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Sunday, August 29, 2010
How to Train a Roofer
We start with the deck preparation and installation of felt, progressing to metal edge and then field shingles. Once the roofer has made it this far and has shown he can surpass the initial level it is time for some class work.
The tests are open book and the classes are hands on and video based and might cover something you missed. The most important part by far is the actual instillation of good clean roofing practices in his head along with safety habits that will keep him going like that battery operated bunny on TV.
Bananas. Yes, bananas. The potassium in his body will flow out like a river along with the other minerals but we usually get enough of the others from McDonalds.
He needs to not drink cold water or he'll overheat. One of your internal thermostats is in the stomach and if it thinks you're cool it will send signals to the sweat director to shut it down.
The roofers of today aren't too preoccupied with getting a suntan so we don't need to really push that aspect anymore. I used to get sunburns on my front side when we put on white roofs because of the reflection. I still worry about skin cancer.
A roofer will sweat so hard that if he smokes his sweat will run brown for the first few minutes. He needs to hydrate frequently even on nice days because he's still sweating.
Lastly he needs to know that you are going up on the roof to check how many and where the nails have been placed. He needs to know that he is being watched for quality because the devil will sit on his shoulder telling him to put three nails instead of four because he'll get the roof done quicker. Yes the devil is up there. He never stops. He never complains. He'll get you if you aren't diligent and the heat really doesn't bother him too much. In fact he may make it hotter. I know it's at least thirty degrees hotter up there so if you can't stand the heat get off the roof. It's almost impossible to imagine the brutality of it all unless you've been up there.
Me, myself, and I loved it up there when I was young and virile (I may be stretching that a little) and worked like a beast. Today I have moving parts that remind me of the toil. The last couple of days I've burned my hands on roofs because the keypad doesn't produce many callouses. The Khmer Rouge would shoot me in the initial purges and re-education processes.
This summer was harder on me than the famous Dallas summer of 1980 when the unbreakable records were set for hotness.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Roofers Make You Sick, Literally
These cheap roofing companies here in the Dallas area have caused so many children to have respiratory diseases it is mind boggling. But you were the enabler.
The problem first began with government intervention that did not fully think through the results and had no follow up or policy adjustment. This caused undo suffering, medical costs, and legal battles that should not have had to continue since the late seventies even though pollution levels have been steadily dropping since.
The oil embargo in 1973 brought to our attention that we were becoming dependent on foreign energy reserves so in the 1970's and 80's federal and state governments started to pass the first energy efficiency regulations. The attempts to encourage behavioral changes, like turning off the lights or adjusting the thermostat, didn't seem to help so the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), the Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976 and the National Energy Conservation Policy Act of 1978 (NECPA) were passed.
Here came the house wrap and dual glazed or double pane window regulations that changed the entire nature of the dynamics of air, heat, and humidity in the home. Almost everybody has heard of sick buildings were diseases are exchanged through stale air but the sick home is little known. Wikipedia has an article on sick buildings but not one on homes. A home is a building but people assume that the sick building syndrome is cause by people exchanging diseases. This is only partially true as the buildings incubate their own diseases and toxic substances as a result of trying to conserve energy. The same happens at home. You might not be as concerned about the disease you share with your family members as you are with your coworkers due to a seemingly inevitable nature of close contact but you are forgetting about Stachybotrys, radon gas, and a whole litany of items that can cause aerotoxic syndromes.
Do you feel better when you leave your home? Does your headache, allergies, and stiffness go away? Maybe the spent gas from your furnace or heater is leaking into the attic or being pulled down into the home by the negative pressure caused by your chimney. It could also be that the lack of soffit vents has caused nasty gases to migrate up through your foundation because the air pressure in your home is less than outside by a minute amount. The placement of roof exhaust vents at different levels, of different types, or in conjunction with gable end vents or dormer louvers, has turned your attic into a nursery. The massive number of sedentary endoparasites and inactive spores that cover most if not all surfaces on the planet morph into thriving and breeding colonies of toxic gas emitting, building material eating, ugly glop that killed the aliens in "War of the Worlds" and are now trying to kill the residents of your damp and dingy castle.
You thought you were ventilating your attic by putting more vents in but you just vented wrong and stopped the bottom to top drafting that removes the catalyst for disastrous attics: moisture and heat laying on organic building materials.
Does your house smell old no matter what you do? Go outside and see if you think air is coming in the eaves and out the top or is it more like a broken straw that no matter how hard you try you can't get the drink to come up to the top.
Now while you're looking for that cheap doctor to fix your kid's asthma, you might offer an apology to everyone as he struggles to take every breath. This time you did it and you have nobody to blame but yourself.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Efficient Attic Ventilation Systems
Bad roofers cause cancer.
Here are Jon's Laws of Attic Ventilation:
The soffit vent is connected to the ridge vent.
The soffit vent is connected to the gable end vent.
The soffit vent is connected to the low profile vents.
The soffit vent is connected to the electric power vent.
The soffit vent is connected to the solar power vent.
The soffit vent is connected to the turbines.
The soffit vent is connected to the power gable vent.
You may not add a different type of exhaust vent to these systems.
The The Edge by Air Vent vent is connected to the ridge vent.
The Edge by Air Vent is connected to the gable end vent.
The Edge by Air Vent is connected to the low profile vents.
The Edge by Air Vent is connected to the electric power vent.
The Edge by Air Vent is connected to the solar power vent.
The Edge by Air Vent is connected to the turbines.
The Edge by Air Vent is connected to the power gable vent.
You may not add another type of exhaust vent to these attic ventilation systems and you may not add another type of intake vent near The Edge by Air Vent. If the different type of intake vents are far apart it is okay.
The Fascia Vent by GAF is connected to the ridge vent.
The Fascia Vent by GAF is connected to the gable end vent.
The Fascia Vent by GAF is connected to the low profile vents.
The Fascia Vent by GAF is connected to the electric power vent.
The Fascia Vent by GAF is connected to the solar power vent.
