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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Closed valleys, Open Valleys, Woven Valleys, When to Use them

Never forget that water usually goes down hill. It's those exceptions that get the novice in trouble. Perfectly good valley systems fail because the wrong one was used.

Most roofs have slopes of the same pitch. Take your pick. Any valley system will work. Open, closed, laced... with the only factor being water quantity. The side with the most water is the top side of a closed valley because the water will shoot over onto the lower side rather than under it. If a California valley, and not the type that Cesar Chavez frequented, is installed, the high side must be cut up and out of the center like one side of an open valley or debris will collect under the roofing. A little know part to most humans is the tips of the high side must be cut, the points left when the valley is trimmed, because torrential water, I like that scenario, will be forced sideways by the pressure of mucho aqua trying to go down hill but being impeded by all the water in front of it. Just think of a Paris with a free wine give-a-way. Some of the frogs will not end up in the pond but will be pushed wherever the laws of fluid dynamics take them. The French don't have any valleys that I know of anyway.
In Dallas the most common valley is still the closed valley but in the nicer neighborhoods of North Dallas, Carrollton, Plano, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and The Colony, the open "W" valley is making a big putsch. In Irving most of our valleys have been open for the last ten years.
If a pointer is used, one course of material used to make a straight line up the valley so cutting is not necessary, a bulge may occur on the top side. Add that to thicker shingle, with the lapping in the valley and you have a bulge. The Battle of the Bulge did take place in France but it was a forest and not a valley.
This lumping on the high side of the valley may be exacerbated by using a sheet like 90lb. or base sheet instead of metal because it is thicker. These sheets are not stronger or more expensive or better or better looking. They cause bulges.
Metal, metal, metal. There is a lot of water here. Firehouse quantities. Gushes of water cascading down from the valley blasting whatever is below unless a good gutter with a splash guard is present. The splash guard tells the water to walk, not run.
I was sickened when I was searching for more detailed evidence on the internets (go away red squiggly line) on how to figure how much roofing is needed to roof a house. One maniac said the best part of a closed valley is that expensive metal is not required and that saves money. Well if a small branch hits the valley a pokes it where there is a void, we'll see how much is saved when Katrina visits your living room or your wife's bed. Fifty dollars or a crappy valley, the place where there is more water than at any other point on the roof by a factor of a gazillion. you know that the plywood meeting in the valley is not cabinet grade cut, leaving the famous voids. And, oh my gosh, on plank decks the boards are not mitered. The sharp edge of the 1"x whatever will cut any sheet of asphaltic roofing sheet.
That's why I recommend an open factory painted "w" valley. It costs more, a lot more, but less shingles are used, the human mistake variable is removed from the installation process, it is more self cleaning, it can flex or expand and contract as the house moves, and it looks great. No bulges. Clean.
