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

Planning Ahead Sets Up Warehouse Re-Roofing Project for Success

Citizens Service Center is the primary document storage facility for El Paso County, Colorado. When the roof had to be replaced, protecting the interior of the facility was critical. Photos: Exterior Solutions Group

The most crucial decisions on a project are often made before work even begins. According to Ken Flickinger Jr., president of Exterior Solutions Group, that was the case with the recent Citizens Service Center re-roofing project in Colorado Springs. Owned and managed by El Paso County, the building is the primary document storage facility for the county. The building’s historic documents — some dating back to the 1800s — were under threat of damage due to an active roof leak. The existing roof also had extensive hail damage, so the roof replacement project was put out for bid.

With offices in Colorado, Iowa and Oklahoma, Exterior Solutions Group does all types of roofing work, but its focus is primarily on commercial roofing, both re-roofing and new construction. Flickinger, who heads up the location in Parker, Colorado, was definitely intrigued by the project.

The scope of work involved removing old HVAC equipment on the roof, which would be done by a separate party in coordination with the roofing contractor. The HVAC equipment was obsolete; it had been replaced and relocated a few years earlier. “It was an interesting project because there was equipment everywhere on this roof,” he says. “It looked like an automotive manufacturing plant. For us, we like those types of projects. We like ones that are a bit out of the ordinary and require a little bit higher level of project management. So, that’s what drew us to bidding the job.”

Tim Hicks, the salesperson at Exterior Solutions who sold the job, explains that the original spec called for white EPDM, with TPO as an accepted alternate. “Oddly enough, they didn’t require you to do the base bid to bid the alternate,” he notes. “We chose to just bid the TPO. We ended up being the low bidder on that, and that’s how we got the project.”

After obsolete HVAC equipment was removed, crews from Exterior Solutions Group installed a TPO system from Johns Manville.

The logistics of the removal and roof replacement would be complicated, and it became obvious that access to the roof would also be an issue, as it was a high-security building. “This is a multi-story building, and the amount of security we would have to go through to enter the building and get up to the roof hatch would’ve created all kinds of problems,” Hicks explains. “So, we suggested putting a stair tower up and giving us complete access from the outside. We’d never have to enter the building. They had never even considered that option, but as we walked them through it and said, ‘This is how we’d like to set the job up,’ they replied, ‘We love it.’”

The next step involved coordinating equipment removal with the HVAC contractor. Again, a suggestion from Exterior Solutions helped increase efficiency and cut costs. The HVAC contractor’s original plan called for roofing crews to take out the roof system around the HVAC units, allowing HVAC crews to cut out sections of the steel decking below the equipment. The deck sections would have to be replaced before temporary roofs could be installed to keep the building watertight. The team at Exterior Solutions pointed out that there was no need to remove the decking. Instead, the equipment supports could be cut off as close to the deck as possible, and the ends of the supports could be buried in the insulation of the new roof system.

Equipment Removal

In the end, that’s the plan they executed. A fire watch was set up inside the building as equipment was removed. Crews from Exterior Solutions removed the existing roof to give the HVAC crews access. “We basically created a hole in the roof for them so they could see what they were doing,” Hicks explains. “We would slice the existing TPO back and take out the insulation. They would put down welding blankets in the area and then use cutting torches to cut the I-beam and L-beam steel supports off. Our roofers were on site to make sure supports were cut down to the proper length. As soon as the supports were cut off, we basically filled the hole.”

The deck was left intact, making it much faster and easier to patch the existing roof. It was critical to ensure the roof was weathertight every night to protect the documents inside the building. “We put the insulation back, we replaced the membrane, and we used an Eternabond product or welded a small cover strip around it, depending on the size of the hole,” notes Hicks.

The HVAC equipment was taken off the roof with a crane. Once the equipment was removed from one side of the roof, crews began installing the new system.

Roof Installation

With the equipment gone, the rest was clear sailing. “In all honesty, the roof was easy,” Flickinger says.

The existing roof system was torn off down to the deck and a TPO system from Johns Manville was installed. New polyiso insulation was topped with a fully tapered system to ensure proper drainage. After DensDeck cover board was installed, the 60-mil TPO membrane was adhered into place.

“We worked from one side to the other,” Hicks says. “The high point of the roof with the tapered system was in the center, and water is pushed to both sides where there are internal drains and overflow scuppers. We started at the low point and roofed up the hill to the center on one side, and then turned around and did the exact same thing on the other side.”

