human society’s most important components. That concept made intuitive sense to me, but as I sat in the classroom, it never occurred to me how important the buildings themselves — and their roofs — were to educational facilities. Roofs not only protect students and teachers, but they also help preserve priceless works of art and literature — including those in digital formats — inside academic buildings.

The project profiles in this issue document the crucial roles roofs play in educational settings. They detail how roof design and installation, roof maintenance, and roof replacement are all critical functions that must be expertly handled. They also reveal how a school’s buildings can embody and define the institution architecturally.

At Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, crews from Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. replaced the roof systems on the first building constructed on the campus — Morrill Hall, built in 1868. The challenges on the project included bringing the building up to code while capturing its original look with modern products.

On the campus of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, crews from Empire Roofing faced similar challenges as they replaced the roof on historic Austin Hall, a building that has been occupied since 1851.

Educational buildings that are less than 150 years old also need to have their roofs replaced. At the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, crews from Tech Roofing re-roofed the entire complex, which houses irreplaceable works of Yiddish literature in a building designed to resemble a shtetl, or traditional Jewish town common in Eastern Europe before World War II.

This issue also profiles building envelopes that help embody the design goals of new construction projects, including the Innovation Lab at the Lamplighter School in Dallas and the energy-positive Myrtle Beach Middle School in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

While we all probably remember begging our teachers to hold classes outside on a beautiful fall day, it’s reassuring to know that structures like these will live on to serve future generations, thanks in part to the work of dedicated roofing professionals.

Understanding Is the Key to Preventing Trouble Spots With Masonry Chimneys

Restoration work in progress on a historic building shows copper chimney flashing being installed on a recently repaired chimney. Photos: John Crookston

There are almost as many types of chimneys as there are cars, but for this article, I am talking about masonry chimneys, and specifically masonry chimneys protruding through a steep-slope roof. These can take the shape of a simple chimney block unit with a clay flue liner running from the foundation thorough the roof, all the way to massive stone or brick structures with two and three fireplaces built in at different levels of the house. Chimneys can serve as load bearing structures and heating systems for the house. I have worked in homes where the chimneys are constructed so that the hot gas passes up and down through the structure of the chimney to heat the masonry mass before they escape out the chimney top, allowing this heated mass to radiate the heat for hours inside the house to supplement the regular heating system.

Eventually however, the chimney has to pass through the roof and into Mother Nature’s realm, and we as roofers have to deal with keeping rain and snow from working back into the building. Most of this task is accomplished with the flashing system at the roof level, but we need to remember that water and ice can also work through the mass of the chimney itself and cause leakage inside the structure. That is the reason for specifically mentioning masonry chimneys in the title above; when one is dealing with chimneys and water, moisture can be coming from all different angles, and all of these areas need to be addressed.

As part of the repair process, a drip line was cut into the underside of the chimney cap to prevent water from migrating across the surface.

I distinctly remember being at a local supply house years ago when a roofer ordered “a five-gallon bucket of flashing.” At best, plastic roofing cement is a temporary fix or patch, and eventually it has to come off. In my long career working on roofs, I have worked on thousands of shingle roofs and many hundreds of metal, tile and slate ones, too. I didn’t know whether I laughed or cried when the guy said that, but I did want to scream, “Flashing doesn’t come in a bucket!”

Masonry walls and chimneys bear on their own foundations and they move at different rates than the rest of the building. You have to allow for that movement, and you need to channel the water in the direction you want so that it is easier for it to flow off the roof rather than into it. Permanent flashing allows for the movement with hundreds of places where the metal can move while always at the same time directing the water lower on the plane of the roof and toward the bottom edge. Whatever the type of roofing material used (shingles, tile, slate, metal, thatch, etc.) and whatever type of flashing metal you use, the flashing always has to be lapped so that the water flows in the direction of the overlap. Depending on the slope, the lap has to be sufficient to allow for the worst possible amount of water flow you will encounter. The flatter the pitch, the more overlap you need. At less than 2/12 pitch, we start to deal with “flat roofing,” and that has its own challenges, though the principles are the same.

New copper chimney flashings were installed as part of this tile roof replacement project.

