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Friday, December 31, 2010

Good Bye 2010

Everybody knows that you need to start practicing writing 2011, especially on checks, right now. Just like that new medicine cabinet in your new home almost gets ripped out of the wall by everyone grabbing the wrong side, so does everything else in your life. So here's my roof tips to keep up this year:
1) Keep your gutters, valleys, and back of your chimney free of debris.
2) Walk around your home one a month and visually inspect the perimeter of the foundation, eaves, and ground. Make sure you have positive drainage away from the house or those little lakes might mess up your foundation. Look for rotting wood or peeling paint.
3) Look in your attic once a month and look at the flue pipes, wiring, and deck. Check for leaks, deadly gas fumes, and potential fires.
4) Call us just before winter to look for backed out nails and a chimney inspection. You might have us look in the attic.
5) Do the roof frost inspection I talked about before. Keyword in the search bar is "frost."
6) Read my blog.
7) Hug your kids more in 2011.

We hope you've learned something and have chuckled a little, but not too much, because you might be laughing at me. A smile will do.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How To Measure a Roof

Everybody knows that when roofers die they are reincarnated as architects. The deep seated emotion of revenge has resulted in a steady climb of complexity in roof design while basic math skills have plummeted so far that we need immigrants from third world countries to figure out our stuff.

Take for example computers. When you call the help center you never hear a Southern or Brooklyn accent. If you ask them what time it is they will give you the weirdest responses and sometimes even get the date wrong. They used to come over here but now they just stay home an globally commute from home.

Despite all this we are still trying to measure roofs ourselves but are doing a disgustingly bad job of it. Back in the day (I really don't get this colloquialism but it seemed to be an appropriate time to expound it) we painstakingly (looks German) used step by step methods to accurately decipher how much of everything we needed. But then some yokel over at State Farm came up with the simplistic 10% or 15% waste catch all system that leaves a lot to be desired. Yet they measure in inches and we can't buy roofing that way.

Why you might ask? Why to screw everybody a little at a time. Just like they can't remember that a few years ago a 10% on 10% general contracting fee was 21% and claim it was always 10% plus 10%, resulting in a 1% loss (20%). With these Enron accounting practices applied to billions, you might see how it can add up.

Now I'm not jumping on State Farm. They're really a great bunch and do a very professional job. Really. And everybody ran with this new system and again claim that is the way it always was. Sounds Orwellian to me.
Here's the story du jour: I tell this green adjuster that his math is off. The house is very cut up and there is more ridge on the house than 15% above surface area. It's somewhere deep in the Delta area around Star Date 1987. I finally grow tired of arguing with this simplistic automaton and tell him that I am a little more advanced than most roofers (and adjusters for that matter) in math. He boasts that he had a math degree from North Texas State. I responded "a state school, huh?"

That conversation ended. We roofed the house, saved our invoices, and then went beyond the pale. I sent a multi colored series of sketches breaking the roof into sections and showing how the theoretical pyramid could be extrapolated from this rather unusual three dimensional polygon. I think if it had been 5% more cut up we could have solves some time/space continuum problems and solved world hunger, which every attempt up until now has only caused more hunger. Conundrums are not a musical instruments.

This meat head with his degree was from State Farm but I beat him the old fashioned way. I was right. I also used a little General Sun "Art of War" tactics. I waited for him to be reassigned into another quadrant and then I attacked. Phasers at full strength. Insurance companies hate it when you roof without an agreement on price. They don't want to "adjust" after you have a go. But sometimes matters come up, like shape, size, volume.

Now to the point. Measuring is not an art. It is a science. There are several ways to measure though. Counter intuitively the most accurate is from the ground using a pitch factor. Most roofers, if they still measure, measure from the roof and ignore the eccentricities. They measure a three dimensional object using two dimensional tools. As they lob off sections with rafter times length methods, they ignore the raided areas inside the valleys. I know words fail me here so just trust me.

If you measure the High Noon shadow, or footprint of the roof, that is the foundation plus overhang, and multiply that flat area by a pitch multiplier, you'll have the surface area. Now the insurance companies want to add a flat tax of 10% or 15% whether the house has ten feet of valley or 200 feet. Hip house receive the larger amount of 15% because hip is cool. Gables are factored at 10%. Yet the same floor plan may have different roof cuts creating greater need for valley, hip, and ridge usage.

If you are attempting to measure for the purposes of a very expensive roof material, the simple way is disastrous. Not having enough ridge might leave the roof incomplete because the materials are in another galaxy. That's when you add the ridge linearly, calculate the amount of waste for valleys, hips, and rakes with however much will be lost in the cutting. Tile and stone coated steel roofers measure the rafter length and divide the number of courses it will take, including the fraction of a course at the top as a whole, because we can't buy fractions of courses.

If you are roofing a small short mansard, the ratio of starter to rafter length will be all out of proportion. A hundred foot rafter need less starter in terms of percentage than a roof with only one course of roofing. Half the roof is starter (the blind shingle underneath the first row that keeps the water out of it's end joints).

Nowadays we often measure from the sky. We don't let someone else do it for us like a lot of companies do. We still need to go out there and look around so we can do it cheaper by taking a few measurements to give us a ratio with the pixel count. Then we measure and add pitch factors.

I wonder is some Dallas roofs are measured from India or China yet? So sad many can't even do that for themselves anymore and have to outsource measuring.

This is boring stuff so I'm going to quit now. Later I'll go through measuring step by step.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jon Wright Roofing's First Annual Awards Ceremony.

The Year in Review, from a roofer's eyes.
No hail storms to speak of in the Metroplex but that was okay. That gives me time to write my first Jon Wright Person of the Year Awards.

The only nominee for that person, which also captured Woman of the Year, is Elizabeth Edwards. She died with class unmatched except for my Uncle Gene, a professor at the university of Dallas. His sister, my aunt, died when she fell off a toilet. They were both funny and bright and now dead, like we all will be. But Elizabeth Edwards turned shame into grace, something few are able to do. The worst part, something I read on Real Clear Politics that made me cry like I was watching Terms of Endearment, was that she would die knowing that her children would always be around the other woman because of their curiosity for their half sister.

I'm sure Senator Edwards is sorry. He got caught. He got caught lying.

The 2010 roof salesman of the year is Ryan Scott. No comment necessary.

The 2010 supplier of the year is Southern Shingles. Despite the fact we kept getting new sales people all the time, they held onto our business.

The 2010 Roofing related business award goes to Angie's List, for all the nice people we met and did business with, including our very nice contact there, Amanda McDonald.

The 2010 Manufacturer Rep of the Year is Jo Anderson, a person whose shoes cannot be filled, even though the runner ups, Mike Harrison and Gary Keith from Certainteed want to.

Now, for the award everyone has been waiting for...the envelope please (I can't believe Megan Fox is handing it to me). What do you mean it's Sonia Sotomayor? The winner of the best customer for Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, Windows, and Solar Panels is...drum roll.... all ya'll that paid your bill and made comments on Google, Angie's List, and other social medium.

Thank you for attending the awards ceremony

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frost on the Roof Tells Me a Lot

Mr. Frost is here again and for forensic roofers like me he has a lot to say. The melt patterns are like reading tea leaves, only more accurate.
Let it Snow right click and listen too in a different window.

A block of roof that melts before the others tells me that the area has either a cathedral ceiling or little, if any, insulation. The lack of air space between the ceiling and the deck on cathedral ceilings allows the heat to escape more quickly there.

Notice how the garage area stays frosted and the rest of the house roof thaws. Warm attics also show the outline of the rafters underneath the roof deck as the escaping heat, going as heat does to where heat isn't, melts the frost. The heat is thawing the rafters too but the have more mass to absorb the heat and keep the deck above them frosty. Plus heat wants to go up.

A well insulated attic floor will keep the heat in the home better making the roof thaw evenly. Homes that let heat escape more rapidly than others will keep ice on the overhangs but not over the living area. This leaves a border of frost on the outside edges of the living area. The overhang, porch, and garage keep ice on them longer.

Now comes the ice or snow torrent and you are under insulated. Weeee, we now have leaks inside the "warm wall." The ice builds up on the overhang but melts over the heated areas and you have a back up of water that goes under the shingles.

Shingles count on gravity, which turns water from one course of shingles onto the one below it until it reaches the edge or the ice dam. Smicsh dam, ice damn. Can be a flood. Wouldn't happen if you had used the leak protector. This caped crusader acts as a leak barrier for those moments when gravity lets you down.

Up north these products must be used: by code of ethics. But here in Dallas it'll never snow a foot. Never I tell you. Never, ever, nada, nunca, preposterous. That's like saying Atlanta Christmas snow. What an oxymoron. Up north, land of snow birds and tongues stuck to poles. I don't mean Slavic types but slobbering slobs. I am of Polish descent anyway. At least it is part of my 57 flavors. Yet despite temptation I've never licked a frozen pole. No paramedics for me, as we say, "nyet."

