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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Santa Is Not The Only Stranger On Your Roof, the 300 Rule

Imagine a chimney. Start a fire. Step back and enjoy the warmth. You expect the smoke to leave and go up the chimney. It does. Magic!
Now let's put a random hole in the chimney somewhere between the fireplace and the top of the flue. Now what happens. Coughing, choking, gagging, smoke damage... The random hole now is the intake. The chimney effect has been short circuited.
That's what happens when a roofer guesses and starts putting random holes in your roof. The chimney effect stops. Put turbines in a house with gable end vents and soffit vents and the gable end vents become intake rather than exhaust. The soffits don't draw in cool air anymore and the floor of the attic, the part that attacks your pocketbook, remains hot while the top of the attic, where nobody cares, is cooled.
Another random venting solution the untrained roofer uses is the placing of lots of vent ridge. If the ridges are of different altitudes, even just one of them, they communicate but the soffits are left out of the conversation. Plus, too much exhaust and the suction will look to pull air out of the house through the light fixtures, kitchen vent a hood, the hall attic access, the hot water closet, or anyplace it can. The negative pressure can even pull from your ducts and plena. Now that will cool your attic.
Next the spent gas from your gas fired HVAC and hot water heater is drawn back down and will at least cause headaches but at worse death. Then because the house has a slightly lower pressure, measured in fractions of an atmospheric unit, radon gas starts infiltrating the home from the ground. The slab won't protect you. It makes it worse. As the concentrations of gas build up they start penetrating along plumbing penetrations and cracks. (Read this last link please.)
Now look what the roofer did. He killed your kids. He at least made them sick with carbon monoxide. And don't forget the mold. No wonder your kid has asthma. You used a guy, who said he was a roofer, that had no training, no certification, no liability insurance, no clue as how to do anything but nail on a shingle. Even that part of his job is suspect because he started wrong. Instead of using a starter shingle he took a 20 year shingle, the cheapest made, and turned it upside down and backwards. If your lucky, the roof will blow off before your wife divorces you and reports you to the authorities for jeopardizing your children by letting this stranger, one you didn't check out, on your property, and on your roof. The only stranger getting on my roof is Santa Claus, who the proper municipal authorities have vetted and granted a permit to do such things as get on an icy roof.
Lord knows you didn't mean for all this to happen. Maybe all you wanted to do was stimulate the economy by paying for energy, destroying your decking, compressing your insulation, shortening the life of your roof, and filling up the landfills. Now the medical bills are piling up along with the divorce attorney's. What's a homeowner to do? Cut fewer holes in the roof guaranteeing hot attic syndrome or cutting holes and torturing the family with radon gas and CO, not the friendlier CO2?
Do a little research is all. Check for certifications, insurance, Better Business Bureau, and if you get that pit in your stomach, do a criminal background check. The guy knocking on your door may have killed other families with RANDOM ROOF HOLE SYNDROME.
See you at the funeral.
I love Dallas and it's people. I've lived here my whole life, except for a semester in Rome, so I'd like to keep her people and her roofs safe.

Jon Wright

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Architect and the Roofer

Except when dealing with replacement or retrofit roof, the most important person to the birth of a new roof system is the architect. One such designer, Darin Norman, an accomplished architect for Townsite Company, presented us with one of the most difficult residential retrofit roofing dilemmas we ever encountered. Darin had a better understanding of ventilation and energy efficiency than any customer I had ever met. He knew what he wanted and wanted me to get him there. By using the GAF Website, he looked for a Master Elite Roofer , us,who he felt would have the training to enact the nuances of an energy efficient system on a home built with little inclination to be done so. Darin lives in Fort Worth but because there are so few Master Elite roofers he selected a roofing company from Irving, Dallas County.

Hello Darin, can you tell me about the initial problem you encountered with venting your roof?
Due to the conversion of old attic space to usable second-story square footage, I could not utilize traditional attic venting methods to promote the chimney effect within my wall and roof cavities. The house simply trapped hot air between the ceiling and roof. Also, the design of the roof eaves disallowed the use of traditional eave vents for cool air infiltration.

Why did you use GAF products on your house?
GAF-Elk is the only manufacturer of a non-white, Cool Color Series shingle that meets minimum rating standards of the Cool Roof Rating Council and Energy Star for energy efficiency and performance. I wanted the heat reflective qualities of a white roof while retaining the curbside aesthetics of a traditional shingle color. For the flat portions of my roof, I selected the GAF EnergyCap modified bitumen. It comes with a factory applied layer of reflective elastomeric coating. It is very reflective and effectively combats heat gain from direct and indirect sunlight. These two products have made a tremendous difference in lowering the cooling demands of my home. Along with accessories like the e ridgvent and smart vents, I was able to introduce an effective airflow within my rafter space that cycles out accumulated heat.

Were you satisfied with the material and system choices you made and do you think it will save you money in the long run?
I am satisfied and I have already saved money.