The Fascia Vent by GAF is connected to the turbines.
No soffit vent, power intake booster, solar powered intake booster or any other intake vent may be close to the Fascia Vent by GAF.
These rules apply to all roof vents generically:
1) Only one exhaust system may be used at one level. This rule may be broken if the attic is compartmentalized.
2) Only one intake system may be used in a given area of the roof by due to the draw effect of the exhaust vents, several intake systems may be used on one attic ventilation system if they are far enough apart for the Venturi Effect to compensate for their difference in altitude.
3) Exhaust must be the same or slightly less than intake.
4) There must be a minimum of one square foot of ventilation divided equally between intake and exhaust for every three hundred square feet of attic floor.
5) An attic is defined as the contiguous area surrounded by the ceiling, roof deck, and any wall siding. Separate air spaces are separate attics.
6) Pick up sticks.
You may not add any type of vent to these sentences.
The Hot Weather and Roofing
There have been times I couldn't even tough my tools. The roof burns my hands when I get off the ladder and I'm sweating in just seconds after going up there but none of this comes close to the summer of 1980.
At five in the morning sweat would pour off me as I went to the daily roof grind. Once a builder asked us to stay and came running up the ladder. A few seconds passed and he started doing a professional roof jig. He soon got to the ladder, kicked off his hot shoes, and then jumped into a sand pile without getting even a scratch.
I would have been killed, or just hospitalized for a couple of days by the shards that would have found my feet.
OSHA wants us to wear steel toed boots but they would destroy the roof and keep us from being nimble. You must be nimble on a roof or you have no business being up there.
The whole point of this ramble is to tell you it gets really hot in Dallas Texas and your roof is killing you financially because it is not ventilated correctly.
Just go stick your head in the attic and wonder why your home has not spontaneously combusted this summer.
You are doing these things to your home and budget just by using roofers that don't know that the roof begins at the soffit:
1) Having a shortened roof life.
2) Making the roof more susceptible to damage through fragility.
3) Wearing out your air conditioner
4) Spending more on electricity
5) Making your family sick
6) Adding to pollution by using electricity.
7) Wearing out your decking.
8) Compressing your insulation
9) Discoloring your roof, exterior paint, interior paint.
10) Feeling less comfortable
11) Using natural sources, causing more manufacturing, causing more transportation (roofer, truckers, shippers, and everybody.)
12) Contaminating ground water (old roofs in the landfill).
13) Increasing sales tax revenue.
14) Decreasing your kids education.
15) enriching divorce attorneys.
Go outside and look at your soffit vents and see if there is a hole on the other side, and if there is see if it is the same size as the soffit vent. While you're at it look at the fascia and soffit boards to see if there is any water penetration.
Just a few soffit vents can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the next decade and keep the roofing companies at bay for a few more years. Do not add any turbines or vent ridge until you are sure that there is more soffit intake than the proposed exhaust or that there are other exhaust vents that might run interference.
Roofing in Dallas is a sizzling job. I bet you couldn't stay up there, in the sun in the middle of the day for an hour nor could you stay in your attic for thirty minutes.
We can actually make your attic near ambient temperature when you change out your roof for usually no more than $4000.00 or $5000.00 than normal. That is a small price for permanent savings.
Red Hot Pawn
This website is more than just fun chess. Real friends are made here, more so than in social networking sites like Facebook where people are already friends.
In the five years I've been playing here I've made friends in Italy, Iran, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, and all over the United States.
I consider some of them as my best friends and look forward to talking with them daily. I will even visit them soon.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
In the Sewer, Roofing's Connection to the Underworld
When in high school student near the Casa Linda/Casa View area of Dallas, the phrase "stink stack" found its way to my vocabulary. The littlest of pipes protruding from the roof are these methane risers. The poop left to drain to the septic systems of Dallas make their final assault, I never noticed that in the word, up through the roof sewer vents before their gravitational descent to the water reclamation site.
From the foundation to the roof, these pipes serve as clean outs and methane gas vents. When cutting in the roofing around one, the roofer is nauseated to the point of either hurrying or taking a break.
This gas more than smells bad, it is corrosive and just any flashing won't do. Galvanized will be destroyed by it. The designers of septic systems wanted the methane out so quickly they made the system work without a top. They let the rain go right in so the gas will not be impeded by a cap.
The plumbers love it because they can stick their snake right in without any trouble. Ha! there is trouble. The snake tears up the lead sewer flashing.
So the rain water doesn't fall between the pipe and the lead flashing, the lead is crimped into the pipe and the rain enters into the septic system without any harm done, unless the plumbers ran the pipe at an angle and didn't glue the fittings together properly. Because the pipes are intended to carry away gases and not water under pressure, the plumbers often hastily glue these pipes together without water in mind. Then the builder has the great idea to make the vent from the bathroom on the front of the house come up on the rear slope or he has several pipes joined into one. Pipes running level sometimes end up with a negative slope because the ground moves, the home sags, or the pipes just bend.
The lead must be crimped into the pipes with some slack to compensate for this movement even, especially, when the pipe is straight down to the foundation.
The roof sagging a little and the lead tight to the top of the pipe is what the roof repairman needs. The result is a torn base on the lead flashing base.
In the recent past, 4 lb. lead was used but today, if lead is used, it is 2 1/2 lb. The old thick lead didn't crimp over but just held snug like the autocaulks builders use today. The ones the builders plumbers use are the cheapest money can buy. Money is an object. These neoprene flashing are totally destroyed in a few years if they are not kept painted. That's why many roofers went to the metal base plate with a gasket. These two type of flashings are also called 3n1's because they can be modified to fit 1.5", 2", and 3" pipes.
In Irving I learned a lesson to not buy these at Home Depot because the gasket wears out in a few years. The ones I get from my roofing wholesalers in Dallas don't.
I never knew why squirrels ate the lead sewer flashings on the roof until I took the lead removal and containment course required by the EPA for people who work on homes built before 1978. Lead tastes sweet. So if you paint the lead stacks the squirrels will not find they as readily.