Back up on the roof the heat is escaping. Oh no! Plug the turbines. Hurry.

Now do you do this. It is forbidden and foolish. If you lived by the ocean and plug your turbines you might miss the the high hopes hailla ball. Plus your decking will rot and why you sing about the good things and the sun that lights the day, your roof will come down like a Led Zepplin.

Think about it. The heat has escaped and is now melting the ice on the roof. Do you think plugging those holes will do more than just make the ice melt faster. There will be so much condensation in your attic that icicles may form that later drop and put holes all over your ceiling.


Remember that ventilation was invented by northern pain companies in the 1920's because their paint would peel off the homes in the winter.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Roofers and Christmas

While reading listen to this:
I Believe in Father Christmas (be sure to right click and open in a new tab)

I Believe in Father Christmas by one of my favorite singers

For many of our Christmas traditions you need to thank roofers.

Don't believe me? Have I lied to you before? Do I need to prove it?

Just how does Santa get into your home? First he lands on the roof. If there is no snow you'll need to call Jon Wright Roofing to fix the broken shingles unless you bought an impact resistant class IV roof.

If the sleigh landing is cushioned by snow you better hope the decking is in good shape because if Santa falls through a dwarf attorney will send you notice.

Then there is the problem with the lights. You know that you nailed them into the roof or tore up the edge by sticking something under the shingles.

If you didn't keep the mortar cap in good shape the bricks might be loose and, with old Fat Nicholas trying to break and enter, there might be some bricks dislodged.

Well there it is. We only protect the pagan rituals. The real part of Christmas, the part of which it is truly about, can only be protected by you by giving Jesus what he really wants for christmas, you.
Here's a little present:

Peanuts Christmas

Go Cowboys! Maybe next year. If Jerry would just work on the business end and let the coaches do their job they might go somewhere.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Roofers and Charity

"The season of giving" is another name for this time of year. We've always given a little to the Shriner and other groups but we've looked to help in other ways. We tried getting with Habitat for Humanity when Kimberly Van Excel came by but it was difficult. We just wanted to donate some leftover material and donate some time. It was a slow year without any local storms and we're not storm chasers. We're professionals.

Down to Habitat's local office we went to give away some material and labor but management wanted us to bid full roofs. They had grant money that needed to be spent on the particular homes we had looked at that, in my humble opinion, did not need replacing. They needed minor repairs only. That's not how the big charity world works. You have a grant for a full roof and you use it or lose it. We went away. We didn't want to make any money but that's what they wanted us to do. So be it.

Then came GAF. One of Jo Anderson's last act as territory manager was to ask us if we would donate labor on a few homes for Habitat. This is a nationwide partnership between GAF, the GAF Master Elite contractors, and Habitat for Humanity. We'll buy some material and get reimbursed eventually.

We also donated some expertise to the Armstrong Elementary School in Highland Park that they auctioned off. Ryan did the work. Yeah Ryan. He didn't even charge me. But he wants us to do more.

I ask everyone to give just a little to those in need. Not your relatives. Find some do gooders and do some good.

I feel good...

The News According to Jon

I sincerely hope nobody is offended today but I'm going out on a limb today. My limb. Here goes:
Good morning boys and girls, or as they now say in some parts of the military, boys and boys. Now that wasn't so bad. One less thing to worry about. Plus the armed services have all that new closet space freed up. We have to do something because as we and our Ruskie friends send our bombs to oblivion, rather than the other way around (bombs send us...) the rest of the world seems intent on making up on the vacuum. Reminds me of the Tom Lehrer song "Who's Next." He's singing about bombs, not gays. In order of appearance: America, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Israel (come on, they just haven't blown one up yet), India, Pakistan, North Korea, and the sharing states of Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, and Greece. Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and South Africa gave them up. Iran, as we all know, wants only peaceful nuclear stuff as so will the Saudis and all their other neighbors. Chavez is going there and has missiles from Iran to put them on.
The real reason I got out of bed this morning was to read about the atrocity committed against Julian Assange: the newspapers leaked confidential police reports on the rape charges against him in Sweden. He did admit to having unprotected sex with two different women. What a genius. That should be a crime in itself.
That's when the Pope stepped in and said condoms were good sometimes. This definitely is not your grandparent's Pope.
I believe all the late night comics are obliged by codified law to delve into this one tonight. Assange, not the Pope, not the gay military, not anything else. Boy how military parades are going to change is an unforeseen outcome though.
Assange's protector, Michael Moore, also made his fame on exposé of secret stuff like war and money. What a shame that these two modern day heroes with impeccable records be treated with less respect than their collective peeking peckers deserve.
It's only common sense that if you're going to rape someone you might as well do it in Sweden where rape rates are through the roof and convictions are declining. Might even be good for tourism. I can see it now: come to Sweden and rape us. If you're famous, we'll just say it was bad sex. Just wear a condom and it's okay. I'm not joking here. One of the girls said she had let it go too far so she let him do it anyway and another insisted he wear a condom. Since the sex was bad, one of the girls went to the police and they determined it was a crime. Seems I remember a case in Austin in the 1990's where a Grand Jury refused to indict a rapist because his victim convinced him to wear a condom.
We put a lot of roofs on made of the same material. The double layer EPDM rubber roofs reduced the chances of two holes aligning allowing water to enter.
I bet our troops are forbidden entry to many ports.
I did it. You never know where the line is but you know when you've passed it.
Back to the old boring Jon now.
Sweden has gone far on Green Roofs. Great place to commit a crime. I wonder what they'll grow on the roofs in California. They'll be falling off because they'll be high.
What has this world come to when it's a crime to commit a bad rape and it's not rape when the victim doesn't want to get AIDS. I'm just too old to understand. My foray into the world of redaction has failed miserably so I'll leave you with this advice:
Come Saturday we're having a big birthday party. Everyone is excited and the ornaments are out. We all need to remember to give Him, our Lord, the best gift we can. That gift is yourself. Give yourself to Him and pray your soul to keep.
Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Roofs and Festivals

It's official.Winter is here. I do not use the traditional calendar to determine the official commencement of the first and last season of the year. Mine is much older and traditional and is in much greater use than this Gregorian or Christian one. I still use a form of Gregorian Chant but it is less than melodious. The melody goes something like this: darn it's cold...burr...
My toes are cold and just like that groundhog, they went back into the sack. You can't roof. Forget Rudolph's red nose and look down at your red toes. A leading cause of divorce is the selfish act of placing your steely toes upon one's spouse. Takes the moment right out.
My son is no doubtingly going to complain, like it is going to do some good. Even the magnets for picking up nails don't work as well but this is due to operator inattentiveness.
About the only roofing you can put on in this climate is wood or thatch but even there the danger level is great due to frost and numb toes.
The great long weekend is arriving making those roofers who tried to work a traditional five day work week wish they had abandoned the 14th century Christian calendar modified by modern 40 hour work week broken into five eight hour days with a lunch break and two smaller breaks. It does not work that way here. Get up, roll out of bed and drag a comb across your head...everyday but don't start a roof on Sunday and don't forget your anniversary. We do honor the birth and death of our Lord and spend those days with loved ones but lesser holidays are not in there. No President's Day, Memorial Day, or Halloween days off. The only civil roofing holiday is the Fourth of July. (Some take off on Cinco de Mayo, which translates into The Day of Drinking.)
Rainy days are our weekends. Once back in the early nineties the crews worked for a month straight without a day off. After two days of rain they were at it pretty hard. At 7:30 AM the reps from Gerard showed up at my office and came in. We decided to go to breakfast and when we open the door there were about forty trucks jamming the parking lot.
Drunk roofers everywhere. We couldn't go anywhere.
I was furious. Never in my mind could I have imagined that anyone could have said "hey, let's go to the office and get yelled at." These guys had it pent up in them pretty bad. They were standing in a pouring rain oblivious to the monsoon going on. I guess it was drowned out by the cumbias.
Party over and lesson learned. Never keep giving the men roofs back to back because they'll run themselves to death like a horse being prodded in a race.
We separated roofs with half days and repairs or just a day off. Plus the group is older now.
The Kiwis that arrived that morning were not shocked. They said the roofers in New Zealand were the same way.
The no drinking rules went into effect immediately and the 1990's went into effect. We serve O'Duols at the Christmas party and the now married men have been emasculated from lovers to providers. Plus they are daddies now.
Winter has arrived in Dallas