Details were minimal — just a few penetrations and a curb around the roof hatch. The edge metal installed was the Anchor-Tite system manufactured by Metal-Era. “We offered an upgrade on the metal edge,” notes Hicks. “Instead of a shop-fabricated metal edge, we recommended Anchor-Tite all the way around. After all, the area is subject to high winds. We felt that was a better way to go.”

The TPO system installed was ideal for the project, according to Flickinger. “I’ve been a thermoplastic guy my entire career,” he says. “I’m a big believer in heat-welded seams. We thought the heat-welded seams and adhered walls offered a better approach. We think it’s a very good-looking roof, and with the addition of a cover board — which the original roof didn’t have — it would definitely improve its hail performance.”

Hicks credits the manufacturer for assistance on the project. “Manville was very supportive,” he says. “They were local, and their technical support is excellent. We thought that for a project like this, to have a partner who was right there with you was important.”

The project was completed in less than a month, and Flickinger believes the key to executing the job efficiently was the decision to set up the stair tower. “That was the suggestion of our project manager,” says Flickinger. “Our company likes using stair towers, especially when we’re talking about long ladder runs. For us, it’s partly about safety for our own people, but because the building was secured, and as they talked to us about the steps we would have to take on a daily basis to just get access to the roof, we realized it was just going to kill us on production. We were going to waste so may man-hours on a weekly basis just getting to and from the roof. That was one of the driving factors that got the owner to agree to the stair tower, and we got a change order for it.”

The cost of the change order was minimal compared to the time and money it saved. “We have some really bright people,” says Flickinger. “They are all really good at looking at something and seeing if there is a better way. One of our strengths is we are really good at creative solutions, whether it’s something as simple as avoiding the grief of going through a secured building or taking a step back and asking, ‘Why cut holes in the deck? Why can’t we just cut these supports off above the deck because we are burying them in 6 inches of insulation anyway?’”

“The other piece for us is that we focus on the safety side of it, not only for our own people, but also the site safety and the safety of the people inside the building,” Flickinger continues. “We are very aware of that as we set our jobs up and decide where to set our materials and those types of things.”

The last component of a successful project is top-quality workmanship. “We focus on doing it right the first time,” Flickinger says. “Getting that customer satisfaction, not only at the end of the job with a great roof, but also during the project by trying to minimize the pain that an owner typically goes through in a roofing project, that’s one of our strengths that this project demonstrates.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Exterior Solutions Group, Parker, Colorado, www.exteriorsolutionsgroup.com

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: 60-mil TPO, Johns Manville, www.jm.com

Cover Board: DensDeck Prime, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Edge Metal: Anchor-Tite, Metal-Era, www.metalera.com

Restoring Multiple Roof Systems on Historic Structure Is a Labor of Love

The Evans family restored the mill’s main roof as well as the flat roof over a retail space. Crews also re-roofed the large covered porch on the side of the mill and the one-story log cabin residence added to the back of the mill. Photo: Evans Candy

The first thing longtime roofer Dave Fisher will do is correct your pronunciation of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — it’s traditionally pronounced “Lang-kiss-ter” for anyone wondering. And tradition is important where Fisher’s from.

Founded in 1729, Lancaster County is one of the oldest communities in America. The area is the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country and has a strong farming and milling history. At the height of the milling industry, the area had more than 300 various types of mills operating.

The list of historical buildings in Lancaster County is long, so working on old structures is nothing new to Fisher, who runs I & D Contracting Ltd. in Lancaster. But re-roofing a 130-year-old mill to protect the interior while preserving its key historic characteristics presents unique challenges. Throw in local attachment to the building and a personal relationship with the owner and the stakes for doing the project right get even higher.

The mill had many names and many owners over its history before the Evans family purchased it in 1983. Photo: Evans Candy

This was the challenge presented to Fisher’s crew in re-roofing the Evans Candy Store in Lancaster County, done in stages over the last several years, with the most recent project being completed in 2018. The candy store is located inside a flour mill that serves as a recognizable piece of Lancaster’s history. The structure was originally built in the 1700s, but dust from grinding flour was a perpetual fire risk, and the mill burned twice over its history. The existing structure has been in place since 1889.

