Roofing Industry Unites to Form ‘Back to Work’ Coalition

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the buzzwords we keep hearing seem to be “unprecedented” and “uncertain.” However, some things are still certain even during the current calamity: every building needs a strong, reliable roof, and the work that the roofing industry does is essential.

These facts are the essence of the Back to Work on America’s Roofs coalition, which formed in March in response to the pandemic’s impact on the roofing industry and is comprised of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), Chemical Fabrics & Film Association (CFFA), EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC), Metal Construction Association (MCA), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), National Women in Roofing (NWiR), Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI), Slate Roofing Contractors Association (SRCA), Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) and the Tile Roofing Industry Alliance (TRI).

Most construction was brought to a halt by state orders enacted early in the pandemic that closed or restricted all non-essential businesses. Recognizing the long-term harm this would cause, these 13 associations came together to advocate that the roofing industry be recognized for its essential role in ensuring home and business safety. The coalition sent letters to the White House, Congressional leaders and the National Governors Association that detailed why the roofing industry was crucial during this public health crisis and asked that any updates to state orders allow roofing work to resume.

As states began allowing construction to resume, our priorities shifted to focus on recovery. The roofing industry was already struggling with a backlog of work due to the ongoing labor shortage, which now has been exacerbated by the pandemic. As the unemployment rate hovers in the double digits, the Back to Work on America’s Roofs coalition is promoting four key policies to create jobs, support homeowner investments and encourage business owners to invest in capital improvement projects.

1. Recognize the importance of roofs for protecting homes and businesses.

Physical infrastructure investments made by Congress as part of COVID-19 response and recovery should reflect the protections that roofs offer to new and existing buildings.

2. Address skills gaps and provide opportunities to expand hiring.

The federal government should support efforts to expand career and technical education and address skills gaps in the roofing industry. Congress should provide incentives to businesses that increase their workforce above where it was before the pandemic by hiring unemployed individuals.

3. Provide short-term relief in order to enable long-term success.

Provide additional funding for programs created under the CARES Act, which have been a lifeline for small businesses in many industries, including roofing. Enable entrepreneurs to serve as the economic engine of the recovery by improving access to critical programs.

4. Adopt tax policies that incentivize improvements to existing homes and buildings.

Expand small business tax credits to allow for immediate expensing of capital improvement projects and accelerated depreciation for resilient, energy-efficient roof replacements. Provide targeted tax relief to homeowners to make home improvement projects more affordable, similar to what was successfully implemented after the 2008 financial crisis.

To advance these policies, the coalition has distributed a press release to publications in the broader building and construction industries and developed a media kit for all roofing industry professionals to participate in this advocacy. We encourage you to download the media kit and get involved in our outreach efforts by utilizing these resources, including social media collateral, the coalition’s position paper, a copy of the press release and an infographic that provides a visual overview of our policies.

A common rallying cry has emerged since the pandemic began: we are “all in this together.” The coalition is the embodiment of this statement. We are working together to navigate these unprecedented, uncertain times and overcome the challenges that lie ahead, starting by helping the individuals employed in our industry — more than 1.1 million Americans — get back to work on America’s roofs.

The coalition’s advocacy efforts are only part of the work that is currently being done. Keep reading to learn how these associations are supporting their members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA)

When states and local jurisdictions started issuing “stay at home” orders and other mandates in response to COVID-19, ARMA began providing members with regular comprehensive updates on local, state and federal regulations and initiatives regarding roofing as an essential industry, sometimes multiple times in a single day. ARMA’s Spring Committee Meetings shifted from an in-person event to a virtual format, ensuring that members were able to participate in key meetings from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Reed Hitchcock

ARMA also held two town hall meetings for members to share practices for keeping asphalt roofing plant employees healthy and safe during the pandemic. Members discussed their experiences on a variety of topics, including increasing personal and professional sanitizing, ensuring social distancing, implementing procedures for bringing employees safely back to work and developing enhanced measures for maintaining cleanliness. During both events, tools and resources were shared to help members comply with local, state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19.