Saturday, December 11, 2010

We Receiced an Unexpected Award for Roofing

Ryan called me all excited. He took the call. On our first year at Angie's List we received the Super Service Award for roofing. Wow. Didn't expect that.
While the BBB is answering questions about giving companies good ratings in exchange for dues or a simple response that states the client is wrong, Angie's List has opened an interactive website that bears all. The customers write about their experiences and the business may respond. The customer also grades their experience in several categories: price, punctuality, professionalism, quality, and overall. From "A" to "F." It's right out there in the open.
Here's how Angie describes it: "A $20 Angie’s List membership to find the best local roofer is nothing compared to the $20,000 price tag of a roofing job. Angie’s List knows the identity of every reviewer and because of that, our members trust Angie’s List reviews to help them make the best hiring decisions..."
The members search for whatever they happen to need and a list of companies come up. The are advertisers but anyone Angie has heard about is also on the list. Whether or not a business wants to be rated or not, Angie is going to post whatever she has received.
While some people can't be made happy, you can get the big picture of a company's moral and professional fiber. We've made two people mad but we didn't do business with them Those ratings are there to see but do not effect our grade. Another gave me a "D" but a good write up. She later changed it to "C" after I pointed out the conflict between her words and her rating. I poured my heart into that very difficult job that I doubt anyone else could have done. We made a 100% cathedral ceiling on a nearly vertical pitch very energy efficient and 100% venting. We have some secret technology that the Chinese are trying to steal.
Then there's the others. Page after page of "Page of Happiness." The stories are their of the miracles we pulled off, the preexisting problems that no one knew were there, the death trap carbon monoxide attic that only we inspected, the small or no existent holes in the soffit vents that no other contractor inspected, the imbalanced ventilation, the broken rafters no one saw but us, the horror we found and fixed for pennies on the dollar.
Yes we have a new feather in our cap to add to the others.
We have lead removal and disposal certified experts.
We have certified people from several manufacturers.
We are Vinyl Siding Institute certified.
Mater Elite for GAF.
BBB with an A, which is not saying much as I know a lot of scoundrels with an A.
And lastly, I want to thank everybody we had the opportunity to help this year, especially those of you who paid and the ones who took the time to rate us at Angie's List.
It has been an honor having you honor us. We are proud.

Stop Killing You Great Grandchildren

Is 2010 the end of a decade or the beginning of a new one? People start counting at the number one while some scientists and mathematicians insist that zero is the start. At Mission Control zero is the last number and to "Three Dog Night": One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do.Two can be as bad as one.It's the loneliest number since the number one.
Now to the point. We are never alone. We are in this thing together as one. You can't escape me until my carbon has been returned to the planet and the water in my body has evaporated. While I'm here I'm using resources as part of a food chain, a carbon chain, and a resource consumer. So are you. So is everyone. Those ones add up to 6,887,000,000, according to Wikipedia. The sites says that since the Black Plague in 1400 the population has been steadily increasing.
Resources are falling too. Yes we might find more but they are falling nevertheless. Where does it end? So what can you do about it? Slow it down. Turn it around.
You have a moral, ethical, planetary, and special obligation to help. Not helping is like driving by a car crash and failing to render aid. I'm not saying we causing global warming, or the more vague term of climate change. I'm saying we are heading for a cliff and nobody is sure how far away it is. You may not know where the line is but you'll surely know when you've crossed it.
Every great breakthrough from medicine to agriculture has, in the end, created more suffering because it has allowed more people to live longer and have more babies so that when that breakthrough has succeed to it's ultimate point the point in the curve is higher. There are more people to starve, to get sick, to suffer.
How can we stop this? It's in the little things you do. How you dispose of your trash, when you walk instead of drive, what type of car you drive, and, of course, the envelope of your home. The windows, siding, and roof of your home are killing your great grandchildren. So is your trash.
Why not give your neighbor recycle bags for Christmas or whatever your winter celebration happens to be? Separate your trash for the recyclers. Buy a little better dish washer. Teach your kids to turn off the lights. Open the windows on pretty days. Use a blanket or a sweater when chilly rather than spike up the heat.
Frugalistas will tell you that they'll spend money to keep from losing money long term on utilities and HVAC repairs. Plus they help your great grandchildren.
When you don't consider ventilating your attic properly or use a contractor that doesn't care about the environment, you are committing a crime against humanity. Imagine if you fall a few points shy on the balance sheet and get eternal damnation. You couldn't be reborn if the only thing you did with God's creation was just squandered it. Think about it. Think deep and hard. There are consequences and those that do good will receive rewards while those that don't reap what they sow. But in this lifetime and those of posterity, we will all reap what others sowed.
Some say"well China pollutes." "Billy gots a nickel. I wants a nickel too." Whaaaaaaaa!
Do you remember the Cuyahoga River , the river that caught fire in 1969? A river caught fire? Yes it did. And we turned it around and cleaned up this country. Now people around the world are growing richer and dying faster because they breath junk. In Tehran the air burns their throats. In Pakistan people are getting cancer from pesticides. The Chinese are increasing in wealth but dying of smog.
There is not a sickly rich man who wouldn't trade his wealth for his health, unless he was stupid.
You can eat healthy and exercise but that doesn't give you the right to give my son emphysema. If anyone in Dallas lives long enough he'll get that disease because of the smog.
The point is my recommendation for a New Years resolution: 2011 is the year I went green. Or greener. Get up and go outside. Look around your house at the cracks. Go in the attic and see if you can see light coming in your soffit vents. Check your attic access and see it it is weather stripped. When the frost comes, go outside and see if the frost on your house melts first or last in the neighborhood. If it is first, you lose. If one area goes rapidly while others go slowly, and you don't have a cathedral ceiling there, then go figure out why the heat is pouring out right there.
Energy loss is like a garden soaker hose. As you stop the largest hole in the hose, more water makes it to the end of the hose but the smaller hoses leak a little more too. Start by fixing the big energy losers first. If you put on a great energy efficient roof and ventilation system but your air conditioning ducts are ripped open, you'll have a cooler attic than anyone else.
I commented to one of my customers that he had nice windows. He cursed the guy that put them in. He said they did nothing for him. I knew that this was wrong. His ducts were torn, he had little insulation, his low sloped roof had little ventilation. There was no energy for his windows to save.
With his new radiant barrier deck and properly balance ventilation system designed around "The 300 Rule" and Venturi and Bernoulli Principles, I had effectively given him his new windows. They might have been there in form but metaphysically they were not functioning as energy efficient windows. They were a mirage.
So if you want your windows, insulation, and HVAC system to work better, fix your ventilation.
Having regressed for the umpteenth time, I reiterate: Let's make 2011 the year we started being considerate to God's gift of planet Earth and let's not be the ones who stole if from future generations.
Merry Christmas.
New flash! We've been informed that we're receiving the Angie's List Super Service Award for our roofing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Roofing Success

We've been working on a roof in Dallas on Cochran Creek the last two days and the shingles have sealed well. The roof is only a 3/12 and is two story. We followed code and two ply felted it and bumped the system with ice barrier, StormGuard, and Shinglemate felt. We have, like always, hand nailed the roofing and are issuing the System Plus Warranty. This upgrades the material warranty from a 30 year pro rated material only warranty to a full 25 year labor and 20 year material replacement policy. After that the material is prorated to the 30 year mark. In the mornings it was about 34°F and 54°F in the afternoon according to Google and his sisters at The Weather Channel and Accuweather. Even though the roof had a lower slope than usual, hence two ply felt, and the sun shined brightly on a windless day, I figured it might take two days for the shingles to seal down. They sealed within minutes. The roof is hand nailed. Bring it on baby. I'll stand behind this one up to 150 or 160mph. With the Shinglemate no wrinkle felt, Prostart starter, and our professional hand nailing of quality High Definition 30 year Timberline shingles by GAF, this roof will out perform any of the steep roofs in the barrio. She also gets the System Plus Warranty which basically removes the pro ration of the material part of the warranty and adds labor. In better lingo, the pro rated material only warranty of 30 years becomes non pro rated material for twenty, the labor to replace the roof is covered for 25 years 100% and the remaining few years is pro rated on material with labor added in. It's like a roof insurance policy, the material and adds labor. If her shingles do not perform, lose their granules, Now if we could just add a little hail to that wind my accountant might be happy. Don't forget kids, the tax credits are expiring for Energy Star windows. You still have time if you act fast.