The mill has had many names and many owners over its history, but the Evans family purchased the mill in 1983 and has worked to bring it back to its former glory. Coming from a line of Lancaster milling families themselves, the Evans have used the historic structure to create a destination retail location that keeps people coming back for more — more chocolate, that is — oftentimes long after they have moved out of the area.

The flour mill is an iconic structure in Lancaster County. The existing structure dates back to 1889. Photo: Lancaster Historical Society, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

“I refer to us as a very large mom-and-pop store. We still get most of our business from word of mouth and know many of our customers by name or what they order, but we’ve grown and branched out into grocery stores and specialty shops,” says Steve Evans, second-generation owner of the Evans Candy Store located in the old mill. “Still, about half of the people who order through our website are people who moved out of the area, but still want their Evans chocolate.”

Fisher is no stranger to the area, the old mill or the Evans family either. “I was born and raised in Lancaster County, so I’ve been familiar with this building since I was a kid,” Fisher says. “I’ve been doing work for the Evans family for 20 years now — sisters, brothers, parents. I’ve been glad to get to work on it and be a part of its story.”

Franken-Roof

Affectionately referred to as “Franken-roof” by both Fisher and Evans, the roof on the 10,000-square-foot Evans Candy Store consists of four separate roofs — a three-story, steep-slope roof; a two-story, flat roof over a retail space; a large covered porch attached to the side of the mill; and a long, one-story log cabin residence attached to the back of the mill. Each of these roofs has a different type and color of roofing installed for various reasons, and each presented its own challenges.

At one point, an owner of the mill covered the siding with red asphalt shingles, visible in this photo at the upper right. Photo: Evans Candy

The “Franken-roof” extended to nearly every part of the mill’s exterior as a previous owner nailed red-colored asphalt shingles over all of the building’s original 1889 wood siding in an effort to protect the historic structure.

“I’ve lived in this area my whole life and I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” Evans says of the shingle-covered exterior. “When my family started restoring the mill — I was like 10 or 11 years old — I can’t tell you how many dumb asphalt shingles I picked up. That was my job. My brothers knocked them off the house and I picked them up and put them in the trash.”

Since then, the entire bottom floor of the building has been retrofitted to house to the candy store, while the upper floors have been converted into 3,000 square feet of residential space that a number of Evans family members have called home over the years.

The Steep-Slope Roof

It’s difficult to know for certain, but Fisher thinks the original roof over the main portion of the mill was slate. By the time the Evans bought the mill in 1983, the roof had been replaced with asphalt shingles. Evans hired Fisher and the I & D Contracting crew to re-roof this largest portion of the building — a 2,400-square-foot steep-slope roof — 10 years ago. To protect the historic building, Fisher wanted to start from scratch and make sure the job was done right. When he tore off the old roof, he found no real roof decking, just old barn wood in random sizes fitted together.

To preserve as much of the historical nature of the building, Fisher kept the original board decking, shoring it up where needed, and applied TAMKO Moisture Guard Ice and Rain Underlayment. To help create a more uniform surface for the shingles, Fisher chose a thick felt paper — TAMKO No. 30 Underlayment — to cover the barn wood roof deck and started laying the Heritage Premium asphalt shingles.

The shingle application required some extra care and an attentive ear due to the old barn wood deck. “There were gaps between the old barn wood pieces, so we had to listen to the sound each nail made as it went in — you could hear the difference when the nail hit one of the gaps and didn’t get any wood,” Fisher says. “In those cases, we had to move the nail and try again, because we wanted to know that it was really solid.”

Evans chose the very light-colored Olde English Pewter shingle in an attempt to reduce the heat coming in to the third story. Energy efficiency is always a concern in buildings of this age. When the Evans family purchased the building, it had no drywall or insulation, just open studded walls. Over the years, the family added spray foam insulation, insulation batting and roof vents to help address heat flow in and out of the massive historic building.

Fisher notes his crew took extra care around the 130-year-old brick chimney, which had been re-pointed in the past but needed some additional work. Fisher fabricated aluminum flashing and counter flashing out of coil stock on an aluminum brake to further protect the historic structure from potential damage.

The Flat Roof

Before Evans befriended Fisher and the two started their working relationship, Evans hired another roofer friend, Josh Miller of Miller’s Roofing in Wellsville, Pennsylvania, to update the flat roof portion of the old mill. The existing asphalt roll roofing installed in the early 1980s had reached the end of its life and Evans and Miller worked together to add foam sheeting over top of the existing rolled roofing and finished it by installing a Versico EPDM roofing system in the late 1990s.

