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Friday, January 4, 2013

What Else Does a Roofer Need to Know Besides Roofing

Everything and I'm going to prove it.

To be great in the roofing business a roofer also needs to know about any other part of the structure that the roof integrates with. Those building materials that are beneath, above, beside, and that pass through it effect the roof.

First, from below there is the decking, the framing, attic and foundation. Think I'm being extreme? What would you think if i counseled my client to go ahead and replace his roof right before he had his foundation repaired? anyone that did, I would say, either knows no better or is criminally immoral. The movement in a foundation is like a see saw, a teeter totter, because and inch under the house can fulcrum several on the roof. The decking either shoves together or separates. The framing comes loose. All havoc has reigned down on the home and it shows up worse on a roof.

Also the roofer needs to know the load bearing capabilities of the framing before he puts on a roof that is too heavy. More destruction to the framing, even the walls blowing out. Other times roofers need just to brace or level the roof

The attic, well if you've read three of my posts, you know what improper ventilation can do.

Once a customer wanted to tear off five layers of composition roofing off his home. I told him he needed to replace the deck, partially because it was riddled with nails, but in this case, to put on a heavier one with a heavier shingle. The house had settled comfortably under the geological layers of roofing and the doors and windows had probably been adjusted. More weighty decking and shingle would lighten the load still but without as much gravitational shock.

He didn't listen. He went cheap. He paid big time. The doors, windows and garage doors were dysfunctional and had to be rehung. The plaster cracked. The house was happier but the homeowner not.

Beside the roof are walls sometimes. If there is vinyl siding and the roofer flashes only behind this and not the wood underneath the vinyl or aluminum siding, the roof (wall) will leak. If the wall is decomposed repairs need to be performed for a water tight nexus. The roofer needs to work with either siding, masonry or wood. If the wall has windows above the roof the window might leak, but it will look like a roof leak. Bricks and stones need to be counterflashed sometimes into the mortar or stone itself.

The penetrations for the gas flues, the plumbing stacks, the chimney, bathroom fart fans and anything else that goes from below to above the roof can required that the roofer can do minor hot water heater and furnace adjustments. Improperly done and the house might burn down or make the occupants suffocate. Sometimes, depending on the new roof system, the sewer pipes need to be extended or moved. Even electrical and freon lines can be effected by careless roofing practices. Power fans and electric skylights can pose issues for the roofer.

If the siding or cornish work on the house have lead paint on them then the roofer needs to know painting and lead remediation.

The roofer needs to be aware of framing, structural loads, plumbing, HVAC, painting, electrical, carpentry, masonry, geometry, and, finally roofing. He needs to know how to build a house.

Now add OSHA, ventilation, and lead, he needs to be an EPA expert and a paramedic of sorts.

Some of these things he needs to work in association with other tradesmen on but if he doesn't have the basics down he won't know what he needs to do. He may not be able to fix the foundation but he needs to tell you when you need it done and when it needs to be done. Before he gets there. Then everything else might be even more messed up.

Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
972.251.1818 Office
214.718.3748 Cell
972.554.8090 Fax
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Anonymous said...

I agree. Every roofing company SHOULD know about all of the things you listed. However, at least in North Texas, the roofer who actually knows how to just properly install a roof is the exception.

Anonymous said...

Just what makes a roofing business "great"?- Profitability? There are plenty of profitable businesses out there that do sorry careless work.

How do you know you got a good roof?- It doesn't leak? That's about all consumers know about roofing. There's plenty of roofs out there that don't leak but are atrocious examples of carelessness.

Then there are roofs that fail prematurely and most if not all are the result of some workmanship issue. Insurance is called and the defect is written off as storm damage. -No accountability.

Worst of all, perfectly good roofs are torn off because of some little hail and roofing becomes a racket.

It is just a tragedy...

T. Leeds said...

Very true Jon. I would argue that he needs to know customer service as well and how to run a legitimate business so he can be around in future to handle and mishaps.

Building a relationship with your customer is almost as important as building the roof itself!

Unknown said...

To be a successful roofer there are a lot of skills that a roofer has to possess. As being the owner of a well reputed roofing company I have known many roofers in my lifetime and have definitely seen what types of skills are needed in order to make a nice roofer during the summer and winter months.
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