The Constant and Growing Demands of Roofs

Man wanted to keep his family dry and caves were in short supply due to the technological breakthrough of fire. The population soared. Thus came the need and fulfillment of the structure called a roof.
The Misses wasn't too happy because it wasn't pretty. The home designer trade was begun and a plethora of designs and colors of roofs has been expanding exponentially for thousands of years. I think there are more colors in more styles in different types by different manufacturers than their are roofing contractors. It never ceases to amaze me anymore if two neighbors end up with the same roof type and color.
Now enter the architect, the government, and the financial adviser. They want it to be energy efficient, laying up there in the furnace called the Texas sun.
Safe too? Breathing so the kids don't get sick is coming but it is still possible to buy a roof that makes you sick, as most people do. Thank God, or gods for you eastern types, and whoever for you advertisement on bus buying types ( probably nobody), that we are still free to buy bad roofing techniques from guys that have never heard of the Three Hundred Rule, the chimney effect, or the soda straw theory of fluid dynamics. This last one is the first to be theorized by a non Italian. Venturi (Mr. Spellcheck needs to go back to college) and Bernoulli had a monopoly until recently. Reminds you of the Pope doesn't it. Someday he might be a bear, a Russian one, and then the woods better look out.
Then came energy providing roofs. Photo collecting machinery became part of the system.
Finally, at this point of evolution, roofs have become gardens, commonly known as vegetative roofs. You can live or work beneath one.Talk about going full circle. Seems a lot like a cave.
No you can't eat the roof even though when we were in grade school we called some of the stuff xxxx-on-a-shingle.
You can recycle roofs though and they can be made into roads.
I wonder what's next?

Why You Don't Caulk Exposed Nails?

Caulking exposed nails on flashings(Leave me alone Spellckeck dude. You don't even recognize yourself in the mirror.) and the last piece of ridge is a complete waste of time and can cause more harm than good. We don't want those flashings (ditto)to blow off so we nail them on the face and the last piece of ridge cannot be blind nailed simply because it is the last. Blind nailing means the nails are not exposed "to the weather." You can't see them
Home inspectors brought in on real estate transactions have been requiring this for several years now but for many a moon we left them exposed successfully. That caulk will not help and may cause more problems.
There are three ways to waterproof:
1) Turn the water using gravity pull the water downward, cascading from one shingle out onto the other.
2) Seal out the water with adhesives such as caulk or pookie (plastic cement, a word.) or, as in the case of flat roofs, making a giant bathtub-like liner out of the roof system deemed for the job.
3) Lastly is the compression seal. Mechanics use this to keep gaskets from leaking just as wine makers use cork to keep the wine in the bottle fresh.
Back up on the roof imagine a nail being hammered through a piece of metal flashing with a couple of layers of overlapping shingles underneath it. The sun never shines there and the nail is flush. The head of the nails is tight keeping almost all the water out but the shank is gasketed (it's a word in Texas Mr. Spellcheck)by the metal and at least two layers of roofing material. That cork will be like the Dead Sea Scrolls, never exposed to the destructive powers of the subatomic radiation of the sun.
Now imagine the caulk on it. Will it discolor? Is it silicone that will lay on the flashing but allow water to get under it in a short period of time, making the metal rust? Maybe it is a metal caulk that does its job and makes you have to demolish the flashing to move it or reset it. The roofer probably used whatever he had. It doesn't matter. All are failures.
Don't believe me? Do you think this will leak without it or won't cause a problem for the next guy? Ask Gerard, Stonehenge, Decra, Atas, Metro, and a host of others that are made in the USA, Canada, Jamaica, Korea, Mexico, China, New Zealand, Australia, and Mars (projected to open in 2025. Since 1957, all over the world, hundreds of thousands of roofs with thousands of panels with tens of thousands of exposed nails have been put up without caulking the nails. Why has it all of a sudden necessary to caulk the nails. If this were true a new industry would be born and the unemployment rate would fall to negative numbers. We'd need more immigrants and domestic births. It would take many lifespans to correct this egregious crime of moral turpitude. There ought to be a law. Oops, I think there is one somewhere. It has sprung from the primordial soup because it sounds good: CAULK IT!
Give me a break and think before you start making me put out an inferior product because it sounds good on the surface, just like caulk on a flashing nail.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time to Clean the Roof.

Here in Dallas Fort Worth there are a lot of big old trees. You can here the acorns hit my Gerard roof when you're outside, but not inside. Everybody, except for a select few, know to clean their gutter but there is more.
Leaves build up in valley and out of sight behind the chimney. If you don't have a cricket behind your chimney you won't have any galvanization on the metal pan flashing behind the chimney either. All you'll have to protect the metal is the rust and wet compacted leaves.
So if you need to clean your yard or gutters, you'll probably need to at least inspect your roof.
Then there are the microbes. An air borne fungus that loves to eat asphalt commonly known as slime mold will make the roof ugly and old. The mold wants to get to the organic base of the roofing, asphalt. To do so it must get past the granules that are designed to protect the asphalt from ultra violet degradation.
I don't care what the so called experts say. I am the one and for years we've been doing what they say not to do. Wet the roof with a little diluted bleach and then hit it with a very low pressure water stream. If you set it to kill you can blast yourself through the masonry and create a new portal into the home.
We bought a cheap pressure cleaner at Harbor Freight Tools that can't even be set on stun. They can't tear off the roof with this. It is not a crowd control device.
This will last a couple of years but there is an easier way. Go cut a couple of piano wires out of the baby grand and tuck them along the ridge on the effected side and the roof throat lozenge will keep your roof happy, healthy, and wise.
Don't fall off because even if you land on your feet it'll hurt because its cold (and a long way). Plus wet roofs are slippery.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roofing, Recycling, the Environment, and You and Me

We've got it all wrong. I apologize. I've mislead my clients.
We have been selling energy efficiency and green roofing practices to our customers as a long term saving plan. The impetus has been on the economic return of being green. This is wrong and selfish. We should be green because we are not red. We should go and not stop.
As Jason Garrett said, when asked why he was training so hard when he probably would never get to play, for the inherit benefit of it.
That is why we should recycle: for the inherent benefit. Profit is great. I love it. But contentment and satisfaction are better.
Here's my idea:
Cities recycle for profit. Irving does not recycle glass containers because they can't make money on it.
Duh? They don't do it for the common good?
I have a plan. Why don't we form cooperatives where people specialize in recycling. One neighbor or two do the glass, another the paper, others still the plastic. We could dedicate compost areas and work together to keep out the rodents.
Another idea is the adjustable kiln. One temperature setting could melt metals, another glass. The fuel could come from the waste we can't recycle. Burn baby burn. Otherwise we could work to share and gather the trash and call in professional recyclers. Nothing wasted, everything gained. We'd all feel better. Maybe we could make some change while keeping Mother Earth a little cleaner.
Trash cooperatives, energy generation, glass and metal production, fertilizer, seeds, landscaping blocks could all be made. It would be like art school and Boy Scouts rolled into one.
We recycle roofing for some body's profit. Why not mine and yours?
A few shared locally run machines and a little donated effort by our unemployed or under employed neighbors and we could create a worker's paradise. As long as it is voluntary you can count me in. If you try to force me I'll rebel.
We could make our own bottles and ferment our own beer, wine, or vinegar. Just think. The possibilities are endless. We might even make some roofing material. Siding material? Pavement? Street repair goop? News? Goodwill? Energy? Good feelings?
If anyone has a good idea on how we can collectively make our neighborhood trash into treasure I'm all for it.
I'm going to figure out how to use the thousands of pounds of trash I collect every year into a planet saving scheme.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Possible new Energy Star Tax Credit for Radiant Barrier Energy Efficient Decking

News flash! I have not confirmed it but it seems the IRS has approved radiant barrier decking as an Energy Star tax credit product for 2010. That would mean many people who haven't used their one time tax credit for up to $1500.00 can now do so. That credit is for 30% of the material cost on only some Energy Star products. Just because the a product has an Energy Star rating it does not mean it is tax credit worthy.

More tomorrow.
Steven Placker of Techshield, or Louisiana Pacific if you prefer, just informed me that the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association-International, or RIMA, an industry group consisting of structural boards and insulation with reflective surfaces, has been in negotiating with the IRS and the product has passed certain milestones but has not been approved by the IRS yet for the tax credit. They expect the news to come down sometime next year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Properly Nailing Roofing Felt in Dallas

Installing dry sheets may seem like a dry topic but it is essential to any roof system. This fist layer determines how the new roof, either a composition roof or a flat roof, will perform against wind and breakage, and how it looks.
If the felt of a composition roof or the base sheet of a flat roof system like a built up (BUR) hot or cold, or even an SBS self adhered system is not flat, the material over it will not be just unsightly, it will be susceptible to breakage over time, breakage under foot, and can act as a place for wind to grab. Yes, wrinkled roofs blow off more than flat ones.
To keep the dry sheet flat the roofer needs to think like a carpet layer but on an incline. The roll of material is rolled out and nailed next to the roll on the high side. This is because gravity is pulling on the felts and if you nail it on the low side it will be loose. The roofer on the other end, where they started the roll, kicks the felt tight in the direction of the roll. Then it is nailed according to specified nailing patterns. If the felt or base sheet is left overnight it probably will be wrinkled. The roofer can wait until the sun flattens it out but if he left a flat roof open over night he would not be on my roofs anymore.
Thirty pound felt is more likely to wrinkle, sometimes even after the roof is installed. If you are going to pay the extra for thirty pound then you might as well buy a hybrid flat laying felt. These are strong like 30 lb. but lay flat like 15lb. Shinglemate by GAF, Gorilla by Atlas (boo hiss) and Roofer's Select by Certainteed are prime examples.
Self adhered base sheets are very flat laying but if there is a controlled environment underneath then moisture migration will be impaired. We roofers know not to mess with Mother Nature. Just use a nail-able base and an inter or mid ply sheet and you'll have a great system.
Anyway, if your roofer can't take the time to lay a flat felt then he just doesn't care.
go outside around dusk and look at your roof. If you see snake like bulges in your composition roof then the felt is wrinkled and the roof might blow off because it has something to grab.
Here in Dallas the weather can change on a dime. I've seen a warm day turn into a cold dark windy day in thirty minutes. Felts not installed according to the nailing pattern will wrinkle under these situations and can effect adversely the entire system.
Dallas Roofer
Dallas Roof