The original roof deck over the flat roof portion of the mill was tongue and groove, and the men worked carefully to preserve the integrity of the original decking as they modernized the covering.

The Covered Porch

Fast-forward to 2018, and Evans contacted Fisher to replace and repair the roof over a large covered porch connected to the side of the building. The 450-square-foot cedar shake roof was added in an effort to blend with the rest of the historical structure, but after several decades, the moss-covered shakes succumbed to water damage and began to fail.

Fisher and his crew removed the cedar shakes and found part of the reason for the roof’s failure — zero flashing connecting the shake to the side of the building, just some old caulk. As part of the re-roofing project, Fisher added new flashing where the porch roof connected to the side of the mill.

“We had to get creative — flashing underneath the existing siding to try and prevent the same problems from recurring,” Fisher says.

Evans loved the old cedar shake roof and felt torn when choosing a replacement shingle. He ended up going with Heritage Premium asphalt shingles for their durability and selected the Rustic Slate color to differentiate the covered porch from the rest of the structure.

“It was a toss-up — would I match the new shingles to the other parts of the building?” Evans recalls. “But then I realized, I kind of liked the covered porch being a separate entity unto itself. It had always had a different shade of roofing, signifying a separate area of the building, and I liked that. I chose the Rustic Slate color because it still gave that rustic, historic feel that I loved about the cedar shake.”

The Log Cabin Residence

The other roof Fisher’s crew updated on the old mill in 2018 was on the long, log-cabin residence attached to the side of the three-story structure. Despite looking like an original part of the mill’s construction, the log cabin was added to the building in 1992, as a retirement home for Evans’ aging parents.

The log cabin addition was constructed in 1992. The roof was recently replaced with TAMKO Heritage Premium asphalt shingles in Rustic Cedar to help it blend in with the rest of the historic structure. Photo: Evans Candy

By the time Fisher got a good look at the log cabin roof in 2018, he realized the existing asphalt shingles were at the end of their service life, and one particular section of the roof had been patched multiple times and had additional layers of shingles stacked on the roof in an attempt to repel water.

Fisher took the 1,600-square-foot roof down to the decking, installed ice and water shield, new felt paper and installed TAMKO Heritage Premium asphalt shingles. Evans chose the Rustic Cedar color for the new roof as it was similar to the previous shingle color that added to the rustic, historic look that Evans hoped the log cabin would have in an effort to have it meld with the rest of the 130-year-old mill structure.

“I liked that Rustic Cedar look, pairing it with the log front,” Evans notes. “I think back to olden times with the cedar shake and wanted to emulate that. And I think we accomplished it. It is fun — it makes us smile when people ask us, ‘How old is that log home?’ and we get to tell them it’s only 26 years old.”

Fisher has grown to appreciate what he calls the “hodge-podge” of roof styles and colors on the old mill, and says the most important thing is that the building’s owner got exactly what he wanted and is a happy customer.

“Sometimes if people want to see installed examples of different colors of TAMKO shingles, I just send them to the mill because they can see a variety there,” Fisher says, laughing. “I jokingly asked Steve the other day if he had a shed that we could roof for him … just to see how many different colors we could do.”

About the author: Melissa Dunson is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience writing about a wide variety of business sectors, including the construction industry, and as a technical and creative writer for TAMKO Building Products.

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: I & D Contracting Ltd., Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Roofing Contractor: Miller’s Roofing, Wellsville, Pennsylvania

MATERIALS

Underlayment: No. 30 Asphalt Saturated Organic Felt, TAMKO, www.tamko.com

Waterproofing: Moisture Guard Ice and Rain Underlayment, TAMKO

Asphalt Shingles: TAMKO Heritage Premium Laminated Asphalt Shingles in Olde English Pewter, Rustic Slate and Rustic Cedar

Low-Slope Roof: Versico EPDM Roofing System, www.versico.com

New EPDM Membrane Designed to Reduce Installation Time and Effort

Firestone Building Products Company LLC(FSBP) introduces FullForce EPDM, the next evolution of Secure Bond systems. According to the manufacturer, FullForce EPDM can be installed more than four times faster than standard adhered EPDM and in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing contractors to complete more jobs throughout the entire roofing season.