Now you know why the squirrels turn around after making it three quarters of the way across the street.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Aging Asphalt Compostion Roofing
The testing method I remember from years ago, ASTM D-312, which is probably still in use, was used to determine ductility, penetration, and other qualities. The NRCA states:
ASTM D312, "Standard Specification for Asphalt Used in Roofing," defines four types of asphalt intended for use as a waterproofing agent and/or adhesive in roof system construction. Type I, Type II, Type III and Type IV classifications correspond to roofing asphalts characterized by increasing softening points. (A higher softening point indicates resistance to flow at higher temperatures.) In built-up roof membrane construction, Type III or Type IV asphalt is used; the choice depends on membrane slope. Roofing asphalt is a product of crude oil refining and should not be confused with coal-tar pitch, also used in roofing, which is derived from coal distillation. Although both are types of bitumen, asphalt and coal-tar pitch are not compatible.
That is primarily used for built up roofs and there's a gob of ASTM D-something for asphaltic product standards but the one for shingles is:
ASTM D3462, "Standard Specification for Asphalt Shingles Made from Glass Felt and Surfaced with Mineral Granules," addresses properties of asphalt feedstock, shingle material composition, dimensional tolerances and weights, fire test classification, wind resistance, loss of volatile matter after heating and other physical properties of finished materials. Self-sealing shingles, as well as interlocking shingles, are included in the standard's scope.
Fresh shingles are gooey in the sun because the asphalt has not oxidized. Fresh asphalt is a frozen liquid during nice temperatures and as it oxidizes over time, coupled with the flash off of volatiles, becomes a true solid.
Remember how the fresh tar (asphalt) gummed up your tires and then picked up pebbles? Later the asphalt turned gray and brittle. The smell was gone too. That process took a while but with all the engineering put into modern composition roofing it takes years. Additives, particles, different types of stabilizers and new improved fiberglass mats have increased the roof life in Dallas from 12 years on the old organic paper based roofing to up to 50 years with the new products.
The new ceramic granules also help to slow ultra violet degradation better than the old granite chips. Nothing helps when the shingles are scuffed by roofers working during hot temperatures and not using foam pad roof protection. You can see foot prints and read the brand names sometimes.
If the ventilation is improper the aging speeds up. The roof and deck experience more heat and humidity and the rate of decay is accelerated by as much as three or four times. In other words the thirty year material can look bad in as little as seven years.
The south and west slopes age faster in the northern hemisphere where we perform most of our roof projects. In those remote locations where the north slope is baked first it is usually hotter in January than July.
Ventilation, not venting, is the key to a long happy roof. Such a roof not only looks good longer, it is more hail resistant and less prone to leak. Plus the inhabitants of the abode are happier and healthier and have more disposabile income.
Steep roofs tend to last longer too as they dry off faster and suffer less air born fungus and slime mold, that streaking on the roof that disappears beneath the stacks, chimneys, and skylights because of the zinc coming off the galvanized metal and solder. Zinc is an antimicrobial and has been added to many shingles for this purpose. Copper is also being used in the shingles to keep them healthy, happy, and wise.
This week we did two homes with new radiant barrier decking by Techshield and the customers are ecstatic. One was in Plano and the other in Irving. Ryan found a faux soffit vent on the Plano home, a first for Jon Wright Roofing. We've seen very small holes but never no hole.
That carpenter is such a criminal. That lady had such a hot attic but now she doesn't. She didn't have to replace her deck but she was half way there so she crossed the finish line. With her class IV roofing I bet she saves $10,000.00 over the next ten years on utilities, insurance premiums, HVAC repairs, and preventing hail damage.
Anyway, we all have our own asphalts to work on so lets make the world a better place, at least in Dallas, Plano, Irving, Grand Prairie, Fort Worth, and Carrollton. Forget about Australia. They talk funny and have a queen. They have an election today though. I just learned their Liberal Party is the conservative one. Just like a place where January is hot, it's dark when it's light here, the potty water swirls backwards, and they name all their women Sheila.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Big Roofing Companies
Allied Roofing, Bert Roofing, Centennial Roofing, Arrington Roofing, Alpine Roofing, Staz On Roofing, Statex Roofing and J and J Roofing and Sheet Metal, are good competitors.
The roofers who show up in the Google Map box are not always anybody or are flashing in the pans with fake inception dates. Clay's Roofing, Verticle Roofing, RCR Roofing and Construction, Concept 1Rennovations, and Eclat Roofing show up there and nobody's heard of the but Robert's Roofing does a bit.
Here in Irving, Moore Roofing and Evans and Horton Roofing are one company and Murphy Roofing used to administer Moore Roofing until Mr. Moore sold it to Horton. Ark Roofing was owned by Monty Banner until his tragic death and I don't know who owns it now.
Bold Roofing grew very fast and had a hard time keeping up with what they sold.
I haven't seen much out of Plano Roofing since Jim Rogers sold it.
I don't know Trident Roofing but Whately Roofing has been around for some time too.
Rutherford Roofing was doing okay until one of their salesmen started Brotherford Roofing and copied all their logos.
I'm friends with Classic Superoofers, Moritz Roofing, but I admire Premiere Roofing, Aspenmark Roofing, Scott Roofing Siding and Window and Dorsey's Roofing. all those guys do a great job.
By now you've guessed there are a lot of roofing companies in the Dallas Fort Worth area, around 6500 in North Texas alone.
Friday, August 13, 2010
When Adjusters Go From Denial to Buying
When no snap, crackle, pop occurs and the wind doesn't blow, the business gets a little slower. In times like these State Farm has blue checks. The money is right out of their account. The adjusters are calling the shots very conservatively. They enforce policy regulations down to the T and dotted I's.
Insurance companies are pretty smart and they believe in what they sell, so they get insurance. They are all tied together in one way or another. Usually all the way back to the Mother of them all, Lloyd's of London. That company has a strange beginning and an even stranger way of raising cash.