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Ridge Cap

All we had for years was the three tab shingle cut up into ridge. Sure GAF made a ridge for Timberline but it was more expensive but worse than a three tab. Some specialty ridges came along but Elk hit big time with the "Z" ridge, a product still popular today. That makes it somewhere around 20 years old. Chuck Arista says Elk in 1989 or 90 so my guess was good.
Gaf fought back with a copy but it failed. GAF's Timbertex has been around for years too and now GAF and Elk are one.
There was a company called Ridge Manufacturing that made Dura Ridge, which failed miserable. Then came Ridgeglass, which made a class IV in colors for everybody's color. GAF bought Ridgeglass and now limits it to California.
Now that there are a lot of different styles of shingle with variations of those brands there are specialty ridges for these too for color purposes.
All roofing except three tabs, whether it be concrete, metal, clay, or glop, have a specific set of ridges to choose from.
Probably your class IV lifetime roof has a 20 year three tab just like the roof in McKinney that the fence contractor did on Silverlake Drive, McKinney. What a pity that people get done that way. A class IV roof must be class IV from top to bottom. No cheaping out. Ever hear of "the weak link breaks the chain?" Here in Dallas the roofs get hammered with wind and hail.
With wood roofing there are shingles and shakes. Shakes are the bigger of the two. Wood shingle ridge is pretty lame and susceptible to wind damage. Thus we put shake ridge on our shingle roofs. It looks great, costs the same (don't know why), and reduces callbacks. A win win that rarely happens.
Refer to my blog on "Why Roofers get Ridge Wrong."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How To Repair A Metal Roof

If the roofer is carrying plastic cement, kick out the ladder and call 911. If all he has is a caulk gun only, shoot him.

Metal roofs turn water like composition roofs but with many less seams. The penetrations count on a sandwiched stack, not sheet on a shingle, with a pipe flashing between two pans. Sure you caulk it but this is just dressing. Gravity is the cure and cause. Water takes the path of least resistance because it cannot choose to do otherwise.

If you have a Gerard, Decra, or Stonehenge roof, the pipes must be disassembled prior to repairing. Counter flashing can be caulked but ordinary caulk is not to be used and this is a chimney repair and not a roof repair.

Roofers, or something akin to one, climb on "R" panel roofs, standing seam roofs, and all kinds of metal and put a little caulk and leave. I call this a seasonal repair. Anybody can do this just like anyone can say he is a roofer.

Imagine an envelope, and please use the "on" version of pronunciation. (The ensemble of entrepreneurs at the encore performance at the enclave opened the envelope. See what I mean. No special dispensation for any words we stole from the French when they came in 1066.) Back to the envelope. The glue is in a very small but effective portion placed between the envelope and the flap. This inter-ply adhesive is better than a topical application on top of both pieces of paper. It is easier to tear the paper that open a properly adhered seam whether it is a roof or an envelope.
The caulk goes between the layers it is intending to fuse. Sometimes it is applied from outside but it must be worked into the seam for it to be effective.

Dallas metal roof jobs have suffered greatly from bad installations. For years people thought they bought permanent roofs and later thought leaks we part of the deal. Metal roofs shouldn't leak.

The exceptions are the flue pipes that need to be caulked whenever the furnace or hot water tanks are replaced and the chimney. The roof is going up and down with wind, snow and rain weight, ground movement, and natural settling. Provisions can be made on the chimney but they should be inspected at least ever five to seven years due to the extremely poor construction methods used by builders today.
We just saw a new low in Arlington. The void between the flue and exterior brick of the chimney was nearly hollow, with loose brick stacked without mortar around the flue to keep the heat from attacking everything. But on either side of the flue was a two foot by two foot hole or void. Across these two chasms on either side of the flue the masons place Temple board, a black surfaced 1/2" insulation board with no structural strength. I guess that was all they had. Then they slopped mortar on it and left. I would have bet it would have collapsed. I'll attach pictures soon.

Dallas Roof

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why is Sheetmetal Sold in Ten Foot Lengths?

Sheet metal products are sold in ten foot lengths because most sheet metal brakes are ten feet long. (notice how foot and feet went with ten in both cases? Boy am I glad English is my first language.) Also there is a problem with transporting something over ten feet long that when stacked together tightly can weigh hundreds of pounds when only a few inches high. So "W" valley, metal edge, and commodity patio cover panels come in ten foot lengths.

But there is more: winter and summer.

when I was an installer and we put on concrete tiles, we separated the tiles with dimes on hot days and nickels on cold days. If you put the tiles together tightly in the winter, in the summer they would stand up, side to side, because of the expansion of the concrete in the sun.

Metal too. And valley metal comes in 50 feet lengths. See the problem? When exposed to the sun it can really expand but doesn't seem to do so when used as a valley underlay. When some jack leg tries to caulk long panels of patio metal together you'll see the dance of the snails. To them it is the meringue but to us it is just bulging and twisting.

On flat roofs, where the perimeter metal is part of the water proofing process, whereas on sloped roof it is part of the "water turning" (away) process, the end laps will leak if the metal is not properly enveloped by the roof underneath and strip in felts on top. There are nailing patterns to keep the metal from rocking or pivoting back and forth, and to minimize overlap movement.

Metal memory is strong too. Any 90 degree metal forced flat with nails will lift the strongest of nails over time but not back to the full 90 degree bend. That's why the pieces are opened up some prior to installation and the memory pushes down rather than pulling up.

So the ten foot metal length is both practical and physical. I'm not sure and Mr. Google couldn't easily find the answer but I've always heard that sheet metal expands and contracts about 1/4" per ten feet. In a fifty foot roll that is more than an inch of movement.

When Is The Weather Too Cold Too Roof?

When your toes are so cold they hurt. That's what Jon says but the industry doesn't even say that. Our beloved National Roofing Contractors Association of America, the NRCA, in a Q and A series has this to say:
Q. My contractor just started working on my roof and it's the middle of winter! At what temperature is it too cold to install asphalt shingles?

A. There are no specific temperature guidelines regarding when it is too cold to install asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles do become brittle in cold temperatures, with fiberglass shingles more likely to break than organic shingles. Breakage can be minimized or eliminated if the shingles are stored in a warm area and loaded onto the roof a few bundles at a time. Another concern is that the self-sealing strips will not seal or bond sufficiently in cold temperatures. Hand-tabbing (the application of quarter-size dabs of adhesive to the underside of shingles) is recommended if the building is located in an area prone to high winds. This will help prevent the shingles from blowing off the roof until warmer weather arrives and the sealing strips can set properly.