FullForce is the industry’s only EPDM membrane fully coated from seam to seam with Firestone’s factory-applied Secure Bond pressure-sensitive adhesive. With no seam tape, FullForce can be installed more quickly than traditional EPDM, offering valuable time savings for contractors and allowing roofers to get more projects done in a year. Additionally, the solution is ideal for occupied buildings and building owners, as it contains zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

“FSBP is committed to providing contractors with innovative solutions that make their lives easier while delivering on the long-term reliability they expect from the Firestone brand,” said Taylor Cole, president, FSBP. “FullForce EPDM exemplifies this commitment by empowering contractors to optimize their operations, which results in the opportunity for more revenue in a season.”

Hoekstra Roofing Company, based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was one of the first contractors to experience the time and labor savings of FullForce EPDM during a third-party time study conducted on one of its recent projects, Green Bay Packaging Inc. According to the study, Hoekstra Roofing’s four-person crew was able to install a 10-foot by 100-foot FullForce EPDM self-adhering membrane in just under 8 minutes versus nearly 36 minutes to install a traditional EPDM membrane of the same size.

“We have been in the roofing business for more than 100 years and have consistently used Firestone solutions for more than three decades,” said Steve Hoekstra, president, Hoekstra Roofing Company. “When the opportunity came along to test FullForce EPDM, we could not wait to explore the solution’s features for ourselves. Our whole team was immediately impressed by the installation speed and efficiency of this solution, as well as how easy it was to handle the product.”

Hoekstra is among the many contractors identifying ways to complete roofing projects more efficiently, in the face of increased industry labor shortages. “In addition to installing more quickly than traditional EPDM, we also anticipate a lower likelihood of re-work due to FullForce featuring factory applied adhesive, which allows consistency of application at the product’s seams,” Hoekstra said. “These benefits mean we are able to lay more squares in a day, allowing us to complete more projects in a season and take on new business we couldn’t take on before.”

For more information, visit www.firestonebpco.com.

FullForce EPDM, EPDM SA, Fully Adhered EPDM

EPDM Roofing Association Names New Chair

David Martiny, Director of Product Management at Firestone Building Products (FSBP), has been named the new chair of the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) by the group’s board of directors. He replaces Mike DuCharme, Vice President – Marketing at Carlisle Construction Materials, who will remain on the ERA board. 

“ERA has an admirable history of providing science-based information about the durability and sustainability of EPDM products,” said Martiny. “I’m honored to be chosen to lead ERA as we continue to advance our industry’s knowledge of the contribution that EPDM can make to a resilient building system.” 

Martiny began his career with Firestone in 2006, and served as a regional business manager in Shanghai, China for seven years.  He moved to Firestone’s headquarters in the United States in 2014 as an international business manager, and has been in his current position for two years. 

“We are fortunate to have David leading our efforts,” said Ellen Thorp, Associate Executive Director of ERA. “This is an exciting time for the manufacturers of EPDM, and David’s in-depth experience in the building materials industry will help all of our members capitalize on the opportunities at hand.”

The EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) represents the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers.  ERA provides technical and research support to the public and the construction industry, and communicates the longstanding attributes, consistency and the value proposition of EPDM rubber membrane roofing materials.

For more information, go visit www.epdmroofs.org

New Products Added to Roof Coating Line

EPDM Coatings announces the addition of several new products to its roof coating line, including its 97 percent volume solid EnergyMax, Bonding Primers, Rust Inhibitors and Clear-Coat specifically designed for coating skylights, brick and stucco.

EPDM Coatings provides its customers worldwide with a full range of products, including many that have been ASTM tested and CRRC rated, Miami-Dade approved, as well as NSF approved for potable water applications. These diverse additions are designed to allow contractors to pass along those options and savings to their customers.

The company offers solutions for almost all types of roofs, including built-up, modified bitumen, metal, concrete, TPO, EPDM and foam. Also, for roofs on a budget, one base coat of the aromatic polyurethane can fix most leaks, and the application can be completed after a year to get the full benefits of a system. 

For more information, visit www.epdmcoatings.net.

Electronic Leak Detection Testing System Developed for Black EPDM

Detec Systems has developed the IntegriScan scanning platform. According to the company, this is the only testing method capable of Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) testing of conductive membranes including Black EPDM and semi-conductive waterproofing systems. Black EPDM contains carbon black, which produces a level of electrical conductivity that makes testing impossible using high voltage and vector mapping.  