So hear comes the storm bringer, with deep purple colors, and Dallas or Fort Worth is about to be hammered with wind and hail. The trucks start to pull out of Oklahoma and the motels fill here. In some areas you can hear "daddy, daddy" while Sancho beats it out the rear door. For those who don't know, Sancho is Jody but you need not lose your girl while you're in a foreign land.
Ding dong, knock knock, roofers everywhere. The checks turn pink. Why? Because it's not State Farm's money, or at least most of it isn't, and if we've learned anything from Congress, it's that you are not as careful with somebody else's money as you are your own. So they buy, and buy, and buy some more. Everybody body gets a new roof.
Why would they do that? Because if all your clients have new roofs there will be less wind and hail claims until the roofs get old.
Plus the reservists are called up. These are independent adjusters, broke from waiting for a storm to come. Did you know that the larger the claim, the larger their commission. I've had adjusters ask me to help them find $50.00 damage more so they could make it to the next level.
I've seen new roofs that hadn't even experienced their first bird dookie get totaled.
Folklore has it that the manager of each company reenacts the Pope's "Line of Demarcation" that split South America into Portuguese and Spanish realms. If you're outside the circle, you don't get a roof and you loose your chair.
The normal staff adjusters, when times are slow, are tough and uncompromising. If you've waited too long to call in a claim, you lose your rights.
When the smash and grab of Mother Nature demolishes the roofs as far as you can see, and that is usually Aledo , Mineral Wells, Sulpher Springs, Denison, and Waco, because outside that the Earth ends for me, the local economy gets a big stimulus. The adjusters buy more roofs but the independents are unleashed like the dogs of war. Pink everywhere.
Restaurants, building supply companies, roofers, carpetbaggers, motels, bars, bail bondsmen, beer stores, all get big boosts in sales. Sales tax revenues go up. Kids learn to read. And the insurance companies do their part by returning the money they've extorted from the masses, albeit from the British and not their own pocket.
Then the British go and kick English investors out of their homes and liquidate everything the family owns to pay for the new roof in Garland. The door gets a knock and the former homeowner is told to get out now. He can't even get his nail clipper. I saw a report on Sixty minutes years ago but I can't back it up on Google. If you can find it or have better info please send it to me.
Lloyds was formed by merchants wanting to protect their investments. They wanted to spread the losses around so no one could be wiped out by one hail storm in the Atlantic. We use the word "copper bottom" to describe a good investment because copper bottom boats were safer.
The ships were rated for value, upkeep, cargo, and risk. Then a proper fee was paid to join their lottery.
The Sicilians took it further because the payments weren't voluntary and if you have a mortgage you must have insurance too. If you don't you can roll the dice and hope you don't burn down.
If you ask me, the insurance companies should forget all the politics of trying to look good in comparison to other insurance companies or trying to prevent future losses by giving out free roof candy. They should just buy the damaged ones for the right amount, or close to it, quit losing faxes, start accepting e mails, answer the phone, quit saying nobody has ever asked for that before, and just conduct business like a good neighbor with good hands.
What a concept:do the right thing. That is what everybody should do. But there are those guys this summer fabricating hail and I hope they meet there. Not really. Wouldn't wish that on anyone.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The Roofer Did It!
Is it clear yet? Okay, here I go:
Blame the roofer. It's his fault.
"If our roofer had not put the nail in that spot, where the manufacturer requires it, we would not have damaged your A/C freon line. Nor would we have hit that romex electrical line, not in a conduit, that was run up against the roof and down under the ridge against building code."
I know that code requires for that freon line to hug the top plate of the wall but it never does. Romex too are everywhere waiting to fry the roofer when he hits it with the nail that the manufacturer of the roofing specifically states in writing, with pretty pictures, in several languages, on line, in the warranty, that there can be no deviance for whatever reason for the exact placement of the nail. So we put it in the line.
Sometimes lines cross, forming an "X," like when the nail line on a shingle matches up with the freon or electrical line that haphazardly placed against code and common sense.
"You didn't tell me there was a true 100% cathedral ceiling that could sustain damage by the kinetic energy released from the simple act of nailing. Sure we could have used peel and stick shingles or just removed the plastic tape from the rear of the shingle. That would do it."
"The ivy growing out of the gutter was holding up the gutter, fascia, and soffit until we thoughtlessly removed it to replace the roof."
"That crack in the driveway, with all the black dirt in it? Yes it's fresh. We did it."
"That sag, where the previous owner took out the wall to enlarge the living room without hiring an architect or engineer twenty five years ago was caused by my mere presence."
This was not said about me but I was told the little foot roofer story by an angry lady who said fatso, not me, caused her dormers to lean. If the roofer was lean...
"Those sags every two feet are structural damage caused by fat roofers with small feet and not rotten or weak 3/8" plywood degraded by thirty years of no ventilation, bathroom fumes exhausted into the attic, or the six or seven roofs you had replaced."
Sure you can replace your roof as many times as you want without the nails and nail holes effecting the structural integrity of the laminated thin sheets of tree bark called decking."
People don't call me until things are broken and it's likely other broken things are lurking, waiting to jump out and get some of me on them. DNA. Guilty. Do not pass Go. Forget the $200.00 dummy.
"The dog ate nails and you need to pay the medical bill?"
Bassets are pretty dumb and I have an X Ray to prove it.
"Sure those greasy stains in the skylight tunnel are water leaks and have nothing to do with the gooey ball your 10 year old is bouncing in there."
She apologized for yelling at me after she caught her son in the act. I didn't think a lady would say those things when I told her the roof was fine.
"Of Course my roofers drove those nails into your tree. They do it on all of our jobs but could you ask your little children to give us our hammers back."
"That faucet never leaked before your guys got a drink from it."
Your yard hasn't been watered in years.
"My son's 1978 Pontiac has never leaked a drop of oil. That's your oil bud."
It's out of oil because it evaporated in the 25 years since the registration went out. We were still part of Mexico when it was last driven. My truck is new.
"They must have peed on my roses. Where do they go anyway?"
