Archive for the ‘Lancaster’ Category

It’s About Freakin Time

June 29, 2011

While at the local permit office the other day, my estimator called with some awesome news.  In our area several “contractors” had recently been fined for breaking the building codes (some of the fines were up to $10,000.).  Some of them never applied for a permit at all.   Now I have to admit that I am not a big fan of government interference in business, but what these “contractors” were doing was not only wrong, it was life threatening.

Section 1510 of the International Building Code covers re-roofing applications. It states that “ Roof system removal and replacement, instead of re-cover applications, are required if an existing roof system is wet or has been re-covered.  ”  There are several reasons for this, but the main one is the additional weight that it adds to the structure.  Most structures are not designed for this additional load.  This can lead to building collapse under some circumstances.

Core Cut of Existing Roof

We try to get a “core cut” of an existing roof when doing an evaluation.  This is very important to determine what are the components of the existing roof.  The weight of the roof can vary greatly depending on the components and whether or not they are wet.  Wet roofing should ALWAYS be removed.

During the economic recession it has often been difficult to convince building owners that spending several thousands of dollars more, is the right thing to do.  Certain things remain true….You get what you pay for, and if you cut corners, sometimes, You get what you deserve.

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Should We Gamble?

June 22, 2011

The weather has been very unsettled this week.  There is a chance of rain every day.  This poses a dilemma for us when we are deciding what to do with our roofing crews in the morning.

Maybe a prayer would help?

Should we send them out to tear off a roof over that very important customer’s house?  If a storm comes while the roof is uncovered it could cause thousands of dollars of damage and a very upset customer.  On the other hand, if a storm never comes, they will wonder why we are not there working on completing the project.  This is sometimes a very difficult decision to make in the early morning hours when we send our crews out to beat the summer heat.

Today the chances are that it will rain in some areas and not in others.  It looked like the weather was clear on the way in to work this morning, but on the radio they were saying that it is raining at the station.  Another tough decision will need to be made this morning.

Should we rip off that roof over the factory line?  It will take several hours to get everything removed down to the deck and cleaned up.  Then it will take several more hours to get it back into a dry condition.  These are the tough questions that our Crew Leaders and Operations Manager are faced with in weather like this.

What do you think?  Should we gamble?

Solar Nightmare

March 1, 2011

I love the concept of Solar Energy.  What’s not to like, we get energy from the sun instead of sending more dollars to the Middle East.  Sustainable, less pollution, save the planet…all of the wonderful things that we love.  What can drive you crazy though is the implementation.  Take a look at these pictures.

Right through the roof!

You are looking at a rack for a solar system that is being installed on a rubber membrane roof.  They are screwing these frames down through the roof to the plywood deck before they mount the solar panels.

Oh and they installed this in the wrong place.  They had to move it, after they had already placed several holes through the existing roof.  OOOOPS!

This roof is not really in very good shape.  It is over 15 years old and it should have been replaced before any solar system was installed on top of it.   Then, brackets should be used that can be properly flashed into the roofing system.

I can't believe someone would do this!

The solar installers plan here is to caulk the top of the screw heads after he screws down through the existing roof membrane.  This is a recipe for disaster.

The installer pressured the roof owner to get this done quickly so that he would not lose his tax incentives last year.  This year end rush is going to end up costing the owner major dollars.  The entire solar system is going to need to be removed so that the roof can be replaced in the near future.  This is going to significantly raise the cost of the roofing project.  Then the solar system is going to need to be re-installed correctly.  In his attempt to do the right thing, this owner is causing himself major headaches.

 

Before anyone considers installing solar panels on their roof, they should have their roof checked by a professional roofing contractor.  Save yourself the hassle and do it right the first time!

Thankfulness

November 24, 2010

Today seems like an appropriate time to let you know a few things that I am thankful for.

First of all I am very thankful for our customers.  Without them we would not exist.  I appreciate each and every challenge that we work with them to solve, even the difficult ones.

I am very thankful for our field employees.  What a terrific bunch of roofing professionals.  The quality of the work you do and the safe manner in which you do it, allows me to sleep well at night.

Thank you to all of the distributors who work with us.  From the people at the counter, the sales people, managers, credit departments, and the delivery drivers.

I also work with a great group of professionals that I am thankful for.  The accountants, lawyers, and insurance professionals.