Who long have you been an architect and where did you get your degree?
I have an M. Arch degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
In dealing with roofers what would you say is their strengths and weaknesses?
Most roofers do not care about the energy performance of a roof. They are interested in minimizing their cost of installation to maximize their profit margin. Labor is expensive, and most labor only understands traditional roofing installation. Jon Wright, however, understood what I was after and instructed his crews in the installation of these relatively new products, keeping in mind that energy performance was a priority. Also, roofers are adept at traversing steep pitches.

Your roof project was both a remodel and an insurance claim. How would you say the insurance company handled the initial claim?
The insurance company was very helpful. The claim was handled efficiently and completely. There was a minor hassle that required my dealing with the mortgage company. The insurance agents were responsive and understanding.

Was it helpful to you that we worked with the insurance company?
Yes, as Jon was familiar with the assessment software, he was able to point out some additional areas where additional compensation was owed to me.

What would you say the average homeowner needs to do beforehand in order to select a contractor and materials?
1.Properly assess your own roofing needs, be they cost, aesthetics, performance, energy efficiency, or durability.
2.Coordinate other roof fixes such as skylight installation, ventilation, or additional sloping with the basic roof work to be performed.
3.Prioritize according to your budget
4.Research available products and those certified in their installation online and verify with accredited rating agencies
5.Double check with the BBB on each potential contractor
6.Acquire a minimum of three bids for your project. Assess not only the bottom line, but scheduling, work duration, contractor responsiveness (it won’t improve beyond this point), and verify references.

As an architect did you learn anything from your own house project?
Yes, I am constantly reminded of the difference between the drawn design and the unique requirements of the physical circumstances at hand. Communication with laborers is important in conveying expectations and making sure they are met. A friendly rapport goes a long way.

What consequences does a homeowner face if he doesn't take the time to research his materials, his roof systems, and contractor?
He will probably ultimately be dissatisfied with the final result, its performance, and its durability. His electric bill will remain high. There will be leftover material and nails in his driveway and nails in his yard. Potentially, the roof could leak.

Anything else?
That does it.

Thanks Darin. It was fun roofing your house because of the unique challenges it presented to us. Nevertheless I hope we don't get too many like yours soon.

After several years this roof has been problem free.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Roofs Affect Everybody and Everything

This is not a blog. This is a forum. The mission is the betterment of the roofing industry for the sake of the consumer at the end of the chain of custody, if you don't count the landfill. Our goal is to help in the selection of roofing systems that better the property and it's owners.

Better built roofs, accessories, warranties, and energy/longevity selections are the criteria that our journey will travel. Here we hope to help save money, the  environment, the aesthetics, and the health of the end users of our services as an industry in general. Realtors, remodelors, builders, architects, doctors, children, manufacturers, distributors and even our government could learn from the experts this forum will parlay with weekly. Then there are the framers, plumbers, electricians, masons, insulation contractors, painters and sheet rockers who bump elbows with the roofers and sometimes have to fix their mistakes. Finally there is your family that depends on the roof in more ways than waterproofing. So here's to the roof over your head, the hero or villain in your life.

After having been a roofing contractor for over thirty years and an installer for many years before and after the start of the business, I've learned much and met many knowledgeable people. I want to make your roof system work for you and not against you as an unforeseen money pit robs you of your money and health. Lastly, the weather extremes being so intense here in the Dallas Fort Worth area, a great roof system from a great roofing company is very important.

December 4th, 2009.
Jon Wright Roofing Dallas

I've come back to revist my first proffering and have determined that I have kept on mission about 90% in the quantity of posts and 75% in the content. If I were to write solely about roofing then I'd be very boring. I've heard that around Dallas roofers are reading this roof forum/blog and learning. Maybe Dallas roof quality will rise. I've intentionally offended a few scoundrels and will continue to tell the truth without exception. Beware the Google comment section because Sharp Exteriors, Vertical Roofing, Eclat (the worst by volume), and a few others self post or hire outsiders as is the case with Eclat. How can someone buy roofs and other services in more than a dozen states and various countries and how can one contractor have so many referrals that make so many comments all over the place. On Eclat just follow the commenters name backwards and see how many they do. From Ontario, to California, to Dallas, to Florida Eclat's commentators comment on businesses. On Vertical I personally know that they released a website claiming to be members of everything when they weren't, to make false claims about roof jobs done when none were done, and to self post comments.
Sharp, he's the king rat. He has stolen from everyone he can. All his self generated comments were made in one week and then he tired of it. If he tells you something rest assured it's a lie.
Go to Complaints Board and see how his brother-in-law was claiming he owned the company in order to keep the litigators from grabbing his assets. Now he has it back but the Bill Hammond guy won't let go. No honor amongst how?
Go to the Boardhost and see the growing list of victims.
There's a lot of good roofers in Dallas but there are a lot of shysters too. Do your homework thoroughly. Ask for credit references and old customers that aren't relatives. Check on Google with the roofer's name and adjunct words like complaint, crook, criminal, lawsuit, alien, communist, arugula, or whatever makes your bing bang.

17 October 2010

We had to change the address of the blog because someone squatted on the domain. 7/17/2012