"The leak moved over about 15 feet sideways."
"The hot water pipe was not rusted before. Where did you get that? Your garage?"
We found it in your attic laying in the insulation beneath the charred wood. The last roofer roofed over your flue pipe hole endangering your family's life. It's just temporary until we fix and update, for free, all the hidden things that weren't part of our agreement.
"That iron ore did not come from my yard. You must tell all your customers that that weird metal your magnet found came from their yard."
You found me out.
"My foundation is listing now."
You need to list the entire home. You can't sell it in parts.
"The cat ran away and it's your fault for doing what I paid you for."
I hate cats.
That's all of them and the percentage is pretty low for over 20,000 roofs. But it was about ten too many if you ask me.
I paid my dues and I nip it in the bud now with an informational stroll around. That's Texan for walk about, the circle the home mosey. If you look up carefully at the roof you'll need to take your shoes off before you go back in the home. Poo poo on the shoe is a small price for being a pro and looking at the roof from the ground level for things you couldn't see about the roof when you were up there.
Go on the roof. Look in the attic. Stroll around and survey from the yard.
"That antique cup that fell was worth $500.00 but you can't show it to me because you threw it away."
She deducted the street value of an English porcelain tea cup from 1863 (with post WWII made in Japan on the bottom). Now that was dirty. These folks were going to buy the roof from their kids college fund until I convinced them to call the insurance. The adjuster paid off due to pure luck, even though I was there in Grapevine on that hot day showing him the damage he missed the last time, saving them the money they had decided to spend. Now Allstate paid, instead of having uneducated kids, and the tea cup deductible was covered.
Take the Monet and Renoir down but please leave the English cup up. Warn the customers to remove their valuables and investments from the walls and attics.
We torn off a wood roof in Las Colinas, Irving, years ago to expose valuable paintings stored in the attic by the remodelor. In Dallas I saw fragile glass sculpture strewn about in an attic. In Grapevine a lady kept imaginary antique cups on the wall. In Fort Worth my roofers found twenty five years worht of Playboys in the attic when they were cleaning. The customer raced home and said to me"I've been found out!" All attics have Christmas stuff except at Christmastime and those fragile glass balls crack with high pitched sneezes.
This is why we look around prior to commencement ceremonies to the next adventure in roofing. We don't need to look in the attic on redecks because the attic will be open like Texas Stadium for all of heaven to see. Er, was.
(We watched the stadium go down from our roof that dreary Sunday morn and my old college roomie John Feist, the famous movie director, came in from Switzerland to watch it. He took time from his busy schedule of international intrigue and family making, to sentimentalize on part of his youth. He's still a neat nice guy.)
Roofers protect yourself, and protect your customer too. Note cracks, sags, building code violations, and general mischief and everybody will be a lot happier and less misunderstandings will occur. Beside, the customers are stepping around land mines when they're in the backyard and not looking up at the roof line. They only look up there after the roof has been replaced. That is why they don't know where all the toys are, that the downspout is stuffed with tennis balls, endangered plant life is growing in the gutters and behind the spalding (not tennis balls) chimney. The frisbee, the dog chew toy, various army men, firemen, plastic airplanes, scissors (really), spoons, dead things, knives, bullets (inny and outties), bird nests, old defunct satellite dishes, newspapers, moss, ant, wasp nests, carpenter bees, cats, tools, bottles, feces, graffiti, a shingle scrap that has survived numerous storms for twenty something years without being nailed down while nailed down roofing has blown off, giant rocks, whole bricks, 2x4's, Barbie, G.I. Joe, cassette tapes of Nigerian rock, combs, screw drivers, hula hoops, garden hoses, rakes, hoes, brooms, leaves, tree limbs, rope, twine, kites, balloons, boxes, candy wrappers, candy, baggies, cigarettes, business cards, beer cans, clip boards, pens and pencils, clothes, hats, sunglasses, and that just about covers it but if you've seen more please send it in.
Don't get blamed for preexisting stuff. Don't break the almost broken. Be professional.
But no matter what you do, no matter how many roofs are being replace in the area after a billion dollar natural disaster, if your customer gets a flat, with a weird type of nail you've never seen before, it is your fault.
Just think of it like gas caps in the old days, before someone figured out to attach them with a plastic line. If you lose yours, you can go to any gas station and make a withdrawal from the shared National Gas Cap Repository. If you check with at least two or three stations you'll find one that fits your car. Now you're even.
You know you got away with one or two punchadas over the years so pay up with a smile. If you don't believe me just ask your roofers or go look in the parking lot by your warehouse. Tell me you've never seen a nail, not one, because that's all it takes, laying on the concrete after the hubbub is over and the crews have gone (to the beer store) directly home.
Once my dad asked me if I lost a box of nails near the mix master or canyon downtown. That guy got hundreds of cars. I know him because years later I heard him tell of hearing clickity clack everywhere just before he looked back to see his tailgate down and the fifty pounds of roofing nails gone.
So by association we are guilty.
The terrorists could throw metal simplex out during rush hour and paralyze all of Dallas Fort Worth. They always land up looking for a foot. If you're not careful, when Mimi starts crying, grandpa is going to find his shells.
So remember:only you can prevent forest fires. Look around for fires to put out before they get out of control.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Why Insurance Companies aren't the Same
While State Farm, Metropolitan, and Travelers pay for roof systems a customer has when the roof is damaged, Allstate and USAA wrangle out every aspect down to shingles and felt. No metal edge, step flashing, pipe covers, chimney or skylight flashings are included in their estimates unless they are dented.
While State Farm and USAA both use Xactimate to figure their respective hail damage reports, USAA figures that roofing suppliers must give me free step flashing, metal edging, and valley; that my roofers don't take any longer to install these items; and that leaving them out doesn't make for a lesser roof (system).
Then comes Allstate. They stand alone in dumbing down a roof. They use a system called Integra Claims, and which the management has, in the words of their adjusters, locked them out of all the details. A few years ago Allstate paid for the items integrated with the shingles, like a shingle. Just as one shingle laps with the others around it, so do the pipes, step flashings, valleys, chimney flashings, and boy am I tired of listing this.