In order to enable valid ELD testing of Black EPDM, TruGround Conductive Primer must be applied directly below the membrane per ASTM D7877. TruGround can be used for quality assurance testing on newly installed, fully adhered or mechanically attached EPDM membranes. Once applied, ELD testing can be performed for the life of the roof. Future breaches or seam voids can be quickly pinpointed allowing repairs to be done immediately, preventing costly moisture damage to occur. The IntegriScan and TruGround are compatible with all membranes including EPDM, TPO, PVC, modified bitumen, and hot and cold fluid-applied waterproofing.

For more information, visit www.detecsystems.com.

What Can Visiting a Car Dealership Teach You About Closing Quotes After Roof Inspections?

Assessing a roof is easy. Assuming you have the basic technical skills, which are not difficult to learn, analyzing a roof and determining what deficiencies are present, what needs to be done, what can wait, all of that, really isn’t that hard to do.

So, why do so many roofing contractors have trouble selling the repairs their reports recommend? (And when they don’t sell the repairs they often think the problem is with their report format). Let’s see if we can bring some clarity to this.

Years ago, in my role as roofing consultant, I had a client give me a copy of an assessment report performed by a roofing contractor with a quote for about $36,000 of recommended repairs to correct deficiencies they found on a shopping center. I had also inspected the roofs and I agreed that everything they presented was a legitimate deficiency. So, what did I recommend to my client? I recommended we do none of it!

Let me give you a bit more information about the roof. In the three years that my client had owned the 84,000-square-foot shopping center, they have never had single roof leak and the well-installed gravel surfaced built up roofs were about eight years old. Do you really think a building owner is going to spend $36,000 on an 84,000-sqare-foot shopping center that had never leaked?

When you drop your car off at the body shop to have them fix a scratch on the right rear quarter panel on your car, you don’t expect them to fix the scratch, repaint the whole car, install new rims and tires, tint the windshield and upgrade the radio.

Tip 1: Most roofing contractors doing assessments produce reports and quotes “recommending” way too much work.  Just because something on a roof isn’t perfect doesn’t mean you have to fix it, at least right away. For instance, just because that EPDM wall flashing is starting to bridge, you and I both know it isn’t going to rip open for at least another three or four years and perhaps longer. (And there are exceptions, sure, but if you are on the roof regularly, monitoring it, there is no chance you won’t see it coming.) When you quote the repair of those flashings, it is the same as getting a quote to “install new tires and rims, tint your windshield and upgrade the radio” when you took your car in for that scratch on that right rear quarter panel.

There is another factor that comes in to play. When you dropped your car off at the body shop and when you see a quote to do all that unrequested work, you know you don’t need it. That isn’t the case with the typical building owner and his roofs.

The typical building owner, property manager, facility manager, building engineer, asset manager knows less about roofs than your receptionist. Think about that for a minute. While there are exceptions to this rule, they are few and far between. Do you know what that means? It means that they are not going to understand the report you produce. You can tell them what a flashing is and they will nod their head up and down. That doesn’t mean they understand. If you, instead, asked them to explain to you what a flashing is and you listen to their answer you will quickly discover that they have no real idea what a flashing is. But here is what they do know: They don’t need to spend $36,000 on a shopping center that doesn’t leak. Since they can’t understand your report, they just do none of it.

Tip 2: If you give them a laundry list of things to choose from, they will often choose “none of the above. ”So, make sure you explain why each of these things is necessary and the possible consequences of not doing them.

Tip 3: “Sell” your assessments as a way to manage an aging roof. While we can all agree that roofs should be inspected regularly, let’s also agree that the roofs that most need to be inspected regularly are aging (or problematic) roofs. Especially when you are trying to start work with a potential new client, point out that it is often possible to cost effectively extend the life of an aging roof, and the best way to figure out exactly if that might be possible and how to do it is with a formal assessment. Importantly, this also gives you a context for understanding what they are after and makes it much easier to avoid the issues mentioned in both Tips 1 and 2.