I stick to the "toes too cold scenario" because it makes sense. If it's too cold for the installer then he won't do as good a job. The shingles are harder to cut and his fingers are not working as well when it is cold. Plus the shingles will crack and they may come out wavy. If they lay down flat and don't shatter it is okay to install them. If the roof looks buckled then the contractor won't get paid. Later they will lay down but some encouragement will be need to help the "fish mouths," also refereed to as "warts and titties, " lay flat.
Hey, don't shoot the messenger now. That's what they've always been called. The second term requires both words because saying "roof wart" or "roof titty" means nothing to a roof. Together the words mean that there are lumps or bumps in the roof.
Here in Dallas it might be 30 one day and 60 the next so we do roof in the winter. In fact, the roofers are not scrambling as much to beat the 10:30 AM temperature surge of the summer.
The south slope of the roof will be as much as 25 degree warmer than the ground but the north side won't due to the angle of the sun. North slopes should be roofed on the warmest of winter days while the south side can be done even in colder long as the shingles aren't cracking.
SBS shingles are more flexible but the only two standing manufacturers of SBS shingles here in the Dallas roof market are Atlas and Malarkey. They are not very good roofing products and the corporate offices of these two companies are devoid of all morality and ethics. They'd steal from your grandmother and probably have. I've never seen either handle a warranty claim honestly.
Tile, slate, wood, and metal could care less about the temperature and for that matter neither does the asphaltic brands. But the roofer and contractor do. They have to put out a pretty product.
There are advantages galore to winter roofing projects. Sometimes the roofing company will do the job for less in the winter, after Christmas. Sometimes you feel like a Klondike Bar, or bear.
Roofing doesn't scuff when you look at it intensely like it does in the summer. The roofers are in a better mood too. Happy roofers and happy composition roofs make for happy homeowners. Bad roofs make for unhappy homes.
Roofers really prefer to be cold than the thermal incineration they experience when the angle to the sun is closer to 90 degrees to their latitude. Their fortitude is better in the winter. Even though the days are shorter the work day is longer.
To wrap things up, the positives are the happy roofer, who is not in a hurry, who is not scuffing your new roof, who works cheaper, who takes his time more, and who doesn't start beating on your roof before the sun comes up and stays well past your kids bedtime, does a better job. There is a lot less suffering by both parties, the buyer and the seller.
On top of that the weatherman seems to know what he is talking about in the winter. In the summer meteorologists can't predict what post lunch will be. Rain without clouds that form after the damage is done is common. That is why roofing should be "dried in" before lunch.
The downside is any guy needing to be up there on a damp and stormy day on a cold winter day needs to be writing novels instead of banging his fingers and inventing new combinations of cuss words. His misfortune will be more amiss when he slides off into the pool and under the pool cover. They'll find his body in the spring. His troubles are finally over.
What I'm trying to say is use good sense.
Our slave master when I was in college made us roof in the cold. He was big, had a gun, and owed us money. We did what he said. Once I dropped a bundle of Certainteed's Independence Shangle (yes it is too) on the ridge to break the ends loose and it split into two, like an amoeba, but without the wiggling. Fiberglass technology wasn't as advanced as it is today. Now the shingle scream when you do that to them.
No, that was the contractor. "You mean you did what I told you to do? What is wrong with you?"

The arguments against cold weather roofing are folklorist fantasy. Yet if the customer wants to wait until it is warm you should not try too hard to persuade him otherwise because there are a lot of salesmen who will tell him what he wants to hear. For example: sure we'll give you vent ridge. That's on a house with every three foot section at different levels like a soda straw banged by a shotgun.
Good common sense and the lack of a pit in your stomach are good weather vanes. Follow your heart and believe in yourself. Listen to your toes and everything will go up from there, maybe even the roof.

Tip of the day:when considering whether or not to buy ice shield for your roof penetrations remember that it will never snow a foot on Dallas Fort Worth roofs (again...and again).

Jon's college days winter roofing procedure:
Get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head.
Fuel up with every breakfast food know to man and in the apartment.
Drive to job.
Drink coffee in the truck until the frost was gone from the roof.
Load shingles on the roof to keep warm and get the shingles on the roof.
In between every three tons of mule work, rest while rolling felt paper.
Take a well deserved break.
Open the bundles and lay the shingles in the sun.
Eat some more.
Start tacking down shingles.
Clean up site.
Go to beer store to wash dust and grit from mouth..
Chase other roofers from beer.

Dallas Roof

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do You Still Love Me Dallas Roof

It was a dark and stormy night and we were getting our third real test on the roof. Did Jon Wright do what he said he would? Put on a good roof?
So far no one has called in a warranty today. We're putting a roof on every couple of days right now and they are really complicated jobs.
The big church roof on Saint Stephens Presbyterian Church on West Grauwyler, Irving, was really tough. We did other roofs in Dallas last week.
Next week we go to Arlington to do a roof that came from this blog, The Roof forum. The article on valleys, plus his contractors inattention, caused this man to flip.
We are doing the son of a previous customer in Ennis, a referral from GAF in Carrollton, and the church has been one of our customers for about 26 years. I've been God's customer my whole life.
Not a dime on advertising.
Some good energy efficient roof systems are coming up in Dallas. Ventilation, Techshield radiant barrier deck, insulation, and a big patio. pictures are promised. Wait until you see what we did at the church.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Irving Roof that Could...n't but Did: Mount Roof.

We're roofing a rather large church project in Irving and does it ever have some strangeness to it. Since about 1984, really, I've been telling them that we couldn't fix a leak due to construction. Now I have to.
We did continual temporary fixes and slow'er down stuff but now it's Armageddon. The original building, the sanctuary, has a 4"x4" double tongue and groove (an old rock song too) deck/ceiling combination on about a 16/12 pitch. For the amateurs, cats don't crawl that. The barge rafters have angle iron on top and bottom, that causes a small parapet like feature, and the roofing had a solid soldered flashing around the whole perimeter. All this was capped with a porcelain coping like apparatus.
when the offices were built a foyer was built making the facade of the church and the weird terminus flashing/coping internal. The barge rafter continued from it's high peak downward through the new lower roof and into the new air space beneath the flat roof connecting the offices and the sanctuary.
Water followed the coping, for lack of a better term, into the small air cavity under the flat roof and into the foyer.
Pete Midgley, who got his master's degree in ceramics at the university of Dallas while working for me, and Larry Grabman, who was later found hanged by his five year old adoring son (and I'm still mad at him for that but he must have been suffering terribly) repaired the leak every few years for me. No one wanted to listen to my dread. Funny how crossing lives take disparate paths.
Years later a sloped roof was built over the flat roof, no plans drawn, and we had to put a combination of modified bitumen dead flat valleys, low slope applications of two ply felt and four inch exposure three tabs, gobs of step flashing, and blah blah blah. In Spanish that is habla bla bla.
Still leaked.
Now comes D-Day. Three roof tear off on Mount Everest.

First we removes the coping. Tore out the roofing and the deck around the rail road railing holding the rake edge of the barge rafter. We cut the angle iron, cut out some of the deck, and gave the water a place to flow.
Since words cannot adequately describe this situation, photos will be added.
To dream the impossible dream, to roof the impossible roof, to climb the highest church....
Now there's a hole in the eave and the water has no place to go but down the addition, past the old obstruction, and out onto the lowest part of the Judge Roy Scream.

to be continued on this same Bat channel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Made in America Roofing, Dallas Roof

At Jon Wright Roofing we've gone overboard with made in America products. GAF, Certainteed, Tamko, and Gerard products are good old USA made. In fact, the asphalt shingles are mostly made in Texas. Our metal edging is made in San Antonio by DOT Metals.
Although Master Flow ventilation products are made in North Carolina and much of the Gerard is made in Brea, California, those places are not China and nobody has a gun to their head, at least not their boss.
I toured the Gerard plant back in 1993 and have seen the GAF factory over on Singleton Blvd., Dallas, more times than I can remember. GAF bought the old Elk plant in Ennis.
Those people in Ennis love Elk.
Even our siding is made here in Texas. We've been to the Mastic Siding and Alcoa Siding plants in Gainsville, Texas.
Ken Moritz, who worked for me from 1983 until about 2000 like it so much he moved to Gainesvile.
Gerard makes some of its metal stone coated steel products in Mesquite.
Our nail is now American on request and it is seven times the nail the Chinese make but costs over double. Plus you get less nails because of all the galvanized coating on the nail.
That leaves us with the plastic cap a small nail with a plastic gasket used to hold the roofing felt down. They are made in China by prisoners with guns to their minds. We'll rectify this one way or another. If we go back to tin caps, which are sometimes mismade stamps of bottle caps, (yes Mr. Spell Check, you are wrong. Mismake is a word and mismade is it's past tense) We may achieve 100% American. If we can't then I'd like to at least buy from our friends like Mexico or England. Maybe Czechs or Poles because they love us. But not China. I do like Chines food though.
We do not concern ourselves with the raw materials because those get mixed up in the global market. I'd just like to keep Chavez oil off my roofs if at all possible.
Our auto caulks are made on Mars. The ones we bought at Home Depot, when our wholesaler supplied ones ran out, went bad in a few years. Leaks were everywhere and the grommet was no where to be found. We stock up on them now so our weekend and holiday roofing experiences will be pleasant and fulfilling. And so will our customers.
I'm going to put my foot down on this one.
Once I've completed my checklist I'll update this blog.
I can here Bruce Springsteen singing now.
Jon Wright Dallas Roof

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Order of Roofing

Not referring to clergy or Masonic groups. Sequence is le sujet du jour. From start to finish.
Determine if you need a roof by calling your insurance carrier or several roofers. Probably the insurance is most likely to tell the truth but their criteria is damage. Age is another as well as quality of installation.
If you determine you need a new roof select one based on your economic needs and abilities. Influences are determined by how long you'll stay in the home, insurance premiums and the class IV discount, energy needs and costs based on high emissivity roofing or radiant barrier deck. HOA's can limit your selection. So might your wife. And don't forget your pride in home ownership.
Select a roofer with insurance, who is certified by GAF, CertainTeed, or Owens Corning. Atlas doesn't count. If you go metal check the roofer's track record and credit. Hammer away at the Google bar like Dick Tracy or someone from Criminal Minds.
If the roofer doesn't do an attic inspection, without some excuse like he'll do it if he gets the job or you are going to redeck, throw his name out of the running. How can you check out a roof system without looking at it from all angles. That means from above, below, and a stroll around the home.
Go over the contract with particular concern for roof accessories, guarantees, payment options, and manufacturer's roof warranty.