Shingles and felt. That's it. No valley. No sewer pipes. No valley. No step flashing. No metal edge. No chimney flashing. No skylight flashing. No power pole flashing. No flue base flashings. Just shingles and felt.
Allstate says hold the pickles. I want to drag it through the garden and get a real burger. The meat is called hamburger but the unit is a hamburger. We put on better burgers and use real cheese if you want cheese. Even if you have cheese, Allstate won't put it back. It's not damaged.
Multiple Allstate adjusters have told Nathan, our in house licensed adjuster, that the program has these items included in the line item price for the shingles. Nathan counters that the program specifically states in the line item description that the price is for shingles only and that the program has specific line items for each of the items that Allstate won't pay for. Valleys, metal edge, stacks, stop it. The adjusters then say they have their own modified program. We know what that means.
They altered the bible.
Allstate stands alone. This is unique. How come Allstate's customers have to suffer this?
I will admit that their overall assessment of shingle damage and measurements are right on. They don't under measure and they pay for roofs when they need to, albeit on the cheap. They also tend to buy roofs that really aren't damaged. Allstate buys the farm. Couldn't help it.
The amount of money they underpay per roof comes nowhere near to what money they lose in buying roofs they shouldn't.
State Farm doesn't buy many roofs it shouldn't so if you have an old roof and you want it paid for for no reason don't get State Farm.
Where insurance companies very widely on what their initial claim is, State Farm and Farmers getting it closer to right in the beginning, they usually miss something. I have actually seen State Farm adjustments that couldn't be improved unless you were willing to lie. But if they miss the mark, they will compensate.
Allstate will adjust also but the movement is small. They start dreadfully low and will come up to real low. The adjusters even admit it.
Farmers, who at one time bought roofs for being old or having too much sun or bird poop, went to a B rating back in the nineties. They got tough and denied meteor shower claims. Once they got back on track with the coveted A rating they took the State Farm track. Their behavior is like synchronized swimmers in an old Ester Williams flick.
We'll pause so the young'ins can hit the Google Bar. Come on guys, "Million Dollar Mermaid" and "Neptune's Daughter" are always showing up in PBS documentaries. Meanwhile back at the Farm, er Ranch, er All-State-Farmers-Bureau...
What quality oriented roofing contractor would take a used piece of step flashing, maybe thrice used, and put it back along with fifty others on a wall and guarantee it not to leak? What contractor won't reflash a chimney, what installer does it for free, and what wholesaler gives us the materials for free to flash them?
One supervisor from one of these companies told me last year that if he paid for the step flashing on my customers roof he'd be ripping off his next customers. I told him he'd just be continuing with his ripping off. He then threatened me with the possibility of telling all their clients not to use me because Jon Wright Roofing was too expensive. I wish I had a recorder right then. My rebuttal was that we were just discussing price and threats weren't necessary. He apologized and hoped I didn't have a recorder.
If we look at this as simply passing on the diminished profits to the consumer, as my father likes to say, we'll see that the people insured by companies that gut the roof down to shingles and felt also get an inferior product on their home.
This may not always be the case but the law, and not theory, of averages, requires that less expensive items have generally lesser value. Roofs with used accessories that are older and full of holes will have more leaks. Roofers that install quality roofs with all new components but don't get paid for their service are more likely to go out of business. Homeowners who live under these roofs are going to have more financial difficulties because of the increased frequency of leaks. Homeowners with leaks have more marital problems than those that don't. Governments with leaks have more issues too.
The only winner is the insurance company, the lawyers, and the spies.
In retrospect it is hard to imagine that State Farm was the low bidder many years ago and Allstate paid well. The pendulum swings, usually, but this time it appears to be stuck. Some say the change occurs after someone successfully sues an insurance company resulting in changed behavior. I know if I made the front page of the Dallas Morning News or was on any of Belo's news outlets for the wrong reason, I'd change.
The politics of when insurance companies buy roofs versus how well they pay on a line item basis is a completely different topic. Soon I'll voice my opinion on the dynamics of why insurance companies are sometimes more generous on paying claims on marginally damaged roofs than others. I've not only been watching these dynamics in the Dallas Fort Worth roofing market as a roofing contractor and roofing company owner, I've been in the thick of it discussing pricing.
Now that I said it, if I'm not your roofer, ask your roofer. If you are a roofer, then post a comment and don't leave me out here alone. If you're a supplier of roofs, state what your roofing contractors say about this. Come on and comment so when the insurance companies find this they'll know how we feel. I believe you had needed a Google account to comment but we figured out a way to remove that.
Addendum to rant: The insurance companies say"nobody else wants us to pay that or ever asked..."..."we didn't get any faxes"..."nobody has ever told us that the cathedral ceiling might be damaged by reroofing"...when I told you yourself on this and other jobs in the past, much less the other times I told other adjusters, and other roofers told them, and it was in my initial estimate as a protective disclaimer so I wouldn't get sued for putting nails where they belong.
Ha, a new topic.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Should A Roof have Vents or Ventilation?
The bound paper dictionary is the best place to go to settle this debate but the young don't know how to use one. As a tool it does have advantages over the electronic version. You know we old guys like to complain and sometimes you whippersnappers will patiently simulate listening with behind the back gesturing and hand movements, whenever we're not looking and you get a chance. We know this because we were once where you are, in the dark. My complaint has been proffered both by Socrates and Hitler, that the youth are lazy and disrespectful. Both died for their beliefs. The youth won, for now. Just wait. You'll get here.
In my youth, it was a golden age, better than now. Everybody knows it. We had few videoesque diversions so we tore apart words instead. Today the dismemberment of words seems to be a lost art.