Let’s say you decide to buy a new car. You walk into the dealership and lady behind the desk says, “Just a minute, I’ll get somebody for you.” Shortly, a mechanic in greasy coveralls comes walking out the service area, wiping the grease off his hands with a rag. He walks you over to a car on the show floor and says, “You should buy this one. It is a real good car.” That isn’t how it works? Really? (And, do you think that mechanic should be surprised when you don’t buy that car? Then why are you surprised when your estimators only sell one in five estimates they put out for repairs?)

Does the professional salesman you actually buy your new car from know as much about how that car works as the mechanic? Probably not. Then why do you suppose auto dealers use salespeople to sell cars rather than mechanics or others with excellent technical expertise? Because salespeople know how to sell. In our industry, we routinely see commercial roofing service salespeople closing over 60 percent of their sales. Once you made the adjustments recommended in the first three tips, if you are not closing 60 percent or more of your service estimates coming off assessment reports, you need to follow the advice in Tip 4.

Tip 4: Hire a true sales professional to sell. When your payroll clerk and bookkeeper are both off work due to maternity leave and an auto accident, would you grab two guys from a tear-off crew and have them do the bookkeeping and payroll? If a couple of guys don’t show up on a Monday at the start of a large tear-off, do you send your payroll clerk and bookkeeper out to help with the tear-off? Then don’t expect the guy who you have assessing your customers’ roofs to also sell them the work you are quoting. Hire true sales professionals and watch your revenue grow.

By following these tips, the quality of your assessments will go up and so will your closing ratios.

New Roof Flashing Provides All-Weather Maintenance

New Seal-Fast Repair Hero roof flashing from Mule-Hide Products Co. is an all-system, all-weather maintenance and repair product.

A universal solution, the solvent-based, fiber-reinforced terpolymer sealant adheres to all roof substrates, including asphalt, modified bitumen, metal, TPO, EPDM, PVC, Kynar, concrete, Elvaloy/PVC, Hypalon (CSPE) and polyisobutylene (PIB).

Ready to work in all conditions, Repair Hero can be applied to dry or wet surfaces and under water. It can be used in any weather – rain or shine and in any ambient temperature.

According to the manufacturer, its exceptional elongation and high tensile strength enable Repair Hero to out-perform asphalt-based cements and silicone-based roof patches.

  • It delivers excellent adhesion, out-sticking silicone-based patches in TPO and EPDM applications.
  • It withstands soaring temperatures and intense exposure to ultraviolet light – conditions that can cause asphalt-based cements to become brittle and crack.
  • It is 50 percent more elastic and more than 9 times stronger than silicone-based roof patches, enabling it to better withstand building movement, foot traffic and the poundings dealt by Mother Nature.

Repair Hero complies with VOC-related regulations in all 50 states and does not need to be mixed or stirred before use and does not skin over or separate in the can after opening.

For more information, visit www.mulehide.com

 

Codes and Standards: Dealing With Decision Makers

During the past ten years, in my role as Associate Executive Director of the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), much of my professional focus has been on monitoring the development of building codes and standards that could impact the products of our members, and the people who use those products. This past decade has been marked by intense debate, focusing on issues such as how the design of buildings can save energy, protect the health of the people who work there, and resist the ravages of increasingly frequent intense and even cataclysmic weather events. It has been an important time for the roofing industry to be engaged.

Given the complexity of the multiple codes and standards that impact roofing, it’s important to know the difference between codes and standards. To clarify, building codes are a set of rules that are frequently adopted into law, and are designed to specify the minimum requirements to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of building occupants. Building standards are set by national organizations such as ASHRAE and determine the performance requirements of the materials used in building construction. While standards are frequently incorporated into codes, that is not always the case.

Each year, ERA has increased its commitment of time and resources to stay abreast of proposed changes in codes and standards. As part of this commitment, I have sat through, and participated in, countless hours of codes and standards meetings and hearings, as well as related meetings with individuals and groups who share ERA’s goals. When I started out, I felt that it was important for members of the roofing industry to stay involved in the code and standard-setting processes. A decade later, I am convinced that participation by the roofing industry is essential if codes and standards are to support the best possible service and products that we can give our customers.

