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.

Conductive Primer Designed for Electronic Testing of Conventional Roof Assemblies

Detec Systems has developed TruGround, a conductive primer which enables accurate electronic leak detection (ELD) testing on conventional roof membranes including black EPDM, TPO, PVC, modified bitumen, hot and cold fluid applied. According to the manufacturer, TruGround must be installed directly below the membrane per ASTM D7877. TruGround can be used for quality assurance testing on newly installed membranes and is chemically compatible with fully adhered, mechanically attached and torch-down 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 from occurring.

For more information, visit www.detecsystems.com.

IRE and R&D

The conventional wisdom is that when the overall economy is strong, manufacturers feel more comfortable investing their resources in research and development of new products. I don’t have hard numbers to back that assertion up, but in my experience, at least anecdotally, it seems to be borne out. During the Great Recession years of the last decade, the number of new products coming to market seemed to decline. If the array of new products I saw at this year’s International Roofing Expo (IRE) in New Orleans is any indication, we could be in for a banner year.

The IRE makes it easy to keep tabs on new developments with its New Product Pavilion. The depth and breadth of offerings in that area was impressive, but I saw products being unveiled all over the show floor. Time will tell if they will turn out be a flash in the pan, a category-changing development, or something in between — but for the Roofing team, it was a very interesting show to cover, as there were a lot of excited responses when we asked, “What’s new?”

Innovative products on display included a pre-weathered fastener from Lakeside Construction Fasteners that matches aged Corten panels, so installation and repairs don’t leave bright silver dots on the rust-colored surface.

Carlisle showcased its Rapid Lock Technology, which uses a Velcro attachment system to secure the company’s EPDM and TPO membranes without using a bonding adhesive, doing away with temperature restrictions.

OMG Roofing Products unveiled its RhinoBond Hand Welder, which can be used to install the company’s induction welding fastening system in hard-to-reach areas, such as spaces below signs, pipes and rooftop equipment.

Georgia-Pacific showed off enhancements to DensDeck Prime that make the cover boards more resistant to water and increase their vertical pull strength.

Roof Sentry announced the launch of a solar-powered roof vent that provides moisture detection and data monitoring services. It can also remove moisture from low-slope roof systems.

On the residential side, new developments included GAF’s shingles with StainGuard Plus, which uses copper granules with time-release technology to fight algae growth.

Tie Down Engineering offered the Ergo Stripper, an ergonomically designed tool for removing shingles that improves leverage and eases strain on the back.

The Roof Umbrella rooftop canopy system is designed to be installed in less than 30 minutes on jobsites to prevent weather delays. It can be customized with the contractor’s logo.

These are just a few of the items that caught our eye at the IRE. We will be showcasing them in this issue and future issues of the magazine as part of our editorial mission to keep readers up to date on new products hitting the market. If you saw a new product you’d like us to be aware of, just email me at chris@roofingmagazine.com.

Reinforced EPDM Membrane Offers Tape-to-Tape Technology

JM EPDMJohns Manville unveils a new reinforced EPDM membrane sheet with tape-to-tape technology, JM EPDM R FIT. According to the manufacturer, the product is field tested and proven to speed up installation by as much as four times, leading to lower labor costs. The expense and time involved when using other membranes that require primer is also eliminated since no primer is needed, leading to lower installed costs. The initial bond between tape-to-tape membrane sheets has been measured to be up to 20 percent stronger compared to field-fabricated seams. The watertight seam is never exposed on the rooftop, so the risk of contamination during installation and post installation is minimal.

John Petruzzi, president of FPS Roofing, installed the new product and was impressed with how quickly the crew learned techniques to apply it. “We were sold when we saw for ourselves how fast the seam went together. We were hands-on with the product, the whole crew liked it, and I will continue to use it,” said Petruzzi.

JM EPDM R FIT enables a longer window of application time since the 10-foot-by-100-foot rolls are completely pre-taped. This means there is no waiting on primer to flash off to get to the next step. “Our field tests demonstrate that this product will go down up to four times faster than anything already on the market,” said John Quante, JM EPDM Product Manager, Roofing Systems. “The tape-to-tape creates a stronger initial bond, making the installation more robust from day one. This product evolution will allow roofers to bid more aggressively and no doubt architects and specifiers will see the benefits too.”

For more information, visit www.jm.com/roofing.