In the online version of the Merrian Webster Collegiate Dictionary I found this:
1 : the act or process of ventilating
2 a : circulation of air b : the circulation and exchange of gases in the lungs or gills that is basic to respiration
3 : a system or means of providing fresh air
In my Smithsonian destined and well tattered copy of this glorious reference book I received as a freshman in high school in 1971, the same periodical had exactly the same information. No Wiki updates, no modifications, verbatim, verpunctuation, verditto.
The difference is that when you open a dictionary the words above and below the word du jour, vent, are readily visible:vent1, 2, and3, with sub-definitions within each, venter (a strange word worth looking up), ventilate, ventilator and a page or two of twists and turns containing the root "vent." A more intrinsic understanding of where this word can take us is gained by seeing the sister words that grew from the family of this word over time, from not just in English, but in all the Romantic and Germanic versions.
But just looking at the root "vent" tells us boo koos, from the French "beaucoup" (not your boyfriends roadster) about the word:
transitive verb 1 : to provide with a vent
2 a : to serve as a vent for
3 : to relieve by means of a vent
I would not have seen this if I hadn't pulled out the old leaf paper version. These barely post prehistoric devices known as books still can have an effect.
Notice the Latin origin, ventus for wind, which in Spanish is viento. A wind hole, or window, is ventana in Spanish. See the evolution?
The Middle English, aventen, from the Anglo French, was to release (air). (Did you read the definition's etymology?) So we know wind is a vertical movement except in rare cases like Flight 191, where it was in reverse. But ventilation is a derivative, not the kind that helped wreck the economy, of these older words, that lead to "vent,"reminiscent of Latin for wind.
Eureka, we have it. wind is the key. You see random holes let pressure out of a sealed attic but they cause no wind. Venting lets off pressure and ventilation causes wind.
Too many disparate exhaust holes confuse the air on where to leave. There is no magic that makes air hot go up. There are laws, more like theories, that cover this but the Venturi Effect shows that air will take the easiest path just like you or I, water or electricity, or heat and cold.
When uneven redundant holes or slits for vent ridge are made, there is no wind from bottom to top. There is wind from the second lowest to the highest hole, unless the second highest hole is too small, then the dynamics become completely incomprehensible.
The difference in an area as hot, humid, and sunny as the Dallas Fort Worth area can add up to thousands of dollars of A/C bills and repairs as well as a shortened roof, deck, insulation, and marriage life. Besides, your house may get hot too. Nobody is smiling when it's hot. We do have silly grins when we're freezing our tails off though. Dallas can get cold but the dynamics of retaining heat with insulation and not from covering your turbines should be easy to fathom.
If I'm only venting, I'm not maximizing my openings because I am only relieving pressure . If I'm ventilating I'm blowing wind. If I'm hyperventilating, well, get back.
Did you catch wind of that?
At least there were no break wind jokes.
How to Ventilate Attics
Why Roofers Can't Ventilate
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Race, Religion, Politics, Roofing
About 1987 the roofing world was pretty white bread but the rednecks were hiring some young immigrant kids as helpers. They knew or learned English pretty fast as there was no Spanish media or "epuje numero dos para Espanol." Everything was in English. Period.
I knew then that since every single helper in this apprenticeship system of roofing, except for those who went to the roofing university, was an immigrant then sooner or later it would not be necessary to speak English to tear off roofing, carry bundles up the ladder, and apply nails into shingles. We never really taught anyone because those who could not learn by watching were dangerous. Smart people use "monkey see-monkey do" and might surpass their exemplar if their minds have more plasticity.
Slowly I watched, or more precisely listened, as English left the roofs, the restaurants, all construction, television and radio, the neighborhoods, and for some time, the schools.
The smarter or more ambitious ones learn English. I already had quiet a good foundation in Spanish and went to work like Bulls Eye: run like the wind Bulls Eye.
There are no college kids, red necks, blacks or hippies on the roofs anymore. At least not here.
Now don't let the title fool you. I'm not about to delve into religion except for this one statement: I do not believe in religious symbols on business cards, contracts, yard signs, advertisements, or anywhere.
Why? Because neither Abraham, Jesus, Buddha, nor Mohammad were roofers. The roof is a hot place and time is short. Now Jesus was the son of a carpenter and I'm sure he could make a chair but roofing is a subdivision of carpentry, not the other way around.
A foolish child is a father's ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof. Proverbs 19:13.
Just as the rain penetrates through the thatch of a leaking roof, so the passions penetrate an unbalanced mind: Buddha in the Drammapada.
Those before them also plotted (against Allah's Way): but Allah took their structures from their foundations, and the roof fell down on them from above; and the Wrath seized them from directions they did not perceive. Quran.
Roofers aren't smart enough for politics except I have a degree in Political Philosophy. I'm here alone. Aristotle anyone?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
What You Want in a Roofer
But what do you want in your roofer so you can determine what he can do for you?
Stability is the word we're looking for. Even the best make mistakes. No one is perfect. The rub is whether or not your contractor will be in business.
Ask his wholesaler how long he has know the roofer, how long he has purchased from them, and is his credit line in good shape.
Ask the manufacturer's rep if the roofer is trained in the necessary procedures to install and ventilate your roof.
Ask him the name of his foreman and what color car or truck he drives. How long has he worked for them? turnover is acceptable only if there is training and massive supervision. Otherwise you may be an experiment and strangers may be unleashed on your home.
Recent and old references not only for the company but also for the salesman you have are a good indicator of his prowess as a roof consultant. Phone numbers alone will not do but names and addresses are a must.
Why not ask to see the job du jour to see how Aunt Bea's flowers are holding up under the onslaught of massive deconstruction and rebuilding. How did XYZ Roofing handle the murdered pansies? Did they hem and haw, give a credit, or run out and buy more than were mangled and plant them?
The labor warranty, the level (yes level) of manufacturer's warranty, the schedule and duration and payment options are important. Never pay half before materials and workers both have arrived and work has commenced.
Will their be supervision and follow up inspections? Will the manufacture come look at the job?
Any certifications? Serious business people love plaques, certificates, honors, accolades and such. They also need to know that they are on the cutting edge of technology and not bumpkins who know less than the homeowner does.