A few insights, based on my experience:

1. Science speaks.

ERA members, because of their close relationship with contractors and consultants, want to make sure that the choice of building materials is left in the hands of the design professional, the consultant, the architect, the engineer, the contractor and, of course, ultimately the building owner or facility manager. When we have codes and standards that do not reflect science-based evidence and/or the best practices within the roofing industry, then those stakeholders may not be able to choose the best product for the job at hand. In some cases, proposed modifications to existing codes or standards are suggested by people from the industry. In those instances, our role is to provide research and evidence to support the proposed change. Either way, science-based testimony usually carries the day. Not always, but without good scientific evidence to support a specific position, the chances of winning are nil to none. It takes time and clear thought to influence the codes and standards process, but without a base of indisputable scientific evidence, it’s hard to get out of the starting gate.

2. Collaboration is essential.

We have always welcomed forging partnerships with like-minded roofing professionals. But there have also been times when we have acted as consulting partners with regulatory agencies. A recent example: when regulatory agencies across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states were charged with improving air quality, they chose to reduce the amount of allowable volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in adhesive sealants. This was a very good idea, and the industry was certainly supportive of the intent, but the way in which many of those states intended to enact those VOC regulations would have crippled the roofing industry. Essentially, the agencies were taking a regulation that was written for the state of California and applying it universally across the New England and Mid-Atlantic States.

So, ERA conducted studies, showing how the climate of those Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states was dissimilar from the climate of California. We also provided technical information on how product would react differently in those different climates, and then we asked for a delayed implementation period to allow the research and development divisions in our companies to develop new products. These new products are appropriate for use in the climates in question and still allow the regulatory agencies to achieve their goals, successfully reducing the amount of the VOCs. Our participation was essential to help the regulatory agencies draw up a realistic timeline that would take into account the needs of the roofing industry.

3. Monitor the decision makers.

It’s important to monitor the discussion surrounding any proposed changes in codes and standards. It’s equally as important to monitor who will be making the final decisions on these issues. Since there are various facets of the roofing industry, code-setting bodies would be wise to ask the local roofing experts for advice on whom to include in their decision-making process. I’ve seen instances where committees have incorporated someone who may technically be from the roofing industry, but that person’s breadth and depth of knowledge is not appropriate for the topic at hand.

I would say we have seen mismatch of decision makers when urban heat island and cool roof issues are being debated. An individual may know a fair amount about climate change, but that doesn’t mean the person necessarily understands the nuances of cool roofing. Additionally, they may not be aware of the breadth of research on that topic and instead rely on dated information from college or grad school without being appropriately briefed on new and emerging research.

4. Prepare for a variety of responses.

We have worked with some regulatory agencies during a collaborative process and they’ve been very grateful for our input. There have been other situations where it seems that the policymakers just want us to rubber stamp their very well-intentioned but ill-conceived draft codes. That’s not something that we are willing to give. These initiatives, these outreach campaigns, take a tremendous amount of time and effort and financial resources, and difficult as it may be, our members feel that they owe it to the industry and their customers to make sure that anything that we’re involved in is done the right way and rooted in science-based evidence. There are no shortcuts in these sometimes very difficult fights.

5. Everyone can contribute.

Every member of the roofing community can be active and engaged and make a contribution to ensuring that codes and standards reflect the true needs of the construction industry and our customers. It’s very valuable to build relationships with state legislators and attend town hall meetings. It is crucial to identify candidates that are pro-business and pro roofing, and support them financially as well as from an educational perspective by sharing information with them about the roofing industry.

This is also critically important: When you are asked to write a letter to a key decision maker, be sure to do it. Recently, as part of a campaign to preserve choice of building products for roofers, I visited a city councilmember’s office. On the wall was an enormous white board where every single constituent member’s concern was tracked, along with a reference to the response. This particular city council member had an 87 percent “close rate,” meaning that 87 percent of the concerns that they had received in a given period had been responded to. My experience has been that municipal and state legislators take constituent outreach very, very seriously. Every letter, every e-mail makes a difference.

6. Gather intelligence for your professional organization.

If there is one takeaway that I want people to get from this article, it is to keep us informed. It is darned near impossible to track everything that happens on a city, county, state and national basis because there is no software that currently tracks these issues before they are formally proposed and published for review. And that is often too late to educate the policy makers. It is critical for the readers of this article to attend their local trade association meetings and become acquainted with the policy makers and the legislators in their area. Equally as important, everyone can become a resource for legislators and policymakers when they have a question about roofing.

I’m looking forward to the next decade of victories for the roofing industry, allowing us to deliver superior roofing systems to a broad range of customers. But this will happen only if key decisions about the roof are made by roofing experts, and not mandated by politicians who are far removed from the design process.