I could write about a detailed method to flash a chimney, but on every bundle of shingles sold, there are very good details printed and I would dare to say that not one in a million are ever read or even looked at. In this article, I want to explain the reasons why the details specify what they do. In the preceding paragraph, I mentioned that you have to make it easier for the water to flow off the roof rather than into it. That, in essence, is the principle of all flashing — and roofing, for that matter. If you fight the water flow, you will lose 100 percent of the time. Examples of “fighting the water flow” would be for instance lapping the flashings in the wrong direction, or perhaps building a saddle on the backside of a chimney and not extending it far enough sideways so that the water was trapped in the bottom corners. It could also be something as simple as cutting the shingles or slates too tightly against the flashings. As a general rule, always leave about a 3/8-inch gap between the vertical bend of the flashing and the cut of the shingle. This will allow the water to clean out the debris while keeping the joint water tight. Also, don’t jam the counterflashing tight against the horizontal surface of the flashings. This will also restrict the water flow and could cause leakage.

As an interesting aside, one very common mistake I see with cutting valleys is for roofers to not trim back the top corner of a shingle in the valley as shown on all of the packages. The water will catch on that top corner if it is not cut back and track along the top of the shingle until it finds a way into the envelope of the roof. This applies to all valleys, but in this instance, I am specifically speaking of the valleys created when a saddle or cricket is installed behind a chimney. It is also important to not cut the valley shingles in the center of the valley or the low point. Keep the cut line about an inch out of the center of the valley so that the water can again do your work for you by cleaning out the debris. This will also keep the water away from the top corner of the valley shingle.

Problems With Chimneys

Inspecting and repairing any damage to an existing chimney is an essential part of steep-slope re-roofing projects. Loose mortar, cracks in the bricks themselves and spalled surfaces are obvious signs of water damage.

Proper flashing application is crucial, but many of the problems associated with chimney leakage have to do with the chimney itself. Until the advent of the high-efficiency furnaces, most exhaust gasses from the heating of the building went up the flue of the chimney. When more efficient furnaces were introduced, they reduced this gas and excess wasted heat, yet many were vented into the same flue. By definition, a 50 percent efficient furnace puts half of the energy and heat up the flue, while an 80 percent unit would only vent 20 percent of the heat into the same volume, heating the house with the other 80 percent. It takes heat to create the draft necessary to carry moisture out of the chimney. Any gas will cool when it expands, and we are drastically cutting the amount of heat when installing a more efficient furnace. If we don’t reduce the size of the flue, the water vapor can condense back into water before it escapes from the top of the chimney. Mostly, this occurs in the section of chimney directly exposed to the weather, which would be the part sticking out above the roof line. It was common years ago to see the face of a lot of the bricks spalled or breaking off from the rest of the brick. This was caused by the water vapor condensing and then saturating the brick, freezing, expanding and breaking off the surface. If you still have one of the 80 percent units, it is important that you have a smaller flexible metal flue liner installed to reduce the volume and increase the speed with which the gasses escape. This in normally not a problem anymore, as most units now are 95 percent efficient and are vented out the side of the building using a plastic pipe.

This granite chimney shows signs of damage caused by water migrating underneath the chimney cap.

Very few of the homes built today even have a masonry fireplace or chimney, mostly because of the type of furnace used and modern codes. Most fireplaces installed today are zero-clearance units and are basically a gas appliance similar to a gas stove. Many of the older homes that still have wood burning fireplaces have switched them to a gas burning unit, and this will cause the same problem as switching the older furnaces if a smaller sleeve is not installed to reduce the volume of the flue. The biggest problem with this switch is that the effects are not immediately apparent, but delayed, often by several years. We worked on a large condominium project in the early 70s that had dozens of large chimneys, most with several fireplaces on different levels. At some time in the 90s, they all had gas inserts installed, without changing the size of the flue liners. Not all of the chimneys had problems; only the ones that used the gas logs. No matter how often they redid the bricks on the tops of the chimneys, they kept on breaking and spalling. The flaws in the brick and cracks in the caps caused by the water vapor freezing and expanding also caused regular leakage in the chimneys by loosening the counter flashings and letting water past the step flashings and head wall flashings. The caveat to be learned here is that there is a cause and effect that occurs for every action taken, and before making a change it is important to do some research and determine what the effects will be and what has to be done to make sure that it doesn’t do more harm than good. When roofing an existing structure, it’s also important to determine what other changes have been made to the structure in the past.

Erecting proper scaffolding is often the essential first step in the chimney repair process.