Thanks to all of the Sales reps.  Your product knowledge is extremely helpful in allowing us to bring the best solution to our customers needs.

We also could not do what we do without the manufacturers of the products that we use.  And we use only the best, so we appreciate the quality that you put into the products that we install.

Thank you to all of our vendors, those that service our trucks, equipment, computers, and every other item that we use in our business.

Thanks to the associations that we belong to, especially those that do so much to help our community.  Speaking of our community, I feel truly blessed to be able to work in the City of Lancaster.  It is a beautiful and vibrant city.

A very important thank you goes out to my office staff.  They are the best group of people that I have ever had the privilege to work with.  Norm, Mel and Chris…..you are fantastic.

Thank you to my family for being there to support me.

Finally, thank you for reading the ramblings of on old roofer!

Residential Roofing Choices

April 22, 2010

RESIDENTIAL ROOFING CHOICES

There are many different types of roofing materials that you can find here in Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania.  These roofing materials can be broken down into two separate areas, flat roofs and sloped roofs.

FLAT ROOFS

Single Ply roofs have really become the most popular choice for flat roofs due to their ease of installation and relatively low cost.  There are several types of single ply material and unfortunately they all go by alphabet names.

EPDM– The first and most popular single ply roof in Lancaster and York is EPDM, commonly known as rubber.  The rubber membrane is usually fully adhered to an insulation board which is mechanically fasted to your roof deck.  The membrane comes in various thicknesses (.045, .060, and .090).   I recommend the .060 membrane for most installations.  This comes in white or black, with black being less expensive and more widely used.

TPO– In the last ten years TPO membrane has begun to take some of the flat roof market share.  The TPO membrane is usually white although some manufacturers do have options.  The white membrane is highly reflective and if your roof is visible this is a very good choice.  The seams for these roofs are usually heat welded.

PVC– This material has made quite a comeback after a disastrous start a few decades ago.  One of its great strengths is the resistance to grease and chemicals.   The membrane is usually white and maintains its reflectivity and appearance very well.  These seams are usually heat welded as well.

In the past we used to install a lot of built-up roofing and modified roofing on flat roofs.  We still see a few of them each year.  These systems are asphalt based and have become unpopular in Central Pennsylvania due to the cost and the smoke and fumes often associated with their installation.

SLOPED ROOFS

There are quite an assortment of choices for sloped roofs.  By far the most common choice is asphalt shingles.  Lately though, metal has really been making inroads into the roofing market in this area.   Here are a few of your choices for sloped roofs.

SHINGLES- There is a wide variety of choices in this category alone.  Shingles range from 25 year type to Lifetime and come in many colors and styles.

METAL- Once again there are a lot of things to choose from just in the metal category.  There are different kinds of metals copper, aluminum, or steel.  Alternate styles also exist, from traditional standing seam to metal shingles.

SLATE- This is one of my all time favorite roofing materials.   I like it for the aesthetics, durability and long life.   Slates come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles.   When installed properly it can outlast virtually any other roofing system.  We have installed many slate roofs in Lancaster and surrounding areas and they are all still in very good shape today.  Slate is often the top choice for universities, churches and upper scale homes.

There are a few other choices for sloped roofs like tile or cedar shingles.  We don’t see them too often in Lancaster County, but we do run into them more often down towards Philadelphia.

If you need help deciding which roofing material is right for you, feel free to ask me.  I love talking about roofing anytime.

Joe Heidler

What does our facility look like?

March 17, 2010

For those of you who may wonder where we work, here are some quick snapshots of our Lancaster facility.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

March 8, 2010

You may be wondering what to look for around the exterior of your home or building now that winter is coming to an end.   Here are a few suggestions that should be fairly easy to spot.

  • Damaged gutters and downspouts- The severe ice and snow in the Lancaster area this winter has left thousands of homes, churches and offices with damaged spouting.
  • Shingles or pieces of roofing material laying in the yard or obviously missing from the roof.  The strong winds that we had just before the heavy snows left many roofs with pieces missing.  This was then buried under feet of snow and is just now becoming visible.  Also you want to looks for cracks in the roof itself.