– Reed Hitchcock, Executive Vice President

EPDM Roofing Association (ERA)

ERA dedicated a prominent portion of its website to information about the pandemic, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the roofing industry and potential legislative and regulatory sources of help for our members and their customers. Additionally, ERA joined other industry leaders to send a letter to the White House urging the Trump administration to “issue guidance that clarifies essential businesses, services and workers, and that this guidance recognize the role of the roofing industry in protecting U.S. families and employers.”

Ellen Thorp

ERA closely followed the status of the construction industry as an essential business and urged the passage of federal legislation to provide financial relief to families and businesses. Further, we worked through a range of industry outlets to publicize our efforts and linked our website to other industry sites to provide a broad spectrum of information about the pandemic and its impact on our industry.

– Ellen Thorp, CAE, Executive Director

International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC)

IIBEC’s primary focus has been pivoting our International Convention and Trade Show to a virtual format. Our virtual meeting was held June 12-14, and featured 24 education sessions, a trade show with 65 exhibitors, and two live general sessions, including a roundtable of building industry association CEOs that is available for viewing on our website. We have also been adding new educational offerings to our online learning portal, including an eight-week course, Exterior Wall and Technology Science.

Brian Pallasch

IIBEC has joined with other roofing industry associations to advocate on a variety of COVID-19 public policy issues. Letters were delivered to governors in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington underscoring the ability of the industry to operate safely in the face of the pandemic and the significant role the construction industry will play in leading the nation’s economic recovery.

– Brian Pallasch, CAE, CEO/EVP

Metal Construction Association (MCA)

Jeff Henry

MCA is committed to providing updated and relevant information to its members and the public via our COVID-19 resource hub. We also transformed the 2020 MCA Summer Meeting (June 15-18) into a virtual learning experience. This was a unique and cost-free opportunity for everyone in the metal construction industry to hear the latest industry updates and connect with association leaders.

– Jeff Henry, Executive Director

National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)

NRCA has offered valuable information and resources to members and the overall roofing industry during the COVID-19 crisis via our website, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), legal and insurance guidance. We are actively lobbying for federal legislation to help small business owners survive the crisis and also sent a letter to President Trump urging the administration to recognize roofing as an essential business.

Reid Ribble

NRCA issued surveys to gauge the experiences of roofing contractors during the pandemic to provide better assistance to members and the industry. We also hosted informative webinars, including “How to navigate crisis management in an ever-changing world,” which featured NRCA General Counsel Trent Cotney sharing steps employers can take to prepare and help their businesses thrive during and after modern crises. NRCA is committed to carrying on its mission to support and advocate for roofing professionals, address member questions and concerns, and keep the industry moving forward.

– Reid Ribble, CEO

National Women in Roofing (NWiR)

Renae Bales

While several industries have slowed down, resulting in unemployment for many American workers, the roofing industry is looking for employees. NWiR has partnered with RoofersCoffeeShop to launch a recruiting website for the roofing industry that will attract new talent and offer opportunities for companies to increase visibility for their job postings. NWiR also launched a series of online-based meetings focused on providing knowledge and supporting other women in roofing as we navigate this new normal. There are 1-2 webinars/virtual meetups each week, which alternate between substantive educational content and light-hearted chatting about common issues. Topics range from transitioning to working from home, to building your business through self-empowerment, to understanding federal legislation designed to help small and medium-sized contractors. These webinars and meetups are publicized on the NWiR calendar, sent to members via email and shared on social media.

– Renae Bales, Chair and Ellen Thorp, CAE, Executive Director

Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA)

PIMA plays a critical role in the ongoing monitoring, analysis, and dissemination of key information about the responses to the COIVID-19 pandemic at the local, state, and federal levels. Since March, PIMA’s Board of Directors has been holding weekly meetings to track the impacts of the pandemic on manufacturing operations and construction activities across Canada and the United States. Board members are sent daily updates about pertinent stay-at-home orders and provided with health and safety resources to help evolve existing practices to address the potential risk of COVID-19 infections.