Current building codes and modern engineering make the new homes built more efficient and less prone to these types of problems; however, there are millions of older homes out there that need to be retrofitted or in some case “re-fixed” or “unfixed” to make them work.

The one big advantage we are working with today is that there are very few “roof overs” done on steep-slope roofs, as most districts require that the old roof be removed before a new one is installed. This will allow for all of the flashings to be replaced. If chimneys still exist but are no longer used, the possibility might exist for them to be taken down, having the framing replaced and the opening covered and roofed. If this is done, make sure that you take the chimney down to the height of the ceiling joists, cap it at that point and insulate above it.

When re-roofing an existing structure, it’s important to inspect the roof system for damage and determine if any changes have been made to the structure in the past.

If the chimney is left in place, it is important to have the masonry mass inspected and fixed before the roof is done to avoid damaging the new roof. Install a new flashing/counter-flashing system, and make sure to follow the directions printed on the shingle wrappers. My objective here is not to reinvent the wheel, but to make sense of what they are telling us to do. Many years ago, there was a commercial with a tag line that went “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” The truth is that you can’t. If you work with gravity and nature, on the other hand, you can eliminate a lot of the problems we are fighting with on the roofs and in this business. The choice is yours.

This architectural detail from The NRCA Roofing Manual: Steep-slope Roof Systems—2017 shows the proper method for flashing a masonry chimney. Detail courtesy of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).
The packaging for shingles often contains product-specific details for flashing chimneys and valleys, such as this diagram for CertainTeed’s Carriage House shingles from the CertainTeed Shingle Applicators Manual, 14th edition. Detail courtesy of CertainTeed.

About the Author: John R. Crookston is a roofing contractor and consultant located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has more than 60 years of experience in the roofing industry and has written technical articles for a variety of publications under the pseudonym “Old School.”

The Top 5 Issues in Metal Roof Installation

Metal roofs offer a number of benefits for both homeowners and roofing contractors. Installation problems, however, can cause functional or aesthetic issues that can result in problems, delays and unhappy clients. Following are the five most common roof installation issues and how to solve them.

1. Metal Shavings Causing Rust Streaks

Installing a metal roof requires drilling through the aluminum or steel roof panels to attach them to the substrate. The process creates metal shavings, especially at rivet holes along the ridge cap or when drilling through multiple layers of roof panels.

These metal panels show evidence of rust stains caused by metal shavings. Photos: Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing

Those tiny shards of metal can cause rust and stains on the roof, as well as corrosion that shortens the lifespan of the roof. The more layers of metal a crew has to drill through, the more shavings will be produced.

“Shavings are no problem when removed quickly,” says Paul Hope, field service technician for Gulf Coast Supply. “It is when they are left behind that they become an issue.”

“When metal shavings sit on the roof for a week to a month they start to corrode,” Hope says. “That corrosion leads to staining of your panels, and that staining leads to unhappy homeowners.”

Roofers should get in the habit of either sweeping or blowing metal shavings off of the roof at the end of the workday, according to Hope.

2. Improperly Installed Underlayment

Underlayment has to be carefully measured and lapped to avoid moisture infiltration into the building envelope. Local building codes specify lap coverage guidelines and slip sheet placement for underlayment installation.

Underlayment must be carefully measured and installed correctly to prevent moisture infiltration. The underlayment shown here is not lapped correctly.

Underlayment is designed to act as a secondary water barrier in case rain makes it past the metal roof. Some of the most common causes of water intrusion are fastener failure, wind-driven rain in extreme storms, or metal-to-metal connections with no sealant.

Avoiding underlayment issues is easy to do if the crew follows installation instructions and code requirements. If underlayment is not installed correctly, however, replacement costs can be expensive and involve removing the metal roof, replacing the roof substrate and installing new underlayment.

3. Over-Tightened and Under-Tightened Fasteners

Proper fastener installation is critical to the efficiency of a roof system. Because fasteners penetrate the metal roof, underlayment and roof deck, they can allow for water infiltration into an otherwise waterproofed roof.

Over-tightened screws compress the washer too much and can cause water to pool. Under-tightened screws will not hold panels securely and can cause premature wear of fasteners and panels.

During the installation, screws must be straight and tight to perform as intended. Fasteners that are not installed straight do not form a proper seal. And even when they are straight, over-tightening the screw compresses the washer too much, forms “dimples” in the metal panel and causes water pooling that can then infiltrate the attic.