Rolls of galvanized tin make good underlayments for closed valley but are not suited for open valleys. Due to movement of the home and temperature changes in the metal, the nailed down sheet must buckle, then it rusts, and finally tears. The "w" valley comes in 10' sections so it can absorb the thermal shock of sun then cloud, dry foundation then soggy earth. Up and down she goes captain.
If the top slopes causing a valley are open at the base more than 90 degrees then a closed valley is out. If an open valley is used, the metal must be wider than normal because the momentum of the water crossing the valley is not as inhibited. The pitch of the valley rafter is less so the water can be carried further by momentum from the larger rain basin or wind.
Hold your hands like you are praying but upside down and pointed down like a roof valley. If you spread your hands apart at the bottom while keeping your wrists together you'll see the angle of the slope from your wrist to the bottom lessens. If you go the opposite direction, making the base of your palms separate while keeping your little finger ends touching, you'll make the valley steeper.
Consequently, if the base of the valley is open less than 90 degrees the valley rafter pitch drops substantially. Laced, or woven, valleys are a bad idea here because the lacing causes more bulging reducing the pitch even more. The only safe way is to use an open valley. Again wider than normal. The water is not hot to run off from gravity because the slope is less but sheer quantity can cause push. These valleys have large but slower flows. Ice and snow are more likely to build up. Don't forget the angry co occupant. I recommend an underlayment of StormGuard plus more StormGuard on both sides of the valley. We're dealing with Niagara here guys and it's no time to fool around trying to save that fifty bucks.
If the valley has a real low slope it has become a Dead Valley, like the one near open valley at the border. Californians, who claimed naming rights for valleys, call this a hog valley. We nixed that at the 1980 Roofermania. I couldn't attend because I was quarterbacking the Roofing University's football team. No hog valleys. At least not in Texas.
If the valley changes directions because the roof slope changes then it is a new valley. The valley must be installed to the pitch change, terminated, and a new valley installed on top of the lower roof surfaces. If you don't do this the water might infiltrate beneath the lower valley. Trust me here. When slopes change it's like the water meets a dam and wants to roll back upon itself. The greater pressure meets the lower pressure of less gravity and a confluence of undecided water meets to convene for a moment. It can be like standing water because water doesn't know it's moving. It will take a moment and jostle the molecules around it looking for the easy way out. We know where we don't that to be, don't we honey?
Path of least resistance, like the French.
Slate roofs must use copper valleys and even though it's a hassle to leave it exposed it is better than letting the slate butt up in the valley because debris can build up in the valley. Concrete tile roofs have a double hump w valley so the tile won't fall into the center and let trash dam the water.
Churchill said "...we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills..." but he never mentioned the valleys. I say we shall fight the water with the best product available for a roof:metal. All valleys are fulcrums. The nexus of a valley is a point of movement, massive water collection, a place for leaves and frozen stuff to sit, and a good place to take a nap on a pretty day. Churchill didn't have to fight in valleys because he put his metal there.

