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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time to Clean the Roof.

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roofing, Recycling, the Environment, and You and Me

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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

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

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Properly Nailing Roofing Felt in Dallas

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Ridge Cap

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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How To Repair A Metal Roof

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dallas Roof

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why is Sheetmetal Sold in Ten Foot Lengths?

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

But there is more: winter and summer.

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

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

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

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

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

When Is The Weather Too Cold Too Roof?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dallas Roof