Under-tightened screws won’t hold the roof panel securely and can cause premature wear of both the fastener and panel.

4. Inadequate Onsite Storage Arrangements

Roofing materials should be delivered in a particular sequence, close to the time roofers will need them. The longer roofing materials, such as panels, are stored on site, the more prone they will be to damage from the elements or construction-site mishaps.

Improper storage of roofing panels at the jobsite can lead to damaged and corrosion.

Workers should pay attention to where and how materials are stored. Are they out of the way of vehicles? Are they on a flat surface? Are they elevated on one end to allow for drainage of rainwater?

Standing water, especially on unpainted panels, can cause wet storage stains or what is known as “white rust.” Sand, dirt and debris can also damage metal panels, causing permanent stains before they are ever installed on a roof.

5. Delays Due to Worker Injury

Safety is crucial on any jobsite but especially when installing a metal roof. Injury and accident prevention should be the primary duty of crew chiefs and workers alike. Accidents can not only send workers to the hospital, they can affect scheduling and job productivity as well.

“Medical bills, downtime, and loss of skilled laborers for extended periods of recovery can take place,” Hope says. “It is the responsibility of every individual to properly protect themselves from day to day.”

Proper safety equipment is essential. Gloves and Kevlar sleeves can help roofers protect themselves from cuts.

Falls are the most common potential metal roofing injury. Workers should use harnesses when on the roof and in any other fall-risk situations. Someone on the crew also needs to maintain the condition of the safety equipment. “Nicks in the harness can jeopardize your entire fall system,” Hope says.

Cuts caused by the sharp edges of the metal panels are also a hazard. Gloves and Kevlar cut sleeves can help roofers protect themselves.

Less common threats include electrocution and burns. Electricity, whether from a live current or lightning, can travel through the metal. Rubber shoes and gloves can protect roofers from potentially fatal shocks. Burns are less common, but in hot climates, the sun can heat metal enough to cause an injury. Workers can protect themselves with gloves and protective clothing.

Taking care to address these five common metal roofing installation issues can result in a smoother, more effective process, fewer problems and more satisfied clients.

About the author: Jared Pearce is the technical services manager at Gulf Coast Supply & Manufacturing. The son of a general contractor, Pearce has been around the construction industry his whole life. He is also a native Floridian and a Coast Guard veteran. Gulf Coast Supply has been a trusted choice for metal roof products throughout the Southeast for more than two decades. Through its Contractor’s Advantage program, Gulf Coast offers both classroom and hands-on seminars to help fill the industry’s need for qualified roofers. For more information, visit www.GulfCoastSupply.com.

How Can the H-2B Classification Help Contractors Find Good Workers?

Nearly all businesses require employees to operate, and all successful businesses require that those employees be competent and capable. One issue facing contractors is the inability to find well-qualified and competent workers. Another issue facing contractors is the shortage of workers available to keep up with increased building demands in the United States. The H-2B classification can help contractors address these issues by expanding the pool of potential workers.

What Is the H-2B Classification?

The H-2B classification was created in order to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers to fill temporary needs with U.S. businesses. For the H-2B classification, it must be established that (1) there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and available to perform the temporary services or labor for the employer; (2) that the employment of foreign workers will not affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers; and (3) that a temporary need exists for the employer.

The H-2B program has two components with two different government agencies. The first component deals with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the second component deals with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Each agency oversees a different aspect of the H-2B program. The DOL focuses on the labor market, and is tasked with determining that:

  1. There are not sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and who will be available to perform the temporary services or labor for which an employer desires to hire foreign workers.
  2. The employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

At the end of the day, the DOL wants to make sure that the foreign worker is not taking a job from an American or affecting the wage market for American workers. The USCIS component of the H-2B program focuses on the temporary need of the employer and the foreign worker’s qualifications. The USCIS component is the last part of the process and is the final authority on whether the H-2B classification will be granted to the foreign worker.

What Is a Temporary Need?