Dallas Roofing, Irving Roofing, Fort Worth Roofing, there all the same but when you go to San Antonio they prefer open flat valley.
Further explanation link

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Roofing in Dallas as Compared to other cities.

Roofing varies state to state, not just in installation traditions but in color and styles available.In the Dallas area there are several roofing factories. GAF, Tamko, Atlas, Certainteed, Tamko, all have a presence here with GAF having two factories, one the old Elk plant.
If you go to any of the manufacturer sites you'll see a zip code selector for colors and, of course, contractors. GAF, for example shows a WeatherMax and Marquis but in my 31 years as a contractor and eight years as an installer before that, I've never seen them. One of my new sale techs sold some once and all hell broke out. We fixed it by, as my father says, passing it on to the consumer through reduced profits. I'm not really sure I fully fathom that anything was passed on.
A few years ago a client wanted exactly what he had on his roof. I knew it was a Tamko Heritage weathered wood and place the order. When he rounded the bend and looked down the hill he saw his roof darker than all the neighbors. I thought the manufacturer had changed the granule drop. I called Spec Roofing Supply and they told me they brought in product from Kansas City and it was darker. Never knew it. Never guessed it. Did my job, I thought, and now was in a pickle.
The man was selling his house and was sure that it wouldn't sell because it was different.
So we sold all the neighbors roofs, as it had hailed in Coppell, and we put on the entire rainbow. The angry client was confused but he paid me about six months later.
In 1995 a lot of roofing was brought in from around the country from manufacturers that most roofers had never heard of or seen. These air nailing carpetbaggers did terrible jobs and now the roofing can't be matched.
Besides having different colors and styles, roofing manufacturers have different drops, color mixtures with the same name, and even variations within the same plant due to the texture of the asphalt, temperature at application, or different pressures applied from different machines. This variation in pressure can influence how the roofing reflects light.
Then after all this comes the discontinuation of colors, the changing of the shapes and sizes and warranties.
GAF had the Timberline that started as an organic productwith a 25 year warranty. It went glass about 1980 and went to 30 years. When Elk put out the Prestique II 25 year product, GAF answered with a 25 year Woodline. Then it became a Woodline Plus, then Timberline 25. Atlas kept messing with the warranty and added 5 years to theirs making it a 35 year instead of a 30. Then everybody else changed their 25, 30, and 40 year products to 30, 40, and 50 years respectively. Then the 50 became lifetime.
GAF bought Elk, dropped most of its own colors and ran with the Elk ones.
Now you have a home in Dallas with a 30 year Timberline put on in the 1990's and the insurance wants to pay you for a 30 year but you really have a 40 year.
The color doesn't match and fading is not the reason. The length and width of the product don't match and Allstate doesn't care because the policies have exclusions. You know you should have read that policy.
Owens Corning calls its Weathered Wood by the name Driftwood and if you're new to the business and use generic terms the supply house will send you a different color than you want.
All the manufacturers use the term "slate" to refer to a bluish hue don't they. Yes, all but one. When ordering Tamko the term slate means dark brown.
Cedar means sand color, black is black, but slate and weathered wood can get you a mad client.
Dallas has seen a lot of materials come and go. The dance is endless. Now you have GAF products that you can get specialty ridges for in all the colors or some of the colors in some of the ridge styles, or they have their own particular ridge.
Some roofers cross brand manufacturers ridge and field product because they want to use a cheap 20 year ridge on their class IV lifetime roof.
We lost a roof to a janitor last December. We proposed using Armorshield II lifetime with a heavy ridge and Shinglemate felt. The job was to be hand nailed and everything on the roof was to be new. New stacks, new valleys, StormGuard on the penetrations... and everything.
The janitor used no felt, used 20 year class nothing for ridge and starter, replaced no pipes, metal edge, and put in no valley material. Then he shot it on with pistols.
It doesn't matter, this house on Silverlake Rd in McKinney,75070, is for sale.
If the buyers inspector looks under the starter he might be able to tell the felt is the original but I doubt it. The problem will come when the roof gets older and has wind or hail damage. I'm sure the roofer, er, janitor, said "we used the old felt."
Let's get this straight:YOU CAN NOT REUSE FELT. Those word do not compute. The felt is mute. It is full of holes and does not meet the criteria for a subroof.
The worst part is the guy doesn't even know he did a bad job because he's not really in the business. He has no certifications, no formal training, no real understanding of what "system" means when referring to a roof system. Otherwise he would have put down at least 15 lb felt.
This example show that Certainteed makes 20 year three tabs, that he used for ridge, that match their 50 year class IV roofing. Most manufacturers take care to keep this from happening.
Since Jon Wright Roofing started in 1979 nothing is the same. Nothing.

Jon Wright

Roofing in Dallas as Compared to other cities.