Part II, the roof process.
Order materials. Schedule a date. Take the Rembrandt, Matisse, and Van Gogh paintings down. Move the cars.
The roofers check the weather.
Tear off or remove the roof in almost all cases.
Install appropriate dry sheet or sheets as per the IRC and the manufacturer's specifications for this Dallas Roofing Project.
Install perimeter metal and integrate with the felt, which is dome differently on the rakes as compared to the eaves.
Replace flashings not matter what USAA and Allstate say. They are very negligent here and would prefer you had an inferior roof than paying you for what they owe you.
Install roofing.
Install ventilation system based on a balanced intake/exhaust 300 Rule minimum.
Clean the roof, ground and attic.
Inspect the attic and furnace and hot water flues.
Check the roof for exposed or high nails.
Recheck roof.
Pick up check.
Pay roofers.
Pay supplier.
Pay yourself.
Dallas Roof
Dallas Roofer
Dallas Roofing Contractor
Dallas Metal Roof
Dallas Slate Roof
Irving Roof
Garland Roof
Fort Worth Roof
Arlington Roof
Roof Repair Dallas
Roof Richardson
Plano Roof

Murder by Roof Floosie

Flues carry away deadly carbon monoxide (CO) so you don't die. Yet the amount of CO in the spent gas from your furnace, hot water heater and other gas appliances is usually no more than enough to give the wife a head ache, if that wasn't enough. Yet there are worse dangers lurking in your closet that CO. Much much worse.

Fire! the greatest hazzard, comes from flames shooting up the pipe. Just try to grab the pipe. Once I was trying to scale a rather steep widowmaker and I gently grabbed a flue and before I felt it I heard it. Pssst, like a cat, OMG.
On the ceiling there needs to be a ring that centers the double walled pipe away from the sheetrock and lumber framing. I've seen these look like they were burned and imagined that they were close to ignition. Blast off.
Sometimes the coo-coo roofers cut off the double walled pipe at the roof line and install a single part flashing that incorporates the base and cap as one and is made of galvanized steel. This is in violation of most statutes dealing with voluntary manslaughter. Only luck can save you now.
This steel is doomed because the major by-products of spent gas is heat and water, something that quickly turns steel into rust. Of the sixteen types of know iron oxide we are dealing with ferrous oxide. Didn't Bozo notice that everything was once composed of aluminum, a somewhat more resistant metal to the forces of extreme heat and continual water vapor attack. Don't believe me? Next time it is freezing go outside and look up at those two silly metal pipes sticking out of your roof and tell me you don't hear "I think I can, I think I can. (for those who have done done their duty to the species that is a reference to Thomas the Tank Engine, a steam locomotive analogy.)
The cheap roofer put a $10.00 flashing on there instead of a new $50.00 flashing kit composed of a double walled pipe extension, a base flashing, a rain collar, and a type B gas cap. It looks like Thomas' a little instead of the Coolie type that is peaked. Rather than inform you of the problem he has caused marital problems and has lowered your children test scores.
Have I ever beaten a dead horse more than the damage done to plywood decks, compressed insulation, and all the ills of a humid attic? Well try as you may to vent out this mad cloud of water vapor, old man Winter is keeping the squirrels warm in your attic.
The base flashing also centers the frying hot double walled pipe, unless roofer boy replace it with a low cost single wall pipe, so that it doesn't lean over and touch the plywood and as the Cars sang, "burning down the house."
We'll take a pause here while you run outside and look at your killer. Run back in, get the kids and call 911. hurry.

We're back. Sorry for the alarm but did you know that few flue pipes have any strapping holding them in place? When we go on roofs we often find them loose. Some cities, like Plano, require a postmortem on the roof so they don't have to perform one on you.
The NRCA says that a roof cannot be replaced without the flues being disturbed. This disturbs me too. The National Roofing Contractors Association, founded in 1886, before I was even born, knows its stuff. Think of members like cops and non-members as criminals. The cops have the advantage of organizing and sharing and disseminating the knowledge acquired over the decades. The robbers get in pick ups and steal insurance money, ruin homes, marriages, and make little children sick.
Call somebody to give you an attic inspection today. Well, it's Sunday so do it tomorrow but if you call today I'll probably answer. During the Cowboy game I might not. Yeah, I'm going to watch it. Habit I guess.

Jon Wright Roof Dallas
Roof Irving
Roof Fort Worth
Metal Roof Dallas

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why Tear Off the Old Roof?

As the big bad wolf said to Lille Red Riding Hood: the better to see you. Yes, to see the deck is to know the deck. Rotten or weak spots cannot always be telepathically known and even though attic inspections tell of lots of thing, nothing is better than seeing. Seeing is believing. Show me.
Take plank decks. They always have knot holes and cracks and it is my belief they should always be replaced but they feel firm under foot. The darn things crack later and it is considered a warranty issue unless properly addressed. The most proper way is to demolish it and install a new fangled radiant barrier OSB deck from Techshield with edge support ( H clip).
Most roofers don't know how to do a butt-up or nested roof job. That is where you trim the edges so it looks like one roof and then use the old roof as a pattern for the application of the new roof. This leaves a tell-tale short course on the bottom. The only roof that should ever be overlaid is a three tab and you need to use the same size shingle.
We use to use the $15.00 per square for tear off to upgrade to a 25 year Timberline. These days the tear off is $30.00, usually, and so is the upgrade to the better warranty 30 year shingle, which is the same shingle.
Most insurance companies won't take a home with two roofs and most mortgage companies won't finance a home with an overlay. If the insurance takes the policy there is usually a penalty.
Reroofs are more easily hail damaged and more costly to replace so there are disincentives to do it.
In a practical world it is best to remove all roofing but there are exceptions. If a house has five roofs on it and you pull all off then I bet the windows and doors, which have been adjusted, will not work properly. Prudence dictates that if you pull off all five you put back a very heavy roof like CertainTeed Tri-laminate Presidential. even this won't stop the house from taking a deep breath and stretching Code which limits homes to two roofs. In the past a wood roof was treated like a deck so two roofs could be installed over a wood roof. Not anymore. Do that and the Dallas building official will hunt you down like a dog. Municipal building officials are law enforcement officers and can have you arrested or do it themselves. Most building officials first names is Mister.
Do yourself a favor and spring for the tear off. It doesn't cost that much and it protects your investment. Plus the roof usually looks better.
Jon Wright Roof Dallas

Roofing in Dallas in the Fall.

The best part about fall is that it is not summer. Summer is a "beat down," as the kids say. We can do a better job this time of year but everything, and I mean everything, has a ying and a yang.
More expensive cars are nicer but more expensive. They last longer but are more costly to repair. In roofing it is always the case too even with the seasons. The day is shorter but our work day is longer. We don't chance scuffing the hot shingles but they also don't seal down as well ( another reason to hand nail: cooler temperature). The fiberglass shingles also won't lay down or settle as quickly so the roofer needs to set them in the sun for a while in order to relax them. But all of these issues are paled in consideration to the hombre nailing the shingles. I did it for years and I can tell you that in the fall the roofer is much more relaxed.
In the summer I used to think"there's a stack to cut in and it's going to slow me down. Hurry faster to make up for the lost time. It's getting hot. Oh no..." Once I told a helper to get busy because it was going to be really hot in 30 minutes. He moved a little slow for a minute then caught on fire. Not from the heat but from the realization that I was right. Our hands were moving like Steven Segal's, fast and deliberate. By the time we finished our chimney repair it was a blast furnace. In zombie like fashion we picked up the roof trash and went for our favorite beverages.
I asked him why he started to get after it so without a second warning and good ole Danny Dunn said "the temperature rose a few degrees in just a minute and I can do the math. A few degrees times 30 minutes could be 60 to ninety degree."
Exactamundo my friends. I have a joke I made up in Spanish: No hay cuatro estaciones aqui in tejas. Hay dos. The listener usually responds with "qual son?" I tell him "invierno y infierno." And they say "de la verdad."
The rhyming answer to we don't have four seasons in Texas, only two, is "winter and hell.' Not funny in English but in Spanish it is a riot.
Steep roofs? Better to do in the fall because they are very easy to scuff and if you remember my earlier forum (a roof blog by any other name is still a roof blog) scuffed shingles have been catastrophically destroyed. The exposure of the asphalt by grinding and shoving the granules to the side with a foot fall reveals organic material that our closest star eats for lunch. Asphalt is a sitting duck for photons and other subatomic cosmic rays. The pebbles protect the asphalt that stops the water. The good part is you get to choose the color of the pebbles from a predetermined selection. You can't get an exact color like paint and those who want one are unrealistic narcissists. It's like nuclear war and hand grenades: close is all you need. Both those weapons destroy roofing products.
Sometimes a roofer can't get off a steep roof to stop from damaging the shingles. I've read the shoe manufactures name from the imprint on the roof. I've seen the patterns from the bottoms of shoes smashed in the roof just like a bobcat's paw print in a dry riverbed.
If you are considering having your roof done this time of year think twice about letting the roofers use nail guns. The roofers call them "pistolas." That also means a woman's hips in Spanish. No joke. A bad translation would be to not let the roofers use woman hips to install the shingle nails. Bad idea also.
But because we'll have wind anytime, you need to be over diligent. Please read my previous rants about hand nailing by using the convenient search bar at the top of the page.
The next time I write about roofs in the fall I think it might be better to use the word autumn, considering what Google might think about "roof fall" as opposed to "roof autumn."
Have a glorious day and go Rangers.
For some reason I'm just not all worked up about the Dallas Cowboys.
Amici arrivaderci.
Jon Wright roof Dallas
Jon Wright roof Irving
this next week Jon Wright roof Arlington.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Driving in Dallas Fort Worth

