Posts Tagged ‘Maintenance’

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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Can’t Stand it Anymore Part 2

June 14, 2011

Property managers, facility managers, building owners, anyone who is in charge of a roof anywhere please pay attention.  I would like to save you some hassles and some money.

If you have an existing building that is going to get an addition or maybe even just a new penetration going through the roof (this could be a new curb, a vent pipe or an HVAC unit) make sure that you use  materials that are compatible to what is existing.  The materials should be of the same type and by the same manufacturer as what is on your existing building.  The company doing the work on your roof should be approved by the manufacturer as well.  If not, you risk voiding any warranty that you may have and the potential for roof leaks and damage increase significantly.

We installed a new roof on a building for a local property management company a few  years ago.  The owner of the building paid for a fifteen year manufacturer’s warranty.  Last year, during our yearly inspection, we noticed that a general contractor had installed a new mansard around the building.  This had to be tied in to the existing roof and the contractor had used a different manufacturer, thus voiding the roof warranty that had been provided.   A reputable contractor would not do this without informing the owner.

We were recently called out to make repairs on a roof that we are not an approved applicator of and had to politely decline the customer.  Most roofing companies are not approved by all of the manufacturer’s.

Keep your warranty in force and don’t risk costly roof leaks.

Proper Care of Old Metal

June 9, 2011

This is just another one of those things that make me go Huhhh?  They did what?

After my estimator, Chris, returned from looking at a beautiful church roof the other day, he had to show me these photos and what they had done to the metal on the building.  If they just would have kept up with the paint this would not have happened.

Rusty metal

Rusty tin ledge

At the same church, they had beautiful copper gutters and downspouts. I love the way that the old copper gets a patina to show the age.  I think that we were told that the building was built in the mid 1800’s.  Someone decided that they wanted to change the look of the gutters and they PAINTED them.

Painted copper

Painted Copper Gutter

Once the copper gutters are painted, they become very difficult to repair properly.  The paint also takes a very expensive piece of metal and changes it to look like something much more common.  In my opinion they were just painting the wrong things.

Let me know if you have any questions about the care of the metal on your roof or spouting.

Can’t Stand it Anymore Part 1

June 7, 2011

OK, I’ve put off writing this post for months, but now I just can’t take it anymore.  Some of my customers are making really bad mistakes with their roofs that are costing them big time.

It really boiled over yesterday, when we got a call about a new roof we had just installed. It hasn’t even been inspected by the Manufacturer yet.  The Manufacturer is going to issue a twenty year roof warranty.  Someone cut a huge hole in the roof to install an A/C unit and move a drain.   I believe that it was someone on their maintenance staff.

New TPO Roof

They thought that they knew what they were doing and were going to patch the roof with new white rubber.  Big problem… It’s not a rubber roof!  They just didn’t know better.  The roof is actually a heat welded membrane called TPO.   This would have completely voided the warranty on a new roof that they just spent thousands of dollars on.  Fortunately the guy didn’t have enough rubber to do the repair, so he called us to get more material.  We are taking care of repairing it properly (with the correct materials) for them today.

If you own or are responsible for buildings, like a property manager, facility manager, or work in building maintenance make sure that you are familiar with the materials that are used on your roof and the related warranties.  If you have any question, give me a call and I’ll see if I can help.

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!

Roofing Capitalization vs. Repairs

December 29, 2010

I was thoroughly pleased last week, when an accountant told me that our customers could be writing off as an expense the cost for replacing their roofs.  I knew that repairs could be written off as an expense.  I was under the understanding that new roofs had to be depreciated over 39 or 49 years or some other outrageously long time that would be well past most roofs useful lives.  Now, if you have a slate roof installed, it should last much, much longer.  But most commercial/industrial buildings go with your typical roofing system, which may come with a  15 or 20 year warranty(others are available, but not typical).

So, I thought great news!  Someone has finally wised up in our government and made some adjustments.  The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has been trying to get this changed for years.   But I wanted to look into it a little further.  I asked Norm (my controller) to do a little bit or research.  He went to a fairly well authenticated source  IRS.gov. where he dug up this little guide

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=231440,00.html

After thoroughly reading this, I had to read it again. (OK , I really had to read it several more times and ask hey what do you think this means?)