Dallas homeowners love Timberline. They prefer architectural roofing. In the wealthier areas of Southlake, Colleyville, Frisco, and McKinney, they might even put on Gerard, cement, or standing seam. The colors are usually subdued with composition roofs but metal roofs and tile roofs can be colorful. The proximity of homes in the city usually makes loud colors clash.
In East Dallas we refer to the slate roofs around Gaston Avenue as candy land due to the variety of blended slate roofs. The have an exception class grandfathered in on color as those homes were built when men wore fedoras and women had fruit on their heads.
In the countryside the distance between homes allows for bright colors. As a lot of rural folks love metal, they often get green, blue, red, but not pink. Won't do it. It takes a real man to put pink on his roof. Metal also suits them well as there no Lewisville or Carrollton to break the wind. If you don't brake wind, wind breaks you.
When you head out to Gun Barrel, Maybank, Trinidad, or Seven Points, you see a lot of "R" panel roofs. The exposed fasteners will leak one day when the grommets wear out and if Stupid Roofing hasn't smeared pookie all over them, they can be removed and larger ones put in.
Some people take their big city roofing culture with them to the country and put on a weathered wood Timberline and they lose their opportunity to look unique.
Dark roofs push roof lines down so if you have a lower slope don't put on black.
When you match the roof to the brick you look bland. Compliment and contrast.
If the brick is mottled use a more uniform color but if the brick or stone is uniform, go variegated
There are some subdivisions, Carrollton for example, where there are seas of homes with the same roof. The builder did it because he saved $0.25 per square on a large buy.
These people come home on New Years and can't find their home. It's a crime that they drive around all toasted and walk in on their neighbors two streets while they're doing the annual Bacchus ritual. Really kinda spoils the mood. Usually.
Want to discuss gun control? It could go both ways here folks.
Don't try that in the country. I digress.
The immigrants who move into the nicer homes color up the inside but usually try to fit in with the crowd on the outside appearance. I love to show them Gerard, usually terracotta or red, but a gringo is more likely to buy color because aliens hate to be stigmatized. It can really hurt.
So, city=conservative and county=wild. On roofs that is.
In the 1960's Dallas was a sea of wood shingles and white three tabs or "T" Locks. The 70's saw the rise of weathered wood dimensional roofing and cedar blend or sand like colored three tabs. Later in the nineties roofs went overwhelmingly gray, like me. My roof looks like snow and I baa baa when I get sheared.
The roof on my home is a red steel tile.
Now-a-days you never know what someone is going to select. We live in a time of many selections. My rear bumper drags due to the weight of the samples. Slowly but surely we're selecting styles and colors on line. Can you believe that if a roofing sample gets rained on it is ruined? Can you say "oxymoron?"
"Sorry Sir, My roof sample got wet and dissolved. Can I come over when it's dry?" Well it never rains in the internets. (Stupid red squiggly line. Just what does it want?)
When you look at homes built before 1990, most were walkable but since then the widowmaker has been in vogue. I think Carrollton, Plano, Southlake, Colleyville, Frisco, and McKinney passed ordinances that said roofs must be as treacherous as possible. The architects of today must be reincarnated roofers with a wicked sense of humor. If I knew that was going to happen I might have made a different career choice. Tooooo late buddy.
To compensate I learned to measure from the ground with a pitch gauge but ratcheted things up a nacho and measure from the sky. Many call it satellite but it's really Piper Cubs. The DOD wanted to help roofers so they photographed all the buildings in America, and who knows where else, and set up a puppet company along the lines of a Chines industry owned by shadowy generals with world domination in mind. In a moment of weakness they sold us the rights, well leased, and when we got good and addicted, up'd the price.
When Pictometry leased us the program I got no kisses. After the signing ceremony I asked the high pressure salesman how do we save the data. He said that was an extra $800.00.
After they picked me up off the floor and quit banging on my chest I asked the liar why he didn't tell me first. He slurred something about his bosses not wanting to let us know about it until they got the money so they could get some more money.
I restrained my adjectives but swallowed pride. I told him I couldn't wait until we had circled the sun one more time so I could go find a lesser crook. The system worked well but we found a better one.
I am one vindictive consumer and I treat my customers right because they might be one too. Not really. I do it because I love to help people. I want them to like me and say I'm great. Flattery is really nice when you deserve it. When polar opposites occur I can put on the hair shirt and chant in Medieval Latin phrases with a Gregorian intonation while flagellating the camel tail on my bare back. Don't take me literally here. I just feel guilty and bear gifts. We used to give camel gifts but the tails are frightening and the bear has no tail.
This is a real rambler so I better stop and say Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, I love you for helping provide me and my family a living for 32 years putting on roofs, siding and windows. I've made a lot of friends and hope to make some more.
You must have been really bored to have got to here. I'll make it up to you somehow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Builder Build,, Remodelors Remodel and General Contractors Fix Stuff