A critical element of the H-2B analysis focuses on the temporary need of the employer. There are four types of needs for H-2B classification purposes. They are (1) one-time occurrence; (2) seasonal need; (3) peak-load need; and (4) intermittent need. A one-time occurrence is as the name suggests; it is an event that occurs one time which requires the need for additional workers and after this event concludes, so does the need for the workers. A seasonal need exists where the employment is traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern and is of a recurring nature. Examples include the hiring of workers during the Christmas shopping season by UPS and FedEx due to an increase in holiday shipping demands, and when the Disney theme parks require additional workers in the summertime because of an increase in visitors after schools are no longer in session. Both these needs are seasonal and recur every year. A peak-load need exists where the employer normally employs permanent workers to perform a service or labor and an increased seasonal or short-term demand requires additional workers who will not become part of the employer’s regular operations. The key with a peak-load need is that it is not recurring. An intermittent need exists where an employer does not employ permanent or full-time workers to perform services or labor and occasionally needs temporary workers for short periods of time.

What Is the Process?

The H-2B classification process starts with the DOL and ends with USCIS. The first step is to file an Application for Prevailing Wage Determination with the DOL. This application outlines the proposed employment and results in a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) issued by DOL, which sets the minimum amount that can be paid to the foreign worker. After the employer received the PWD from the DOL, the employer can begin the recruitment process. The recruitment process includes posting a job order with a state agency and running two print advertisements as well as interviewing candidates that apply for the position. After recruitment is completed, the employer submits an Application for Temporary Employment Certification with the DOL along with a completed recruitment report. Once a final determination is made by the DOL and the application is certified, the process then shifts to USCIS. The final step is to file an I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. If the foreign worker is outside the United States, he or she will also need to apply for an H-2B visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

H-2B “Cap” and the Period of Stay

For the H-2B classification, there is a statutory limit on the total number of foreign nationals who may be granted H-2B status or issued an H-2B visa. This is commonly referred to as the H-2B “cap” and is currently set at 66,000. Unlike other statutory limitations, the H-2B cap is split between two parts of the year, with 33,000 allocated for the first half of the U.S. government fiscal year (October 1 to March 31) and 33,000 allocated for the second half of the U.S. government fiscal year (April 1 to September 30). If any of the first 33,000 are not used by the beginning of the second half of the fiscal year, those unused numbers will be reallocated to the second half of the fiscal year. While cases based on a one-time occurrence can be approved for up to 3 years, all other H-2B classifications will be approved for, at most, 10 months. The H-2B classification can be renewed, in increments of up to one year, and the foreign worker can stay in the United States for a maximum for 3 years. After 3 years, the foreign worker must stay outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission under the H-2B classification.

Pros and Cons of H-2B Classification

For contractors, the H-2B classification can provide them temporary workers when needed for short periods of time. This can be especially important when there is difficulty finding quality workers in the United States. But as with any immigration classification, there are some pros and cons to consider when it comes to the H-2B classification.

Pros

  • While there is a cap on the number of H-2B statuses granted/visas issued, there is no lottery system in place like the H-1B. This means that there are usually H-2Bs available if you file at the right time.
  • There are no special qualifications, educational or otherwise, required for the H-2B classification, unlike some other immigration classifications. The foreign worker must simply meet the requirements for the position.
  • Premium processing from USCIS, which guarantees a response in 15 days after filing, is available.
  • The H-2B classification is renewable, in increments up to 1 year, for a total stay in the United States of 3 years. After the 3-year limit is reached, the foreign worker only needs to leave the United States for 3 months before he or she is eligible for H-2B classification again.

Cons

  • The H-2B classification essentially requires the foreign workers to be employees of the company by requiring an employee-employer relationship for the proposed employment. Independent contractors would not qualify.
  • From start to finish, it takes about 3 to 4 months while utilizing USCIS’s premium processing service, or 4 to 7 months without the premium processing service. If a worker is needed quickly, the H-2B classification may not be the right choice.
  • Only individuals from certain countries are eligible for the H-2B classification.
  • The minimum wage that must be paid to the H-2B recipient is fixed by the DOL and may be higher than what the employer is willing to pay or normally pays similar workers.
  • The foreign worker needs to have legal status in the United States or reside outside the United States to qualify. Illegal immigrants do not qualify for the H-2B classification.

The H-2B classification may help contractors address some of their labor needs. Contact an experienced immigration attorney to see whether this is a good fit for your company.

About the author: Paul Messina is an attorney at Cotney Construction Law who focuses his practice on immigration law. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry and serves as General Counsel for FRSA, RT3, NWIR, TARC, WSRCA and several other roofing associations. For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Attachment Protects Standing Seam Roofs From Damage Due to Retractable Lanyards

SeamSAFE, a provider of fall protection for standing seam roofers, solar installers, painters or just about any professional working on a standing seam roof, offers its Retractable Lanyard Disks. SeamSAFE Retractable Lanyard Disks are used with SeamSAFE anchors to help protect standing seam roofs from potential damage, including roof scrapes and surface indentations caused by dragging or dropping retractable lanyards during roofing projects.