Ask the salesman if he has applied the "300 Rule" or better to his system. Ask him what the wind upgrade requires. Ask if he has any manufacturer certifications, is a member of any roofing trade group or is a member of any consumer protection groups like Angie's List.
If the roofer wants to start tomorrow, needs money now, has no references, does not know his foreman, has no insurance, does not pay his supplier, is not listed on the BBB for at least two years (boy am I going easy on that one), has no certificates of training, has out of state plates or driver's license, doesn't speak English, has shifty eyes, has a criminal record or bad record with the BBB (and boy is that hard to do), or reeks of drugs and alcohol, well, you might think twice of using him.
Shake the claw at him and look into his eyes.
EDCO Arrowline has been around a long time
EDCO Arrowline has made the steel panels for Alcoa/Mastic Siding and Alside Siding as well as for some others for a long time. Their steel siding panels have kept their luster for decades and they were made before the improved coatings of today came out. Steel keeps color more than aluminum does.in reference to: EDCO Products (view on Google Sidewiki)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Venting Bathrooms and Dryers through the Roof
The lowly bathroom vent mainly pulls the water vapor from the bathroom after hot showers but we lovingly refer to them as fart fans. You can imagine why. The same applies to sewer stacks: the stink stack. Imagine those attached to septic tanks. Now you don't want to be using a flame thrower to install an SBS modified bitumen system. Torches in the hands of roofers?
They never found those roofers in San Antonio, or so goes the legend.
The dryer vent is even more temperamental. If you cannot find any other way to send the dryer lint and exhaust horizontally to a wall exhaust, then up up and away you must.
With time, no matter how often you clean the lint basket, the tubing will clog and you'll steam your clothes. If there are elbows the clogging will accelerate. If you run the dryer during rain, you'll put a stop to lint removal right away. Besides when the humidity is high, like when it's 100% during rain, it is not a good time to dry clothes.
Bathroom fans are on the ceiling but you'd be surprised how many just dump the water vapor into the attic where a sponge called plywood resides. Run it out and through the roof.
I've seen enough lint on attic floors to insulate part of a home but you must remember that lint is very combustible. Many a belly button has spontaneously exploded due to improper gas venting.
The roof/dryer vent flashing is a lot like the one that goes on the wall but it has a flange that can be integrated with the roof. The flashing has a swinging door that helps keep out rodents.
Don't forget to remove the screening or the lint will cling. This screening is only for bathroom vents.
If it takes an Act of Congress to get the dryer vent to an outside wall then so be it. Running one upwards requires diligence. Check to see if it is stopped up often but you need to check the horizontal one too, just not nearly as often.
Here's a good money saving and environmental green tip: let your clothes mostly dry on some hanging apparatus prior to placement in the dryer. You'll use less electricity, your dryer will last longer, you'll cause less pollution, but mostly your clothes will last longer. That spinning in high heat cooks your clothes. What do you think the lint is: clothes.
I use soft water so I need very little soap, one ounce per load, and no fabric softener. That stuff goes into your system through skin contact and through inhalation. You smell it and you absorb it too.
Saving the environment can be as easy as lots of accumulated small tricks and if they save you money too then it is a win win situation. And it pays to look snappy by not wearing out your favorite shirt or blouse.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
How to Check Out a Business
Check for yourself with these tips:
On the Google site are all the posting dates clumped together like somebody had an idea to post and them quit? An example would be postings on February 6th 2010, February 7th, two on February 12th, and one on March 1st. None befoe or after.
Are the postings all on Google or some other place like Insider Pages or Kudzu?
Can you follow backwards on the person who posted and see that they have posted for many companies all over the country? Many roofers use Showcase Listings and the techniques constantly get better.
Did the three or four posting persons post about the same company?
Does the company have listings with the BBB in Dallas and Tarrant County with different ratings?
Do the postings see to use the same diction. These guys usually aren't very literate and will follow a similar cadence like "We.... I.... same adjective.
Ask the contractor directly for the number of the person who posted the reference. He'll know who it is.
check BBB, liability insurance, manufacturer certifications, and any other thing you can.
We love Angies List because it is like a club. The members report on their experiences.
Go to the search bar and type in various searches. Use the contractors name or company name and look around. The Complaints Board, Boardhost, and other places where frustrated people vent are helpful.
In a wind or hail storm it may be difficult to stay local but you can get temporary repairs and extensions from the insurance.
If someone needs an answer now, the answer is no. No deposit until materials and workers show up. No completion payment without full inspection. Keep the honest honest.
If you suspect that a business has self posted false comments you may also assume that the ethical and moral standard is very low. Using the word liar is a very strong and provoking term and liars really hate it. So just ask kindly for phone numbers, names, addresses, dates.
I'd love to give you an example but I won't. I suggest you type in Dallas Metal Roofer, Dallas Roofer, bad roofer Dallas, Dallas roofing complaint, vinyl siding complaint, XYZ Roofing complaint, Jon Wright Roofing or whomever complaint...
In vinyl siding land you can see if there is the VSI certification, Lead Removal and Containment Certification, Mastic Siding certification...
The BBB will root out the worst scoundrels but nothing replaces your own due diligence.
The Internet makes it easy to find out but also to cheat. Look forwards and backwards on those posted reviews. Follow the trail. Chart out the dates. See where else the reviewer posted. Check the language style.
Besides, just because the insurance company may be footing the majority of the costs for your current project doesn't mean that a lot of money is not at stake here. It's not the insurance company that gets ripped off. It is you. when Father Time and Mother Nature connect you might find that your sloven decision making process has cost you thousands. You might not be able to sell your home or get your insurance renewed. You might have to pay twice, not by redoing the job, but by having to pay for the material and labor bills again because leins are on your home.
Method 1:Never get pressured. Never get in a hurry. Don't pay too soon. Ask. Don't be afraid to ask. Read. Search. Study. Pray. Select. Pay. Pray.
Method 2:Ask GAF or Angie. Select. Pay.