Just try and coordinate roofers and siders together. Do the roof first and the siders will bang up the metal edge. Do the siding first and the roofers will get debris behind the aluminum fascia. Do them at the same time and nobody will pick up trash. What’s a contractor to do?
Be a hard arse. Tough love. Tell them what you expect and enforce it. There still might be problems because the two trades need to be tied together. They have different ways of doing things and usually speak different dialects. So be there. Stay on top.
When I was in college and putting a roof on a new home in Pioneer Valley, Irving, 75060, my boss, also named Jon, shot Johnny. The next day when I went to finish the job because boss man was in the pokey, the plumbers asked my 19 year old self to let them come in and put on the flashings later because they hadn’t cut the PVC pipe penetrations yet. Sir this and sir that, I was confused. When my helpers went on the ground to eat their lunch and I stayed in a patch of shade on the roof, one of the old grumpy men said something about how mean we were and that we didn’t even eat together. They thought I was the shooter. This incident is referred to as the "Shoot Out at Double Oak(Lane)"
I asked them if they thought I was the shooter. They told me to go flash my own pipe. There you have it: my first encounter of mixing trades. Nobody died but we came close.
Whenever a general contractor, which we often are, has to coordinate various professions, they all seem to get a lot less professional. The blame game begins and the trash pile grows. Slacking, pointing fingers, and sloppy work, are happening because it is easy to blame.
Nobody gets paid until you children straighten it up. I don’t care if it’s the other guy, we are in the same sinking boat and I want it fixed before somebody sees it.
Cooperation amongst the species can go a long way toward building a better world. We don’t need to bicker about who killed who but focus on a better castle.
Insurance companies know about this and will pay a ten and ten on a job if there are three trades. Some include the roofing, like State Farm, but others won’t, like USAA. Ten and ten is a twenty percent mark up for headaches and lost materials. It used to be ten on ten, which is twenty one percent, but we lost that also to the nickel and dime department.
When remodelors coordinate painters with plumbers successfully the plumber doesn’t know a hole in the recently finished faux texture with splattered drag paint. Window guys don’t tear up the new siding, and steel roofers don’t seal metal to the outside of freshly installed vinyl siding. Dump trucks don’t drive over new lawn sprinkler systems and roofers don’t shot each other.
A perfect world of harmony and bliss arises and the need for Buddhism abates.
I saw a roofer in Dallas drop his hatchet from the roof and it never hit the ground. I always wondered how those sheet rockers were going to bang sheet rock nails with a waffled hatchet head. The tape, bed, and texture guys had to be furious. I guess you might call it Karma, which is Asian for Mother Nature with an attitude.
Anyway, if it were easy everybody would be a general contractor. Dallas has many. Too many. Most know nothing about the different trades they direct. One builder who built in Mesquite, Irving, and Dallas in the 1980’s told me the roof was ready to dry in. when we arrived it wasn’t. He asked me “don’t you start at the top and work down?” We do on stone coated steel roofs like Gerard and Decra but even with those roofs the dry sheet begins at the eave.
Another builder in Garland, who never paid me my change orders, sent his carpenter, painters, and masons onto my roofs where they proceeded to face nail thousands of large diameter nails right through the roofing. There must have been twenty nails per hundred square feet driven and then removed. Due to the steep slope and small hole size, water tension keeps the leaks from occurring, for a while.
After some time, with the U.V. protection (granules) gone, the sun will eat away at the asphalt, which is organic, and the destruction will begin.
You know the City of Garland inspectors never caught it. I tried complaining.
Remodel contractors are better than builders because they carry the liability. They work for the people who will be living in the home. After a new home sells all bets are soon off. The guarantees were negotiated with the seller, the builder, and not the buyer, the one who will have to pay the remodelor to repair the damaged plywood decking, the sheet rock, the insulation, the paint, and, oh, the roof.
Builders just usually don’t care because they don’t understand. They’ve never swung a hammer or climbed a step two story roof on a hot Texas afternoon.
In fact, builders are hardened and don't care. Remodeling contractors are incompetent most of the time and look for cheap subcontractors. General Contractors hire competent contractors and coordinate them. They mark up the contractors fees and don't look solely at price. Their job is to get a good job at the best price possible, not the cheapest price. This is where remodeling companies fail. They bid the job at a set price and try to hold the line. General Contractors have quality in the mix too. If needed, they use a more expensive contractor for a particular service because they find it necessary. Then they mark it up 20%.
When I was just out of college in the record breaking summer of 1980, my compadre and I were wrapping it up when the builder came scrambling up the ladder to persuade us to stay. What he didn’t realize was that the heat was beginning to penetrate his soles. He started to dance the Watusi while we rhythmically clapped and sang to his undulating body. Desperately he ran for the ladder but relief was not in sight. The heat was just getting to his foot. He kicked off his shoes, jumped from the ladder into a pie of sand, and said “you guys can quit clapping now. Go home.” I thought he said beer store. I’m still mad he didn’t pay the receipt.
There are a lot of builders like this. They don’t pay. Remodelors are better. They even buy their guys some beer but I won’t. What they do with their money is their business. What I do with my customer’s money is their business. I better be tough. I’ll be fair but tough.
Jon Wright