On page 5 after reading the requirements, I thought oh yeah they can definitely expense this. (Good news)

Then I got to page 13 again and saw “….some taxpayers claimed deductions for installing new roofs,……” (ummm OK)

“…..the courts have utilized inconsistent approaches.”  (Now that’s not very helpful)

It goes on to cite two specific cases that seem the same to me, but in one (Oberman Mfg. Co. v. Commissioner) expensing was approved and in the other (Tsakopoulos v. Commissioner) it was determined to be a Capital Expenditure.

How anyone can figure out these IRS regulations is beyond me.  My best advice is to rely on your trusted professionals, but hey, it may be worth looking into!

 

 

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!

Roofing in the “New Economy” (How you can save $$$)

October 14, 2010

If you are like me and most of the rest of the country, lately you have been trying to save money.  I have been trying to bring down my loan balances and build up my cash reserves.  From what I read and experience through friends and customers, you are probably doing the same thing.  Having good credit doesn’t mean that you have to use it!

In my business (roofing if you didn’t know) we have been seeing people spending  money unwisely.  I just talked to a good customer yesterday who had to spend major dollars to replace deteriorated wood beams because roof leaks were not taken care of in a timely fashion.  Their tenant was just putting buckets under the roof leaks, probably for years.  That roof still needed to be replaced, but they could have saved the over $50k bill for a carpenter to do all of that structural wood work.  Roof leaks can and will deteriorate decking and structural members over time.  Once water gets into your insulation, it will no longer do its job the way that it should be done and dollars for heating or cooling will literally go through the roof.  And if water gets into your electrical system it can become a disaster very quickly.

If your roof starts to leak, DO Not ignore it.  If you have tenants, make sure that they know to report any roof leaks right away.  We notice that sometimes they wait until the end of the day, or end of the week  to call them in.  Maybe they won’t call them in at all for some reason or other, like the “only leaks when it rains”.  If you want someone to come out right away then you may have to spend extra to get them out in the evenings or on the weekend.

Of course we have also seen customers who get multiple proposals go with the person who is half of everyone elses quote and you know what happens then.   We generally end up having to fix the mess at more than it would have cost to do it right in the first place.

You can save money just by by being on top of things.  A roof maintenance plan is a good way to do this.    Knowing what is going on with your roof can sometimes prevent major outlays of cash in times like these when we all want to hold onto  as much of it as we can.

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

Not Just a Slogan!

March 26, 2010

Today we have a guest post by Michael Zeise.   Michael is Commercial Account Executive for J. V. Heidler Co., Inc.

“The best roofers anywhere”, not just a slogan.

I have worked for J.V Heidler for a little over two years now and have had opportunities to visit some of our jobsites while our men were working on our customers’ roofs.

I have always been impressed with what I had seen. They have always seemed to be in control of the projects, and very organized. I have also spoken with many of our customers after we have completed projects and found they were very pleased with the professionalism of our men and the cleanliness of the jobsite after they had left. Also the quality of the job and excellent workmanship were always mentioned.

I am currently having my home roof replaced by our company and am witnessing first hand what I had heard about our crews. The first day when the materials were delivered it was very sunny and clear but very windy.  The first thing that they did was spent time to cover our bushes and garden areas.  I thought that this was very considerate of them.  As soon as the men started removing my old roof, it was clear that the wind would blow debris all over the neighborhood. A decision was made to postpone the project until the wind died down.

On behalf of my wife and my neighbors, I say good choice!

The next day was good weather and they got a lot done. During the tear-off process, as warned prior to start of job, some debris landed around the house. My wife had called me and asked me if they would be cleaning that up. I assured her that they would. By the end of the day, she called me back and told me that they had cleaned up everything and did a great job of it. It is raining today and nothing will be done. I look forward to Monday when work should resume and I know that my home is truly in the hands of the best roofers anywhere. Thanks guys!

Michael can be reached at mzeise@heidler.com