Justin Koscher

PIMA is collaborating with allied roofing and insulation industry organizations while also transforming planned in-person association gatherings, such as its annual Mid-Year Meeting, into virtual events that are designed to deliver critical updates and offer valuable perspectives about the impact of current events on the building industry.

– Justin Koscher, President

Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA)

At the start of the pandemic, RCMA staff was on the front lines of an ever-changing landscape of policies designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. As the pandemic continued, we remain committed to mitigating the impact these policies had on the roofing industry and providing continued, uninterrupted support for our members. Staff provided remote support for advocacy initiatives that were unaffected by the pandemic and provided updates related to decision making at local, state, and federal levels.

Dan Quinonez

Our membership in the Back to Work on America’s Roofs coalition is an opportunity to foster consumer confidence in the roofing industry and advance our goal of safely providing uninterrupted service to roofs, the first line of defense against the elements. We will continue to serve the needs of our members as we move forward in the economic restart of the United States.

– Dan Quinonez, Executive Director

Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI)

Linda King

The SPRI office has remained open to support our members. Quarterly meetings were changed to WebEx meetings that membership felt were very effective, and committees have continued to have conference calls and online meetings to advance the association’s work. SPRI hosted a conference call for members where Tom Saeli, CEO of Duro-Last, shared how his company pivoted a manufacturing facility to produce PPE gowns and masks, which provided ideas and inspiration for other manufacturers to explore how they may also be able to assist in the ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. Through the SPRI website and its e-newsletter, we continue to share information as our members head back to work under drastically different conditions then what they left a few months ago.

– Linda King, Managing Director

Tile Roofing Industry Alliance (TRI)

In addition to collaborating with the Back to Work on America’s Roofs coalition, TRI has provided real-time information on COVID-19 legislation and administrative actions to our members. This has been done through special reports on new paid leave requirements, Paycheck Protection Program loans, tax breaks, federal augmentation of state unemployment insurance program benefits, and guidelines and enforcement memos from OSHA on dealing with COVID-19 in construction.

Rick Olson

In addition, TRI belongs to the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), which produced a COVID-19 Exposure Preparedness and Response Plan. TRI also voiced concerns to Congress with other CISC members that forcing OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 would not help workers and would hurt the economic recovery. TRI continues to develop best practices for installation that prioritize worker safety.

– Rick Olson, President

Installing Tubular Skylights on Cement and Clay Tile Roofs

Elite Solar Systems installed six tubular skylights and solar-powered attic fans, incorporating them into the existing tile roof of this 3,900-square-foot Gilbert home. Photos: Elite Solar Systems

Installing tubular skylights, or solar tubes, can add a profit niche for any roofing company and provide a lifestyle enhancement for existing and new clients.

“Tubular skylights allow natural light in to brighten rooms and offices during the day without the need for an electrical light source,” explains Jovane Estrada, general manager for Elite Solar Lighting & Fans, based in Chandler, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix. “They can be retrofitted into any existing roof system and placed where windows or traditional skylights are not options.”

In the desert Southwest, cement or clay tiles on pitched rooftops are a popular choice by owners of upscale homes. Recently, Estrada’s team installed six tubular skylights and solar-powered attic fans on a 3,900-square-foot two-story home built in 2009 with cement tiles in Gilbert, Arizona.

In 2001, the company began offering high-quality residential and commercial tubular skylights, solar-powered attic fans and garage exhaust fans. The parent manufacturing company, Southwest Metal Spinning, was founded 26 years ago by Estrada’s father, Saul, and brother, Juan. The components for the Elite product are made in the same location.

Typical tubular skylight components include a high-impact acrylic dome, which locks into a ring on the 1100-O aluminum flashing; this seals to a flat or pitched rooftop, protecting against rain and cracking. Beneath this, an acrylic diffusing lens connects to highly reflective anodized tubing leading to the ceiling, where it fits into a three-glazed polycarbonate diffuser.