    Shingles in need of replacement

  • Damage caused by falling ice and snow.  I just looked at my bushes in my front garden this weekend and was amazed at the damage the heavy snow caused.  Lower roof levels may have also taken hits from falling ice sickles, possibly puncturing your roofing.
  • Settlement cracks- Are there any new cracks in the exterior walls that were not there previously?
  • Missing trim and edge pieces-  Look carefully at all of the edges and corners of your building.  Possibly pieces may have come off or come loose.
  • Water stains-  Do you have any new water stains (inside or along exterior walls)?
  • Snow Guards- IF you have snow guards on your roof, were they damaged due to the extremely heavy amounts of snow?  Possibly some are missing or bent over.

Please feel free to add any ideas you may think of that I may have missed.

7 WAYS WINTER CAN DAMAGE YOUR BUILDING AND YOUR BUSINESS

February 17, 2010
  1. COLLAPSE Number one on my list is the possibility of a building collapse.  That darn snow can be heavy and I have been hearing a lot about buildings collapsing, walls being pushed over and people being injured.

    That is a lot of SNOW!

  2. GUTTERS I can’t tell you how many gutters I have seen torn from buildings just on my way from York into Lancaster to work.  They lay mangled next to the building or hanging off of the side.  I have also seen countless gutters that are damaged and will need to be replaced.

    Damaged Gutter

  3. ROOF LEAKS Your roof will always find the most inopportune time to leak.  It almost never leaks when it is 80 degrees and sunny outside.  Fixing a leak under 20 inches of snow can be next to impossible.  The temperature extremes during this type of weather can make your roof more prone to cracks from expansion and that water up there is just waiting for a place to enter!
  4. VENTS Extreme amounts of snow can cover vents, exhaust fans and roof top equipment.   This can create situations where equipment might not work properly or even  endanger the people inside the building from fumes that were meant to be exhausted.  Snow and ice needs to be cleared away from any of these sensitive areas.

    Buried Roof Top Equipment

  5. ICE DAMS These cause water to back up into the building and create tons of  interior damage.  For more information on Ice Dams check out my last blog post.
    Catastrophe modeler EQECAT Inc. estimates that the two winter storms that raked the mid-Atlantic region earlier this month caused more than $2 billion in insured losses.  EQECAT said the most common sources of monetary losses are a result of roof damage, pipe breakage, and ice dams in eaves causing water to leak into buildings.
  6. ICE SICKLES Threatening Ice Sickles can be a real hazard.   Just this week I heard of several businesses in the Lancaster area that were closed due to the threat of falling ice.  These things can be deadly, some of them are real monsters and must weigh hundreds of pounds.  Trust me, this is not a threat that you want to have hanging over your head.

    Dangerous ICE!

  7. OVERHANGING SNOW Sometimes you can hear a roar or a thunderous groan as tons of snow and ice fall from overhangs and higher roof levels.  Depending on where this falls it can be very damaging or even deadly.

    Don't fall on me!

    Snow Overhang

Church Roofs – A Little Bit Closer to GOD

November 20, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be inspired as I walk around downtown Lancaster and look at the majestic churches. If you would like to see more pictures of Churches that we have worked on, I invite you to visit <a href="

Lancaster County Roofers

July 7, 2009
Lancaster Roofers

Lancaster Roofers

In my last post, I wrote about all of the wonderful people that surround me in the office.  As  I reflected on it, I felt really bad about what I had written, or more accurately, what I didn’t write.  Don’t get me wrong, they are the best group of people that I have ever worked with.   But as I thought about it, our customers don’t pay us for what they do.  What our customers pay us for is having “the best roofers anywhere” and using those individuals to keep them and their possessions dry and safe from the elements.

It’s not easy having “the best roofers anywhere”.  Being here in Lancaster County, PA makes the task a whole lot easier though.  There is a work ethic here in this region that is hard to match anywhere in the world.  I’ve had offices in othe states before, but it never worked out.  I was just never able to find a group of people that could produce the way that the people from Lancaster could.  That is probably why The Lancaster area fares so much better than other areas in this economy.

The people that we have working out on the roofs are a unique group of individuals.  They are roofers.  They get up before the sun and put in an amazing day of work out in the elements.  Keep in mind that it is a lot hotter up on the roof than it is in front of your computer screen (or mine).  Often times they are filthy and dirty from removing an existing roof.  This is not a job for people afraid of dirt or hard work.

I’m not going to name names for fear that I would miss someone, because roofers have feelings too.  The important thing here is that these are the people that do the real work!  They are the ones that keep our customers coming back to us.