The Great American Nail Manufacturer (the only one)

The nail is the recipient of my tools pounding. The process of roofing is mostly pounding nails with some measuring and cutting added in. I mean it takes a pounding, a thrashing, hard impacts meant to withstand the forces of Mother Nature, Father Time, and my men’s steel. After we’re through hatcheting them we leave the nails to do their job, for decades, on the roof, in a hot, cold, humid, inhospitable clime that very few materials can survive, unless of course, they are engineered for these sorts of things. This is where these forgotten little pieces of metal rest. The only ones you remember are the escapees who sometimes try to hitch a ride in your daughter’s tire until they destroy it as far away from home as they can. If the embedded ones fail to stand like Gurkha soldiers, and that is until the end, then everybody looks bad.
“Those darn Acme shingles just won’t stay on the roof.”
“The roofer I went with is a bum. His roof flies off every time the wind blows.”
“Your Honor, we wish to prove that the defendant is a criminal. He used cheap Japanese nails.”
I’ve heard all these comments before but the last one was not worded quite that way and they weren’t directed at me, except for the last one, and I told the homeowner that we used the same cheap nails brand X does but there from China, not Japan.
I’ve personally driven nails in Dallas, Irving, Garland, Plano, Richardson, and Italy. That was SEO speak. One more, Mesquite, Fort Worth, Arlington Grand Prairie...I'm cheating now.
Seriously, as you by now know I can be, I want to dig into the nail and it’s history and how better to do that that to talk with a man who knows nails, Tom Koch, sales manager of Maze Nails.

Hello Tom. For how long have you guys been making nails?
W. H. Maze Co., located here in Peru, IL, was founded in 1848 as a lumberyard. But, we’ve been making nails for well over 100 years.

How’d the company get started?
We got into the nail business in the late 1800’s due to roofing nail complaints on cedar shingles. Back then, iron “cut nails” were used to install those shingles. But they often rusted away and in just a few years otherwise perfectly good cedar shingles were sliding off the roofs. Mr. Maze bought an old nail machine and started making cut nails from pure zinc to give away with their cedar shingles. Other lumberyards heard about these “rust-proof” nails and asked to buy them and other types of cut nails. More nail machines were added and eventually Maze Nails was spun off as a separate division in our current location back in 1922.

Aren’t all nails made overseas?
The vast majority are, but not all. In my 35 years with Maze, I’ve seen many fine American companies exit the nail manufacturing business. Virtually every steel mill had a nail-making division back then. Most tried to cut costs (and often quality) but simply could not compete with the low, low, import nail pricing. Nail manufacturers in China, for instance, pay their workers about 3 – 5% of comparable U.S. manufacturing wages with few if any benefits. They don’t have to comply with EPA, OSHA or other mandates as we do. We have stuck to our guns.