For the Gilbert home, Elite installed a 10-inch-diameter tubular skylight with a bathroom exhaust fan kit and light kit; a 10-inch-diameter tubular skylight through the garage into a downstairs bathroom where the skylight was installed on a wall; four 13-inch-diamter tubular skylights with synchronized dimmers, which open and close the solar lights at the same time and position; two solar-powered attic fans; and a solar-powered garage exhaust fan.

“Experienced professionals can install a tubular skylight with any roof penetration,” Estrada says. “If they can cut and seal roof flashing on the tile roof, they should know or learn how to install the tubular skylight fairly easily, and your clients can enjoy new light and the peace of mind knowing the job has been done right.”

Cement Tile Challenges

The tools required for a cement or clay tile installation are minimal: safety googles; gloves; stud finder; measuring tape; pencil; drill gun; ladder; reciprocating saw to cut wood deck; grinder to cut roof tiles; caulk gun for sealant; drywall saw; tin snips; utility knife; and plumb bob/laser.

Of course, installing tubular skylights through cement tiles requires following the basic steps for any roof breach.

To avoid damage to clay tiles, unless a roofer has a great deal of experience walking on them, Estrada recommends that the tiles be removed from walk areas on the roof up to where the tubular skylight will be installed.

“Make sure the install is possible — and sometimes it isn’t, at least exactly where the client wants it — and have the appropriate tools and materials available,” Estrada says.

Next, mark where the tubular skylight is to be placed and check in the attic or crawl space for plumbing pipes and vents, wires, trusses, HVAC heat pumps and ductwork, water pipes and roof valleys that might be obstructive. “If there is an obstacle, the challenge is determining if using tubular skylight adjustable elbows will allow the install to be completed,” he says.

With the attic inspection and cuts done, an aluminum tile skirt and pitched flashing must be installed properly to the deck. “Most roofers do not use a tile skirt for tile roofs, and later a leak can damage the paper underneath the tiles,” Estrada says. He recommends applying a premium flexible sealant (supplied) to the flashing.

In this home, the central challenge was installing the tubular skylight on the roof through and into the first-floor bathroom, without disturbing the second floor just above it. “We knew we had to go through the side wall of the bathroom, but we had to make sure we had the room in the attic and inside the adjacent garage to install the tube on the sidewall,” he explains.

To do this, the 90-degree adjustable elbows were needed to be able to make the turn from having the tube travel straight down into the inside of the garage and then shift direction into the bathroom, Estrada says.

“This kind of installation requires more effort and time,” Estrada says, “but the result is that a lower level, even a basement, can be enhanced with more natural light.”

All Ups, No Downs, for Roofers, Clients

For the roofer and the homeowner, the best time to install a tubular skylight (other than at construction) is during a roof replacement or repair. The attic space and roof are open and accessible and can be sealed along with the new roof or repair. But as this case study shows, most retrofits can be easily completed, too.

“It’s an extra income stream and an incentive for customers to choose your company,” Estrada says. For example, one of Elite’s roofer clients offers a free 10-inch tubular skylight with each signed re-roofing contract.

With these, home- and business-owners light up their homes, garages, offices, hallways, bathrooms and warehouses. And, tubular skylights also offer lifestyle benefits for pets, plants and people, Estrada says. “They’ve been reported to improve a person’s mood, and the owner of this home in Gilbert told us they’ve simply changed his life.”

About the author: David M. Brown has been writing books and articles for newspapers, magazines, ezines, websites and businesses for many years. A graduate of LaSalle University and Temple University in native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is the father of two grown children, Shaun and Sheena, who live near him in the Phoenix area.

TEAM

Tubular Skylight Installer: Elite Solar Systems, Chandler, Arizona, www.elitesolarsystems.com

MATERIALS

Tubular Skylights: 10-inch Elite Tubular Skylight, 13-inch Elite Tubular Skylight, Elite Solar Systems

Attic Fans: 20-Watt Elite Solar Attic Fan

Tips for Tubular Skylights

Once the vertical pitched flashing is sealed and fastened properly on the roof deck, place the aluminum tile flashing over the pitched flashing, with the EPDM rubber facing down toward flashing. Fold the sides of the aluminum tile flashing and make sure flashing goes over the bottom tiles.