Everybody knows we roof persons drive all over the place. We try to set up our schedule so as not to go from Garland to Benbrook at 5:00 pm on Friday or go east on 820 from North Richland Hills to Irving just about anytime that is busy.
This morning it struck me. As I escaped from State Highway 183 on an sooner than normal exit ramp to avoid what the brake lights were warning me about, I imagined a traffic club. I need to get to the office early to orchestrate my business and this requires behaving like an employee, keeping a continuous schedule. No resetting appointments, no morphing the schedule, just getting there like a mailman in a snow storm. But those darn lights screamed " An hour here. Do you have enough gas?"
My intuition was right. As I sailed up the service road I saw cars driving across the medium, in the dark, to escape the morass of nervous cattle trying to pass on the Camino Real. The cowboys weren't there to keep them in line but the great mass moved like a school of fish, the majority towing the company line mindlessly. Isn't that what most drivers do? Kind of an "Andromeda Strain" blank stare into the flashing red lights. Zombie Motorists, calmly going where fate will let them go. Occasionally the Thorazine wears off and one of these sheep goes into a hysterical road rage. He has the right to scream as his biological clock is uselessly wasted but not the privilege to take it out on others with Andriettesque driving maneuvers. Remember these are drugged sheep, many just consuming their starch, sugar, and caffeine.
These are the lucky ones. They anticipate a pause in the high speed daily chase and bring their breakfast. Sometimes they are afforded a slow down or stop but if not they consume scalding hot liquids while scooting their little sheep amongst dinosaurs.
This is where "the Driving Club" comes in handy. I'm not suggesting we form a gang and beat up those who try to mimic Italian racers or WWF (or whatever it is now) showoffs. I'm suggesting using our communicators to relay to other members of the Federation when Klingons or Feringi attempt to incorporate a planet into their respective empires before Kirk has a chance to be seduced by their beauty queen.
I could have sent out a warning at Star Date 6:55 am that west bound 183 was experiencing a time-space distortion and all pods should take evasive maneuvers immediately. That way all members who set a special secret warning tone on the communicator that says a member has sent coordinates relating to dangerous enemy fleets could reset their courses.
This way we could all stop listening to the useless traffic updates that tell us of an upcoming nebulous cloud that has already captured us in its mysterious powers. Your sensors didn't pick it up until it was too late and still can't read exactly what it is or how large it is.
The members of "Driving Club" are nowhere to be found. They have gone around the traffic jam.
For all others, resistance is futile.
My e mail is
Jon Wright Roof Dallas

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Explanation of Different Grades of Dallas Roof

What kind of roofing people in Dallas put on their homes and why:
20 year three tab roof: for people who are leaving the country or going to prison.
25 year three tab roof: for people selling their home.
30 year architectural roofing: for people with pride of ownership.
40 year architectural roofing: for people with pride of ownership who lice in high wind areas.
50 year/lifetime products: crazy not to go to the class IV.
50 year/lifetime class IV: for smart people who love their home and want to save money on insurance.
Lifetime designer roofing: for people who love their home a lot or are forced to buy this because of their HOA.
Class IV designer lifetime roofing: for people who love their home, want to save money on insurance, and who want to protect their investment in class IV.
Enhanced warranties: for people who love their home and don't want to go through the problem of a bad or failing roof before its time.
30 year class IV threetab: for people who want to save money on insurance but have a lower sloped roof that doesn't present the roof visibly to the street and doesn't work as well with thicker shingles.
30 lb felt: for roofers who don't know what they're doing.
Starter shingles: for roofers who want to protect their customers from ladder goons and high wind.
Roof Ventilation: for people who love their kids and don't want them to be sick, who love their home, who hate hot homes with high utility bills and breaking down air conditioners.
Heavy designer ridge: for homeowners with a little exhibitionism in their love of their home.
Metal valleys: for the roofer who wants his customers to have a good roof and is not cheap.
Hand nail roof: for the contractor committed to excellence.
Air gun nailed roof: for the rookie installer and the contractor who doesn't care about quality.
Staple gun roof: jerk off.
Deck protection: for low slope roofs and enhanced warranty situations.
Synthetic felt: for the homeowner and contractor concerned with excellence and enhanced warranties.
Magnet: for the contractor and roofer who don't want children to need tetanus shots.
Turbines: for the old roofer who not only has no e mail but doesn't use a computer.
Radiant barrier or energy efficient decking: for the homeowner who is not moving anytime soon had wants a comfortable home with low utility bills and a long lasting air conditioner.
Yard sign: for the roofer who bought his permit.

Jon Wright Roof Dallas Roof

Old Dallas Roof Story

Back in 1985 I was using a lot of college students for roofing. I ran the crew with some old timers who had worked for me several years. The foreman, Numan, was from Jordan and working on his citizenship. He learned from watching and could lift many times his size. I think he had ant blood in him.
I told the guys to tear off the multiple layers in the back and "dry in" the roof" with the felt paper and start roofing. When I got back from running a few appointments the roof was torn off but thousands of nails with pieces of roofing stubbornly clinging to the shanks we everywhere. The sun was at about 30 degrees and everyone was proud of how much they had done. I was panicking.
"Listen guys, the sun is going to start moving downward very fast and we have a lot of deck prepping to do."
Everyone saw how I was frantically chipping away at the nails and all got into the groove. But that sun was falling fast and we weren't going to make it. I had the crew get the back of the roof completely cleaned up and papered in. I drove my truck up onto a couple of bundles to elevate the headlights and we finished the front in the dark.
The homeowner/client (this house was on Harvard St, Irving, 75062) told me not to worry because there was no chance of rain. Ha! That's when it rains the worst.
for two weeks the weathermen of Dallas had predicted rain everyday and now these devilish oracles of venom were telling me to drop my drawers.
Off to the casa we all went more tired that Cooter Brown, who ever that was and even Mr. Spell Check doesn't know, and into a deep tired sleep.
Kaboom! Crash, swoosh, howling wind, the thrash of rain against the window, the devils howling from gusts of wind, shaking trees...crap (I was younger and profane when excited back then)...And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air! I called Numan and his wife said he was gone to the job.
He looked like a gargoyle up there with lightening flashing all around. Just a few seconds out of the truck and my clothes were at maximum saturation. We would have made the news.
When it slowed down to a hard rain I saw that Numan was prostrate, holding down loose felt on the ridge. He had let me down and was determined not to let the water go down into the house too.
The chirping of birds filled the freshly scrubbed air with the sounds of a brave new world. We were alive to survive another day. Yeah team...and our flag was still there..O'er the land of the free and the home of the lucky. (we had no insurance back then)
We pulled off the felt and put down new because that's what you are supposed to do. Just because you don't understand you do not a license to break the rules and commit roofacide. The moisture is in your ears too if you put seal that water in the felt between the deck and the shingles. Worse if you don't know how to roof and use 30 lb. to compensate.
One of those college kids, who looked like Christopher Reeve and now is a doctor, called me and asked if we predicted the future. I told him "no, but if you ever need a good rain dancer, we were his team."
Today, in modern times, we live by a few simple rules. Use the Internet because you can to see where the rain is hiding. Also, no tearing off is permitted after noon in the summer because the rain can fall from a blue sky. The clouds form later. Then the attorneys group in to gaggles and start weird mating dances. This is bad, real bad.
Best to be prudent, never get in a hurry, and hurry. Don't rush the job, the delivery, the crew, but once you pull that first shingle off, get it. Git'r dun.
Jon Wright Dallas Roofing

More Dallas Roof stories later.