Thank you,

Jon Wright

Tar verus Asphalt Roofing

Remember how the fresh tar gummed up your bicycle tires. To add insult to Schwinn, the tar gathered pebbles until the bike was a huge mess. Mom was mad. You even aimed the bike at the tar like a kid jumping in mud puddles on his way into Kindergarten. I now inform you that this was not tar but asphalt.

Tar is mined and asphalt is cracked. Tar is from plants, asphalt is made in plants. Tar won’t get brittle with time like asphalt. It will run and spread on hot days forever while asphalt will eventually lose its ductility. Tar stinks and asphalt smells good, at least to me. We old roofers love the smell of melting asphalt. Melting tar is bad because of all the creosote. Tar killed the dinosaurs, asphalt, or oil more specifically, is endangering our species.

When roads, which use higher grade asphalt than roofs, are repaired the asphalt is very viscous. On hot days a thermoplasmic migration or slow boil of the asphalt slowly brings the material in contact with oxygen. This softening leaves the granules susceptible to damage or scuffing when the new shingles are hot. On a steep roof the roof need only to be warm. That’s why roofers steal the foam cushions from defunct couches on the side of the road. The pads make excellent steep roof anti-scuff tools.

As asphalt oxidizes it becomes more of a solid and less of a frozen liquid, the natural state of asphalt. The color changes from black to light grey. Fresh asphalt will not adhere to aged asphalt unless it is treated with a topical primer because the old product is no longer a liquid. Merging the two is like trying to caulk glass. It can't be done. That's why glass is glazed, which is a pressure seal like a cork. As the process continues the oils flash out of the material and it becomes brittle. This is one of the many reasons ventilation is so important. Slow down the flashing of oils.

One day I’ll talk about the difference between emulsions and coatings or flash versus evaporate.

When flat roofs are made of tar, and I haven’t seen one in Dallas for a long time, the perimeter must be enveloped or the material will run down the walls on hot days. I saw large lugs of tar at a supply house in Garland that had melted all over the parking lot. The last time I saw a tar roof in Irving it was on an old building in the downtown section. Old tar has a bluish color and smells like a telephone pole.

If you try to repair either of these products with the other you will fail. They are enemies. The ancient versus the modern, the smelly versus the not so smelly, these are battles that will continue until time ends. If you put an asphaltic roof system over a coal tar pitch roof the new roof will blister from the gases and the tar might start running everywhere, and I mean everywhere, because you nailed through the containment.

The test for asphalt properties is ASTM D312, and I’m not looking to see if it has changed. The old ring and ball test checks for ductility and penetration, which determines what grade of asphalt that is being tested. On one end of the scale is “dead level” asphalt. It is like coal tar pitch only worse. If you look at it on a warm day it will attack you like the Blob did Steve McQueen. If you’re not as tough as he was, then you’re a gonner. Better start smoking and scraping asbestos off pipes.

On the other end of the spectrum is “type IV” asphalt which can be mopped on an inclined roof and will stay put like a Gurkha. Phych! Not really. More like a piece of gum on the sidewalk that is there to teach all who may pass that the spitter was a jerk.

The cost of asphalt has risen dramatically over the last several years and not because oil has gone up. The culprit is demand for gas and jet fuel. With the new cokers, not cookers but basically doing the same thing, the oil behemoths are able to squeeze more gas and jet juice out of asphalt. If the roofing giants want it they’ll have to pay.

The raw crude is put in a barrel and heated. Gases flash off. All kinds of substances like butane to heating oils are captured, leaving the trash that will soon be on your roof, and I’m not auto-referencing. The material, not the man, is the illusion here.

The gases are captured in trays above the mixture as it is heated. What’s left is residuum. Boy does that sound bad. “Want some residuum on your roof?”

After catalysts are added to the bubbling crude remains, the chains of hydrocarbons are mutated into whatever the chemist can coax from Mama Natural.