1. Follow the step-by-step instruction manual, supplied with the tubular skylight. Call the manufacturer and ask questions, if necessary.

2. Use all of the parts included with the tubular skylight kit. “Typically, when a part is left out, it is because the installer or roofer does not know its function,” Estrada says. “Leaving out a part can cause condensation issues, dust or bugs to enter the unit, a rainbow (distracting prism) effect on the interior of the home or other issues down the line.”

3. Quality and safety are paramount: Tested and certified products ensure your clients that the units will last through the harshest weather. Check products for certification by the International Code Council (ICC). Secondly, quality products offer UV-protection plastic, which inhibits fading of interiors. And, for installers, find out if the tubular skylights adhere to OSHA fall-protection standards.

The roof install is complete, with the tiles back in place. Notice that you can see the aluminum tile flashing toward the bottom of the tiles. Both the flashing and the aluminum tile flashing can be painted to blend in with roof.

4. For condensation control, the skylight must breathe, so don’t place sealant between the dome assembly and the roof flashing. This will cause condensation buildup.

5. For condensation, dust and bug issues, seal any gaps between the ceiling kit and the light tube as well as the light tube and the flashing with tape or spray-foam insulation, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

6. Offer no-leak guarantees to fully back your work for your customers. As a respected roofing company, you offer warrantied materials and installation. Look for that, too, in the tubular skylights you install.

Innovative Solution Serves Up Perfect Blend of Color and Strength for Restaurant

A barrel-vaulted canopy made up of Pentaglas panels in a rainbow of hues lends a festive flavor to the outdoor dining area at Mexican Radio Restaurant. Photos: Kingspan Light + Air

Located in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District, Mexican Radio specializes in two things: tacos and cold drinks. The newly opened concept restaurant conceived by A Good Egg Dining Group occupies a lively, fun space.

The property’s major restoration includes a covered outdoor dining area. There, a translucent vaulted canopy crowns the space in a swirl of bright colors. Inspired by a colorful fine art glass installation, the owners and architect collaborated to find the right solution.

The canopy adds more than just a bright accent for diners: It creates an additional dining space that protects diners from the elements and makes the space useful nearly year round.

Style and Substance, on Budget

During the renovation, the outdoor dining area was demolished down to the existing steel tube structure. Kingspan Light + Air manufactured a fully engineered, customized and prefabricated vaulted canopy to fit the existing steel structure. Kingspan provided a clear anodized aluminum structure, and six unique glazing colors designed to bring the owner’s vision to life.

“We knew colored glass wouldn’t work on this budget,” says Zack Woods, AIA, with Gardner Architects. “But with the Kingspan product, we could get the bright tones of color the customer wanted, and we could cover more square footage, spanning a full patio instead of a very small area.”

Mindful of the project budget, Kingspan provided a variety of color panels with no high setup costs. Non-standard “off the rack” hues lend a lush, custom-job look. “The tones of colors used give this a unique feel and kept the budget on track,” Zack says.

The canopy provides a durable, inviting and comfortable venue for diners. Because one end of the canopy is open to the street and the other is connected to the building, the space is largely sheltered from the elements. Ceiling and attic fans circulate air and pull heat out in the warm summer months; patio heaters create a cozy space in the winter.

Providing more than just a comfortable environment, the Kingspan Light + Air Pentaglas canopy system is built to last. The system has undergone rigorous 10-year testing to ensure both color stability and impact durability over time. Should the need arise, the unique KLA system allows spot replacement of single panels, so the entire canopy does not have to be replaced.

TEAM

Architect: Gardner Architects, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, https://gardner.studio

Contractor: J&R Windows, Goldsby, Oklahoma, http://www.jandrwindows.com

MATERIALS

Barrel Canopy: 12mm Pentaglas in six colors, glazing, purlins and rafters, Kingspan Light + Air, www.kingspanlightandair.us

Re-Roofing a Frank Lloyd Wright Home

The Thomas P. Hardy House in Racine, Wisconsin, was designed and built in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Frank Lloyd Wright. Just the name brings to mind images of beautiful homes. So, when the team at Allrite Home & Remodeling had the opportunity to work on one of Wright’s creations, they jumped at the chance. A year later, the newly-added DaVinci Single-Width Shake roof brought the team industry recognition along with praise from Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts.