According to the manufacturer, installing the lanyard disk is simple and fast. Once a SeamSAFE anchor is properly secured on a standing seam roof, the disk is positioned on top of the anchor and fitted over the anchor’s D-ring to hold it in place. Then, a retractable lanyard can be attached by easily hooking it through both the anchor and the protective disk.

The Retractable Lanyard Disk is only one of the attachments in the product line designed to extend the utility and versatility of the company’s best-of-class safety anchors. According to SeamSAFE inventor and owner Doug Mullins, “We developed our new accessories in response to feedback from roofers who are seeking better and more efficient solutions to the challenges of working on a standing seam roof.”

Retractable Lanyard Disks add to SeamSAFE’s existing line of anchor accessories, which include SeamSAFE Roof Brackets, SeamSAFE Ladder Attachment, SeamSAFE Toe Board Attachment and SeamSAFE Mounting Adapter.

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.seamsafe.com

Call: (855) 263-1521

Seeing the Light

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. What hurts the most is when we miss an obvious solution to a problem — when we look back at a difficult time and realize an option we didn’t take advantage of was staring us in the face all along. Picture Homer Simpson smacking his forehead and exclaiming, “D’oh!”

When we look back at this time in history, I think that’s how we’ll feel about adopting solar power. No matter what your opinion is about other forms of energy, including fossil fuels, nuclear power plants, and wind turbines, I think you’d have to admit that we aren’t making enough use of solar. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think it’s obvious that in the rays of the sun, we have a tremendous renewable resource that is mostly going by the wayside.

I interviewed a plumbing contractor a few years ago who specialized in passive solar hot water systems. He said the inspiration came to him when he picked up a garden hose that had been out in the sun and the water nearly scalded his hand. “It was then I thought, ‘Why am I paying a utility to heat the water in my house?’” he said.

I was reminded of that conversation when I interviewed Martin DeBono of GAF Energy for this issue. Before entering the world of rooftop solar, DeBono had a background as a nuclear engineer and served as a submarine officer in the Navy. “I’ve always been fascinated by solar,” he said. “The sun provides the equivalent amount of energy in one hour as all of the world’s power plants produce in a whole year. You combine that with the fact that I am a huge outdoors person — I love the outdoors —and you can see some of the challenges the world faces by relying on fossil fuels.”

His job also allows him to tap into his love of building things. “Last week I built a mock-up roof in my driveway with a mock-up solar system to show some executives and some family and friends what we do,” DeBono said. “So, solar gives me the opportunity to build, to think, to advance technology and do something I believe in.”

DeBono believes in making the most of technology to harness the power of the sun. He also believes in another obvious point: the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor. “We firmly believe that roofers should be installing the system and ensuring the integrity of the roof,” he said. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof.”

Ladder Personal Fall Arrest Systems Comply With OSHA Regulations

As of November 19, 2018, new OSHA requirements were implemented for fixed ladders. The OSHA regulations eliminate the need for cages on any new fixed ladder installations. The regulations also require that all fixed ladders over 24 feet be equipped with a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS).

In response to these changes, Design Components Inc. provides PFAS that meet or exceed the new OSHA guidelines. The company offers complete ladder safety solutions with rigid rail and trolley construction or cable and grab construction.

These systems are customizable and are packaged together to include all the needed accessories. This includes the attachment hardware, trolleys, cable grabs, deluxe body harnesses and any other necessary equipment. The company also offers expert consulting to determine the right products for the site to ensure they meet OSHA regulations and ANSI standards.

“Design Components Inc. is a great resource to go to when if you have fixed ladder and PFAS design questions, need product information, or pricing for a specific project,” says Chris Lafferty of Design Components Inc. “This takes the guesswork out of knowing if you have that right products for an OSHA-compliant fixed ladder.”

Design Components Inc. offers a wide variety of accessories and safety-related products for metal buildings, including fixed ladders, ladder fall arrest systems, METALWALK rooftop walkways, door canopies, roof curbs, whole building ventilation, and much more.

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.designcomponents.com

Call: (800) 868-9910