The rising price will eventually lead to a change in the types of roofs you see in America. We may end up with more traditional European style roofs like metal, concrete, and clay. I’d love a synthetic thatch roof myself. I’ve never seen one in Dallas or anywhere in Texas. I did see palm leaf roofs in Arlington, Texas.

I thought I thaw a puddy tat. Time to take the long chain hydrocarbons like the doctor said I mean they even make vitamin E and medicine from this glop.

Those soon to fail plastic synthetic roofs you see all over Colleyville, Fort Worth, Bedford, and Las Colinas, are also from petroleum. Plastic is just treated asphalt.

In conclusion, pitch is not used on pitched roofs but flat ones and if you don’t use us to put on your roof it’s your own arse-fault.

Sorry about that but I love the asphalt molecule and would go on further if left to do so.

If you really need to know more check with ARMA. Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association .

Jon Wright

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is a Roof Flashing?

It's a verb, a pain, no it's Goopyman.
Yes Virginia, their is , or was Bird Pookie, a roofing flashing cement made by Bird, an old roofing manufacture whose claim to fame was that they printed the first dollar bills for the United States. Now they're out of business. No, the roofing manufacture. The US is still printing money from what I hear.
This black, oozing glop is plastic roof cement, and is used in commercial and residential roofing from Dallas to Fort Worth and everywhere in between. Good roofers rarely need it on pitched roof replacement. The best professionals use gravity and not sealants. When your boss says go flash something he is not referring to disrobing, although you'll need to after you ruin your clothes, car seat, and, well, let's just say everything, including the roof, if you're not careful.
Your el patrĂ³n might have meant to "cut in" a pipe or a chimney on a roof. That means to roof under and around any roof penetration with shingles so that the flashing turns water. You integrate a pipe jack (boot, cover, stack, 3n1, sewer vent, auto caulk...) with the roof du jour in a waterproof manner. This may be enhanced with a leak barrier such as StormGuard or Ice and Water Shield. These help flash against ice dams and torrential rain.
Metal edging is a flashing but nobody says "go flash the perimeter with metal edge" or "flash the eave."
You can flash about anything on a roof with any number of flashing that range from rubber, plastic, different kinds of metal, to glop.
if I were to type "go get all the flashings" would Google leave me alone? No it didn't. In Googlespeak the word flashing only comes in singulars but as we now know their are many types of flashing.
In the mid 1970's when I was a young whippersnapper whipping my snaps I began my career in roofing. The first time I heard "go flash that pipe" I was a little concerned. I calmly waited to see what would happen and it did. Somebody opened the Bird Flashing Cement and spread it all over the roof and himself.
My best story, and I don't tell many here, was when I was in college and we were going to flash a long parapet on a flat built up gravel surface roof. We carefully broomed back the gravel, got out our spud bars and looked to remove all the gravel and potatoes. More sweeping followed. We carefully place rolls of membrane every seven feet and a five gallon bucket of plastic flashing cement every ten feet. Our trowels and clothes were ready.
Carefully we open the buckets with our screwdrivers so as not to be contaminated with the tar. But one hero with few teeth, despite his tender age of about 23, stomped on his lid, reached into the bucket with his bare hands and let out the laugh of a madman in a 1957 "B" rated sci-fi.
We all laughed at his moronic behavior but later realized that we all looked the same. He was the wise fool.
Years later such behavior was banned. Most roofers never have smelled pooky. I have ingested it.They are the not so unlucky ones. They still suffer up on those roofs. In my youth I enjoyed it but since then I have become somewhat sane.
Later, after we cleaned our hands with charcoal lighter fluid or kerosene, we went to eat Churches chicken to get our cuticles clean. I know, it's not healthy to eat greasy chicken.
I hoped you to understand that flashing is a broad word that is thrown about like a wrestler when specifics allude you or time restraints do not allow for a discourse on roofing.
Reporting form Dallas, Jon Wright