The home, on the shore of Lake Michigan, is located in Racine, Wisconsin. It was designed and built in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright for attorney Thomas P. Hardy. The stucco finished front, intricately detailed windows and breathtaking waterfront views make this a home like no other in the neighborhood.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Wisconsin, the Thomas P. Hardy House has changed hands seven times. In 2012, the then-homeowner began working to restore the home to its former beauty.

The exterior was repainted to the original terracotta color. The foundation was jacked up and rotting beams were replaced. And, original light fixtures and pocket doors were all restored. As the restoration progressed, Allrite Home & Remodeling was brought in by the home’s newest owner to tackle the roof.

Selecting the Right Shake Roof

“The homeowner had three very important priorities for this historic renovation project,” says Randy Miller, owner of Allrite Home & Remodeling. “First, they wanted cedar shake, just as Frank Lloyd Wright had intended for the roof. However, they wanted to take advantage of modern advances in materials. Second, they wanted to be environmentally responsible. And third, they wanted the roof selection to please Frank Lloyd Wright loyalists.”

Many years prior, previous owners had asphalt roofing installed on the home, which was not consistent with Frank Lloyd Wright’s style. After reviewing a variety of products, the current owners decided on a composite shingle that simulates a cedar shake roof.

Single-Width Shake from DaVinci Roofscapes in the natural Aged Cedar color was chosen to restore the original appearance to the home’s exterior.

“The DaVinci product has the right quality, texture, color and warranty that the owners wanted,” says Miller. “The Single-Width Shake in the natural Aged Cedar coloring brought back the original appearance to the home exterior. As an added bonus, the composite shake shingle has a longer lifespan and will require far less maintenance.”

Soon after the team started removing the old roof, they noticed significant fire damage to the rafters above the kitchen area. Apparently a fire in the early 1960s extensively damaged the inner structure of the roof.

“The current owners had no idea so much harm had occurred,” says Miller. “We proceeded to replace the damaged wood. That was important so the home will be structurally sound and able to support the new roof.”

According to Miller, safety was also a concern. The home is located on a steep bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. High winds were a challenge as the team worked to keep materials, tools and technicians secure.

Another challenge was the location of the home on a busy road. There was also a walled-in yard. This meant there was not a good staging location for materials or a dumpster. They were able to squeeze a dumpster onto the property, but neither the placement nor the access was ideal.

Finishing Touches

After the installation of the composite shake roofing came the finishing touch: copper accents. The area around the chimney had previously been plain brown flashing. It was decided to update it with copper flashing that will continue to add character to the home as it ages and patinas.

“Installing the copper without it rippling required our expert technicians to be extremely precise as they worked,” says Miller. “Then there was the added pressure of knowing that every step of this project was being scrutinized.”

Copper accents were added, including copper flashing around the chimney.

“There are Frank Lloyd Wright fans and enthusiasts both online and in our community who watched our progress closely,” Miller continues. “They wanted to make sure every step of the way that we honored the original design of the home.”

For their successful efforts, the team at Allrite Home & Remodeling won an award in the 2019 National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Milwaukee Remodeler of the Year Awards competition. The home received a Silver Award in the category of “Residential Historical Renovation/Restoration.”

“Our company has installed many DaVinci composite roofs during the past 15 years,” says Miller. “We’re proud of all of them. However, this project was a true labor of love. We’ve now added our mark to a beloved historical home in our community. Our entire team takes great satisfaction in knowing we were able to help bring a longer life to this Frank Lloyd Wright home.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Allrite Home & Remodeling, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, https://allriteremodeling.com

MATERIALS

Composite Shingles: Single-Width Shake, DaVinci Roofscapes, www.davinciroofscapes.com